Included in the CARAS mandate is promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and combating racism within the organization and its Canadian Music Hall of Fame, but the only person of colour immediately visible in the 40-plus-year-old HoF is Oscar Peterson. In the face of this apparent oversight, the past 18 months have seen countless entreaties pushing forward Dan Hill’s name–a Canadian artist whose songs have appeared on a raft of A-list singers’ recordings that cumulatively have sold 100M copies.
Yes, let's repeat that - 100-million copies.
Inexplicably, his record counts for zilch, or so it would seem. The Academy’s new initiative with the Juno Awards celebrates Black Music in Canada. Good idea, right? Well, not if your name is Dan Hill. Well aware of the lobbying to have Hill included in HoF, CARAS noticeably and notably has excluded Canada’s most covered songwriter from its list profiling Black music luminaries in Canada. One might argue he just doesn't have the funk, but surely black is black and that's that?
And before anyone takes this the wrong way, this isn’t about racial prejudice. Let's not forget that it took a thousand phone calls, an avalanche of e-mails and three years of backroom lobbying to get the Academy to recognize Bobby Curtola and Jack Scott, two notably successful trailblazers who should have been an easy shoo-in but were anything but.
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame seems to be doing the right thing by inducting a string of artists in the course of a year and celebrating their artistry online, but the CARAS initiative leaves too many overlooked and especially so if they don't have a contemporary profile. The CARAS Hall surely can't just be a meeting ground for those still working and touring. There needs to be some middle ground where those who broke ground in earlier eras are given their just reward. And there surely needs to be some transparency about the process that recognizes those who are to receive Canadian music's grandest legacy.
It should be noted that the singer-songwriter is in no way pressing the Academy for any honour. The lobbying is being done at arm's length by recording artists and former industry executives that he has been involved with over the years,fronted by Jeff Burns who first signed him.
Oscar surely would be shaking his head in disbelief.
– Indie acts wanting a leg up on streaming and social media platforms need to be aware of Distinctive Promo, a music services company offering an a la carte menu that targets music delivery to playlist curators, college radio programmers, music bloggers, prominent club and radio DJs, and industry in NA and globally through affiliates What separates Distinctive from CD Baby, TuneCore, DistroKid and others that deliver to DSPs is Distinctive’s opted-in list of tastemakers, and the service’s options to step up visibility through targeted online marketing. With as many as 60K tracks going up on Spotify et al, one needs to find a way to get noticed and have notable influencers pushing you to the forefront. Newly heading up Distinctive Promo’s Canadian arm is former ZipDJ co-owner Kevin Unger. For further details: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Indie acts should also be aware and read a 20-page report issued by The National Campus and Community Radio Association tackling issues dealing with the growing complexities of dealing with campus radio in a digital era, including such topics as delivery formats, distribution channels and costs. It’s an instructive read and kudos to the org for digging deep to find consensus in an often unruly medium.
Juno Award nominees are to be announced March 1 with a live CBC-show telecast from Toronto’s Budweiser Stadium on May 15.
Canadian Music Week takes place June 7-10 at Toronto's Intercontinental Hotel. The Radio Active Conference runs June 7-8, with the International Music Summit set for June 8-10. The festival component runs June 6-11.– Julian Taylor has a huge presence on Toronto's Eaton Centre where his pic is posted on a massive illuminated Billboard bought and paid for by Spotify. During Black History Month, the celebrated friends with everyone singer-songwriter is curating a newly created Afro + Indigenous playlist, as per a request made to the streamer “to pay homage to his own heritage.”
– Snoop Dog has snagged the Death Row Records brand previously acquired by Chris Taylor when he was top dog at Entertainment One Music before the division was sold to MRNK Music managed by Blackstone investments for US$385M about a year ago. Snoop was one of the original founders of the pioneering American west coast inner-city rap label. The deal does not immediately include rights to the label's catalogue, but it has been reported that he is nearing a deal to acquire the catalogues of himself and other Death Row artists from MNRK.
– Michael Barclay, author of the 2018 bestseller The Never-Ending Present: The Story of Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip and a co-author of Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985–95, has a new book out April 26, entitled Hearts on Fire: Canadian Music 2000-2005.
– Bill King’s Talk! Vol. 3 earns high praise from Scott Yanow in L.A. Jazz Scene’s Jazz Around Town…” Even those who are jazz experts will find much to learn from these interviews, each of which gives one a colorful glimpse of the humanity of these brilliant musicians.” The book has interviews with 55 musicians, including Ahmad Jamal, Artie Shaw, McCoy Tyner, and Dave Brubeck.
– Newly launched music production company F7 Entertainment Group has partnered with Boodang, Western Canada’s prominent electronic music promoter and event production company. F7’s team has previous experience working with Liven Nation and Union Events. Upcoming events promoted by F7 Ent. include shows by Death From Above, 1975, Chad Van Gaalen, Sumac, Daniel Romano, Pup, Touché Amoré, and Pup.
– For those unfamiliar with Howard Rosen, he’s an LA-based indie music promoter whose Canadian client list goes back to when Martha and the Muffins were pups and Solid Gold Records was all over the charts with a string of hits by Toronto, the Good Brothers and The Headpins. He’s lasted longer than most and continues to fight the battle with radio stations in the US to this day.
Howie’s running a contest, no doubt to drum up new business-but the backstory is unimportant. What is important is he’s pitching a contest to unsigned acts with a grand prize that includes a free 6-week Top 40 US terrestrial radio campaign at Mediabase Activator and Billboard Indicator stations with a weekly report of campaign progress,2 hours of consultation with Howard Rosen Promotion, a Hollywood Music in Media Awards submission, 1 full day on a 20’x30’ billboard in NY’s Times Square, 6 weeks of social media from Miles High Production to promote the artist’s new single/video and tour dates, and a full-blast Jones & O’Malley press release. The deadline for this prize pack is March 1.
Send one 1 original song (along with a bio & photo if you have it) and your contact information via email to: email@example.com
– And on a sad final note, and a belated one at that, UMC and many friends in western Canada mourn the death of 20-year label rep Greg Blackmore who unexpectedly passed away last month at age 62. Artists as varied as Johnny Reid and Arkells were moved to offer tributes, and UMC CEO Jeffrey Remedios issued a lengthy statement noting that the company was “profoundly fortunate Greg shared his talent and time with us as part of our promo team and UMC family for so much of his impressive career. There was no one quite like Greg, and his absence will be deeply felt.” Sadly not knowing the man, FYI wishes to acknowledge the fact that Greg demonstrably touched a great many and wish his immediate family the very best in a time of great grief.