BMG Pairs With Black Box for Major Push Into Canada

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BMG was a prominent force in Canada before the Sony joint venture and eventual buyout in 2008 but is returning for the first time since re-launching that year by Bertelsmann. The company has announced it is dedicating resources to A&R, marketing and promotion via a new partnership with Toronto-based independent Black Box Music, headed by Jason Murray.

Murray -- whose company includes label, management and publishing divisions -- will lead the operation in Canada, reporting to Zach Katz, BMG US president repertoire & marketing, and Jon Cohen, BMG EVP, Recorded Music.

"Canada has a long history of generating great artists," said Katz in a statement. "Canadian people are great music fans. So it is absolutely natural for us to have a strong presence in Canada. We have made no secret of our goal to build a recordings business as strong as our presence in music publishing. Scaling up in Canada with a trusted and credible partner like Black Box will enable us to further improve our service to artists."

Added Cohen: "Jason and his team are bright, knowledgeable, well respected and we are confident they will effectively serve as a direct extension of BMG's current US label hub. We have a great longstanding relationship with Black Box Music and look forward to continuing our partnership."

BMG has recently signed two of Canada's biggest artists, rock band Nickelback and pop singer-songwriter Avril Lavigne. Nickelback's new album, Feed The Machine, came out June 16 and debuted in the top 5 in the U.S., Canada, and other territories. Lavigne is currently working on her next album, due later this year.

BMG's publishing roster of Canadian songwriters includes the legendary Paul Anka, and Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings (The Guess Who), as well as WondaGurl (Drake, Rihanna, Travis Scott), Keys N Krates, NAV (Drake, Travis Scott), Jazzfeezy (Drake, T.I.), Jessie Reyez, and The Glorious Sons.

"In an ever-changing musical landscape that has more than ever before become an industry without borders, it's exciting to be part of a forward-thinking global music company," said Murray in a statement. "Watching firsthand what their team have built in both the publishing and recorded music businesses, in such a short period, is awe inspiring."

According to the 2017 IFPI Global Music Report, Canada is the world's sixth biggest global music market, and Nielsen figures show the nation's music market grew by 14.4 percent in the first half of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016.