All posts by Craig Clemens

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PCM Technologies Ranks on PROFIT 500 List For Sixth Year In A Row

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Canadian Business and PROFIT magazine today ranked PCM Technologies on its annual PROFIT 500 list, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. Published in the October issue of Canadian Business and at, the PROFIT 500 ranks Canadian businesses by their five-year revenue growth and PCM Technologies is proud to say that this is their 6th year in a row to rank on the list.

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What Does Your Brand Sound Like? Exploring The Sound Of Topgolf

By | Background Music | No Comments

Topgolf is a sports entertainment facility headquartered in Dallas, Texas with locations throughout the United States and the UK and are touted as a premier entertainment and event venue with a fun point-scoring golf game, upscale resto-bar and great music.

To better understand what goes in the sound of Topgolf, I sat down with Zack McNair, the Prescriptive Music consultant who handles the the Topgolf account.  During our conversation we discuss the overall concept, the art of choosing the right songs, promotional content and how he goes about tackling the task of creating the music schedules that he does.

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What Does Your Brand Sound Like? Exploring The Sound Of The Cheesecake Factory

By | Background Music | No Comments

The Cheesecake Factory has built its reputation by striving to take care of every guest, every day at every meal while delivering a unique guest experience. Part of that unique guest experience is the music selection that plays in the background while guests are dining.

To better understand what goes into the sound of The Cheesecake Factory, I sat down with Annie Hemming, the Prescriptive Music consultant who handles the The Cheesecake Factory account.  During our conversation we discuss her past work, her work with the brand, her creative process, the music selections and just how the brand’s lists are updated simultaneously to over 200 of The Cheesecake Factory locations worldwide.

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The Importance Of Music For People (and Brands)

By | Background Music, Branding | No Comments

The world has so many languages, but music is universal and can be understood by all. In a recent study, music has been shown to be an invaluable art form that people interact with on a daily basis – among musicians and non-musicians alike.

In fact, a survey about the arts’ impact on public spaces shows music to be ranked higher and more important than visual art, movies or sports. And when asked what people couldn’t live without in their daily lives, music was only beaten out by smartphones and the internet, but ranked higher than art, movies, literature and newspapers, which means it’s something people interact with almost every day.

Further, music is more than something we listen to in the background as we work out, are stuck in traffic or are at work – it invokes emotions within us and stirs up old memories. When our favorite song comes on, we feel positive emotions and our physiological response is for us to move with the beat. At times music allows us to find solace through difficult situations and can be used motivate. Each person has their own personal reason as to why music is important to them, but the unifying thing about music is that it’s something that is almost universally appreciated and enjoyed.

By exploring the ways in which music influences people you can frame an understanding of how the music in your business locations will help create a positive environment that speaks to your intended clientele.


Beggars Group Issues A Statement on Apple Music Service

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Beggars Group, home to 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL and Young Turks has yet to sign a deal to make their music available on Apple’s forthcoming streaming service (slated for release on June 30).  Today, Beggars issued a statement on the reasons why. Here’s what they had to say;

To Beggars Group Labels Artists and Managers:

We thought it was time to update you on the situation with Apple Music, following speculation in the press, some of it ill-informed. Apple have been a wonderful partner for the last decade, and we confidently trust they will continue to be so. We have recently been in discussions with Apple Music about proposed terms for their new service. In many ways the deal structure is very progressive, but unfortunately it was created without reference to us, or as far as we know any independents, and as such unsurprisingly presents problems for us, and for our coming artist releases. We are naturally very concerned, especially for artists releasing new albums in the next three months, that all streaming on the new service will be unremunerated until the end of September. Whilst we understand the logic of their proposal and their aim to introduce a subscription-only service, we struggle to see why rights owners and artists should bear this aspect of Apple’s customer acquisition costs.

And given the natural response of competing digital services to offer comparable terms, we fear that the free trial aspect, far from moving the industry away from freemium services – a model we support – is only resulting in taking the “mium” out of freemium.

We are also naturally concerned, as ever, as to whether we and you are being treated on a level playing field vis a vis the major labels and their artists. Additionally, we have reservations about both commercial and practical aspects of the Artist Connect area. It is a mistake to treat these rights as royalty free, especially in the light of recent licenses with services like Soundcloud.

At the moment we do not have an agreement with Apple Music that would allow us to participate in the new service. However, we very much hope that the obstacles to agreement can be removed, for us and for independent Merlin-member labels as a whole, and that we will be able to fully support this potentially exciting new service in the coming days.


Label Spotlight: Stones Throw

By | Client Appreciation | No Comments

In 1996, after recording for many labels as an artist/producer, Peanut Butter Wolf (real name Chris Manak) realized he enjoyed promoting records just as much as recording them and became confident that he could succeed in running a label. So Stones Throw was born with its first release being “My World Premier”, the first record Peanut Butter Wolf recorded with his late friend/rapper Charizma.  Since then, Stones Throw has grown into a multi-generational, international powerhouse in the underground music scene. In regards to the music on the label, Manak has said “I put out what I personally like and save the rest for the other labels out there.”

The label has gained fame for releasing acclaimed hip-hop records, including Madvillain’s (a collaboration between producer Madlib and MF DOOM) highly-acclaimed debut album Madvillainy in 2004, as well as J Dilla’s album Donuts, which was praised by Pitchfork Media with a perfect 10/10 score, saying “It’s a widely praised favorite for so many people, and yet there’s something about Donuts that feels like such an intensely personal statement”.

Today Stones Throw continues to be one of the leading names in underground hip-hop circles with a cult following and was recently featured in the documentary “Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton.”


PCMusic is Number 6 in Profit’s W100 Top Female Entrepreneurs List!

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Today PROFIT and Chatelaine ranked our CEO, Gina Rizhanovsky, No. 6 on the 17th annual W100 list of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs.  The W100 ranks female entrepreneurs with a proprietary formula that considers the size, growth rate and profitability of the businesses they own and run.

“You need a bold vision, an innovative strategy and loads of tenacity to earn a spot on the W100,” says James Cowan, Editor-in-chief of PROFIT and Canadian Business. “Every person on this list represents the pinnacle of business success in Canada. Their stories are inspiring and instructive for those seeking to excel as an entrepreneur.

In an address to her team today, Gina said, “Thank you to everyone for your continued hard work in making this a possibility for us.   We have a truly exciting period upon us (with a lot of hard work in the process), but this is yet another exciting turning point for our company as we navigate new landscapes and propel PCMusic and Prescriptive Music onwards for better!”

When asked to share her perspective on PCMusic’s work, Gina writes, “Music exists all around us and is a preeminent force in bringing people together.  We build ambiance in environments that engender a sense of belonging and meaningful connection to a business’ brand through music.

Companies are always striving to articulate this elusive ‘differentiating factor’, but fall short in the actual delivery.  We don’t aim to infiltrate the market and amass market share blindly.  We’re strategic in the partnerships we foster – both from a supplier and customer standpoint, always maintaining a boutique feel in the delivery of our quality offering.

We know music and what makes our company unique is our people’s unwavering commitment to delivering a profound, customized end-user experience through the power of music.  Our talented team makes all the difference.”


About the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100
Now in its 17th year, the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs is Canada’s largest celebration of achievement by women business owners. Produced by the editors of PROFIT and Chatelaine, the rankings and extended coverage of the women honoured are published in print and online. Applicants to the 2015 W100 were ranked using a proprietary formula that considers the size, growth rate and profitability of the companies they own and manage. To see this year’s complete ranking and find links to all of our W100 editorial coverage, visit


Guest Post From Hard Rock Hotel: Hot Cars and Hard Rock (By: Jeff Nolan)

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“I’m in love with my car, got a feel for my automobile…” – QUEEN

Car culture and rock ‘n’ roll have grown and evolved in such parallel ways that they’ve become two sides of the same coin. Though the automobile obviously predates rock music by over half a century, car culture as we recognize it in America was really born in the post-WWII Baby Boom. The newfound prosperity, unprecedented leisure time and rise of the teenager as a consumer force inspired some of Detroit’s most iconic creations – and it also inspired a new art form called Rock ‘n’ Roll (it’s no coincidence that the first acknowledged rock ‘n’ roll song – Jackie Brenston’s 1951 hit “Rocket 88” – celebrates the virtues of the then-new Oldsmobile 88). In the years that followed, cars have proven among the most enduring of muses for rock songwriters.

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Label Spotlight: Mute Records

By | Client Appreciation | No Comments

Mute Records was founded by Daniel Miller in 1978 when he began recording music using synthesizers under the name The Normal. He first recorded “TVOD” and “Warm Leatherette”, which was packaged as a single and distributed by little a record shop turned fledgling distributor called Rough Trade (they’re not so little anymore).

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The National Restaurant Association Answers 11 Questions About Music Licensing For Restaurants

By | Advice, Background Music, Music Branding | No Comments

The following information details everything a restaurant will need to know about playing music in their location and was first published on the National Restaurant Association’s official website;

Music is one of the most important elements in establishing the mood in your restaurant, but under law, you must make sure you have the necessary licensing to comply with copyright statutes before playing it. Performing rights organizations (“PROs”), such as BMI, ASCAP and SESAC, act as intermediaries between restaurants and songwriters to protect intellectual property and make licensing more cost-effective and convenient. Restaurants pay a fee to the PROs for a blanket license that grants permission to use all of the music each organization represents, and they, in turn, distribute the fees, less operating expenses, to their affiliated songwriters, publishers and composers as royalties.

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Label Spotlight: Asthmatic Kitty

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Asthmatic Kitty is an American independent record label founded in 1999 by Sufjan Stevens and his stepfather, Lowell Brams.  It was originally conceived as a platform for musical projects by a community of artists from Holland, Michigan, a small city on the shore of Lake Michigan. Some were Holland natives, and others had come to attend local colleges and universities. While the original Holland nucleus has now dispersed to various parts of the country, the fellowship is still growing, with new artists and shared projects with other independent labels.  In 2009 the label inaugurated the Library Catalog Music Series, showcasing instrumental music by a wide variety of musicians.  Asthmatic Kitty is now based in Lander, Wyoming, Indianapolis, Indiana and New York City.

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Sam Smith Acknowledges Similarities Between “Stay With Me ” and “Won’t Back Down”, Tom Petty Awarded Songwriting Royalties

By | Music Business, News | No Comments

According to Consequence of Sound, Sam Smith’s hit song “Stay With Me” now has a new co-writer.  Well, two new co-writers – rockstar, Tom Petty and singer-composer, Jeff Lynne.

One source close to the case said, “When Sam’s track was originally released, it was clear to a lot of musicians that there were notable similarities between the tracks,” referring specifically to melodies of the respective choruses. “After it was pointed out to Sam’s camp, they didn’t try to fight it and amicably dished out royalties. It wasn’t a deliberate thing, musicians are just inspired by other artists and Sam and his team were quick to hold up their hand when it was officially flagged.”

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Social Identity Radio: How Your Brand’s In-Store Music Reinforces Your Customer’s Self-Image While Bolstering Brand Identity

By | Advice, Branding, Culture, Marketing | No Comments

The other day I read an article titled “Why Your Customer’s Social Identities Matter.”  It inspired me to think about the ways in which music speaks to people and how it can effectively reinforce one’s social identity.

To recap; we all have an image of ourselves, an idea of who we are, and how we want the world to perceive us.  This self-concept is the result of our social identity, which is defined by our membership, as individuals, to different social groups.

This concept is broken down into two components.  Firstly, we think of ourselves as members of certain groups but not others and, at any given time, our actions and surroundings impact our thoughts and behaviors. When at a sporting event, for example, we will think of ourselves as members of a group who care about a certain sport or individual team and it is unlikely that we are identifying with a group of people at an art gallery or in a place of religious worship.

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Label Spotlight: Jagjaguwar

By | Client Appreciation | No Comments

Jagjaguwar, a name taken from a Dungeons & Dragons character name-generating program,  is an independent rock label based in Bloomington, Indiana.  It was founded by Darius Van Arman when his friends’ band, The Curious Digit, had an album recorded without a label to release it.  They had previously released a 7″ record on the short-lived label Sentimental, which was co-run by Van Arman and a friend Dawson Prater.  The band decided that it was best to have any label attached to the project rather than none and JAG was launched.

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An Interesting Thought Experiment on How Spotify Can Play Nice With (And Potentially Save) The Record Business

By | Music Business | No Comments

Spotify is hurting artists!!! No, No, Spotify is helping artists!!! There has been enough public debate on this that I don’t have to go into much detail about it.

What I can accurately say is the problem with Spotify is only partly Spotify’s fault, isn’t it?  The other part of the problem is us – the Gen-Y music listener who is, selfishly, expecting free music after spendingt their formative years in the golden age of Napster.   To address the issue and offer room(s) for improvement,  Startup Musician has put together a pretty convincing, three-step proposal that imagines the future of the streaming behemoth.

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