Remembering Brian Chater

Posted on
September 9, 2013
Tagged as
CIMA, CIMA News, membership


brian_chater_small_photoOn behalf of the Board of Directors and the staff of CIMA, it is with deep sorrow that we inform you of the passing of Brian Chater, former President of CIMA from 1987-2006.

Brian was loved and respected by those who worked with him and witnessed his devotion and commitment to the Canadian independent music sector. His hard-work and vision throughout the years inspired and helped create some of the policies and institutions that remain the pillars of our industry today.

He worked tirelessly with all industry organizations and associations to strengthen the infrastructure for a self-sustaining Canadian-owned, independent music industry.

Our condolences and thoughts are with Brian’s family, especially his devoted wife Mary Ellen, who supported him through his long-fought battle over the past ten years. Brian was a fighter with a heart.

Brian was a man of principle and integrity, and his influence helped shape today’s Canadian music industry. He will be missed.

"A musician or label working in Canada today might not know how much Brian Chater has helped them, because much of the work he did was behind the scenes. As the head of CIMA (then called CIRPA) for two decades, his advocacy work resulted in stronger copyright law, the protection of CanCon, and the development of direct funding programs such as FACTOR. He tackled these issues with vision and tenacity, making it possible for Canadian artists and labels to flourish both at home and internationally. He is one of the greatest unsung heroes of our time. The debt we owe Brian is enormous, and his contribution and legacy will continue to be felt by countless independent artists, managers, labels, and more. He will be sorely missed."
Shauna de Cartier, Chair, CIMA

“There is a Canadian independent music industry because of Brian Chater. He was involved in everything from CanCon to FACTOR . He was a great mentor and my friend. I will miss him.”
Pegi Cecconi, Director, CIMA

“Brian's legacy is one of great accomplishment for the Canadian music industry. It is no exaggeration to say that our industry would be that much weaker were it not for Brian's tremendous efforts over the years to ensure that labels, publishers and artists alike were supported. We are all that much better for what Brian gave to Canadian music. He was always generous with his time and readily shared his expertise with me whenever I called upon him for advice. I join the rest of the industry in saying I will miss him very much."
Stuart Johnston, President, CIMA

Brian Chater was a tireless fighter for artists, publishers and record Companies alike. His contributions, while at the helm of CIRPA/CIMA, have had a long lasting impact on our industry and certainly their effects will be felt for decades to come. Both a friend and mentor, Brian paved the way for many of us to succeed in achieving our goals and we all owe Brian a huge debt of gratitude. He will be sorely missed.”
Jim West, former Chair and Director, CIRPA/CIMA

"Brian Chater was a great champion of Canadian music. His work on behalf of CIMA (CIRPA), Canadian Content, Copyright and Canadian Independent Labels was unparalleled. I loved working with Brian as a board member as well as in my role of Chair of CIMA. He was a great friend and inspiration. He will be missed."
Bernie Finkelstein, former Chair and Director of CIRPA/CIMA

“Brian provided extraordinary leadership and vision to CIRPA/CIMA during a very crucial time for the independent sector, with the birth and growth of FACTOR and Radio Starmaker Fund, the Canada Music Fund, the implementation of neighbouring rights and private copying tariffs, and the consolidation of the major labels. His commitment to Canadian music was unwavering. It is ironic that CIRPA was started in the late 1970s to oppose Brian when he worked with CHUM Radio to establish the short-lived Much Records. The independents were concerned that a radio station-owned label would receive more favourable air play. In 1987, Brian and I switched roles. He was a CIRPA board member when I was Executive Director, and when he succeeded me in that position, I joined the CIRPA board, so we worked closely together for more than 30 years.

People who know Brian through CIRPA/CIMA may be unaware that he had a very successful career as a music publisher. Brian had great ears for hits – he signed Bryan Adams to a publishing agreement long before any label was interested in him, and signed April Wine and Michel Pagliaro, both of whom went on to great success.”
Earl Rosen, Former Executive Director and Director of CIRPA

"Brian was the epitome of a crusader for fair treatment for creators and their partners. He spent countless hours researching deeply into whatever situation he was preparing for, be it a CIRPA or CMRRA board meeting, a CRTC hearing, or whatever else was thrown on his plate. He was one of a kind, with unwavering good humour and commitment. The Canadian music industry was lucky to have had his leadership for so many years."
Alexander Mair, former President and Director, CIRPA

The Legacy of Brian Chater

Brian Chater was involved in the music business in both Canada and the UK for more than fifty years.

By the age of twenty-one he had already progressed to become Copyright Manager of Mills Music in London, England and, through the years, continued to have wide-ranging knowledge and expertise in this extremely important area. Brian had an excellent grasp of cross-sector issues and was knowledgeable of current trends and issues in the music business. He came to Canada in 1966, initially to run Burlington Music of Canada. Over the years he has overseen companies such as Summerlea Music and Irving-Almo Music, signing such writers as Bryan Adams, April Wine and Michel Pagliaro. He continued to operate his own music publishing company Avenue Road Music Group, and acted as an industry consultant operating as BC Music and Consulting.

He was active for many years in the ‘business’ of music, having served on the board and committees of the Canadian Music Publishers Association and as President from 1983-1986. He also served as a long-time director of the Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency and acted as Chair for both the Governance and Finance Committees of the Agency.

Brian was President of the Canadian Independent Record Production Association (since renamed the Canadian Independent Music Association) for nearly 20 years from 1987 until March 2006, where he represented the interests of the Canadian owned independent recording sector at all levels and worked to ensure not just the survival, but the prosperity of the sector, through policy, regulatory and financing initiatives.

He was a Director of FACTOR for many years (the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records which has been renamed the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), a founding Director of the NRCC (Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada, since renamed Re:Sound) and for two years was the Chair of that organization. From 2004 to 2007 he was a Director of Radio Starmaker Fund and was a consultant to the CPCC (Canadian Private Copying Collective) since its inception in 1999. He was Co-chair of the Federal Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Music Industry that reported to the Heritage Minister in 1996. He also acted as a consultant to industry collectives and wrote countless reports on the music industry for various clients. As well, he served on several policy groups advising the government on policy and music related issues.


  • Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA) – Since 1979 (President 1983 – 86)
  • Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency (CMRRA) – Since 1982
  • Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records (FACTOR) – 1982 – 1985 / 1988 – 2006 - Founding Director
  • Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada (NRCC) – From 1997 - 2007 – Founding Director
  • Radio Starmaker Fund – From 2004 - 2007
  • He also served as a Director of FACTOR/MUSICACTION and AVLA (Audio Video Licensing Association) for many years

Task Forces and Committees

  • Co-Chair Federal Task Force on the Music industry 1995-96
  • Member Statistics Canada Working Group on Music Industry Statistics 1995
  • Member National Advisory Committee on Cultural Statistics –1994-1997
  • Member National Training Sectoral Council 1993-94
  • Member Federal Policy Group on the Future of Radio 1991-92
  • Member Department of Communications – Committee on the future of Convergence 1991


  • 1999 - 2012 Consultant to CPCC (Canadian Private Copying Collective)
  • 1999 Consultant – Report to CCMA on the Independent Sector and Canadian Country Music
  • 1998 Consultant – Report on the Music Industry in Nova Scotia
  • 1995 Consultant to Study and Report on Newfoundland Music Industry
  • 1992 Consultant to SOCAN re: Radio Tariff hearings
  • 1989 - 2006 Consultant to the Canadian Music Industry Database
  • 1987 - 2012 Consultant to the Canadian Independent Music Association (formerly the Canadian Independent Record Production Association)
  • 1987 Consultant to Pro Canada re: Radio Tariff Hearings of the Copyright Appeal Board
  • 1986 Music Consultant to Caplan-Sauvigeau Federal Task Force


  • CMW, March 2004, Industry Builder Award
  • SOCAN, November 24, 2003, Special Achievement Award
  • Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, June 9, 2000, Outstanding Contribution to the Canadian Music Industry
  • FACTOR, February 27, 2002 – Recognition of Extraordinary Support
  • Canadian Songwriters Award (SAC), November 30, 1993, Advancing the Interests of the Music Creators of Canada

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