Canadian Music Week

Cover March 4, 2011

Canadian Music Week began in 1981, and has grown to become one of Canada’s largest and most influential media and music conferences. It draws top industry professionals to participate in a four-day program of activities. Designed to stimulate the exchange of market intelligence, increase dialogue and provide networking opportunities, Canadian Music Week continues to present the ideal platform for more than 2,000 national and international delegates.

CMW is the single longest running multi-day Canadian music festival that manages to consistently bring together more than 2,000 music industry professionals for the week's events - combining conferences, award shows, & one of Canada’s biggest "New Music" festivals. Throughout the duration of the event, performers put on shows at venues ranging from popular bars and halls, to trendy clothing stores and cafes. Many emerging new bands use the festival as an opportunity to 'get spotted' by the A&R reps that are around in greater than average numbers during the festival. 

Studio Trix

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By now everyone who is conscious on the planet has heard we live in a disposable society.  Recently we had a major breakdown with our equipment in the recording studio.  I started calling all the electronic repair places I could find listed in the phone book to see about getting our gear repaired so we could continue doing business.  The first technician told me there would be a $75 bench fee to diagnose the problem.  In the event that there were no problems detected there was no refund on the bench fee.  I didn't think that sounded right so I called the manufacturer.  They told me I would have to find the original box and all packaging that came with the equipment and to ship it to them for repair.  The equipment I am talking about at that moment was 5 years old.  All the boxes and packing supplies that came with the purchase were tossed in the dumpster years ago.  I was also told if I could find all the original packing that it could take 6 - 8 weeks to get it back.  In the meantime we kept getting further and further behind in the studio work.  We then found on line a new and up-graded version of what we were using and it was on sale.  We opted to purchase all new gear and toss the old.  Just this week we found out our equipment has been discontinued and no repair facilities will be able to help us in the event it doesn't work any longer.  So should we repair or toss every time a crisis comes up?  I hope you don't have to make that decision none too soon.  It is costly and frustrating beyond belief. 

The Irish Are Among Us - In Celebration of St. Patrick!

Cover Feb 25, 2011

by Sandy Graham

When I asked (Toronto’s Irish Person of the Year) 2010 Hugo Straney how many people he thought were of Irish descent in the GTA, his answer was ‘More claim they have Irish ancestry in Canada than any other group in the world. I believe the statistic would be around 300,000 in Toronto alone.”

In 1847, over 100,000 Irish immigrants migrated to Canada in what would be the result of the infamous potato famine. Nearly 40,000 of these people passed through Toronto, which at the time had a population of just under 20,000. In the summer of 1847, 863 Irish people died in the fever sheds that were erected at what is now Toronto’s thriving theatre district at King Street West and John Street. In total 1,100 people lost their lives during this tragic time, many died trying to nurse the sick back to health.  Next time you walk the streets of downtown Toronto, look for the plaque erected in their memory.


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If you rent a recording studio, and pay for the musicians, back up singers, engineer, mix down time, mastering and don't have in writing that you own the MASTERS you just shot yourself in the foot.  This is true even if you hire a Producer.  Provided you pay all the costs involved you are the true owner of the MASTERS.  All too often either the studio or the producer will try and lay claim to the MASTERS even when you paid for all of it.  Make sure there is a complete understanding up-front before you even enter the recording studio of who will own the MASTERS. 


On the other hand if a producer takes you into the studio and covers all the costs involved with the project then he owns the MASTERS.  Hopefully he will try and get a record/distribution deal and you will receive an artist royalty derived from the sales.  These royalties are all negotiable and vary in amount depending on if the artist is unknown or an already established act. 


Don't be afraid to ask from the very beginning of the project who owns the MASTERS.


Cover Feb 18, 2011

Heather Ostertag is a name that the Music Industry knows well. Ostertag is best known for holding the seat of president of FACTOR, but also sits on the Board of the CCMA, Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, founder and Chair of the Panty Schmooze and proudly wears the prestigious Order of Canada. Heather Ostertag is an individual that is considered to be an inspiring values based leader.  She is also a passionate supporter and developer of Canadian culture, with a reputation that has demonstrated strong strategic and operational management execution skills – a dedicated people developer.   Achievement, creativity, results driven, tenacity, resilience, empathetic problem solver and persuader are some adjectives used to describe this indefatigable individual who is driven to succeed and excel at any undertaking she involves herself in. 

With her 30 plus years working in the arts, she has developed relationships with companies and individuals that all have unique and distinct skills. These positions have put her name firmly ensconced in the Canadian Music Industry and would lead her to her next incarnation of an already successful and illustrious career.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Heather Ostertag and getting to know more about the person behind the engine. 

Shelley Siegel – A Canadian Success Story Not To Be Forgotten

Mushroom 1

by Sandy Graham


It was 1975, and I was Music Director of the radio station in Montreal known as CJFM – FM 96, owned and operated by Standard Broadcasting at the time. We were # 2. CHOM-FM our big competition was # 1. 


It was a different era; first off I was a female in the Music Director chair; and thanks to Rosalie Tremblay at CKLW in Windsor showing that a woman could be in radio, it was a chance I was given to show the ‘big boys’ a girl could do the job. 


In the ‘day of the dinosaurs’, we had what was called ‘Record Day’, usually on a Wednesday, when all the promo record guys would line up outside my office, and wait for their chance to pitch their new product. It was what would be considered an archaic way to do things nowadays, but I sometimes wonder if the current email, WAV, MP3 tracking system really works; back then the promo person got to stand there as you put the new tune on a turntable, and they got the chance to dance around and get you excited about their latest passion. It was also an opportunity to receive a WHOLE album, and maybe find another gem on there that wasn’t the single release. Cover art was just as important as the product, not to mention liner notes that told of who played, produced and backed the product. 


Canadian Blast at MIDEM Saidah Baba Talibah Style!

Cover Feb 11, 2011

by Natasha Slinko

Saidah  - Happy & Fortunate

Baba  -  Born on Thursday 

Talibah – Seeker After Knowledge

 A unique and beautiful name for a strong, beautiful and talented artist.  Saidah Baba Talibah is the real deal and she totally rocked the house at Morrisons Irish Pub for the Canadian Blast show this January during the MIDEM 2011 Conference in Cannes, France.  Saidah has an energy about her that just pulls you in, makes you smile and then grin ear to ear, and then makes you want to just get up and dance.   She has a powerhouse of a voice that just doesn’t stop and a stage presence that connects with you in the most powerful of ways.  Backup by musicians  Alex McMaster - cello, Donna Grantis - guitar, Rob Teeham - Sousaphone, Roger Travassos - drums and Hill Kourkoutis - keys it was an incredible sound.  

The Stool

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by Keith Bradford


You should always open your show with an up-tempo song with a lot of movement on stage.


Always do at least 3 songs back to back at the beginning of the concert before you start talking.
By now you are ready to talk and catch your breath and the audience wants to hear what you have to say also. Your song selection depends on the age group of your audience as well as other factors. Case in point while playing for an all male prison show you wouldn’t want to sing love songs.
One thing is certain that a good patriotic song always goes over well these days.
Somewhere in your show bring a stool out on stage and bring it close to the front of the stage. This is where you sing the most heart wrenching song in your list. Before you sing the song you should go into a short monologue about the song. Because you are closer to the audience than you have been the whole show and because you are sitting just like they are there is a natural bond happening between you and them. You are suddenly at their level and not standing over them.
At end of song get rid of the stool and resume high energy level.
If you are lucky enough to have a hit or some hits keep them toward the end of the show.
Never open your show with the most popular song you have because where do you go now.
You just gave them what they came to hear and you got no where to go.
The music business YA GOTTA LUV IT

2011 Juno Nominees Announced As the Big Show Returns to Toronto After A Decade On The Road.

Feb 4, 2011 Cover

Story: Sandy Graham

With the requisite pomp and circumstance, it was announced that Broken Social Scene, Hedley, Down With Webster and Johnny Reid will all be performing on the Drake-hosted 40th Juno Award show in the city on March 27. 


Shania Twain is confirmed to be on hand for induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and Neil Young has confirmed that he will be here to accept his Humanitarian Award. CARAS president/CEO Melanie Berry described this year’s event as “pretty exciting and pretty star-studded” following the announcement of nominees at a well-attended media scrum at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel yesterday.

Separately, FACTOR issued a statement announcing that 60 FACTOR supported artists received a stunning 69 nominations, including Caribou, Chilly Gonzales, Crystal Castles and Holy Fuck. The funding organization has had a long history supporting artists nominated for Juno and Country music awards but rarely gets acknowledged when artists take the stage to offer thanks to mums, cats, hairdressers et al.

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