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.

Bryan Adams Splits With Longtime Manager

After a memorable handshake agreement in Vancouver 44 years ago, manager Bruce Allen and client Bryan Adams have broken up. As confirmed by a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Adams is now self-managing his career.

Bruce Allen

There has been no public announcement of the falling-out, but Bruce Allen Talent’s website no longer lists Adams as a client, and the “Run to You” rocker’s website similarly strikes any mention of Allen as his manager. Insiders say that Adams, short-term, is handling his own affairs.

Allen, now 78, has earned his mostly Canadian client list untold millions of dollars. Among them include some household names such as Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Loverboy and, more recently, Michael Bublé and Jann Arden.

The breach in the handshake agreement is believed to be over artistic direction, in particular Adams’ insistence on investing heavily in new music and videos in recent years. READ MORE

Spotify’s Global Job Cuts Hit Canada

On Dec. 4, Spotify announced it would be slashing its global workforce by 17%. Billboard Canada has learned that Nathan Wiszniak, Head of Artist & Label Partnerships at Spotify Canada, was among those laid off.

At the time of Spotify’s announcement, just a few days after unveiling its popular Spotify Wrapped campaign, it was unclear how many of the roughly 1,500 jobs cut would come from Canada. A spokesperson from Spotify Canada declined to share, but confirmed that Wiszniak was part of the layoffs.

Wiszniak has worked at Spotify Canada for nine years and was one of the founding members when the music streaming company expanded to Canada in 2014. In his role in Music Partnerships, he worked to promote Canadian music and artists and give them a global platform on Spotify.

“From the outset, my mission was to establish and promote an ecosystem that would propel the growth of our industry,” Wiszniak writes in an email to Billboard Canada.

Asked about his accomplishments, he highlights his role in championing Punjabi-Canadian artists like Ikky, Karan Aujla and AP Dhillon (all three appeared on Billboard Canada’s inaugural Punjabi Wave cover) and contributing to their exponential growth and in nurturing the early careers of breakout Canadian artists like Jessie Reyez, Daniel Caesar and Charlotte Cardin.

In the last two years however, he says, Wiszniak’s primary role has been “educating government stakeholders about the intricacies of streaming…during a regulatory phase that occurs once in a generation.” He’s likely referring to Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act, which will update Canada’s media policy for the first time in decades. Spotify is at the heart of that bill’s implementation, which could require the company to make more direct and mandatory financial contributions to the Canadian music industry via government regulations.

On Nov. 30, just a few days before the layoff announcement, Wiszniak spoke at the Online Streaming Act hearings, arguing that “imposing initial base contributions on platforms before defining critical elements of the broadcast policy is premature, and risks overlooking the many ways that Spotify already contributes to and supports Canadian and Indigenous artists.” READ MORE

New IFPI Report Reveals Canadian Distrust of AI

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) has released a new report detailing how music fans all over the world listen to music, with specific stats for participating countries. Music Canada has shared new data about Canadian listening habits from the report.

Most notably, it includes some vital Canadian perspectives on one of this year’s hot-button topics in the music industry: artificial intelligence. Many are not in favour, at least not of the wild west version of AI that has flooded the internet this year. 76% of Canadians believe that AI shouldn’t be employed to impersonate or clone a musician without their approval.

Even more Canadians — 85% — believe that music created solely using AI should be labelled as AI-generated, and also that human musicians are an essential part of music creation. The data indicates that in ongoing debates over the role of AI in music, Canadian consumers could support certain amounts of regulation and protections for artists.

AI music is already flooding streaming services, and Spotify allegedly removed tens of thousands of AI-generated songs from its platform earlier this year, to prevent those songs from acquiring fake streams and inflated royalties. Meanwhile, TikTok user @ghostwriter977 released an AI-created fake Drake and The Weeknd song earlier this year, gathering millions of streams before the song was taken off streaming platforms. According to the IFPI report, 77% of Canadians agree that AI systems should list which music has been used to train their tools.

The report included over 43,000 respondents from 26 countries, and concludes that globally, we’re listening to more music in more ways than ever. People around the world listen to an average of 20.7 hours of music per week — up from 20.1 hours in 2022 — and the use of paid streaming platforms is rising. For the 16-24 demographic, though, short-form videos are the top method of music listening, not audio streaming services.

On average, Canadians use 7.2 different methods to encounter music and hop between eight different genres. Half of Canadians subscribe to audio streaming services, while a quarter access music through unlicensed methods. In addition to how we listen to music, the report also highlights what music does for us: 83% of Canadians say that music is important to their mental health. READ MORE

Last Week’s Headlines: Top TikTok Tracks, Montreal’s Music and Noise Laws

Marc Schneider
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