We don’t often visit trade association websites because most of them are deadly dull, bonechillingly boring and generally not the places you’d go online except to see if Anonymous had taken them down again. Musiccanada.com is a striking 180 from the typical.
First of all, the site is focused on Canadian artists. The first thing you see at Music Canada are images and information about Canadian artists. Not just major label artists, either, but a mix of indies and majors.
Having worked with Canadian artists for a good long time, I’m very respectful of the level of talent in all aspects of the Canadian record business. This goes from the old guard like Don Tarleton (who used to let Jerry Mercer and me do “security” at his shows so we could get front row seats at the Montreal Forum) to labels like Arts & Crafts, Indica Records and publishers like Ole. I would say Bruce Allen is in the old guard as well, except that he’d probably bite my head off, so I won’t. These are really world class outfits and Canada regularly produces world class artists.
Until the Music Canada site came along, there weren’t really many places to go that focused on Canadian recording artists, both developing and established. Instead of feeling like you’re at a site that’s some kind of econometric study of the music business with a few pictures of superstars tossed, I actually found out about a couple bands I didn’t know (like Tara Oram) and some I was learning about (like Bedoin Soundclash).
Another original feature is the “News from the Road” blog posts by Canadian artists on tour in Canada—this is not on the artist’s Facebook wall, but it’s on MusicCanada’s website. This is awesome—giving artists a platform on what is ultimately a website and organization for their benefit.
I’m sure the site will evolve and influence others, but it’s a vast improvement over what you typically see and I’d love to see other groups take a page from that book.
PS on the more mundane side, lawyers and licensing folk will find the guide for licensing music in Canada a handy resource.
If you don’t do this every day, it’s a good scorecard.