The early years of Canadian independent music

CIMA began as an informal group of independent producers and record labels, united in their concerns over the formation of broadcaster-owned production and record companies and the impact that this might have on their businesses.

A first meeting took place in 1971 and after only a couple of meetings it became obvious that a collective voice would be of tremendous value in many different areas to speak as the trade association for the growing Canadian independent sector of the music business.

This informal association continued for three years, until the group decided that a more formal organization was needed to address on an industry-wide basis the many issues of concern to the independent sector.

After taking the necessary legal steps, CIRPA was formally chartered as a non-profit trade association on the somewhat ironic date of July 4, 1975.

At first there were few other activities outside of meetings, but in 1976 the combination of monies from the Ontario Arts Council and revenues from a K-Tel package allowed CIRPA to hire Earl Rosen as Executive Director on a part time basis.

Over the next eleven years Earl and the membership were heavily involved in both industry and government. Particularly valuable achievements during this period were the formation and funding of FACTOR in 1982 and the introduction of the SRDP by the federal government in 1986.

Over its history CIRPA has benefited tremendously from its leadership. After a decade of continuous effort on behalf of the Canadian recording industry, Earl Rosen resigned in order to direct his full attention to his own companies.

He was replaced in September 1987 by the well-known music publisher and tireless copyright lobbyist Brian Chater who, due to a restructuring of CIRPA, later became the President and has occupied this position ever since.

The original board consisted of Terry Brown, Bernie Finkelstein, Greg Hambleton, Paul Hoffert, Jack Richardson, Mel Shaw and Tom Williams. Early Presidents included Greg Hambleton of Axe Records, Tom Williams of Attic Records as well as Bob Morten and John Watt.

Since then well-respected industry figures such as Vic Wilson, Andrew Hermant, Al Mair, Ray Danniels, Bernie Finkelstein and, currently, Earl Rosen have served as President and Chair of the Board of Directors.

CIRPA’s original objectives were to:

  • Promote the independent Canadian record production industry and to attain high standards of quality in record production in Canada
  • Provide a forum for the gathering, discussion and dissemination of information relating to independent record production in Canada
  • Promote the development of the recording arts and sciences in Canada and the development of indigenous Canadian recording talent

As the organization and the industry matured, the focus shifted and CIRPA’s (now CIMA) activities have centred on securing recognition of the economic value of a strong independent record industry, lobbying for copyright reform and keeping a close watch on Cancon regulations and broadcast regulatory matters.