Tell us about the creation and development of your publishing company.
Éditions Dakini was born at the same time as Productions EM, the management company and label it is part of. That was in 2001, and it was obvious from the start that our publishing arm could not flourish without some form of control in all related areas.
I started out as a producer in a small town in the South of France where I programmed no less than the jazz artist Tony Pagano on the first night. Later on, my taste for music was definitely confirmed by exposure to outstanding artists such as Véronique Sanson, William Sheller and Stephan Eicher as part of special World Music Day presentations of the Taratata music show on French television. In 1997, I moved here to Quebec – I must admit that, a little earlier, you had sent me one of your best representatives, Gilles Vigneault, who was staying at a hotel in the South of France where I was working and told me all about Quebec.
In 2002, with the release of IMA’s first album, our publishing activities started expanding thanks to Frédérick Baron’s contributions as a lyricist here (for Mario Pelchat, Marie-Élaine Thibert, Bruno Pelletier, Renée Martel, etc.), but also in Europe. In parallel, Éditions Dakini developed new songwriting collaborations such as the writing partnership between Catherine Major here and Marie-Jo Zarb in France.
Then came new singer-songwriter discoveries like that of Laurence Hélie, in 2008, which yielded a debut album, an ADISQ Award and two SOCAN Awards. In the fall of 2012, I received my first SOCAN award in the 10 most performed Francophone pop songs of 2011 category for a song co-written by Frédérick Baron and Céline Dion and performed by Marc Dupré. Éditions Dakini are now expanding internationally with new singings to be expected soon.
In your opinion, what have been the most dramatic changes in music publishing in the past five years?
Needless to say, digital broadcasting and distribution have turned our work habits upside down in the past five years. Some countries have completely done away with traditional physical supports. On the plus side, this helps us reduce some costs, increase the number of promotion platforms and, in the end, discover more new artists. On the minus side, we still have a long way to go before fair management of the varied rights for the use of musical works on all of these platforms can be achieved.
What are your short- and medium-term plans for your publishing company and the authors you represent? Are you in a new artist signing mode, for instance?
Éditions Dakini is currently busy with the promotion of Frédérick Baron’s Humeurs Variables album while preparing for the release of Laurence Hélie’s next album, à présent, le passé. We are also dealing with the administrative and editorial follow-up of dozens of works written by Frédérick for other artists whose upcoming albums are scheduled for a 2013 or 2014 release. Éditions Dakini also just signed a very promising artist, Tina-Ève Provost, whose first EP is going to come out in the fall of 2013. Plus we recently signed international agreements. As for new artists, Éditions Dakini’s is constantly kept to the ground.
How about your repertoire? How do you grow and develop it locally and internationally?
Éditions Dakini represents two groups of works – those of our own songwriters that are performed by other artists, and those that are self-performed. We value good administrative and editorial management and invest heavily in the distribution and promotion of our singer-songwriters’ works. Internationally, Éditions Dakini has just signed sub-publishing agreements with France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, Lebanon, etc. – as well as with South Korea for Laurence Hélie and Frédérick Baron.
As a music publisher, are you also a member of other organizations or advocacy groups?
As a music publisher actively involved in the creative and promotional process, I am happy to leave the representational aspects of the business to elected officials and the collectives and associations I am a member of. These are the defenders of my rights, and they have my full confidence.
What does the future of music publishing look like in regards to current technological changes?
Being an optimist, I dare hope that our governments will rapidly adapt to the digital reality and understand our creators’ financial plight. They should also recognize that culture is not a luxury, but a necessity. Without it, countries gradually lose their identities and become unable to stand out and shine internationally.