Updated: Jul 10, 2019
Let’s be honest. The music industry in Quebec has been mostly untouched by the major labels in the past years. Yes, Sony Music has some people working in Montreal and some local labels are distributed by the majors but none of them were really established here. Things are about to change. Universal Music Canada is opening a new office in the old port under the name Maison Barclay. The name comes from Disques Barclay which is a 50 year old French label also under Universal. Although independent from the French label, this new organization's goal is to bring the rather non-exploited talent pool of Montreal to the rest of the world. According to Jeffrey Remedios, CEO of Universal Music Canada, they will focus on French-Canadian artists first but are open to working with English acts in the future.
So why now? The music industry is in a better place than it was a couple of years ago. The consumption has never been better, the industry is on the rise, and the globalization of music makes the language barrier less and less important. The doors are now open to a brand new era of artists and labels using the latest technologies to bring their creation to the market. Also, Montreal is well-known all over the world for its festivals and talented musicians. It was just a matter of time before the big names asked for a share of market.
What about the local scene? According to Sophie Barbe, director of sales and marketing at Universal Music Canada, they want to add value to the Quebec music industry and not harm it. They are even planning on working with the local organizations already in place.
We will have to wait to see what the consequences of this move are. Now that one of the majors is here, are the others going to pursue a more proactive role in Montreal’s music scene? Are we going to see a real benefit from it? I think the future is bright for the global music industry and if Montreal and Canada can have a bigger piece of the pie, then I say "why not".
What are your thoughts? Is it suitable for our local scene?