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In Canada: Double-Digit Growth and a $32 Million Boost in Government Funding

In Canada: Double-Digit Growth and a $32 Million Boost in Government Funding

New funding is coming to the Canadian music industry.

Pascale St-Onge, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, announced at the Juno Awards on March 24 that the government will increase the Canada Music Fund by $32 million over the next two fiscal years.

The Canada Music Fund supports both FACTOR and Musicaction. Those granting bodies provide artists, labels and other organizations with funding for a wide range of activities, including recording, touring, marketing and music video production.

The announcement — though welcomed by Canadian music associations like the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) and the Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) — falls short of the $50 million that the Liberal government committed to in 2021, and the $60 million increase called for by the industry groups.

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FACTOR has historically received significant funds from Canada’s private radio broadcasters, but as those contributions decline, CIMA and CLMA have been sounding the alarm about the organization’s ability to meet the needs of Canadian artists. FACTOR’s funding challenges come at a time when many artists and organizations are struggling to stay afloat amidst a cost of living crisis.

“CIMA applauds the government’s increased investment in the Canada Music Fund,” said CIMA president Andrew Cash. “This is a recognition of music’s significant contribution to our cultural fabric and national economy.”

L’ADISQ, Quebec’s Association of the Record, Show and Video Industry, highlights that Musicaction — which primarily supports French-speaking projects — has already made cuts in recent months, and this increase will prevent a further reduction in capacity. The association calls the announcement a step in the right direction, but emphasizes the difficult economic context facing music organizations with fewer resources.

The Canadian Live Music Association echoes l’ADISQ’s sentiment, calling the increase “a good start,” and reiterating the tough circumstances industry members are facing. The Canada Music Fund increase was one of three recommendations CLMA put forward for the upcoming federal budget, which the organization hoped would take “urgent action” to protect the live music sector.

With the full budget still to come, more support measures could be in store for Canada’s music sector. -Rosie Long Decter

Canada Ranked 8th Largest Global Music Market In New IFPI Report

Canada’s recorded music revenues are strong, according to a new report from IFPI.

The IFPI’s 2024 State of the Industry report takes a deep dive into the state of recorded music around the world, and ranks Canada eighth in terms of global music markets in 2023, maintaining the country’s spot in the top ten. Canada’s music market grew by 12.19% last year, reaching US$659.6 million in revenues. That growth outpaced both the U.S. market, which grew by 7.2%, and global growth of 10.2% — the second highest recorded global growth rate, according to the report.

Some individual Canadian artists did well on a global scale, too: the report ranks Drake and The Weeknd at No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, in its Global Artist 2023 chart, which considers artist, track and album performance. Taylor Swift took the top spot there, followed by South Korean groups SEVENTEEN and Stray Kids.

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A statement from IFPI, which represents the global recording industry, and Music Canada, an association representing major Canadian labels, attributes much of Canada’s revenue growth to streaming revenues, which jumped by 8.6% here, and subscription streaming in particular, which increased by 10.1%. The associations emphasize the challenges posed by streaming manipulation, highlighting IFPI’s recent legal complaint against nine Canadian-based sites that sold fraudulent streams. The sites are now offline.

Beyond Canadian borders, IFPI’s State of the Industry highlights how national markets are intertwined worldwide, using the growing popularity of Punjabi music in Canada and the launch of 91 North Records — a collaboration between Warner Music Canada and Warner Music India — as an example. “We set up 91 North Records,” Warner’s Simon Robson says, in “reaction to something that is happening organically and a proactive turbocharge to make sure it doesn’t just continue but flourishes and finds a wider audience.” Robson points out that several of the most popular Indian songs in 2022 came from artists based in Canada. – RLD

Karan Aujla Makes History at 2024 Junos

The 2024 Juno Awards looked to the future of Canadian music, while also honouring its history.

A quartet of acts who’ve had major breakthroughs this year won the major awards given out on the CBC-televised broadcast on Sunday night (March 24) live from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Punjabi-Canadian global star Karan Aujla won the TikTok Fan Choice award, the only fan-chosen award of the ceremony. “Sometimes I can’t believe I’m that same kid who lost my parents when I was in India, made my way to Canada, and now I’m here!” said the B.C.-based artist, one of Billboard Canada’s inaugural cover stars. “If you are dreaming, make sure you dream big.”

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Dressed in a spiffy white outfit with a four backup dancers in red, Aujla performed early on, playing pop hits “Admirin’ You” and “Softly.” Both came from his album Making Memories, which made history as the highest-charting Punjabi debut ever on the Canadian Albums chart. Ikky, who made the album with Aujla, acted as hype man on an elevated platform.

In the Billboard Punjabi Wave cover story, AP Dhillon talked about his performance at the 2023 Junos ceremony and how he lobbied to ensure majorly popular Punjabi music would have a prolonged platform at the awards. Evidently, they’ve kept their word.

This year’s Junos also had the most Indigenous nominees in award history. Anita Landback, Tanas Sylliboy and Sarah Prosper set the stage with a land acknowledgment that intersected with a performance by Juno winner Jeremy Dutcher in Wolastoqey, who then joined in a duet with Elisapie on an Inuktitut version of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Along with Aujla and others, it meant performances featured at least six different languages, including English and French.

Several other breakout artists had big wins at this year’s awards. Tate McRae, The Beaches, Charlotte Cardin and TALK all had major years on the charts and were rewarded with awards. The Junos have struggled with star power in recent years — Drake has boycotted the last half decade, while chart-topper Tate McRae was not in attendance to accept her two awards this year — but they have made some strides when it comes to representation of what makes Canadian music unique. -Richard Trapunski

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