With a global footprint, a focus on the international recorded music market, and synchronizations from Korea to South Africa to Sweden to Spain, CYMBA Music Publishing is placing songs, one artist at a time.
CYMBA (a division of Chapter 2 Productions Inc.) formed originally as a production and publishing house; it’s now become a creative, collaborative, and extremely active Canadian music publishing company. CYMBA stands for Crushing Your Music Business Apathy. This philosophy is apropos, since it has long served as a guide for founder Vince Degiorgio. As President and Chair of the Board of the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA), the industry veteran has his pulse on the world of music publishing.
“It’s the most exciting business in the world,” says Degiorgio. “The reason I feel that way is because you never know who’s going to knock on your door with a great song.
As a music publisher these days, there are no easy wins. As just one example, Degiorgio cites the co-published Serena Ryder hit and 2015 Pan Am Games theme song, “Together We Are One,” which earned a SOCAN No. 1 Song Award for scaling the peak of the CBC Radio 2 Top 20 on July 10, 2015. “It was almost like an industrial synch, a song with Scotiabank,” he explains. “At the end of the day, I don’t care where the opportunity comes from, I just need to make sure that we don’t miss anything.” These days, there’s little the 2017 SOCAN Publisher of the Year Award nominee misses.
“You never know who’s going to knock on your door with a great song.” – CYMBA founder Vince Degiorgio
In 2016, after more than two decades in operation, CYMBA went through a dramatic re-branding, growing the roles of its staff and opening its doors to new writers, adding to a globally established presence. “CYMBA is a celebration of not giving a shit,” Degiorgio explains. “A lot of people I thought would help me along the way, didn’t… I had to do it by myself a bit. That’s where the name comes from. We just want to be a part of the business; we are not asking for preferential treatment.”
Beyond placing songs for its artists, CYMBA has long supported its roster of songwriters with an on-site writing room, international song camps, creative development opportunities, a company conference, mentorship, and much more.
CYMBA is also, increasingly, placing songs into films and television programs. Recent examples include landing more than 150 synch licenses for such properties as Disney’s Chimpanzee, ABC-TV’s Agent Carter, the CW’s about-to-wrap The Vampire Diaries, ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars, Netflix’s Degrassi: The Next Class, and CBC’s Mr. D, Pure, and Crash Gallery. CYMBA has also landed in theatrical trailers for The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Bad Moms.
One wonders where these new signings are found? “Word of mouth, and sometimes it’s somebody that comes into one of the events we do,” says Degiorgio. “We’re known as a publisher that’s willing to start at the bottom, and not just go after someone that’s uber-established. It all starts with a connection we feel on the human side with the people we meet and write with; that’s been a big part of how we do things. We want to find people that are going to fit with the people culture among our other writers.”
Recent additions to CYMBA’s roster include Halifax East Coast Music Award (ECMA) nominee Reeny Smith (who Degiorgio dubs “the future”) and urban pop/TV personality Keshia Chanté. Along the way, they’ve continued to nurture and solidify the careers of producer Ari Rhodes and Davor Vulama. “We’ve signed more artists in the last three years than we did in the previous 20,” says Degiorgio. “That’s a huge shift in our game plan!”
And, while they’ve grown their placements – and their roster of writers – domestically, the global market is still the key for CYMBA.
“The domestic market is always a challenge because it’s harder to have a hit in your own backyard, so much of what we do is outside the country,” says Degiorgio. “Export is a sexy buzzword, but we started exporting songs in the late 1980s. CYMBA was invented to explore the musical universe that Canada wasn’t ready to offer yet… We’ve been ‘export-ready’ for more than 20 years.”
Looking ahead to 2018 and beyond, CYMBA plans to continue its evolution. Part of that includes signing its first Francophone writer, which Degiorgio admits has been “a dream of mine for a long time.” That, and – of course – to continue reaching the top in his home and native land.
“Now that we’ve got a No. 1 hit,” he says, “we want to fill a wall with No.1s for all of our writers!”