The Canadian Music Café

In collaboration with the Toronto International Film Festival, the Canadian Music Café is an industry forum where some of Canada’s hottest music acts can directly showcase their talent to international film and TV industry leaders. Presented and produced by five music organizations and supported by the government of Canada, this year’s event has a superb crop of 15 artists including Saukrates, Spiral Beach, Terri Clark and Hawksley Workman.

Michael Perlmutter, the coordinator of the event, handpicked this year’s lineup. He listened to approximately 230 submissions from all across Canada. “We find bands that work across various genres; we have country, jazzy pop, electro pop and really cool rock, and we have singer/songwriters and hip hop. We have a little bit of everything … the role of the Café is to showcase the best talent.”

With three days of performances (Sept. 15 to 17) at the Hard Rock Café the artists play during the day so industry people can come down to network and hang out. “It is not necessarily opened to the public but there will be a contest on a radio station to win some tickets to the shows … we would like some of the public there but we cannot have 100 or 200 fans showing up because the venue is too small and it is really an industry showcase.” Michael is particularly excited this year because there will be at least 12 music supervisors in attendance who work on American and UK productions.

Now in its fifth year, the Café has already provided a platform for over 60 musical acts and, as a result, many have gone on to secure song placements, publishing deals and showcases. Jill Barber, who was in the 2008 lineup, had her song “Chances” licensed for Degrassi: The Next Generation and three additional songs licensed for The L Word. One supervisor recommended her to Chrysalis Music Publishing, who signed a deal with Jill. This is just one of the many success stories that have come out of the forum.

For artists who aren’t as fortunate to be one of the chosen few, Michael offers some do-it-yourself advice to facilitate song placement and licensing. He suggests watching the credits of certain shows to find out who the music supervisor or editor is – then sending in your material. You can even go online to certain sites like to get this information. Also, knowing what kind of music they are looking for is critical. “Don’t make the mistake of sending in a country song to a show that is looking for hip hop music … There is always opportunity out there because you never know what song is going to be picked for what show … it is not a lottery, it just takes a lot of work.”