Universal Music Canada was proud to be part of the musical celebrations in Calgary in 2016. The company donated the immensely important archive of EMI Music Canada to the University of Calgary.
The collection is both commercially and culturally invaluable and it contains recordings and files spanning more than 60 years. It includes documents and recordings that are witnesses to a wonderfully creative period of time and the collection includes recordings of all sorts of genres such as country, rock, folk, classical, jazz, pop, and heavy metal. The impressive collection will now soon be available to students, researchers, and the general public at the University’s Libraries & Cultural Resources Department.
In addition to this wonderful donation, the University of Calgary revealed a cooperation with the Canadian National Music Centre who will work with the University to set up educational programs and exhibitions to highlight the impressive material of the EMI Music Archive at the new Studio Bell facility of NMC that opened in the summer of 2016.
The EMI Canada collection itself contains some 5,500 boxes that hold 21,000 audio tapes, more than 18,000 music videos, and over two million highly relevant documents, files, and photographs. The archive contains several master recording tapes, demo tapes, publicity photos, album cover artwork, video outline files, recording marketing plans, song lyric drafts, music awards, and lots of correspondence documents between EMI execs, producers, engineers, and artists.
Moving the massive collection, which is actually in perfect condition, is in no way an easy task. The archive is so immense that it will take several years before the operation of transferring all items from Toronto to Calgary will be completed. The donation is one more proof that Calgary is becoming one of Canada’s most important centers for music and culture in general.
EMI Music Canada was established in 1949. It was the company’s main intent to distribute international music recordings and to develop and support homegrown Canadian talent. EMI Canada included Capitol Records Canada, which was the recording company for top performers such as Anne Murray, Sarah McLachlan, Tom Cochrane, Nickelback, Kim Mitchell, Helix and the Rankin family, and Glass Tiger.
EMI Music Canada also was the distributor for artists such as David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Duran Duran, Heart, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Smashing Pumpkins, Queen, Pink Floyd, Garth Brooks, and Iron Maiden. In Canada, Capitol Records even released the Beatles’first singles in North America, bringing “Please Please Me”, “Love Me Do”, and “From Me to You” to the Canadian market in 1963, months before “She Loves Me” was released as the first Beatles single in the Big Neighbor south of the border.
In 2012, Universal Music Canada bought EMI Music Canada and the company has promised to contribute considerable funding over the next few years for the preservation the massive collection. Not only will the collection be available to the public, the archive will additionally be used by the university’s instructors and students for research and coursework purposes in the university’s School of Creative & Performing Arts as well as other disciplines and researchers at the University of Calgary and from across the world.
Universal Music Canada is proud and excited to be able to contribute to plans for educational and cultural components around music. The ambitions for this wonderful EMI archive are impressive and exciting, says Universal Music Canada CEO Jeffrey Remedios who also co-founded the Toronto-based indie label Arts & Crafts, EMI Music Canada has been very influential over the past six decades and was often the source of the music that many Canadians grew up with. listening to. The archive spans such a treasured and rich history and the company is proud to be part of the process enables many generations to come to explore that.