Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd

Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd (Chappell & Co Ltd until 1987). Music publishing firm originating with a British firm established in London in 1810 and opened for business 1 Jan 1811. A Canadian branch of Chappell's New York office opened in Toronto in 1912 and closed in 1920.

Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd

Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd (Chappell & Co Ltd until 1987). Music publishing firm originating with a British firm established in London in 1810 and opened for business 1 Jan 1811. A Canadian branch of Chappell's New York office opened in Toronto in 1912 and closed in 1920. A second Canadian branch opened in Toronto in 1946. Cyril C. Devereux (b 1911, d Toronto 18 Dec 2001), a director 1947-77 of CAPAC (Composers, Authors and Publishers Association of Canada Ltd) and chairman 1954-5 of the Canadian Music Publishers Association, was general manager of Chappell's Canadian branch until 1975, when he was succeeded by Jerry Renewych. Chappell by that time was a part of the PolyGram Group - the worldwide entertainment conglomerate, owner of Intersong music publishers and Polydor and Phonogram records.

Chappell's Early Successes
The publisher of many works for the musical stage, Chappell's first such success came with an English version of Gounod's Faust. It published the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas and many later operettas and musicals, including Rose Marie, The Desert Song, The Student Prince, My Fair Lady, and The Sound of Music.

Chappell's Canadian Connections

Clarence Lucas did editorial work in the London office in the 1890s and Chappell published some of his compositions, as well as many songs and piano pieces of John Mais Capel (b Lennoxville, Que, 1 Nov 1862). Other Canadians on the Chappell roster were Johnny Burt, Howard Cable, Wishart Campbell, Robert Farnon, Harold Ramsay, and Godfrey Ridout. One of Chappell's best-selling popular songs was Ernest Seitz'sThe World Is Waiting for the Sunrise.

However, the Canadian branch remained primarily a distributor of British and US popular music. Chappell was a member of CAPAC, and its subsidiaries, Belinda Canada Ltd, Canadiana Music, and Intersong Canada, were affiliate companies of PRO Canada.

Chappell Joins Forces with Warner Communications

In 1984 Chappell Music was purchased from PolyGram by a group of investors who moved the head office from England to New York. In 1987 Chappell Music was sold to Warner Communications, Inc, and the name of the Canadian branch was changed to Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd.

Warner/Chappell Music Canada has continued to distribute and publish music and to promote Canadian singers and songwriters. A Creative Services Division was formed to maintain and aggressively expand its roster of Canadian talent, which has included such artists as George Fox, David Roberts, Stan Meisner, Darby Mills, and the Rheostatics.

In 1990, wishing to diversify, Warner Chappell purchased Gordon V. Thompson Music from Canada Publishing Corporation. Subsequently known as Gordon V. Thompson Music, a division of Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd, the company continued to specialize in publishing serious and educational music, as well as maintaining an extensive choral catalogue. Pat Campbell took over as general manager of the company in 1997.

Awards

On 2 Oct 1999, Anne Marie Smith of Warner/Chappell won one of the first Harris Institute Alumni Awards for Excellence. Later that year, SOCAN awarded the Tea Party for the success of their number one song "Heaven Coming Down," the first single of their EMI release TRIPtych, published by Warner/Chappell Music Canada.

Rapid Change in the 21st Century

Warner/Chappell Music was one of the few companies left at the turn of the millennium still printing portfolios of popular music. Many independently published artists, such as the Tragically Hip, sub-contracted the company to issue songbooks of their material. In 2003 Warner released the complete tablature and notation for Nickelback's multi-platinum Silver Side Up album. That year, Charles Bronfman and his partners - Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital, and Providence Equity Partners - bought out Warner Music, which included Warner/Chappell, reckoned to be the world's fourth-largest music publisher.


Further Reading

  • Devereux, C.C. "The romance of Chappell's," CanComp, 2, Aug 1965

    "Music publisher predicts bright future for composers," CanComp, 21, Sep 1967

    Jones, Christopher. "Warner-Chappell, the uncontested champ of Canadian pop folios," Words & Music, Sept 1999

    "Harris (Institute) turns 10: adds new programs," Canadian Musician, Nov-Dec 1999

    "SOCAN awards presentations wrap up 1999," Canadian Musician, Jan-Feb 2000

    "Nickelback tab book (Hot Gear)," Canadian Musician, March 2002

    Devin, Leonard. "Music to his ears: Bronfman has a secret weapon in his Warner Music arsenal," Fortune, 22 Dec 2003