Many of you won’t know his name, but if you are active in the music business, you owe him big time. On September 5th of this year, at the far too young age of 73, Brian Chater left us… and we can be angry at cancer yet again for the crime.
Born in England, but certainly refined, distilled and matured in Canada, Brian’s legacy is massive. As a music publisher, he had the foresight to sign a young Bryan Adams to his first publishing deal well before the rest of the industry recognized his talent. The Chater ears identified and developed many more nuggets from Michel Pagliaro to Eddie Schwartz to April Wine.
But he really began the heavy lifting when he recognized that in order to compete with the rest of the music world, little Canada needed some infrastructure improvement to help level the playing field. So he lobbied in Ottawa, formed industry associations, served on Boards and rallied the industry. The results? The current CanCon requirements for Canadian radio have Brian’s fingerprints all over them. E
ver heard of Factor? Brian was there in the building process too. He led the Canadian Independent Record Producers Association, which is known as CIMA today. He served at CMRRA, AVLA, CMPA, NRCC, Starmaker, CPCC, and his work with them is imbedded in all their foundations. Over and over again, he acted as activist, consultant and advisor to the government and the rest of the industry. Songwriters and artists were his heroes and inspiration.
Anyone who creates music for a living can thank Brian for the tireless work he put in to lobby for improved tariffs, legislation, royalty rates and the rights all Canadian creators enjoy today. He was a true warrior. Bill Henderson (of the band Chilliwack) once referred to Brian as the “Crusty Curmudgeon of Copyright”. And through it all, there was always his wicked British sense of humour, which endeared him to many.
So, next time you hear a Canadian artist on the radio, take a moment and give thanks for the life and work of Brian Chater.