Michael McCarty, SOCAN’s Chief Membership & Business Development Officer, was inducted into the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame at Rebel Entertainment Complex in downtown Toronto, a during a SOCAN event-heavy Canadian Music Week (CMW), on May 9, 2019.
After an introduction from Alan Frew, and a video tribute that included Dallas Green, Jim Vallance, and Bob Ezrin, McCarty first thanked “a few of the records that inspired me to want to have a career” (including “Be My Baby,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Good Vibrations, “The Tracks of My Tears,” and “everything by the Beatles”). He talked about how Guess Who producer Jack Richardson’s success “inspired me to believe that I could do it, too,” and how he persevered his way into his first music job as an engineer, at Richardson’s side. After thanking the many people who helped him in his extensive career, McCarty concluded with, “For music, there isn’t a better place on this planet to be than Canada” – a line he wrote in 1992. “I believed it then, I believe it now,” he said.
A few days later, on May 11, McCarty was interviewed by veteran music-industry journalist Bob Lefsetz in a session called “Greenlighting: The Risks, Rewards and Gut Instincts of Signing Artists,” at the CMW host hotel, The Sheraton Downtown Toronto (where all the other panels were also held). McCarty told the stories of various acts that he’s signed over his career. He emphasized the paramount importance of gut feeling in greenlighting projects, and how the intensity of a manager’s – or other representative’s – belief in their artist can go a long way.
Also at the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards, The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) inducted musician, songwriter, producer, industry advocate, and SOCAN’s longtime representative in Nashville, Eddie Schwartz, to its Hall of Fame. “Writing songs is my calling, my joy, and it keeps me alive to this day, “ said Schwartz. “It was the songs that got invited to the recording sessions; it was the songs that made their way onto the charts; it was the songs that showed up that showed up on the stages of arenas, or just the neighbourhood karaoke bar.”
On May 11, Schwartz also participated – along with SOCAN Foundation Vice-President Martine Groulx – in a panel entitled “Fair Pay for Creators in a Fair Trade World.” He said that, with the recent European Union directive on the use of creative content, we’re at an inflection point where streaming companies will have to act more fairly toward creators, though they’ll fight it, and it may prove a lengthy battle. He also spoke about how the Fair Trade Music campaign re-frames the argument on behalf of creators into ethical terms. “This is a global fight,” he said.
SOCAN presented its ever-popular CMW “Cooking Beats” panel, on May 8, with one of Canada’s hottest beat-makers, Jazz Cartier producer Lantz – whose “cinematic trap music” with Cartier has made the Polaris Music Prize long list twice, and earned a JUNO Award for Rap Recording of the Year. In a conversation with SOCAN A&R Representative Aidan D’Aoust, Lantz generously revealed his beat-making methods by dissecting such songs as “Dead or Alive” and “Tempted.” He suggested that building a unique sound with one specific artist (as he did with Cartier) is a good way to establish oneself. He also said collaboration “is the best thing you can do… That’s how you learn cool shit [and] share techniques,” and shouted out SOCAN for fostering that sort of teamwork by including him in its 2017 and 2018 Kenekt Song Camps in Nicaragua – which led to other opportunities for him.
SOCAN Foundation Executive Director Charlie Wall-Andrews presented Arkells managers at eOne Entertainment – Chris Taylor, Ashley Poitevin, and Sarah Osgoode – the Banner Year Award at the Music Managers Forum on May 7, during CMW. The award is for their outstanding achievements and contributions to Canada’s music management industry.
A few days later, on May 11, Wall-Andrews moderated a CMW panel, “Inclusivity, Equity, and Diversity in the Context of a Music City – How are we faring?” She discussed the differences between equality and equity, how those who require greater resources to achieve success should receive them, and how to turn deniers of oppression and discrimination into allies through dialogue and education.
SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste was a panelist on “The State of the Global Music Industry” on May 9. Baptiste pointed out that SOCAN received about $90 million in international royalties in 2018, and that this number has doubled in the last decade. He added that the globalization of music has just begun, and that there’s enormous potential for the growth of royalties in countries such as India and China, if they can develop more robust rights administration there.
The same day, SOCAN Vice-President, International Relations, Catharine Saxberg agreed with Baptiste’s point in a session called “The Global Music Landscape: Getting Discovered, Played and Paid.” “China has one billion people, yet only collects 0.3 percent of world royalties,” she said. “We need to build the capacity for collecting royalties in emerging markets.” She added that this will require both government support, and the development of collecting societies, in those markets.
On May 10, SOCAN Vice-President, Licensing, Kit Wheeler and SOCAN member LU KALA presented Joan Hunter, co-owner of Toronto venue Jazz Bistro, with the 2019 Licensed To Play Award, offered annually to a SOCAN-licensed business that shows exemplary respect for, and understanding of, the music creators whose work improves their bottom line. “Jazz Bistro is all about the music,” said Hunter. “We believe in showing our customers that we honour composers, publishers, songwriters, and musicians.”
As well, the SOCAN booth in the exhibition area outside the ballrooms was a hive of near-constant activity on May 9 and 10.