Kristen Burke photo provided by UMC.
Kristen Burke photo provided by UMC.

Kristen Burke Replacing Steve Kane At WMC

Kristen Burke has been named as President of Warner Music Canada.  She will take up the appointment on October 18th and be based in the company’s Toronto office, reporting to Simon Robson, President, International, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group.  

She succeeds Steve Kane, who has served as President, Warner Music Canada since 2004.  During his time in charge of the company, Kane has signed and developed a huge range of exciting artists including Billy Talent, Brett Kissel, Charmaine, Just John and Scott Helman, a company press release states.  

Under his leadership, Warner Music Canada was named Label of the Year three years running at the Canadian Country Music Awards.  More recently, Kane was instrumental in the launch of 4N Records, a JV label fronted by the artist Ikky Singh which focuses on the exciting and fast-growing genre of Punjabi music.  He was inducted into the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame in 2015. 

Burke joins the company from Universal Music Canada, where she worked for more than 20 years, most recently serving as EVP and General Manager.   

Kristen Burke says: “I’m honoured to be asked to head up Warner Music Canada.  As a country, we’ve always been a hotbed for talent that goes on to find a global stage and I want to make sure that we’re tapping into the diverse music scenes across Canada to help develop the next generation of talent.  Steve has built an incredible team here and I know we’re going to do him proud as we write the next chapter in Warner Music Canada’s story.” 

Simon Robson adds: “We’re so excited that Kristen is coming onboard to lead Warner Music Canada.  It’s such a key territory given the incredible talent which has come out of Canada over the years.  Kristen has a great reputation across the industry, combining great strategic insight with an instinctive empathy for artists.   

“And, of course, I want to pay a huge tribute to Steve for almost two decades of service.  He’s a hugely respected figure in the Canadian music industry, and a much-valued colleague, who has signed and worked with some of the most compelling acts in Canada over the years.  We wish him all the best for the future.”    

Steve Kane concludes: “I’ve had an amazing time at Warner Music Canada, working with some of the most gifted artists and talented execs in the business.  We’ve created something special and I just know that its future is in safe hands.  I’m going to take some time to recentre and look forward to devoting more focus and energy to social justice issues, as well as my other passions including, of course, music!”  

Kristen Burke began her career at Universal Music Canada in 2000, joining the company as an assistant in National Sales.  She rose through the ranks to become VP of Marketing in 2014, and was further promoted to SVP of Marketing in 2016.  She was named EVP and General Manager of Universal Music Canada in January 2018. 

She serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Country Music Association and Toronto's Remix Project,

Burke's arrival follows a significant and significant number of changes in regional leadership in France, Australia, Germany and China over the past 12 months.

She becomes the 4th female president of a major label in Canada, following Lisa Zbitnew at BMG, Denise Donlon at CBS and Laura Bartlett at Virgin Canada.

Kane’s first record company position was at I.R.S in 1989 and four years later he became I.R.S. label manager and marketing manager at Virgin Music Canada. In 1996, he was named director of marketing for A&M/Island/Motown at PolyGram Group. A year later he was named VP & GM for Virgin Music Canada and, in 1998, was named Sr. VP, PolyGram Music Canada. In 1999, he was named Sr. VP, Universal Music Canada and joined WMC in 2001.

The WMC Canadian roster of acts includes Scott Helman, Brett Kissel, Meghan Patrick, Philip Sayce, Corey Hart, Aviva Mongillo, Buck 65, Victoria Duffield, Tomi Swick, Meaghan Patrick, Jim Cuddy, Blue Rodeo, Corb Lund, Big Wreck, Chantal Kreviazuk, Damhnait Doyle, High Valley, Lights, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Barenaked Ladies, Alan Doyle, Gordon Lightfoot, Ron Sexsmith, The Sheepdogs, Michael Bublé, The Washboard Union, and Billy Talent.

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