Brian Chater helped build Canadian music industry
Chater, dead at 73, also helped Bryan Adams get his start
Canadian music industry executive Brian Chater, who died Sept. 5 at the age of 73.
By: Nick Krewen Music, Published on Tue Sep 10 2013
The man whose early belief in Bryan Adams helped the Kingston, Ont., native become one of the world’s biggest superstars has died at 73 after a long illness.
Brian Chater, who died Thursday, first saw promise in the 19-year-old Adams and his songwriting partner Jim Vallance back in 1979 when he was the head of Almo Irving Music Canada. He signed the duo to their first music publishing deal, clearing the path for an eventual A&M Records deal for Adams and sales of an estimated 100 million records.
But that was only one accomplishment in Chater’s nearly 40-year career. Serving as a record executive, music publisher, music industry association president and consultant, Chater, born in Sutton, England, helped evolve Canada’s independent music corps from a fledgling grassroots industry into an internationally respected and competitive force.
Serving as president of the Canadian Independent Record Production Association, (since renamed the Canadian Independent Music Association) from 1987 through 2006, he championed the interests of domestic-owned record companies, distributors, recording studios, producers and music publishers for the non-profit trade organization.
Emphasizing the importance of government ties with the music industry, Chater lobbied both the federal and provincial governments for direct recording, distribution and marketing funding, leading to the formation of FACTOR in 1982.
On the copyright front, Chater was instrumental in helping establish Neighbouring Rights — which allows recording session singers, musicians and performers to receive royalties for Canadian radio airplay and public performances of their sound recordings — and for legalizing home taping through a private copying levy on blank cassettes and CD-Rs, the proceeds of which were distributed to record companies, artists and songwriters.
In 2005, during a CRTC review of commercial radio airplay, he successfully lobbied against lowering Canadian content quotas, which currently sit at 35 per cent.
During his career, Chater also served as a long-time director of numerous organizations, including the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency; FACTOR (the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings); the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada; the Canadian Music Publishers Association and the Radio Starmaker Fund.
“A lot of the copyright legislation and different things that came about from either government or from radio that helped the overall industry came because of Brian Chater,” says Larry LeBlanc, veteran music industry trade journalist and senior editor of CelebrityAccess.
“Any musician in Canada should be thankful to Brian Chater for the path that he cleared away to get us to where we are in 2013.”
A private funeral will be held Wednesday in Toronto, with plans for a public memorial to be announced shortly.