BILLBOARD CANADA FYI
A weekly briefing on what matters in the music industry
Also in this week's roundup of industry news: Kayla Diamond launches her own boutique imprint, SOCAN names an ombudsman, and time's running out for noms for this year's Rosalie Award honouring trailblazing women in broadcasting.
Beyoncé becomes the first Black woman to top Billboard’s Country Songs chart with “Texas Hold ‘Em” and it has gone to No. 1 on iTunes in 14 different countries and counting. There are some surprising connections. The song is co-written and co-produced by Ontario-born writer/producer Nathan Ferraro, whose previous collaborations include working with Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, Bear Mountain, RALPH, Shawn Hook, Alyssa Reid, Jessie Reyez, Lowell and Tyler Shaw.
In fact, the song has deep Canadian origins. Two other Canadian songwriters participated in this runaway hit: Megan Bülow (who records and performs as bülow) as and Elizabeth "Lowell" Boland (a.k.a. Lowell), with Ferraro co-producing the track with Killah B and Beyoncé.
Check back to Billboard Canada on Thursday (Feb. 22) Ferraro about his former days in the band The Midway State, his move to California, and how he formed his all-Canadian hit songwriting team.
– Mindhunter, a popular TV series now streaming on Netflix, tells the story of the formation of the Behavioural Science Unit in the FBI in the late 1970s and the beginning of criminal profiling. It’s a riveting true crime drama, and the reason it's worth mentioning here is the series includes record syncs by a number of Canadian artists, including Nick Gilder, Klaatu, Tom Cochrane and Andy Kim. The music score for the series is composed by American Jason Hill.
Of course, it's not a new problem in the Canadian music industry. Toronto was once a good example of how we treated one another as compared to other cities, such as Detroit. A curious example of how actions can have consequences is that back in the late ‘60s, the airwaves here were rich with the sounds of Motor City acts coming out of the Motown factory. While there is no documentation of this, a well-placed broadcaster told me a long time back that when the CanCon legislation came in, music directors had to find a space to place the 30% requirement of CanCon songs on the playlists. Whether it is true or not, radio found that percentage at the expense of Black artists, and the later popularity of the Album Rock format made the airways whiter still. It’s all rather sad because, in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Toronto was a safe haven for many American R&B, Jazz and Blues acts, and then had a vibrant West Indian culture that gave rise to a stream of records that could be purchased in small record shacks along Eglinton Ave. west of Spadina.
– Director Martin Scorsese made some interesting points about cinema audiences' decline in a recent Variety interview. Whether his comments can be transferred to linear TV and conventional radio is an open-ended question, but there’s food for thought on what this veteran trend-setter had to say.
– Feb. 27 is the deadline for applications to the Music Publishers Canada ‘Women in the Studio’ accelerator program. Supporters of the initiative include RBC, FACTOR, the Government of Canada, Ontario Creates, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and Compass Rose Group.
– March 1 is the absolute deadline for nominations for this year’s Rosalie Award, named after trailblazer Windsor CKLW music director Rosalie Trombley. Details about this prize honouring women in broadcasting trailblazers and how to submit someone you think deserving, link here.
– Kayla Diamond, who first rose to prominence as the first winner of the Slaight Music contest, It’s Your Shot, has launched Kolossal Records tied to a joint venture with Awesome Productions and Management Inc., with The Orchard named her distributor. Diamond states, "My mission is to help develop strong artists who know exactly who they are and to support them on their journey of creating and bringing music to fans around the world."
Her first signings are MayGha, described as a singer-songwriter who blends influences from her Indian heritage with modern pop, and emerging Vancouver Island hip-hop artist Amarii.
Appointments & Signings
SOCAN has named Mireille Tabib as its first ombudsperson. An Associate Judge of the Federal Court for two decades, she will act as an independent third party, stepping in to handle certain SOCAN member disputes and complaints, in English and French, that cannot be directly resolved by the organization.
“This is a significant initiative for ensuring that we continue to foster transparency and accountability with our members while ensuring that all parties involved in disputes are treated fairly and with impartiality,” said Socan CEO Jennifer Brown. “The role of the ombudsperson safeguards our responsibility to meet the best practices of the music industry and music rights organizations, and we’re thankful that Ms. Tabib has agreed to take on this important position.”