Global superstar Drake is making moves to expand his influence. His OVO Sound label has announced a new partnership with the Santa Anna Label Group, an artist and label services company launched by Sony Music last year.
Through the partnership, OVO will remain a distinct label with its own roster, but will benefit from distribution, marketing and promotion, A&R services, finance and accounting, and more from the American company.
Santa Anna is a new venture, launched in January 2023 by Sony Music and Alamo Records CEO Todd Moscowitz, with the goal of helping artists and entrepreneurs to develop their businesses within the industry. This isn’t Moscowitz’s first encounter with the Toronto label: the industry executive was CEO of Warner Records in 2012, when OVO was originally founded under the Warner banner.
“After 10 years, it’s exciting to reunite with the OVO Sound team to collaborate on new ways to support their impressive roster of artists,” Moscowitz said of the new partnership. “Together, I look forward to working with a best-in-class management team to develop opportunities to help scale their business and take their artistry to new heights.”
OVO was founded by Drake, producer Noah “40” Shebib and manager Oliver El-Khatib. The roster includes popular Toronto talent like Majid Jordan, DVSN and PARTYNEXDOOR, and is headed by former Warner A&R executive Mr. Morgan. This new announcement comes after Majid Jordan’s fall 2023 release of the duo’s latest LP, Good People, and ahead of PARTYNEXTDOOR’s P4, expected soon.
The OVO brand — October’s Very Own, named after Drake’s birth month — includes live music at OVO Fest and a brick-and-mortar clothing store in Toronto, as well as the label. In the decade-plus since OVO’s launch, the label has largely focused on Canadian acts, though they also represent Dutch artist (and their first female signee) Naomi Sharon.
The partnership indicates that Drake’s business ambitions are only growing. Will OVO expand its focus beyond Canada? Or will the new investment be directed towards discovering new artists like they did recently with 6ixBuzz collaborator Smiley? –Rosie Long Decter
Vancouver-Based Beatdapp Partners with Universal Music Group to Detect Fraud
Vancouver-based Beatdapp has become the leading streaming fraud detection company in the music industry today after successfully raising C22M in growth financing and newly announced partnerships with SoundExchange, Napster and a “strategic collaboration” with Universal Music Group.
Last year, the company analyzed more than two trillion streams and 20 trillion data points for its five core categories of customers: DSPs, music labels, collection societies, creator tool services and music distributors.
Beatdapp asserts that as much as 10% of global streams are fraudulent, with the result that as much as US$1B in royalties end up in fraudsters’ pockets. Latest statistics suggest more than 100,000 tracks are uploaded every day. These are on top of the 100M tracks Spotify hosted in 2023, with over 30M added annually at the current rate of uploading.
The company claims to detect fraud with more than 99% accuracy. That’s become especially pertinent as Spotify has eliminated royalties for songs with less than 1,000 songs, in a claimed effort to crack down on fraud. Fraud is also a major topic of conversation when it comes to artificial intelligence, a point of existential angst for many in the music industry.
Recently, Universal Music Group has also been up front when it comes to fair distribution of royalties, pulling its entire song catalogue from TikTok at the end of January. In a widely distributed open letter, the major record company accused the platform of “trying to build a music-based business, without paying fair value for the music,” according to a new open letter.
In the meantime, companies offering fraud detection or protection could have major value within the music industry. –David Farrell & Richard Trapunski
Tokyo Police Club Says Goodbye
Tokyo Police Club, one of the most successful Canadian indie rock bands of the last two decades, is calling it quits — but not before four more hometown goodbye shows in Toronto from Nov. 27-29 at History.
Though they began in Ontario, a press release announcing the band’s breakup says the members of the band are now spread out from Los Angeles to Toronto to Prince Edward Island.
In a joint statement signed by “Dave, Graham, Josh and Greg,” the group explains that, “It’s time for us to say goodbye! This band has meant so much to us for so many years, but all magical things must come to an end. Tokyo Police Club will always stand for the connection we have shared ever since we were teenagers, and it’s brought so many amazing people and moments into our lives.”
Tokyo Police Club was formed by four high school friends in Newmarket, Ontario, and comprises vocalist and bassist Dave Monks, keyboardist Graham Wright, guitarist Josh Hook, and drummer Greg Alsop. The group made a splash with an acclaimed debut EP, A Lesson In Crime, in 2006, going on to release two more EPs and five full-length albums and tour internationally, from Coachella to The Late Show with David Letterman.
Among other nominations, the band was twice up for the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year, in 2011 for Champ and in 2019 for TPC, its final full-length release.
After the band’s first goodbye show was announced, there’s been overwhelming demand for more. Now, it’s a four-night stand in Toronto. Additional live dates could also be in the works, they hint. –Kerry Doole
Last Week in Canada: Chilly Response to Pitchfork Changes
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