Each week we’ll be sharing the most important news from the north with Canada’s top music industry stories, supplied by our colleagues at Billboard Canada.
For more Canadian music coverage visit ca.billboard.com.
Longtime Host and DJ George Stroumboulopoulos Appointed to the Order of Canada
Governor General Mary Simon named 78 new appointments to the Order of Canada on Thursday to recognize “people across all sectors of society who have made extraordinary and sustained contributions to our nation.” This year’s honourees include journalists, politicians, doctors and more, plus prominent figures from music and arts.
One name that stands out is George Stroumboulopoulos. Strombo, as he’s often known, has been one of the most recognizable people in music media for more than two decades.
Stroumboulopoulos has long been a household name in Canada, with some brief crossover moments in the U.S., including a short-lived talk show on CNN and an ABC reality competition show called The One: Making a Music Star.
He first rose to prominence as a VJ on TV music station MuchMusic in the early 2000s and has since hosted a variety of shows on CBC, Rogers and Apple Music. He even dabbled in sports as the host of Hockey Night In Canada from 2014-2016. After Apple Music picked up his House of Strombo concert series in 2017, he became a host and curator on Apple Music Hits when it launched in 2020 as part of Apple Music Radio and has become a tastemaker on the platform. His Up Next Canada series has recently included rising musicians like Punjabi-Canadian producer Ikky and country singer-songwriter Owen Riegling.
“With very rare exceptions, I have been 100% myself the whole way,” he recently told Canadian Press. READ MORE
— Richard Trapunski
The Biggest Homegrown Hits On the Year-End Billboard Canadian Hot 100
The Canadian Hot 100 tallies the biggest songs in Canada each week (whether or not they’re by Canadian artists). This year, the top 10 spots on the year-end Canadian Hot 100 are all dominated by international acts — with Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers”, Rema and Selena Gomez’s “Calm Down” and Morgan Wallen’s “Last Night” claiming honours as the biggest songs of the year — but Canadians made a strong showing on the rest of the top 100.
The year-end chart takes into account chart performance throughout the year, with longevity sometimes counting for more than high placement and measuring charts dated Nov, 19, 2022, to Oct 21, 2023 — which explains why a big song like Tate McRae’s December chart-topper “greedy” got left off.
But Canadian artists still showed up in prominent spots on the Year-End Chart, even beyond the usual high spots for Drake and The Weeknd.
At No. 23 is Ottawa singer Talk’s soulful ballad “Runaway To Mars,” which was released in 2021 but went viral on TikTok this year, shooting it up the charts. It hit No. 1 on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart in January 2023.
Preston Pablo from Timmins, Ontario, linked up with Quebec production duo Banx + Ranx on melancholy dance-pop track “Flowers Need Rain,” which landed at No. 26.
At No. 29, Quebec pop sensation Charlotte Cardin’s “Confetti” was a major Canadian success this year. The song has spent 34 weeks on the Canadian Hot 100, peaking at No. 10. A hit in both Canada and across Europe, the catchy pop tune is in English but also exists in a bilingual English/French version.
Other hits by Canadian artists in the top 100 include Tiësto’s Tate McRae-featuring “10:35,” “If Anything’s Left” by Ottawa pop singer Jamie Fine, “Next To You” by Canadian-born production duo Loud Luxury, “Whitney” by up-and-coming Montreal singer Rêve and more. READ MORE
— Rosie Long Decter
Music Regulation and AI high on Music Association Agendas for 2024
Billboard Canada asked a number of national music industry association leaders to provide their own unique perspective on 2023 and the year ahead.
“The passing of C-11 (the Online Streaming Act) in 2023 represents both an accomplishment and a challenge,” says Andrew Cash, president of the Canadian Independent Music Association. “Bringing some of the largest, most powerful corporations in the history of capitalism under regulation in Canada is an important step. It has also kick-started a long overdue and much-needed conversation about Canadian content policy in the age of the internet. Even that sentence sounds dated!
“2024 should answer some big questions with regards to C-11– the most pressing being: which platforms will be included in regulations currently being considered before the CRTC, how much will these platforms be required to contribute to the Canadian music sector, and where this contribution will go?”
According to Amy Jeninga, president of the Canadian Country Music Association, 2023 has been a big year for Canadian country music.
“The genre continued to outpace industry growth in countries around the world, claiming a bigger piece of the cultural pie than in recent years, including here at home, where Canada saw a 32% growth in on-demand audio and video streams in Q3, outpacing the overall industry growth of 18%,” she says. “We continue to celebrate a growing community and fanbase set to engage and continue propelling the genre forward in 2024.”
For Patrick Rogers, CEO of Music Canada, artificial intelligence is high on the agenda for 2024.
“This past year saw rapid advancements in artificial intelligence that can unlock an exciting new era for creativity and content — but which also pose a serious threat to the creative industries and artists if not regulated,” he says. “It’s never been more critical that our copyright and legal frameworks remain strong in the face of bad actors who want to exploit artists’ work, voice and image without their consent, credit or compensation…We’re excited to work with the government and our creative industry peers in 2024 to help set policies that encourage the ethical development of this exciting new marketplace.”
Heads of the Canadian Independent Music Association, Canadian Live Music Association, SOCAN and Music Publishers Canada, meanwhile, highlight modernized rights management, arts funding and increased promotion of Canadian artists in both recorded music and on the live stage. READ MORE
— David Farrell