SOCAN is mourning the loss of Alexander (Al) Mair, who passed away Nov. 25, 2022, at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, at the age of 82. A mainstay of Canada’s independent music sector and proponent of Canadian talent for more than five decades, he lent his expertise to various initiatives that support our nation’s music. A keen sense of business and personal passion for music made him a leader in the independent music world.
Mair was known as a visionary and inspiration to many people in the homegrown music ecosystem and was inducted into the Order of Canada for his valuable contributions. At the SOCAN Awards in 2021, he was named as one of 24 CanCon Guardians for his profound early efforts to raise the stature of music made in this country.
In 2018, he made a significant financial donation to the SOCAN Foundation Charitable Fund, and he had also supported the Unison Fund, and The Lillian and Donald Mair Clinic for Mood Disorders, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario.
In a career spanning more than 50 years and various ventures, Mair was a member of SOCAN’s Board of Directors for several years, and served an term as President of the CMPA (Canadian Music Publishers Association). He also lent his expertise to FACTOR (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings), the OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation, now Ontario Creates), and the Radio Starmaker Fund; served on the Massey Hall Board of Governors for 20 years; and was an Honourary Governor of both Massey and Roy Thomson Halls. A co-founder of the National Aboriginal Music Association, Mair brought a cohesive voice and recognition to Canada’s under-served Indigenous recording artists and planted the seeds for an Aboriginal music category at the JUNO Awards.
Mair was Gordon Lightfoot’s business manager for eight years, setting up his publishing companies. In 1974, he co-founded Attic Records with Tom Williams, as a vehicle to promote emerging Canadian artists. Attic became became the largest and most successful independent record company in Canadian history, and its publishing arm represented the Canadian rights to music from such legendary international acts as The Beatles, Elton John, James Brown, and ABBA, among many others.
Attic also helped launch the careers of many Canadian artists, including Anvil, Lee Aaron, Maestro Fresh Wes, The Nylons, Teenage Head, and Triumph. During Mair’s period as the label president and CEO from 1974 to 1999, when the label was sold, Attic realized more than $100 million worth of music sales in Canada, and its artists achieved 114 Gold, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum sales awards.
Al Mair’s important work and contributions will be remembered and appreciated forever. SOCAN extends its deepest condolences to his family, loved ones, friends, and all who knew him.