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When some hard-working visionaries with a love for urban music and creating songs decided to start CP Records eight years ago in Ottawa, they might not have called it “publishing” or understood all its ins-and-outs, but they quickly learned about this top revenue-generator.

The company’s roster, which currently includes Belly, Danny Fernandes, Massari, Tyler Medeiros, and Mia Martina, has had 11 No. 1 singles in Canada and numerous song placements in hit television shows such as So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Battle of the Blades, and Degrassi. Medeiros’ “What’s Up Stand Up” was used for an anti-bully campaign on Family Channel.

“Songwriting is a process that takes time. It’s not for everybody. » – Belly

“I didn’t even know about [publishing] because we were so young and we just had a dream and passion to make good music,” says CP Records CEO Tony Sal. “As things got better, a lot of people came requesting songs. At that time [in 2006], the first album was Massari’s, and ‘Be Easy’ and ‘Real Love’ were just phenomenally in demand.

“A big part of what drove me to start the whole label and doing the whole commitment was Belly as a writer and a producer,” he adds. “We said, ‘All records are going to be written and produced by us,’ not really concentrating on ‘We’re going to own the publishing part.’ It was more about the creative side.”

Sal estimates that Belly has written 75 percent of CP’s catalogue. “For a lot of the songs Belly works closely with the artist, » he says. « My whole roster fights to get that single from him.”
Martina, Fernandes, and Massari all have a hand in their own songwriting, to varying degrees. As far as producers, Belly and Da Heala are the “No. 1 guys to go to at CP,” Sal says, in addition to brothers Ryan and Dan Kowarski.

Belly says he has seen many of the CP artists develop as writers. “Songwriting is a process that takes time, » he explains. « It’s not for everybody, but it is something that if you have at least a little bit of a musical talent, it can be built on.”

CP’s publishing administration and licensing is now handled by Toronto’s Entertainment Business Affairs (EBA).

“We’re now building a publishing catalogue,” says Sal. “I feel it’s really strong. We own records featuring Snoop Dogg, Juelz Santana, Fabolous, Ginuwine, Mario Winans, Nina Sky, and Lil Twist, via Belly and Tyler tracks…

“What’s cool about it is we have so many big records like that and it’s a Canadian company like CP Records that owns the masters, and the publishing.”