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Esmúsica: ‘collective voice’ of Spanish music biz is born

Organisations from the live, recorded and publishing sectors in Spain have joined forces to create Esmúsica, a federation acting as a “collective voice” for the Spanish music industry.

The umbrella body was formed yesterday (Wednesday 30 October) at industry conference BIME Pro, which is taking place until 1 November in Bilbao, north Spain. The organisation takes a similar model to that of umbrella groups in Britain (UK Music) and Canada (Music Canada).

Industry figures signed the agreement to launch the federation, with representatives from Acces (national association for live music venues); Aedem (Association of independent music publishers); AIE (Society for performing artists and publishers); APM (Association for music promoters); Arte (Association of stage technicians); Opem (Organisation of professional music publishers); Promusicae (Spanish music producers); SGAE (General society of authors and publishers); and Ufi (Union for independent phonographers).

Iñaki Gaztelumendi, founder and president of Spain Live Music and the person responsible for the new body’s strategic plan, told Spanish news agency Efe that Esmúsica will “put the demands of this sector – which is of such economic, cultural and social importance – on the public agenda, so we can improve as a collective entity.”

“Esmúsica will put the demands of this important sector on the public agenda”

Esmúsica aims to work closely with the state to aid the sustainable development of the Spanish music sector, focusing on areas of talent, creativity, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, training, innovation and internationalisation.

The association also wants to create national standards for all areas of the music industry in the country.

In addition, Esmúsica will produce a best practice guide relating to hiring in the sector and collaborate in the formation of an Academy of Spanish Music.

In terms of financing, the umbrella organisation plans to create a state fund dedicated to the development of the music industry.

The new body will also form the Observatory of Spanish Music, an analytical body looking at the current state of the Spanish music industry and working on ways to advance in the future.

Spain is the focus of the latest IQ market report, available to read online in the most recent edition of IQ Magazine here.


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O Canada: market report

Canada’s economy has led G7 nations in growth in 2017, and that momentum seems to have carried over to the live music industry to a large degree.

“It’s robust,” says Jim Cressman, president of Pentiction, British Columbia-based Invictus Entertainment Group, which books and promotes 500-700 concerts per year at multiple venues. “The right artist at the right price almost always does predictable business.”

Though no national study has yet been done on the live music industry, an economic impact analysis of the business in Ontario – Canada’s most populous province and home to the music hub of Toronto – illustrated how important it is. The Live Music Measures Up study showed that the industry was responsible for 20,000 full-time equivalent jobs in 2013 and that spending by live music companies and the tourism activity generated by music festivals together contributed just under C$1.2billion (€0.8bn) to Ontario’s gross domestic product.

Those numbers have likely increased, and can be extrapolated across the country, according to Erin Benjamin, executive director of Music Canada Live, which was created in the fall of 2014 to advance and promote the live music industry’s many economic, social and cultural benefits.

The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennial, as communities across the country often included live music in their celebrations of the nation’s 150th birthday.

While the Canadian recording industry has benefited from national sources of funding – including the Canada Music Fund, the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), Radio Starmaker Fund, VideoFACT, PromoFACT and the SOCAN Foundation – and broadcasters being legally obliged to play a minimum amount of Canadian content, the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government also provide grants for events and festivals where live music is a major component.

“That support really makes the Canadian music business the envy of the world, quite frankly,” says Jack Ross, who heads the newly opened Canadian office of the Los Angeles-based APA talent agency along with Ralph James.

The concert industry received an extra boost in 2017 due to Canada’s sesquicentennia

But that’s not stopping Music Canada Live and its more than 125 members – including concert promoters, festivals, presenters, venues, agents, ticketing companies, industry associations and suppliers – from advocating for policy advancement and increased funding, public awareness and research.

“Live music hasn’t effectively told its story with a united voice, and it’s my job to do that,” says Benjamin. “When we’re truly united by this association, whether it’s with me or ten executive directors from now, we will be the most powerful piece of Canada’s music industry because of the connection between artists and fans.”

Shawn Sakamoto, vice-president of Lethbridge, Alberta-based live event production and management company Sakamoto Entertainment, would like to see Canadian content regulations introduced to the domestic live music sector, which he believes has suffered due to “monopolisation of the touring market by entities such as Live Nation” and other multinational companies. He advocates Canadian artists being added to national tours by international performers in order to give them further exposure.

Confidence in Canada from American companies was shown this summer when, after LA-based United Talent Agency closed its Canadian office, APA and LA-based Paradigm Talent Agency both opened up shop in Toronto. They join the Feldman Agency and Paquin Artists Agency as Canada’s largest, while several smaller domestic agencies are also active.

“That competition is going to be a good thing for Canadian artists, and it will be a good thing for the music industry overall,” says Ross.


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 74:

Industry pays tribute to Leonard Cohen

Industry figures, musicians and politicians have paid tribute to influential Canadian singer-songwriter, poet and writer Leonard Cohen, who died on Monday aged 82.

The news was broken in the early hours of this morning by an announcement on his official Facebook page, which read: “It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries.”

His son, Adam, told Rolling Stone: “My father passed away peacefully at his home in Los Angeles with the knowledge that he had completed what he felt was one of his greatest records [14th studio album You Want it Darker]. He was writing up until his last moments with his unique brand of humour.”

Performance rights organisation Socan (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers) described Cohen as one of its “most iconic members”.

“We have lost a cherished artist … He will be missed terribly”

“Leonard Cohen was a legend among legends,” said Eric Baptiste, the organisation’s CEO. “With iconic songs that defined an entire era, he inspired many generations all over the world. Socan was honoured to count him among our most prominent members. He will be sorely missed, but his songs will live on.”

Geneviève Côté, Socan’s chief Quebec affairs officer, highlighted Cohen’s lasting connect with his hometown of Montreal. “One could run into Leonard Cohen at Bagels Etc. on Saint Lawrence Boulevard, in the heart of the Mile End, having breakfast at the counter, a stone’s throw away from his apartment. Montreal was where he was born, and, even though he belongs to the global music community, he was [a Quebecker] and should be remembered that way.”

Trade organisation Music Canada, meanwhile, tweeted simply: “Our thoughts tonight are with the family of iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, who has passed away at the age of 82.”

Promoter Rob Hallett, who as AEG Live’s then-president of international touring was instrumental in coaxing Cohen out of retirement, thanked friends for their messages of condolences but said the loss does not belong to me, but rather to the world”. He quoted Cohen’s song ‘Anthem’, saying: “There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.”

Neil Portnow, the president and CEO of the Recording Academy, said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Grammy Award winner and 2010 Recording Academy lifetime achievement award recipient Leonard Cohen. During an influential career that spanned more than five decades, Leonard became one of the most revered pop poets and a musical touchstone for many songwriters.

“The loss does not belong to me, but rather to the world”

“His extraordinary talent had a profound impact on countless singers and songwriters, as well as the wider culture. We have lost a cherished artist and our sincerest condolences go out to Leonard’s family, friends and collaborators. He will be missed terribly.”

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said Cohen “managed to reach the highest of artistic achievement, both as an acclaimed poet and a world-renowned singer-songwriter. He will be fondly remembered for his gruff vocals, his self-deprecating humour and the haunting lyrics that made his songs the perennial favourite of so many generations.”

He continued: “Leonard Cohen is as relevant today as he was in the 1960s. His ability to conjure the vast array of human emotion made him one of the most influential and enduring musicians ever. His style transcended the vagaries of fashion. […]

“On behalf of all Canadians, [my wife] Sophie and I wish to express our deepest sympathies to Leonard Cohen’s family, friends, colleagues and many, many fans. Leonard, no other artist’s poetry and music felt or sounded quite like yours. We’ll miss you.”


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BC slashes licensing red tape for promoters

British Columbia is hoping to boost its live music sector making it easier to stage concerts and festivals.

Promoters in the province, Canada’s westernmost, will now be able to apply for a special occasion licence – a fast-tracked alcohol licence previously only available to charitable and non-profit organisations – which will be renamed the ‘special event permit’.

Allowing for-profit businesses to accept liability for the alcohol served at their events will, says the British Columbian (BC) government, “cut red tape for event organisers” and allow promoters to seek “advantageous partnerships with breweries, wineries, and distilleries in order to raise money for charity”.

“On behalf of BC’s music festival organisers, we truly appreciate the ministry’s continued focus on red-tape reduction”

Graham Henderson, the president of Music Canada, says: “Today’s announcement is one more important step to building a sustainable music industry for the benefit of our artists, the economy and live music event attendees, and for that we thank the BC government.

“Reducing red tape for live music performances is an important addition to the BC music strategy and demonstrates the government’s strong support of our growing industry sector. BC has a deep musical heritage and is home to some of the finest production facilities, artists and labels in the world. We’re very happy to see the province make changes that can better position BC to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.”

Nick Blasko, a member of the BC Music Fund’s advisory committee, adds: “On behalf of BC’s music festival organisers, we truly appreciate the ministry’s continued focus on red-tape reduction. Their effort towards a licensing strategy that will help to create more events in our province is good for BC artists and many of our province’s music companies. We look forward to seeing these changes implemented.”


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1 in 3 Canadians watch final Tragically Hip show

Nearly 12 million Canadians – close to a third of the country – witnessed what is likely to be The Tragically Hip’s final live performance on Saturday night, as the beloved band bow out of touring following a terminal brain cancer diagnosis for songwriter-in-chief and ‘Canada’s unofficial poet laureate’ Gord Downie.

In addition to those who had tickets to the show, at the 6,700-capacity Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston, Ontario (prime minister Justin Trudeau among them), 11.7 million Canadians gathered in front of big screens and at viewing parties across the country to watch the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)’s The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration, which showed the band’s emotional three-hour farewell set in full.

According to data from Numeris, the hometown show – which took the place of the CBC’s Olympics coverage – was also streamed 900,000 times worldwide.

Reporting from the concert, the final date of the 15-date Man Machine Poem tour, the CBC said concertgoers “treated the show like a landmark moment in Canadian history: Giant flags made their way through the crowd during the performance, and before the concert began, the audience spontaneously began singing [national anthem] O Canada, with nearly everyone rising from their seats”.

“The single greatest single thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life… the best concert ever”

One audience member, Laura Coppola, called the show the “greatest single thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life” and the “best concert ever”.

The band, formed in 1984, have had nine number one albums in Canada and won 14 Juno awards – akin to the Grammys or Brits – with songs that draw on a uniquely Canadian experience, frequently with references to “[ice] hockey, geography, history and culture that are recognisable to Canadians but unknown to outsiders”, says Canadian writer Jordan Michael Smith.

The Live Nation-promoted Man Machine Poem tour, announced in the aftermath of Downie’s diagnosis, was marred by a national scandal over the number of primary tickets that appeared on secondary ticketing sites, leading to accusations that fans were being “shut out” of the farewell shows. IQ reported in the aftermath of the controversy that nine out of ten Canadians would support prison terms for bot-using ticket touts, and a third would abolish online ticketing altogether.

Watch The Tragically Hip perform ‘New Orleans is Sinking’ in Kingston below, courtesy of CBC:


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