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  Industry Profile

Industry Profile: Richard Mills

— By Larry LeBlanc

This week in the hot seat with Larry LeBlanc: Richard Mills

Placing Richard Mills, vice-president of performing arts, S.L. Feldman & Associates in Toronto, alongside other booking agents may be a mistake.

Apart stylistically from the pack, Mills follows his own goals (certain that the single thing that has any real value in his sphere is his clients working), labors largely away from the limelight, and achieves what he does from paying attention to fundamentals.

With offices in Vancouver and Toronto, S.L. Feldman & Associates, Canada’s largest full-service talent agency, represents over 125 artists, including Michael Bublé, Sarah McLachlan, Jann Arden and Nelly Furtado, and the Tragically Hip.

Mills, working with the SLFA team, oversees bookings for such Canadian acts as Jesse Cook, Sophie Milman, the Canadian Tenors, Molly Johnson, Ron Sexsmith, Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, Quartetto Gelato, Michael Kaeshammer, Jorane and others.

As well, he does bookings for the Chieftains, who are managed by affiliated Macklam/Feldman Management that also handles the management of Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell, Ry Cooder, and others.

Mills’ business style, if not his persona, has much to do with him being from the isolated prairie city of Winnipeg, Manitoba where the nearest interesting Canadian city is Calgary; and it's a 14-hour drive. Toronto is 24 hours away.

Music figures from Winnipeg tend to be individualistic, jack-of-all-trades types like, incidentally, Neil Young and Randy Bachman.

In 2003, the Weakerthans’ frontman John K. Samson penned a tongue-in-cheek homage to the hometown he shares with Mills. The tribute song was called "One Great City" and featured the chorus of “I hate Winnipeg.”

That might seem understandable when you come from a western Canadian city—with a population of slightly more than 700,000— where temperatures average below freezing from mid-November through March, dropping most nights below 11 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit.)

Despite this frosty backdrop, Winnipeg has had a vibrant music scene for decades. The city, in fact, stars in Neil Young’s multimedia autobiography “Neil Young Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972.” In the box set's first disc, entitled “Early Years,” 7 tracks recorded by Young's Winnipeg band, the Squires are included.

Over a street map of Winnipeg, in the 236-page hardbound book that comes with the package, are photos of Young playing local high schools, and standing outside the 4th Dimension coffeehouse where he first met Joni Mitchell.

Among the city's best-known bands around that time were Chad Allen & the Expressions (later renamed the Guess Who), Sugar 'N Spice, the Mongrels, the Fifth, Blakewood Castle, and the Gettysburg Address.

Many of these acts recorded for Franklin Records run by accountant Frank Weiner, whose Hungry I Agency provided Mills with his first entertainment contact.

The ‘70s and ‘80s brought a hard rock vibe to Winnipeg’s music scene with Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Harlequin, and the Pumps leading the way. In the late 1980s, the Crash Test Dummies emerged.

Mills started his career as the director of programming for the University of Manitoba. Then he worked for two years as an in-house agent at Paquin Entertainment Group which managed such popular children acts as Fred Penner, Norman Foote and Al Simmons.

Mills joined S.L. Feldman as an agent for the launch of its Toronto office in 1993. He became dir. of performing arts touring in 2004, and vice-president of performing arts in 2007.

In his various positions, Mills has worked closely with Canadian government officials planning Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa for the past 12 years; overseen bookings for the Du Maurier Concert Stage's performing arts program in Toronto for 7 years; and bookings for First Canadian Place's Arts and Events Series , also in Toronto, for 15 years.

At the same time, Mills has also increasingly developed opportunities for his clients internationally, including in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, and Japan.

Last month, he was part of a team that organized a concert event in Giza, Egypt featuring veteran Canadian singer Tom Cochrane.

You now travel a great deal. Are you trying to grow a more international business?

We are a global company, and have been for a number of years. Jeff Craib (senior vice-president) works extensively in Australia, and South America; and Shaw Saltzberg (senior vice-president) has been working extensively in Australia, South America, and quite a bit in Europe.

This business is evolving, and the opportunities for great talent are evolving. Canada is not a big place, and we have some great talent. Molly Johnson has had success in France, for instance. Sophie Milman is successful in Japan. This year, Jesse Cook is going to Turkey, Poland, Ireland, Germany and England. Last year, he was in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

The way the Internet works -- with people having the ability to now find product, and how talent is seen in different places -- there are more markets available. Development (of international markets) has probably happened in the past 8 or 9 years, but the Internet has sped it along. We have promoters from all over the world, and different parts of the United States, contacting our office, looking to connect with our clients. So opportunities reside with that (activity). We are following that, and growing outside of the (core) business. But you really have to do your research (to be successful in international markets).

Do you book in the U.S.?

I’m doing more bookings there now because of the relationships I have built up over time. I am now booking the Canadian Tenors there. They are currently on tour with David Foster. They have had a very good year. I think we have 75 dates on the books for them this year. I believe in them, and I have a sense of what’s going on with them.

Were the dynamics of booking family acts early in your career any less adversarial than booking rock or pop acts?

It was pretty congenial (booking family acts). There’s sort of an old school way of doing business, when you are trying to talk a person past the number, and make them do what you need them to do--as opposed to understanding their business, and figuring out what the best thing is to do, and coming up with something that is effective. With my early experiences, I didn’t have that feeling (that was happening). If you listen to the other person, and figure out what the reality is, you can usually stitch together something that is effective for both sides.

Given the tough economic times, shouldn’t booking agents today look at a promoter’s overall business in the market when booking?

Well, you have to. If you are doing things without consideration of the marketplace or an understanding of what a relative ticket price is; and, if you are not listening to the local promoter saying, “We can’t get that ticket price here” and things start failing all around you, you only have yourself to blame.

I think that back in the day, when people threw stuff at a wall, and were trying to figure out what would stick, there were going to be winners and losers. It was a volume business based on certain things. As that thinned out, it came down to being a business of relationships.

If you understand the long-term interests of clients, and you can create a balance that people can win at -- if they are contributing to each other -- then you are going to have a long-term business.

The recession isn’t as bad in Canada as it is in the U.S., but venues are scaling back or cutting guarantees. How are your acts reacting to that?

You have to have a dialogue back and forth with clients. If you don’t, you aren’t really servicing the clients that you are working with. You educate the artist or whoever is involved in their business. Then they can then choose whether they will go forward or not (with a booking). Or you create a different option. Or you choose not to play (the date), and you come back a different day when things are stronger, and more vibrant.

Artists come and go, but venues or promoters generally remain in place, and you have a continuing relationship with them. Don’t agents really have two masters?

We work and service the artists that we represent.

If an agent has a 20-year relationship with a promoter don’t lines get blurred?

It’s a balance. If you are dealing with people fairly, and if you go through each transaction as it is; and if you are upfront about how things are going to go, you will maintain the relationship (with a promoter). Some times things just don’t work out. Some times, you have to work with different promoters. Some times, an artist is evolving through a system. You have to be aware of what is going on in the marketplace.

What are the differences of working in Canada from the U.S.?

It’s easier to create a national identity in Canada because we are smaller (as a marketplace), although we have a large geographic space. We have fewer markets. So, if you want to build a national story, you have fewer markets to go to get to that place. In America, you have to hit a lot more markets to be a success, regionally or nationally. That takes more doing there.

You have had considerable success in building jazz singer Sophie Milman’s career.

When I took her on, the most tickets she had sold in Toronto was probably 200. I recognized that her potential, given the records she had sold in the region, was much higher. The step of creating a ticketed event that was in line with her ability to draw, had not been done. So, we took on the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto with roughly 980 seats three years ago. We worked with Live Nation, put the story out there, and she sold out the show. She didn’t believe that could happen. But it was due; the step just hadn’t been taken.

If an artist makes their mark in Toronto, does that give you a story for the rest of Canada?

To a degree. Certainly, by selling out the Winter Garden Theatre, people started taking notice of Sophie, and we worked with some of the jazz festivals. But, because she was still emerging (nationally), many people also didn’t care what she was doing. And, the record was two years old at that point. [Linus Entertainment released Milman's self-titled debut in Canada in 2004.]

What was the next step taken in Sophie’s career?

We had a new record ("Make Someone Happy" in 2007), and we wanted to make a larger statement. To their credit, Live Nation was buoyed by the success that we had created with her. They worked with us in partnership, and we were able to find space at Massey Hall in Toronto.

Before that, an opportunity came up for Sophie to open for Cesária Évora at Roy Thompson Hall.

Sophie ended up on the front cover of the in-house program that goes in both Massey Hall and Roy Thompson Hall. It’s a striking picture. All of the brochures disappeared. You couldn’t find one.

Then, at the Roy Thompson Hall show, Sophie made a bunch of fans when she shared her story of being at Roy Thomson Hall as a young girl with her father, who didn’t have much money at the time, and he bought two front row tickets to see Oscar Peterson. She shared that story, and won everybody’s hearts.

When it became time to do Massey Hall the following year, the marketing department there chose her to be the cover of their (subscription) brochure. A couple of hundred thousand brochures were done. She went on to sell out Massey Hall.

[Milman was born in Ufa, Russia -- on the slopes of the Ural Mountains -- but her family immigrated to Haifa, Israel, when she was 7. At 16, Milman was uprooted again when the family moved to Canada.]

What stage is Sophie’s career at now?

Her third album (“Take Love Easy”) has come out. She’s been to Japan four times. This coming year, we will be focusing on Europe. Her career in America is continuing. We are doing performing arts business there with her and her bookings have grown. I work closely with Ed Keane (Ed Keane Associates) who does the day-to-day in the (U.S.). We have to co-ordinate a lot of information back-and-forth for the different territories we are working on with her.

There has also been a remarkable career evolution with guitarist Jesse Cook in the past few years.

I’m going into my 14th year working with Jesse. A festival buyer in Quebec; Jean Beauchesne at Festival D’ete in Quebec City; gave me a record one day. I was staying in Quebec City on a Sunday, and I was in a hotel that had a CD player. I only had one CD to play, and it was his. By the time I had finished, I had worked myself up into a frenzy to get on the phone and connect (with him). The music really spoke to me. It was different than what I had been working with before. I connected with his then manager. Two weeks later, an opportunity (for a show) came up that I knew he would be great for, and I sent it to them with no obligation. Two weeks later, I did it again. Eventually, they decided to make a change, and we’ve been working together ever since.

One of the first shows we did together was in Montréal for 200 people in a little room above the Spectrum (club) that isn’t there anymore. This summer, Jesse filmed his DVD for PBS in front of 60,000 people during the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Jazz Festival. He has now sold over a million records throughout the world.

Last month, you organized a concert event in Giza, Egypt near the site of the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid, and a number of other large pyramids and temples.

This was an event for a Canadian firm that I can’t disclose The company was creating a special incentive experience for 900 people. The company has been doing these events every two years for 12 years. Since the owner is attached to music in the past, it usually has involved a concert. In this case, it was a cruise to Greece, a day trip to the pyramids, and a concert event at the pyramids with Tom Cochrane performing. We were part of a team that executed it. It was an amazing experience. It was the first private event ever done there.

Difficult to pull off?

There were a lot of logistics, and many challenges in doing it, including that we had to load in the middle of the night. While we had to overcome a huge number of obstacles, the setting was amazing.

Coming out of a situation like that only reinforces my ability to do more things, and understand where more opportunities lie. That event started as someone had a problem that they couldn’t solve; and I said, “I can make a difference with this.” And, one step at a time, we were able to make the event a reality.

Does S.L. Feldman & Associates do many corporate bookings?

It has become a segment of our business, and it is a sector that growing. Once you understand the relationship of what the need is (for the event), and you respect what’s going on with the client, then you are able to make it so the event is a win-win for both parties.

Some (corporate) people understand that they should have incentive events for staff or create promotional opportunities or build (in-house) confidence and build their brand. If they don’t do anything, they aren’t in motion. If they do, they are going to create further (brand) association or whatever the result they are looking for.

You book numerous major events, including shows at the First Canadian Place skyscraper in the financial district of Toronto.

A great lady Brenda Parres called me about 15 years ago, when she worked for (the international property development firm) Olympia and York. Her company wanted to put some entertainment into their common space of their building which has a community of about 11,000 people. Try as she might, (no booking agents) were returning her calls because she was what nobody else was. She wasn’t a club or a bar or this or that.

I sat down with her, and she told me what she wanted to accomplish, and I married that to the needs of my clients. The value of having something in downtown Toronto was not different than the common space I booked back in university--in terms of its ability to expose a very specific audience base to established and emerging artists that will lead to people buying records or tickets for shows.

We started modestly with a few concerts here and there. So far we’ve done 120 events at First Canadian Place (now run by Brookfield Properties). We do four or five events in the winter; four or five in the fall; and we do events in the summer there. It is one of three properties around the world that the company does that kind of programming in. They do it in New York and London as well.

How does First Canadian Place promote the events?

They do a full color brochure with an 11,000 print run that goes on everybody’s desk in the space. They have an email list of that 25-35,000 people have signed up for. What we try to do now is time artists doing launches with their product, and coincide that with the needs of the space. We’ve had Il Divo there for an autograph signing, and Paul Potts recently did an event there. He certainly moved a lot of CDs.

When you were in high school did many big shows come to Winnipeg in the ‘80s?

Nite Out Entertainment was putting most of those shows through back then. There would probably be four or five shows a year. I didn’t go to many shows. The Police was one that was a really pivotal show for me. The band came through on its ‘Synchronicity’ Tour. I went on a concert trip to Minneapolis to see the Cars. It was on one of those bus (trips) with an all inclusive ticket. I was a kid on a trip checking things out, and really going for the music. The experience was great because the show was in an arena in Minneapolis.

The production value of both those shows was bigger than what we usually got. The two shows really got me into thinking that it would be great to be involved in the music business in some way in the future.

In those days, touring bands wouldn’t take their full production to Winnipeg because it’s so remote.

Exactly. The economics and the routing were challenging. Winnipeg is 8 hours from a lot of (big) places, and 6 hours from a few places that are smaller. In those days, ticket prices weren’t what they are now, either. (Shows in Winnipeg) all came down to the routing, and who was planning what at the time.

Why did you become a booking agent?

While I’m proud of being an agent today, I had once said that I would never become an agent. In the early ‘90s, when I was a talent buyer (at the University of Manitoba) I was exposed to different agents, and their way of doing business. I just didn’t have a relationship with these people. They were trying to sell me things for inflated prices—at least in my opinion.

Your early ambition was to become an entertainment lawyer?

I got involved in the entertainment program at the university to understand entertainment, and to apply that to law, which I was studying for. In the process of doing that I realized that the business is based on relationships, and what I enjoyed doing most was creating events. One of the roles in creating events was agenting. But I didn’t believe in what agents stood for at the time.

In essence, as the director of programming for the University of Manitoba, you were the employer.

I was the employer. I hooked up with Ralph James (today president, The Agency Group in Toronto). He was coming off the road (as bassist) with Harlequin and looking for opportunities. He was working at the Hungry I Agency. I thought that if I put Ralph in charge of being sort of my gatekeeper (in booking at the university)--in terms, if you want to do business with me, you had to go through Ralph—then I would get a fair shake (in booking touring acts), and I would be able to deal with someone that was close to me.

You figured Ralph had a better relationship with agents in Toronto and Vancouver?

Absolutely. He was also looking at making his mark as an agent himself. We ended up doing a lot of events. I had studied (national) maps and I recognized that there were two places (a band is) driving in a van across Canada have to go through twice--Winnipeg and Thunder Bay (Ontario). We created a situation where we would try a band out in the common space (of the university) for free or low money; and, if they went over well with people, we would bring them back a couple of weeks later on their return run back from either Toronto or Vancouver.

There were a whole range of artists passing through. Not only emerging artists but also emerging managers were passing through. They were tour managers first. Everyone had different roles. During that time I bought Tragically Hip for $400. They were just beginning. We also had the Northern Pikes and Loreena McKennitt.

At some point, you realized you weren’t going to be a lawyer?

Yes, much to the chagrin of my mom. She had been really pushing me to be a lawyer—“Be a lawyer first, and then you can catch the rest of it later.” I finished the programming job at the university. You could only do it for a maximum of two years. I did from 1987 to 1989. I recognized that for my heart to be in this business, I needed to shift gears.

What had happened to those who done the university job before you?

A lot of them went (into the entertainment business) with some degree of success, but they didn’t go as far as they could. There were limits. They would go from this close environment of promoting at the university, where there were 29,000 students, into a field where you are dealing with the public, and competing with business interests.

I recognized that I had been in a real privileged situation (booking at the university). I had been spending other peoples’ money. I was in the middle of the (music industry) ladder. I recognized that I had to go to the bottom rung of the ladder, and work my way up from the bottom to get a connection to reality.

You went to work at West Sun, a production services company.

I was the rental manager there for six months. It came down to, “Do I really want to be in this business? Do I really care about it?” I was managing a group called the Johns from Winnipeg. I was working in the rental shop. I was learning how to coil cable, rewire lamps and load trucks at 30 below. There’s only one way to do it; the right way. I was also doing some stage management at the Red River Exhibition.

You were also hanging around with Ralph James at Frank Weiner’s Hungry I Agency which was the premier entertainment booker in Manitoba for decades.

Yes, Frank was there for years. I would go after work, and pick up my contracts at the Hungry I Agency. I would hang around and just sit and listen to what Frank was saying. He had a style. Ralph had a style. And (agent) Rob Hoskin (who passed away Feb. 28 2009) rest in peace, he had a style. I really got a sense of some of the challenges that went with (being an agent). I found the process of (creating) relationships, and the different approaches they took to (business) quite interesting.

The agency was a microcosm (of the music world). It was a world that does not exist as much today because that level of business doesn’t exist to the same degree anymore. These guys were in the front line.

They were dealing with the Top 40 and rock world then.

They were part of a network within a robust Top 40 business where there were bands driving around in converted school buses—a sleeper in the front and the equipment in the back—going out to far flung places for a week at a time. Hungry I would move bands around to North Battleford (Saskatchewan) or Thompson (Manitoba), all the way across the west. The network went into Ontario as well. it was like another world.

Did you tour with bands?

I didn’t go out on tour with any of the bands. I went with my group the Johns to a college conference. But, I did do some driving across western Canada. So I know what it’s like to drive in a van overnight between Winnipeg and Calgary. It’s sort of like a shakedown cruise. You really find out what people are made of when they wake up in the morning, and they haven’t really slept or eaten.

Winnipeg has always had a very contained scene. But then A&R people from Toronto flew over the city on their way to Vancouver.

That’s quite true. And the music scene in Winnipeg then was vibrant. Live music was in vogue, and things were just really starting to connect. You still had the odd Top 40 group, but original music bands, and recording artists (from elsewhere) were being welcomed; people were being inquisitive in checking things out. The Crash Test Dummies were working in a club called the Spectrum.

You went to work as an in-house agent at Paquin Entertainment Group in Winnipeg in 1991.

After university, I figured that If I could earn an honest wage and still have my heart in (the music business) then I would stick with it. If it didn’t, then I would go. That was my litmus test. After six months, I still had my heart in it, and there was an opportunity to become an in-house agent for this management company, Paquin Entertainment Company. I was there two or three years.

What was interesting is that I went into a different realm (from booking at the university). I was doing family entertainment which was what their specialty was. They managed Fred Penner, Norman Foote who was on Walt Disney Records, and Al Simmons, an incredible vaudevillian performer. Fred’s television show “Fred Penner's Place” had been added to Nickelodeon in the United States, and they needed someone to help strategize what was going on.

They worked with an agency in America, Triad Artists, which was doing a good job but they didn’t have anyone else quite like Fred. So, we’d get the odd date here and there, and we’d have to find other dates to tie into it to make things work. Then, for awhile, I’d book the shows, and I’d go and tour manage the shows. Fred had a tour manager, but I was the backup guy. We were going into theatres in the United States, and I got exposed to an entire different world than I had grown up in. But, it was still all relationship based.

Canadian acts like Raffi, Sharon Lois & Bram and Fred Penner pioneered the children’s’ market in North America.

Absolutely. People in that realm had a very high opinion of Canadian artists then. I took the position that (our company) had the best live family entertainment artists available. I also took the position with a lot of these theatre people that booking those shows was the future of their theatre audience. If they brought people into the theatre when they were young, and created a formal experience for them, they would come back. More importantly, they brought their parents to the show. Every time, they sold a fan of one of those shows, they sold 4 tickets. A 5-year-old kid doesn’t drive to the theater by themselves. They bring mom and dad and usually a brother or sister or a friend. We’d load into these places and our night was done by 8 P.M. The evening show was only an hour long. We’d also do matinees.

All the time, you were then building relationships in the business.

It was a great time. I really learned about the business from going to booking conferences in the United States, and connecting after hours with all of the different agents that were working the booths. You’d go out and have a beer or dinner and you’d talk and connect. When I did a bunch of these conferences week after week, I got to know people. People would give me advice. I’d connect with other people. Again, it was relationships.

I also started getting a sense of how to be an agent from a different point of view than the way I had originally experienced it. I started warming up to the fact that this was something I could do, and feel good about. I could create my own style, and then grow from there.

The grounding at Paquin sounds like a template for your career at S.L. Feldman.

I would credit that. What I learned was that you have to learn where yours strengths are. Not spending all my time working in the rock world has really worked out well for me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t sell rock shows, but I do have an understanding (of the bigger picture).

How did you come to work S.L. Feldman & Associates in Toronto?

Shaw Saltzberg hired me. I did a pitch to him in Vancouver for a festival for little kids. Something in that pitch stuck with him. When they were looking to open an office in Toronto, he remembered me. There were four desks they were hiring for. What they wanted was not a rock guy. Sam (Feldman) and the team had a vision that what would be grown was not just (the rock music) business. They recognized that something in me was different.

I came in when they started (the office) in Toronto. I was 26. Steve Herman was in charge there for the first 19 months or so. The (agent) team was Bernie Breen, Jeff Craib and myself.

There were several perquisites for the agents hired for Toronto.

We had to have had success in business already. We had to be under 30. And we had to be not from Toronto.

The Agency (not to be confused with The Agency Group) then dominated the market in eastern Canada.

Sam and the team at the time had tried to co-ordinate work with The Agency. But there were two different schools of business, and it led to inevitable conflicts that they couldn’t fix. They tried to buy The Agency, and tried to do an integration of the two organizations. In the end, they worked out an arrangement where The Agency ceased to exist, and Vinny Cinquemani (today president of S.L. Feldman) came in with us. It was an interesting time because the recording industry was rolling, and there were a lot of projects going on.

Cape Breton fiddler Ashley MacIsaac was one of your first signings.

That happened within about six months of my being in Toronto. I signed him before he signed with a record label. I saw him in Newfoundland at a music conference. It was an amazing performance, and I knew that I had to be part of what he was doing. I also knew that what he did fit the exact demographic of not being rock. So I met with his then manager Sheri Jones, and we ended up forging a great relationship that continues to this day.

Working with Ashley MacIsaac was a ride.

It was a major ride. He went from relative obscurity to four times platinum (400,000 units in Canada for his 1995 album “Hi How Are You Today?”) in a very short time. Then back to obscurity; then back up again; and back down again. I did the first and second rise, and then I called it quits. He created some situations for himself which were challenging, and I would not be part of it. He still remains a great artist; and what he did at the time is unrivaled.

Meanwhile, you were also forging more relationships.

Absolutely, and around the world. Ashley went to Ireland, Brazil, Japan; he went all over. I learned a lot in that early period. When I came to Feldman, I thought I knew a lot but I soon recognized that I had a lot to learn. When I first started, my mission was to try and build a foundation of business in a way that hadn’t been done before. That took many years.

You were the country agent at S.L. Feldman while it was still doing country.

I was working with Michelle Wright, Julian Austin and Leahy while growing the performing arts (business) in this country. I didn’t know anything about country. It took me a few years to learn that side of the business. I’m proud that I was voted (the Canadian Country Music Association’) Country Agent of the Year for two years in a row by the community.

Country is like family entertainment.

It is but it is very political.

You are like the utility ball player that can be placed in any position.

I’m like a chameleon in a way. I fit into just about any situation that I am put in. But I have to have an understanding of what I’m doing, and a sense of the objective. Then I figure out how to make things work.

What makes a great artist?

Great artists deliver great experiences. There are a lot of artists that deliver concerts, but those who deliver great experiences are rare. The ones that do are going to grow because word-of-mouth spreads. I have been blessed (to work with some great artists). I am always on the look out for what the next thing is. I couldn’t tell you what it is. That’s the exciting part of this business.

Larry LeBlanc was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard from 1991-2007 and Canadian editor of Record World from 1970-89. He was also a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record. He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, the London Times and the New York Times.

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