IF I HAD A MILLION DONUTS
Music is one of Canada’s best-known exports.
The biggest exporter of repertoire globally is the United States followed by the United Kingdom, and Canada.
Canada's small market size, and its sizable support infrastructure has long enabled its domestic music industry to develop distinct acts for audiences home and abroad.
Armed with a vibrant new guard of artists, including Deadmau5, Metric, City and Colour, Lights, and the Canadian Tenors, Canada’s music industry is once again gathering steam internationally.
That Canada is a primary global source of repertoire is further underscored by the continued worldwide sales of its most popular artists, including: Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé, Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Drake, Shania Twain, and Avril Lavigne; mainstream rockers Nickelback, and Simple Plan; alternative-styled Arcade Fire, and Broken Social Scene; Diana Krall in jazz; folk-styled Feist, Kathleen Edwards, Ron Sexsmith, Loreena McKennitt, and Jesse Cook; and pioneering electronic musician and DJ, Richie Hawtin.
Since the ‘50s, the global music industry has relied heavily on exports of English-language acts, primarily from the United States. This has been due to the growth of media embracing American values, and cultures internationally; the popularity of English-language repertoire; and such American-based genres as rock, blues, and jazz transcending international boundaries.
But there has been a shift in global sales patterns in recent years.
Though the music industry globally continues to rely heavily on exports from the U.S., the top sellers in many countries today are increasingly recordings released by homegrown acts.
Sales began to shift more than a decade ago, as global music sales began dropping; in large part due to consumers illegally downloading, and sharing music.
In 2000, an estimated 68% of worldwide sales derived from local repertoire — artists working in their native country, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
By 2007, domestic acts had greatly increased their share in 19 of the 39 markets surveyed, according to IFPI statistics, with four staying the same. In the previous five years, domestic repertoire had gained market share in 22 of the 42 markets for which numbers are available, with two unchanged.
The trend has continued unabated.
While American acts like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Metallica, Beyoncé, the Black Eyed Peas, and Jay-Z continue to connect with fans in territories around the world, the global appeal of American acts overall has waned.
The decline stems partially from cultural differences. Musical genres that have fed the American market for the past decade--including rap, hip hop and country music--do not tend to travel well overseas.
As well, continuing layoffs at the multinational affiliates abroad over the past decade may have weakened their ability to boost acts from the U.S. globally, as was once the case.
As labels globally continue to further shift A&R responsibilities to creative hubs--in the form of managers, publishers, indie labels or even artists themselves--the role of foreign markets, as important repertoire sources, may further grow when coupled with the expansion of new market opportunities, including ringtones to full-track digital downloads and streaming, both PC-and mobile-based.
Over the past three decades, the music industry made 85% of its revenue in 10 countries. Over the next three decades, that will change dramatically. With the growth of mobile devices and social media, the sector will start to see increased revenue growth in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Russia-countries, and the Middle East.
While physical goods continue to generate the most music revenue in almost every market in the world, licensing of innovative business models is helping new significant revenue streams flourish.
With over 4.5 billion mobile phone users worldwide, and with mobile phone usage exploding in China, Russia, Brazil, India, Africa and Latin America--and with mobile phone penetration approaching 80% or more in developed countries like Canada---there is a high expectation for this potentially entertainment-laden sector with mobile TV, social networking, web surfing, and access to "cloud-based" content.
Future revenue growth will almost certainly require an understanding of social broadcasting, where music may become the contextual backdrop to communications, and communities anchored through social networking.
The most successful Canadian artists of the present day generation-- Justin Bieber, Michael Bublé, Drake, Avril Lavigne, Blue Rodeo, Deadmau5 and others—seem to understand what is at stake with the new media.
Certainly, they have been at the forefront in placing greater emphasis on varied social networking tools that drive cross-platform consumption. They have each worked diligently to develop content bundles that generate buzz on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, MySpace and via tour-related iPhone apps, etc.
As the progressive, electro/house DJ/producer Deadmau5, Toronto’s Joel Zimmerman—with his signature costume (an oversized Mouse head lit with candy-coloured LEDs that stream images and graphics)—has become a global social media sensation.
The 31-year-old has more than 250,000 Twitter followers; over 4.2 million fans on Facebook; and over 50 YouTube clips. Downloads of his songs total over 10 million. He has a radio station dedicated to him in “Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars” for the Nintendo DS and Sony PlayStation Portable gaming consoles, as well as the iPhone.
“He's never had a hit single, he hasn't had even a Top 40 Billboard record, and he sells more tickets than most of the top 10 Billboard acts," Deadmau5 manager, Three Six Zero Group’s Dean Wilson bragged to Billboard.biz late last year. “Our biggest problem in 2011 is finding venues that are big enough that have a flat floor space. Deadmau5 fans want to dance. We can't go into a 15,000-capacity arena because the floor space is only 6,000, with 9,000 seats."
deadmau5 receives a Platinum Award for 4x4=12
(Pictured, from left: Asim
Awesome Awan - Co-Managing Director Ultra Canada, Adrian Strong -
Co-Managing Director Ultra Canada, deadmau5 - Artist, Patrick Moxey -
President of Ultra Records)
Last month (October, 2011), Deadmau5 brought his Meowingtons Hax Tour of North America to New York's historic Roseland Ballroom, kicking off a historic six-night run that broke the venue's previous record set by Rage Against the Machine in 1996.
More recently, under the headline: "The Cheese Stands Alone As Deadmau5 Rocks Toronto," Robert Everett-Green wrote about the Deadmau5 show in Toronto on Nov. 5 in the Globe and Mail:
"You have to have a lot of friends to throw a dance party at the Rogers Centre. Joel Zimmerman, the man who records and performs as deadmau5, had no trouble with that – the 14,000 available floor spaces were taken well before show time, and several more thousand people paid to experience the whole thing from the lower stands."
From Anne Murray to Deadmau5 in a couple of decades. Who'd figure that Canada, eh?
Larry LeBlanc is widely recognized as one of the leading music industry journalists in the world.
Legendary BBC2 DJ/historian Bob Harris has described him as "the glue that holds the Canadian music industry together."
Senior editor of CelebrityAccess since 2008, he was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007, and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record.
He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, and the London Times.
He is co-author of the 2011 book,” Music From Far And Wide” chronicling the growth of Canada’s pop music scene.