Music

In Canada: Streaming Manipulation Sites Shut Down, Ex-Warner Music A&R Head Starts Management Firm

Nine sites that were selling fraudulent streams have been taken offline, according to IFPI and Music Canada.

IFPI, the worldwide recording industry association, and Music Canada, a trade group that represents major Canadian labels, filed a legal complaint with the Canadian Competition Bureau against the sites, accusing them of selling false plays and streams to manipulate streaming service data. The nine connected sites, the most popular of which used the domain name MRINSTA.com, have since gone offline (though you can still see them via the Wayback Machine).

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“Streaming manipulation has no place in music,” stated Lauri Rechardt, the IFPI’s chief legal officer. “Perpetrators and enablers of streaming manipulation cannot be allowed to continue to divert revenue away from the artists who create the music.”

As streaming has grown in popularity, so have efforts to game services’ royalty models. Vancouver-based fraud detection software company Beatdapp estimates that as many as 10% of music streams are fake. Fake streams are often generated through streaming farms, which use bots to automatically stream particular songs and boost their stats.

Canada recorded 145.3 billion streams in 2023. – Rosie Long Decter

Warner Music Canada’s Head of A&R Leaves to Start New Management Company, SWING

It was only January of this year that Victoria, B.C. pop-funk artist Diamond Cafe announced his signing to Warner Music Canada. Now, George Kalivas, the man who signed him, is breaking off on his own to manage him — and building a whole new company around the singer.

SWING is launching as a Toronto-based management company with Diamond Cafe as its first artist, though Kalivas says the eventual plan is to “evolve into a full-service record label in no time.” 

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Kalivas started in marketing at Warner Canada seven years ago, handling domestic artists signed to the label and international releases signed to subsidiaries like Atlantic and 300. But he had “one foot in A&R,” he says, which became official two years ago when Kristen Burke became label president.

His first signing was Crash Adams, a Canadian pop duo known for viral TikTok trends. After the joint launch of 91 North Records by Warner Canada and Warner India, Kalivas helped sign the label’s second artist, AR Paisley. A long-simmering Canadian rapper, Paisley hit the top 10 of the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 this year with “Drippy,” a posthumous collaboration with the late Punjabi-Canadian superstar Sidhu Moose Wala.

But it was Diamond Cafe who made him realize the time was right to strike off on his own, Kalivas says. “I haven’t seen a triple threat artist like him — writer, performer and producer — in 15 years,” he says. “He’s next level.”

As publishing and song catalogues become a major money-maker in the music industry, artists like Diamond Cafe who can work both in front of and behind the scenes are getting scouted heavily. For SWING, it’s enough to structure a whole new company around. – Richard Trapunski

Texas Songwriter Livingston Debuts on the Canadian Hot 100 With ‘Shadow’

Texas singer-songwriter Livingston is making a splash on the Canadian charts this week.

The 21-year-old has landed on the Canadian Hot 100 for the first time, with his single “Shadow” debuting at No. 100. The ominous tarck, which finds Livingston warning about the dangers we pose to ourselves, shows off his belt and falsetto over keyboard stabs and jittery percussion. “Shadow” is also performing well on the iTunes charts and has gathered over a million YouTube views since its Mar. 7 release.

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Livingston’s new album, A Hometown Odyssey, also found a spot on the Canadian Albums chart this week, debuting at No. 92. Livingston first gained popularity as a teenager on TikTok during the pandemic and signed shortly thereafter with Elektra records. His website states that he “reclaimed his independence” from his major label deal a year ago; Hometown Odyssey is independently released.

Independence seems to suit Livingston well. Though he isn’t charting on the U.S. Hot 100 or Billboard 200 yet, sometimes rising American artists — like Benson Boone — perform better in Canada before gaining steam in the United States. – Rosie Long Decter

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