This article is the first in a series we’ll be bringing you, called “Interfacing,” about the innovative companies we’re working with here at SOCAN.  The author, Ryan Maule, oversees this work, focused on finding those companies and integrating them with our services, ensuring that SOCAN members can access the best tools the music tech industry has to offer.

About $2 billion. According to industry trade magazine Variety, that’s how much in unpaid royalties that creatives are missing out on. Do you ever wonder why so many royalties are going unpaid? The answer is as obvious as it is complex — payers don’t know who deserves to be paid. That’s right, sometimes royalties sit in a holding pattern, because contributors aren’t accurately notated within the song. SOCAN understands the pain that this causes, and we’re always trying to find ways to make submitting this information easier. That’s why we want to introduce you to a new partner of ours, Jammber.

Based out of Nashville and Chicago, Jammber is an innovative music tech company that has developed a suite of tools for every step of the songwriting process. Each tool is designed to collect all of the required data that you, and SOCAN, need in order to collect your royalties.

“Creatives care a lot about their credits and their pay, they just need better tools to manage their career. At Jammber, our mission is to ‘make way for music.’ This means working to clear the many obstacles creatives face in the music industry and empowering them to maximize their success,” says Marcus Cobb, CEO and Co-Founder of Jammber. “We spent years researching and learning about each step of the creative process, to understand how to ease pain-points for artists, songwriters and the industry, as a whole.”

The most common challenge that artists and songwriters shared with the company was that they weren’t getting credit, or timely payment for their work. Jammber tackled this problem head-on. Jammber Splits revolutionizes how you manage co-writes. Songwriters can now say goodbye to the hassle of paper songwriting split sheets, and the uncertainty of handshake deals.

Splits captures songwriting share splits in real time. You’re able to plan and add co-write sessions with just a couple clicks of a button. During your co-write, the app collects all the vital information from your co-writer(s), such as the date of the song creation, info about the publisher, and affiliation with any performing rights organization. Once all writers agree to their ownership percentages, you’ll be able to register your new song with SOCAN.

“Throughout the process of building Splits, we worked closely with songwriters around the world, investing millions, and making hundreds of iterations until they gave us their stamp of approval. Establishing ownership of a song at the point of creation is crucial,” says Cobb. We agree!

Having the power to capture your percentage of ownership in a song at the point of creation, and simplifying the collection of metadata — which is essential to earning royalties — is a game-changer for songwriters. The ability to have all the necessary metadata for a song means you’ll get faster and more accurate royalty payments. This means never missing out on a royalty check again!

Jammber has invited SOCAN writers to be a part of their BETA testing group. As a member of the BETA team, you’ll have full access to Splits before it’s released to the general public. To join the beta, visit http://splitsbeta.jammber.com.

“Being able to share the Splits app with SOCAN clients is an important moment for Jammber. We believe in your art, and want you to have tools to help grow your business,” says Cobb.

The ultimate mission for Jammber is to eliminate the obstacles creators face within the music industry. Splits is just the tip of the iceberg. Jammber has developed multiple other tools for creators that streamline the creative and administrative processes, from the conception of a song, to recording it, to overall project management.

Our goal at SOCAN is to make it easier for you, the creator, to bring your ideas into reality, and to ensure that you get paid for your work.  By working with companies like Jammber, we’re working to enable you to do more, and do it more quickly and easily. Stay tuned for even more down the road.

For more information about Jammber, visit www.Jammber.com, and visit the SOCAN Partner page in the secure portal to find out more about the other opportunities we have cooking.  If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me, Ryan Maule, at ryan.maule@socan.com.

 



When the Toronto Raptors played the Golden State Warriors at home in Game One of the National Basketball Association 2019 championship finals on May 30, a famous local rapper did a hype-building mini-concert performance for the 5,000-plus fans gathered in “Jurassic Park” just outside the Scotiabank Arena. The song the rapper played was a love letter to the 6ix. (No, it wasn’t Drake.) Its familiar line, “I’m from the T dot, Oh / Rep it everywhere I go,” may be the definitive pro-Toronto rally cry.

The song, of course, was Kardinal Offishall’s “The Anthem.”

Originally released in 2010, Kardi’s Toronto-loving song was remixed and re-imagined for the Raptors playoff run at the behest of giant American sports broadcaster ESPN, who used the new version of “The Anthem” to anchor their video tribute to the eventual world championship-winning team.

Kardinal Offishall, Kardi, Raptors

Click on the photo to see the ESPN video

“That whole re-vamping of ‘The Anthem’ was something very, very special,” says Kardinal Offishall, whose updated version of the song features mentions of key Raptors players Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard, Pascual “Spicy P” Siakam, Danny Green, and Marc Gasol.

Kardinal, whose career in the Can-rap spotlight stretches all the way back to the breakthrough Rascalz posse track “Northern Touch” in 1998, says the new lyrics for “The Anthem” came to him in a burst.

“I think, literally, at 5:00 in the morning, it was just, ‘Oh, there it is’ and I banged it out one-time, and it was done within 15 minutes,” says Kardinal. “But that’s kind of my method, that’s how I write. I’m one of those people, when I’m in that good zone and that good vibe, it doesn’t take long for me most of the time.”

That Kardi got to soundtrack the Raptors’ run — and get paid by ESPN for doing so — isn’t lost on him. “Would I have done it for free? Probably. Is it nice that I got a cheque and got to represent?” asks Kardinal, rhetorically. “Absolutely amazing.”

The Raptors’ playoff run has coincided with a period of renewal for the rapper / producer / actor/ Universal Music Canada Creative Executive Director of A&R. He released the potent new single “Run” on June 12 — the day before the Raptors’ championship-clinching Game Six — and is planning to release Pick Your Poison in the fall, his first album in four years. Though “Run” wasn’t released specifically to coincide with the Raptors’ run, the song’s stand-tall themes and high spirit matched the feeling of the city during the sports team’s march to victory.

“I don’t like to just do random stuff. I try to attach songs to moments.”

“I don’t like to just do random stuff,” says Kardi. “I try to attach songs to moments – and rather than it have anything to do with the Raptors per se, it was just the energy and the vibe of it. We were maybe going to release it Canada Day, but there was just such an indescribable energy and magic that was in the city at the time.”

There’s an unlikely source behind the newly jump-started Kardinal: veteran American comedian Dave Chappelle. A pep talk with Chappelle helped Kardi put a period of feeling “uninspired” in perspective.

Rappers love Raptors: 10 jams that “big up” the team

  • “Really Doe,” by Danny Brown Featuring Kendrick Lamar,
  • Ab-Soul and Earl Sweatshirt
  • “Rapture,” by Fabolous and Jadakiss
  • “It’s Lit,” by Kyle featuring IAmSu!
  • “Something to Say,” by Nick Grant
  • “Streets at Night,” by PRhyme
  • “Throw It,” by SahBabii
  • “Daytona 500,” by The Game
  • “Makaveli,” by Tory Lanez
  • “Winter Schemes,” by Wale featuring J. Cole
  • “Love You,” by Roy Woods

“Dave said to me, ‘Man, Kardi, I’m a massive, massive fan, and I know that if I’m a massive fan, that means there are hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions of other fans across North America, and Canada, and Europe, and Asia, and everywhere in between.’ So, it was like one of these scenarios where we had a very transparent, honest, really great night over some drinks in his hometown,” says Kardinal. “Dave Chappelle needs absolutely nothing from me, so him telling me this is not because he’s trying to butter me up ’cause he needs a favour, or needs to borrow some money. It was just a very honest discussion between friends, and I’ll be forever grateful to people like him.”

For a different take on gratitude, one only needs to surf Kardinal’s Instagram account to see the rapper in the heart of Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, surrounded by thousands of fellow revelers celebrating the Raptors’ Game Six championship win on June 13, 2019. Pop star Jessie Reyez and local super-producer Rich Kidd are seen celebrating along with Kardi in one post. Kardinal has also proposed a giant free Raptors victory party featuring himself and the likes of Drake, Tory Lanez, The Weeknd, Nav, Justin Bieber, and Daniel Caesar. That Toronto’s music community would back the Raptors in their finest moment seems entirely natural to someone who’s been doing it for the entire history of franchise.

“We’ve been supporting them the entire way,” says Kardi, “so a win for them is a win for us in a way.”



A strange confusion grips the listener at the end of Le Phénix, il était plusieurs fois, Dramatik’s third solo album, which concludes with a Gospel-rap number unequivocally titled “Miracle.” The ecstatic MC proclaims, “Le bonheur est si simple, le soleil est si synchro/ J’étais triste ce matin, mais les rayons étaient comme une boussole/ Ouvre les stores et ouvre la porte, nous voulons porter la nouvelle aux gens” (“Happiness is so simple, the sun is in synch / I was sad this morning, its rays were like a compass / Open the curtains and open the door, we want to take the Good News to the people”).

Dramatik

Photo: Drowster

Yet many of the 11 previous tracks, for which he;s written all the music, offer a bleak portrait of our era’s woes: domestic violence and toxic masculinity (“Enuff”); having the drama of one’s origins running through one’s veins (“Ghetto génétik [tome 5]”); broken youth (“Épicentre jeunesse”); and the alienation of the 9-to-5 life (“Ô ciel”). Has the man proclaiming a miracle actually listened to the rest of his album?

“I stutter when I speak, and I don’t when I rap. Don’t you think that’s a miracle?,” Dramatik shoots back, loquacious as ever – despite his speech impediment, which indeed is miraculously cured the moment a beat comes out of the speakers and he grabs a mic.

“The fact that the neighbourhood is really disgusting doesn’t mean I can’t say the rose is truly beautiful,” he adds. He explains that his profession of faith towards life might seem contradictory, but is, in fact, proof of the realistic optimism he’s chosen to embrace. “I intentionally included a moment of silence before “Miracle,” because miracles never occur when you think they will. “Miracle” is also to express that I am a being of light, that we all are beings of light, and that we need to let it shine through!”

Interviewing Dramatik is a master class on the art of dropping rhymes over a looped beat. The virtuoso rapper’s flow is versatile, but the 42-year-old Montréaler nevertheless restrains himself on Le Phénix, il était plusieurs fois. As he puts it, “three Ferrero Rocher chocolates is better than 33 of them. You take you time and savour them. Endless rhyme patterns only end up exhausting the listener.”

“To age gracefully, you need to constantly sharpen your blade, and that happens in your brain.”

He does whip out his verbal machine gun on a few rare occasions, notably on “Let It Go,” the mesmerizing confession of an anxiety-ridden person. “My super-fast flow at the end of that song is to express how I’m fighting to stay sane. If I had sped like that for four bars, it wouldn’t have been cool. I used to do that, I wanted to flex, but when you get to the half-point of your life, you calm down.”

Despite the fact that it’s a dark social chronicle, Le Phénix, il était plusieurs fois remains, at its core, a call for universal love. Dramatik’s partner La Dame and their eleven-year-old daughter Ruby both have cameos on this atypical family album.

“We should’ve dressed in red and posed in front of a fireplace with imp hats,” jokes the father of four. Dramatik joins another dad, Dubmatique’s Disoul, on “Debout” – a serene ode to the soothing passage of time. “We like to come across as dangerous in rap, but we don’t say enough how much children change us and make us more stable, says Dramatik. “You even eat better when you have kids!”

It becomes clear that the man who, in “Enuff,” perpetuates the violence of which he was a victim during his childhood, is purely fictitious. “Yes, it’s a character, but I used some of what I went through, and I breathed through his nose with my own air,” says Dramatik. “When I was a kid, other kids were scared of me because I would hit them and bully them. I wasn’t well, I wanted to off-load. I went to school filled with rage. Then one day, a principal told me, ‘Bruno, what you are looking for is love.’ Right away, I pushed back: ‘Fuck love, man!’ But he was right.”

On Nov. 3, 1999, during an interview with his former group Muzion for the weekly paper Voir, the journalist wrote that it was a shame radio stations still didn’t play “La Vi Ti Neg,” one of the most powerful hymns of Québec solidarity ever recorded. “An utterly ridiculous situation, given the song’s obvious potential for popularity,” he said back then. “Frankly, disheartening… The worst of it is, I’m convinced the kids of the guys who decided what’s going to play on the radio do listen to Muzion.”

Twenty years later, the children of those decision-makers have apparently not yet unseated their elders from the most popular FM stations, because Québec rap is only timidly celebrated by them.

“Radio wants to hear the joual accent (the Québecois Francophone accent),” the veteran rapper surmises. “They want to recognize themselves. I think it’s a thing having to do with protecting the Québécois heritage. Which is crazy, because I was born here, I am Québécois, I eat poutine, and I watched Chambres en ville [a very popular TV show for teens that ran from 1989 to 1996 on TVA].

Writing Tip: Feng Shui
“When the beat starts, I let myself go. It’s a kind of feng shui. I ride on the beat, and if I start losing my breath, it means something’s not right, there’s a lack of feng shui. When I lose my breath, it’s often because I use too many stylistic devices, and when that happens, there’s a real risk that the idea I want to express won’t come across clearly.”

Would he go as far as calling it racism? Dramatik smiles. “It’s not racism,” he says. “It’s just extreme faint-heartedness. But take notice: Blacks in TV ads have a joual accent. It’s like there’s a memo that says you can’t scare people away. We want our Blacks to not be too Black. Thankfully, radio no longer has a monopoly of influence, but there’s still a certain prestige attached to it.”

And what about the Muzion reunion on “Shadow,” one of the new album highlights? Is it the sign of a bona fide reunion? “It’s possible!” says Dramatik. “I lit the torch to make sure it wasn’t wet, and could still be lit. I also wanted to show that Muzion is still one of the sharpest bands on the mic.”

Clearly, to him, rap isn’t just for the young ones. “Hell no!,” he says. “But to age gracefully, you need to constantly sharpen your blade, and that happens in your brain. It’s like the old Chinese folks who do tai chi, and do the splits at 80: the trick is consistency and discipline. What people look for in rap is something extraordinary, something “wow.” Rap is like magic, you can’t always rely on your old tricks, and you need to be in top shape to come up with new ones.”