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Media Beat: July 17, 2019

By David Farrell

David Foster: 'Off The Record’ Feature Documentary In Works

David Foster, the 16-time Grammy Award-winning producer, songwriter and composer, is set to be the subject of a feature documentary, David Foster: Off the Record. Barry Avrich (The Last Mogul, Prosecuting Evil) is directing the pic, which is now in postproduction from Canada’s Bell Media Studios and Melbar Entertainment Group.


A North American theatrical plan is in the works for the pic after a likely fall festival run, after which CTV and Crave have broadcast and streaming rights in Canada. Caitlin Cheddie is producer, and Bell Media president Randy Lennox, Avrich, Jeffrey Latimer and Marc Johnston are executive producers. – Patrick Hipes, Deadline

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Canadian cloud-based mastering platform raises $26M

LANDR, the AI-powered creative platform for musicians, announced the successful closing of its Series B financing round today, raising $26 million. The round was led by Sony Innovation Fund, microphone manufacturer Shure, state-owned financing corporation Investissement Québec and Fonds de solidarité FTQ, with investments from Warner Music, Plus Eight Equity Partners, Slaight Communications, YUL Ventures and PEAK Capital Partners.

The company received $7 million as an initial convertible note from Investissement Québec and other investors, followed by an additional $19 million of equity from the above-mentioned group of investors. It will use this new capital to accelerate its growth, expand into new markets, and further capitalize on its position as a leader in music AI. New products and innovation will also be a key area of focus, as LANDR continues to add powerful features to its platform.

Since launching in 2014, LANDR has revolutionized the music-making process and made studio quality sound more accessible for musicians and audio professionals of all levels. This investment follows LANDR recently crossing the 2.5 million artist milestone, mastering, releasing and promoting over 12 million tracks for artists in 160 countries around the world. The company, which releases thousands of tracks weekly on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, also has an ambitious growth strategy in place for its distribution services.

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Beyond established industry investors, LANDR has also received significant contributions from music producers and artists. Top talent, including Hans Zimmer, Nas, Richie Hawtin, Pete Tong and Tiga, have contributed to building the company's success.  With a growing team of 75 employees and a presence in Montreal, Los Angeles, Berlin and Tokyo, LANDR is shaping the future of music. – Media release

Frank D’Angelo among investments queried by Barry Sherman son

In the spring of 2015, upset with what he saw as reckless business decisions, Apotex billionaire Barry Sherman’s son Jonathon floated the idea to his three siblings that their father was incompetent and unable to manage the family’s business affairs, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.

This came at a time when Jonathon and Barry were having tense discussions about how the Sherman family fortune should be spent. Specifically, according to an email exchange he had with Barry over two days, Jonathon disagreed with what he saw as his father’s reliance on “gut” feelings instead of sound business plans. Jonathon also wanted more money invested with his own ventures, and less with his father’s friend, businessman Frank D’Angelo. – Kevin Donovan, The Star

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TekSavvy TV launching across Ontario

TekSavvy Solutions, Canada's largest independent ISP, and its affiliate cable company Hastings Cablevision Ltd., announced the launch of its IPTV service, TekSavvy TV, across the province of Ontario Tuesday. TekSavvy TV will offer customers over 115 HD channels of sports, movies, series, and kids programming, including video-on-demand content from selected television channels.

Customers can start with TekSavvy TV Basic at $20.00 per month and then add additional theme packages ranging in price from $6.00 to $20.00 per month to access to more live sports, premium series, and blockbuster movies. TekSavvy TV requires a TekSavvy residential Internet subscription with a minimum download speed of 15 Mbps and unlimited data.

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TekSavvy TV is currently available as an app for Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV devices.

Consumer tech sales heading for $400B in US this year

Pushed along by artificial intelligence-enabled devices, in-vehicle technology and streaming services, the U.S. consumer tech industry will reach $401 billion in retail revenue this year, according to a new study by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

The largest revenue increase of any tech category is factory-installed in-vehicle technology, increasing $1 billion from a year ago to reach $17.6 billion this year.

Video streaming services revenue is projected to reach $17.7 billion, on-demand music services $8 billion and gaming $38.9 billion. – Chuck Martin, Media Post

Westwood One spring podcast report covers recent converts’ preferences and Apple’s waning lead

Apple Podcasts was the leading platform for this survey, with 41% of respondents currently using it to listen to shows. But Spotify and Google Podcasts were close behind with 33% and 32% responses, respectively. – Anna Washenko, RAIN News

More people are listening to podcasts, but how they listen is changing

Westwood One just released what they call the “Spring Download,” which is a rather comprehensive look at where podcasting is today. In many ways, the study reflects trends we see in other reports, but there are several interesting things worth focusing on, so I went through it with Westwood’s Chief Insight Officer Pierre Bouvard:                                                         

SG: One of the most interesting findings of this study is that new people jumping into podcasting are jumping right into the deep end of the pool, if you will.

PB: The original study was created by Jeff Vidler, a respected researcher from Canada and president of Audience Insights Inc. 

What Jeff found in Canada a year ago was that the longer you have been listening to podcasts, the more shows you listen to and the more time you spend with podcasting. We loved Jeff's approach, so we asked him to replicate the study in the US.  We recruited 1,400 people, and the results were different here. The “newbies” and the other groups were consuming about at the same level, about the same number of podcasts. This was surprising because it means that new people are coming in and they're not tiptoeing. They are jumping in the pool and spending as much time as some of the people that have been doing it for four years…. – Steven Goldstein, Amplifi Media

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DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla
@anmollium / Anmol Raina

DIVINE (L) and Karan Aujla

Chart Beat

Karan Aujla & DIVINE Debut in Top 25 on Billboard Canadian Albums Chart

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE land the No. 22 spot on this week's Canadian Albums chart with their new collaborative release, 'Street Dreams.' On the Canadian Hot 100, Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em" ascends to No. 1, while Canadian pop artist Preston Pablo makes a debut.

B.C.-based Punjabi artist Karan Aujla and Indian rapper DIVINE are making moves together on Billboard's Canadian Albums chart this week, with their collaborative project, Street Dreams, debuting in the No. 22 spot.

The seven-track album, released Feb. 16, blends harder hip-hop and smooth R&B pop, the latter shining through especially on the Jonita Gandhi-assisted "Yaad." It's not Aujla's highest spot on the Albums chart — he reached No. 5 in 2023 with Making Memories, his collaboration with Canadian Punjabi artist Ikky — but it gives him some momentum going into his upcoming performance at the Juno Awards on Mar. 24, where he's nominated for TikTok Juno fan choice and breakthrough artist.

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