Canadian Music Week 2023: From the Latest In AI to Combating Streaming Manipulation and Fraud

Recently, Canadian Music Week 2023 took place in Toronto. The events sparked conversations about the impact of AI on the music industry and efforts to tackle streaming fraud. The conference also hosted events to honour and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop.

For its 41st year, the 5-day CMW conference was hosted at Toronto Westin Hotel. DMN TV, sponsored by Open On Sunday, covered panel discussions among performers, music industry professionals, and speakers.

The event arrived at a point of deceleration for the industry from its heady expansion of the past few years. “Now major labels are looking at far more moderate growth on streaming platforms,” DMN publisher Paul Resnikoff noted. “The AI specter ahead — we’ve got that issue to worry about. Music IP valuations are coming back to earth. So there’s a lot that’s settling down, which could lead to more focus back on the art, and on realistic deals and realistic planning.”

(Check out more from Resnikoff’s interview at CMW here.)

And reality is certainly setting in. At CMW, panel discussions ranged from AI threats to combating streaming manipulation and fraud.

Erin Reilly from Moody College of Communication shared her perspective on protecting human artistry in the face of quickly-developing AI tools. “I don’t think you can stop this movement or the development of it. [Let’s] rethink who is actually building out these data lakes that we’re pulling from.”

Speaking about streaming fraud, Morgan Hayduk, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Beatdapp, revealed his thoughts on how fraud is conducted across all platforms. Hayduk explained that a sophisticated apparatus on the web obtains account credentials of legitimate users to utilize them for fraudulent activities. “There’s an infrastructure that mirrors what you see in the legitimate industry. There are people who are experts in running bot farms. And then there are the folks that offer the front line services either to artists, or any organization that’s looking to make money from the music industry. So it’s not pointing the finger at one entity, or one country.”

Besides sparking thought-provoking insights on the repercussions of developing AI and combating fraudulent streaming numbers, CMW 2023 also brought with it another clear goal: honoring and celebrating 50 years of hip hop.

Rapper and activist Chuck D from legendary hip hop group Public Enemy took centre stage throughout the conference. Discussing the importance of the 50th anniversary of hip hop, Chuck D said, “Hip Hop 50 means that the people and the stories are just as important as the songs that people hear or that they hold close to their heart.”

Co-hosted by dot Hip Hop, Chuck D was joined on stage by B-Real from the classic hip hop group Cypress Hill. B-Real highlighted ‘a twist in American radio’ in the mid 90’s, saying, “They stopped playing conscientious hip hop music, stuff that would inspire you in a positive way. It shifted more towards gangster rap. Then it evolved into [what] you hear today.”

Chuck D presented the audience with a first screening of his new PBS documentary, “Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World.” Part one in a four-part docuseries, it featured historic names in hip hop like KRS-One and DJ Kool Herc, tracing its origins back to the streets of the South Bronx, New York in the early 1970’s.

The Canadian Music Week 2023 conference took place on June 5 – June 10.