Canadian Music Week 2017 Recap - The State of Social Media (for Artists, Musicians & Brands)

Canadian Music Week 2017 Recap - The State of Social Media (for Artists, Musicians & Brands)

After attending Canadian Music Week as a student-delegate in 2016, I was determined to return this year and hopefully every year after. I moved to Toronto from Ottawa in October 2016 and as fate would have it, was offered a chance to volunteer as part of the Social Media team for this year’s conference.

Not surprisingly, this year’s Canadian Music Week conference featured a lot of Social Media talk - a bi-product of the increasingly digital and social age we live in. Social Media provides artists, musicians and brands with the means to directly interact with their audience and the data with which to measure results and make decisions. The name of this recap blog was actually borrowed from one of the panelists at this year’s conference.

Major Keys Alert 🔑


Ken Rutkowski Knows Who You Oughta Know

Ken Rutkowski, CEO - Business Rockstars

We live in a sharing economy. The difference between the old school and the new: in Kindergarten, the old school had desks and chairs; the new school have a big desk with chairs around it. Think community.

Three Questions You should Ask Yourself (according to Elon Musk):

What is your enemy?

What Makes You, You?

What is Your Superpower?


“Do What You Can’t” 🔑

BONUS KEY: “You learn in kindergarten everything you need to learn about running a business” - Zoe Share, CEO at Schmooz Media


Quit Bitchin’ and Do Something

(The Only Person Holding You Back From Sharing Your Music With The World Is You!)

Rick Barker, Social Media Guru/Mentor; Artist Manager


Along with his current role as Social Media Consultant to Scott Borchetta - President of Big Machine Label Group (Taylor Swift) and former role as Taylor Swift’s manager, Rick also mentors independent artists on how to navigate the music industry and make the most of Social Media. Check out Rick’s program on his website.



PANEL - Creating an Online Video Presence

Moderated by Ted Cohen, Managing Partner at Tag Strategic. Featuring Andrew Lindsay - Manager, Music label Partnerships at Google Canada; Dana Shayegan - VP Music at Studio71; Gray Gannaway - Founder at Quarterlab; Matt Connell - Engineer and Producer.

“you can make 36 pieces of (video) content from a 12 song album” 🔑


PANEL - Brand Partnerships That Sing: A roadmap to creating authentic music experiences.

Moderated by Matthew Yazge, Head of Brand Sponsorship - Nielsen Music, US. Featuring Andres Mendoza, Director of Marketing & Brand Partnerships - CARAS/The Juno Awards; Brian Flaman, Sr. Account Manager - Mosaic; Kevin Goodman, CEO - Front Row Centre Inc.; Nick Farkas, VP of Concerts and Events - Evenko.

Brand Partnerships at events are facing increasing scrutiny to be more authentic and need-based. An example of needs-based advertising in this year’s Juno awards was The Juno Train.

The Juno Train: For this year’s Juno Awards hosted in Ottawa, The Juno organization partnered with Virgin Mobile and Via Rail Canada to transport nominees, media, music fans, sponsors and music executives from Montreal and Toronto to Ottawa two days before the event. The train ride featured snacks, drinks, wifi and most importantly performances by select artists.

How does this solve a need? People need to get to the event and this provides them with a means to do so while also getting brand partners involved.

BONUS KEY: Check out Ottawa Citizen's coverage of the juno train (with videos) here.


PANEL: The Future Of Artist Management

Moderated by Didier Zareth, Founder of The DZ Factory. Featuring Annabella Coldrick, CEO - MMF UK; Joe D’Ambrosio - Founder - Joe D’Ambrosio Management Inc.; Ron Stone, President - Gold Mountain Entertainment; Stuart Ross, Red Light Management; Emily White, Partner - Whitesmith Entertainment Inc.

"Build businesses around the artist instead of trying to fit the artist into the business" 🔑

- Emily White, CEO of Whitesmith Entertainment


I reached out to Emily to clarify the statement for the purpose of this blog:

Build businesses around the artist instead of trying to fit the artist into a business. I was grateful to be schooled under Mike Luba at Madison House. Whether you are into jambands or not, that is a scene that does this the best. We create a business and strategies around the artist and take care of the fans a very close second. This is how countless artists in the jam scene operate, as well as festivals with roots in that world as well, such as Bonnaroo. I’ve spoken with metal acts, indie, classical, country and beyond who have all had success with this ethos and mindset. To me it is the ultimate way to go in art, music, and even sports!

BONUS KEY: Emily White on why and how she gets 9 HOURS of sleep a day:


Key Break 🔑

This year’s Global Creators Summit focused on the plight of the Indigenous people of Canada as told by Indigenous artists. I won’t sum up what was said. I will instead let two artists, who performed at points during the summit do so as I think that through their art, they can tell the story of the Indigenous people way better than I would.

Tanya Tagaq - Experimental Vocalist and Artists

Tanya Tagaq’s music isn’t like anything you’ve heard before. Unnerving and exquisite, Tagaq’s unique vocal expression may be rooted in Inuit throat singing but her music has as much to do with electronica, industrial and metal influences as it does with traditional culture.


Iskwe (pronounced iss-kway)

Named one of the ‘Top 10 Artists to Watch’ by CBC Music, IsKwé (which means ‘woman’ in her native language) is fostering an unmistakable sound that weaves together her Irish and Cree/Dené roots with poignant politically charged lyrics, dark soulful R&B rhythms, electronic flourishes, and trip hop breakbeats.


“There’s an active community of people interested in how music can be used as a tool for social change” 🔑

- Arif Virani, member of parliament for Parkdale High


Integrated Campaign Marketing

Christopher Pitcher, CEO and Kris Kish, CCO - Empact Labs

Christopher and Kris took a minute to introduce themselves and what they do at Empact Labs. Here’s what happened around the world in that one minute:

So how does your brand stand a chance? An integrated marketing campaign!

An integrated campaign takes a holistic view of the customer journey:

Ignorance ➭ Awareness ➭ Purchase ➭ Satisfaction ➭ Loyalty

“The #1 mistake is jumping into the river before you have mapped out your route” 🔑

How Do We Stand Out?

Have A Big Idea (What’s Your Purple Cow?)

Tie it To Your Brand Truths and Values

Utilize Strengths of Different Platforms


The IBC Method To Finding Inspiration

Insight: What is the unique human insight for your brand?

Benefit: What is the main benefit of your brand?

Concept: Combine your insight and benefit for a breakthrough idea!


Capture your audience's attention with the ‘chocolate covered broccoli’ 🔑

Think about it...



BONUS Keys for Social Media

courtesy of Gavin McGarry, President - Jumpwire Media


“The Future of Social Media is Community” 🔑

*Make use of Facebook’s notes app. It’s the only part of Facebook scanned by Google -  for SEO
*Not using a filter on an Instagram post garners less reach
*Uploading directly from Mobile (not iPad) is better for organic reach
*Square videos work best on Facebook and Instagram for organic reach
*Facebook now prioritizes rendered links meaning posting an image + link doesn’t work anymore
*Unbranded content actually gets more reach and engagement on Instagram than branded content
*Posting images to Facebook via Instagram provides a 23% increase in engagement


Thanks for reading and thanks to Canadian Music Week. Don't forget to also check out CMW2016 Recap.



Congrats to Jamstack for winning this year's Start-Up Launch Pad. Jamstack is the world's first attachable guitar amplifier. Here's a video of professional musicians using Jamstack. It's available for pre-order on the Jamstack website now for only $147.

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