An Interview with Warner Music Canada President, Steve Kane

Want to know what the Canadian president of a major record label thinks about the state of the industry? Larry LeBlanc interview Steve Kane of Warner Music Canada for Celebrity Access.

Any discussion with Steve Kane could afterward lead to the question: A businessman with the soul of a poet or vice versa?

President of Warner Music Canada since 2004, Kane can talk your ear off about a new artist he’s discovered in just about any musical genre you can name, and every weekend he can be spotted scurrying around Toronto record shops looking for new records. His record collection–between the singles, LP, CDs– is “somewhere north of 15,000.”

A fierce supporter of Canadian music and artists, this Edinburgh-born emigrant has long been on the front line fighting on behalf of creators’ rights, addressing government and the industry itself on issues affecting Canada’s creative community and its music industry.

Kane has been an integral part of the Canadian Warner affiliate since he joined in 2001 as senior VP and managing dir.

Kane’s perspective on the record industry and music in general has been honed by working on several sides of the business, including publishing a music fanzine and hosting a campus radio show while attending Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, and being a clerk at the now defunct, but revered, Record On Wheels outlet on Toronto’s Yonge Street..

He joined Warner after a most impressive run at its competitors: Senior VP at Universal Music (1999 – 2001); senior VP at Polygram Music Canada (1998-99); VP/GM at Virgin Records Canada (1996-97); and dir. of marketing PolyGram Group of Canada (1994-1996). He also held a marketing position at I.R.S. Canada.

Under Kane’s direction, Warner Canada’s distribution, marketing, and A&R operations were substantially overhauled, and the company became the first major label in Canada to launch its own direct-to-consumer, short code mobile content solution.

As well, Kane deeply broadened distribution ties and partnerships with some of Canada’s leading independent music imprints including Six Shooter Records (which departed in 2015), Coalition Music Records, Sonic Records, Stomp Group, Union Label Group, Road Angel, Cameron House Records, and Pacific Music Group while maintaining distribution of the venerable Stony Plain imprint.

Along the way, Canada’s music industry learned that Kane had “ears,” a rare ability to spot special talent.

Get the full interview here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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