Music has always been in Dylan Guthro’s DNA. Growing up in Halifax, Dylan began playing music and recording at four years old. “I quickly became addicted, chasing dad around the house to show me new chords all the time,” says Guthro.

He was soon sharing stages across the country with his musician father, acclaimed singer-songwriter Bruce Guthro. “Over the next 10 years he’d bring me up to play a song with him at his shows, which eventually turned into me being hired as a sideman on his tours, playing a mix of bass, guitar, and backing vocals.”

Under his father’s encouragement, Guthro released his debut album All That’s True in 2012. Never one to get stuck in a single genre, Guthro’s latest single “Do It All Again” was produced by rapper/producer Classified. Guthro says it marks “the proper opportunity to begin to merge all the types of music I’ve been into from the get-go.” Look for new music from him later in 2014.

Their 100% Fair Trade coffee beans are hand-selected, of the highest quality, from around the world; a slice of their cheesecake sends taste-buds on a decadent trip to the Big Apple; and before hitting stardom, Canada’s sweetheart, “Call Me Maybe” singer Carly Rae Jepsen, spent her time here serenading coffee connoisseurs from across Vancouver.

Trees Organic Coffee & Roasting House has served java devotees since 1996, and has since grown to five locations in the greater Vancouver area.  Along with offering their customers a true Bohemian/European-style café experience, for singer-songwriters and performers, Trees provides a venue and outlet for those starting out in their careers.

Just as it’s committed to Fair Trade coffee, Trees believes in fair play for songwriters, composers and music publishers.

And just as it’s committed to Fair Trade coffee, Trees believes in fair play for songwriters, composers and music publishers. They proudly display their Licensed to Play status with the emblem at their doorway.

Music is a key ingredient to their success. Director of Operations, Chris Hannah says, “Music helps us create an atmosphere in the café and without it the space would seem like a dead zone.” He adds that music not only plays in the background, but that “live music nights are something that makes Trees Café a destination for people to check out and discover great talent.

“Just about every musician gets their start playing small venues to gain some exposure and recognition – we see some very talented people playing their hearts out every week at Trees.” He’s especially proud that SOCAN member Carly Rae Jepsen honed her talent by regularly performing her music in the café, before gaining international fame.

As a result of being Licensed to Play music, “Trees not only ensures that their customers buy and drink coffee that is environmentally, economically and fair-labour conscious, but  that their customers can be sure Trees is also an ally for the rights of music creators,” says SOCAN’s Chief Communications & Marketing Officer, Andrew Berthoff.

Trees’ dedication to local musicians doesn’t end at just providing a venue for local talent; they also help to further their exposure via Trees’ blog, which includes a feature called the “Coffeehouse Musician Profile.”

The parallels of a business displaying that it’s Licensed to Play and supporting Fair Trade Coffee are all there: good for the workers, good for a company’s reputation, and good for all those concerned.

To learn more and become Licensed To Play, click here.

If Harmonium fans are able to enjoy a new Serge Fiori album these days, a lot of the credit must go to Pierre Lachance, a music producer and artist manager (Luc De Larochellière, Marie Denise Pelletier) who morphed into a music publisher accidentally when he became co-owner of the GSI record company. Many gold records later, Lachance was the inspiration behind the unprecedented series of tribute albums featuring multiple artists that have hit Quebec record stores over the past decade. “Our 2004 release of a tribute album to Jean-Pierre Ferland was so successful that others soon followed suit,” Lachance says with a wry smile, as he tries to explain how the trend got started.

By the time Lachance joined the record industry in spite of himself, in 1988, he was working as an entertainment lawyer specializing in film. “I completed a B.A. in Communication at Concordia with a specialization in film studies,” he explains. “Then I went to law school to become an executive producer – eventually working, among others, on the Cruising Bar film – but I have always been a great music lover deep down. I worked in student radio while attending the Bois-de-Boulogne College, and I can still see myself carting huge cases of vinyl records in the hallways of that institution in 1973, a year after Serge Fiori had studied there.”

“I wasn’t too sure of the project’s chances for success, but we ended up selling 95,000 copies!”

The reason Lachance mentions Fiori again is that the former Harmonium leader played a key role in his career in the late 1980s. “As I was a lawyer, a friend called me one day saying that Nanette Workman and Serge Fiori were working together on an album, but that they were having problems with their producer,” he says. “They needed someone to help them out.”

Once that contract ended, Lachance’s hidden business talent came to the fore. “I offered Nanette and Serge [the idea] to create a small company, Inner Sound Production, to finalize the recording,” he says. “The result was Changement d’adresse, a Sony-licensed Nanette Workman album composed and produced by Serge Fiori, who soon became a friend.”

Lachance and Fiori went on to start Les Disques Gipsy, a label on which Fiori released two mantra CDs and two recordings with his father Georges Fiori’s orchestra in the 1990s. This comeback experience gave Serge Fiori the confidence he needed to release the new album Le Monde est virtuel.

But the big break came in the early 2000s following a call from the then GSI artistic director Patrice Duchesne, who wanted Lachance to “help him produce a tribute album to Jean-Pierre Ferland, recorded by a dozen top artists including Kevin Parent, Éric Lapointe, Isabelle Boulay, Gilles Vigneault and Daniel Lavoie, to name only those few. At the time, such albums were practically non-existent in Quebec. I wasn’t too sure of the project’s chances for success, but we ended up selling 95,000 copies!”

Then came the album of covers put together in aid of singer-songwriter Claude Léveillée, who was incapacitated after suffering a second stroke. And there was another such project on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Félix Leclerc’s death, plus two Mario Pelchat-instigated country music tribute albums.

From a music publishing point of view, these revivals of great Quebec songs were a successful business strategy, although Lachance does not consider himself to be a publisher first and foremost: “In fact,” he explains, “I had to learn the ropes of the music publishing trade when I purchased GSI from Robert Vinet in 2010 with Disques Sphère’s Nicolas Lemieux, since our new company came with an extensive catalogue [Yvon Deschamps’ complete works, Gilles Vigneault’s 1X5 and J’ai vu le loup, le renard, le lion albums, and part of Claude Gauthier’s catalogue].”

New album titles will be added to the list as GSI signs up new artists since, nowadays, singer-songwriters generally assign part of their publishing rights to their producer, admittedly a delicate issue that is the result of music industry circumstances.

“When Robert Vinet started GSI in the early 1980s,” Lachance remembers, “he could afford to allow his artists to keep their publishing as a pension fund. Producers knew then that they could get their money back quickly through album sales. But things have changed, and today there is always an awkward moment between a creator and record producer when the time comes to negotiate royalty shares. Things can get tricky when a producer assesses his financial risks with an artist without being able to diversify his income by working as a booker and agent as well. It can get quite complicated! Basically, what you have to do is share your revenues in such a way that the artist can find satisfaction and the company can stay in business. It’s got to be in the best interests of all concerned.”