Billboard's Indie Power Players 2017 edition
Billboard's Indie Power Players 2017 edition

Robert Ott, Chris Taylor Recognized In Billboard's Indie Power List

Robert Ott, the ‘majorly indie’ co-founder and Chair of music publishing and rights firm ole, and Chris Taylor, president of Entertainment One Music, make this year’s Power List of achievers in the Indie music sector.

The two of them represent the two most influential and well capitalized entertainment firms on the Canadian landscape, and both recognized as significant and influential global players.

They join an august list of executives creating newfound opportunities for their clients by expanding the horizon of where income streams can be earned. These new streams often eclipse sales and streaming revenues with competitive rights packages drawing from sync rights from films, TV and commercials, sponsorships and tour packages.

Ott makes this list as follows:

"Majorly indie" is the slogan of ole, which represents writers from rock legend Rush to hitmaker Timbaland. Among the firm's recent successes, Ott cites the cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love" sung by American Idol alumna Haley Reinhart. BBDO chose her version for a viral spot for Wrigley gum -- which drew 78 million Facebook views within a week of its October 2015 release. "On the back of that, we self-released a single and an album of hers," says Ott. "It's a great example of what our company can bring to the table for our artists."

And Taylor, as follows:

When Taylor was named the president of Entertainment One (eOne) Music in February 2016, he moved to shut down the company's physical distribution arm to focus on its record label division, management arm and international reach. "We now have 40 artists under management," says the Windsor, Ontario, native, whose company is based in Toronto. One of those management clients, Arkells, sold out Toronto's 16,000-capacity Budweiser Stage amphitheatre in June. "We set the table for the band to achieve that level of ticket sales," says Taylor, "and we haven't hit the ceiling yet for them."

Both companies have offices in various cities across the globe, and both use outside capital to expanding their businesses. Entertainment One is traded on the London stock exchange, whereas ole uses private venture capital.

Entertainment One has revenues of more than C$2B and 1,530 employees spread across 11 companies with offices in LA, New York, Nashville, London, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Madrid, Munich, Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne.

Rights firm ole has operations in Toronto, Nashville, New York, London and Los Angeles, employs 150 people, plus 100 staff writers and composers, controls a catalogue of over 55,000 songs and 60,000 hours of TV/Film music, and has concluded over US$540M in acquisitions since it was launched in 2004.

The list has drawn criticism, however. Canada’s two executives fit the definition of truly independent firms, but the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has published a lengthy rebuttal to the list in Billboard, which in part reads:

“We are grateful to Billboard for finally recognizing the independent sector in this way. Unfortunately, Billboard''s editors chose their own, erroneous, definition of what the term ‘independent’ means.”

Continuing: “Sadly, approximately 11% of the companies that Billboard chose to honour as Independents are, in fact, wholly owned by major labels and 17.7% of the people on the list are employed by a major label. There is no known definition of ‘Independent’ that embraces 100% ownership by a major label.”

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