Sunday, May 22, 2011

Casablanca Media Publishing founder Ed Glinert dies

By Emmanuel Legrand

Like many in the music industry, I have been saddened and shocked by the news of the sudden passing of Edmund Glinert, founder of Canada’s largest independent music publishing house, Casablanca Media Publishing.
Casablanca's founder Ed Glinert

Glinert had a stroke at the end of last week and died on May 21 in Toronto, after been pronounced legally brain dead.

Glinert was a 40-year veteran of the music business. But it was only after a long career as an entertainment lawyer that he started looking at music publishing because he was “bored” of being a lawyer. He saw “real opportunities” in publishing, and in 2001 with his own money and some financial backing he set up a company, Casablanca, that grew to become Canada’s biggest indie publisher.

He was an influential member of the Canadian music business. He was an active member of the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA) and was a board member of Canada's authors' society SOCAN. He was a regular speaker at Canadian Music Week and other industry forums. 

I met him a few times, last in 2010 at Canadian Music Week. He always came across as an extremely knowledgeable and amicable person, who was known by his competitors to be a tough negotiator.

Glinert was very dismissive of the new wave of investors in music publishing, who only viewed it as an investment opportunity. “I was approached by banks but they view publishing as something you put money in, buy catalogues, milk them for three years and then sell them -- It’s nonsense,” he told me in 2009 when I interviewed him for a feature on Canada’s music publishing scene for Impact. 

But he was equally dismissive of publishers who did not provide proper admin services. “So many publishers who buy catalogues have no administration to back them. I started building my administration infrastructure and then went on to buy catalogues or sign creators. I think I have one of the best reporting system in the world,” he proudly stated.

Indeed, his real strength was in administration of catalogues and as such he signed many big names such as Carlin, Bug, Windswept or Fox to administer them in Canada. His pride was to “take good care of their catalogues”.

It was only a few years ago that he started signing new talent directly and building a roster of songwriters (Brandon Chandler, Winter Gloves). “I felt we were not ready,” he said. “We have now started building our own roster, but you cannot sign 40 writers, you’ve got to be reasonable.”

Like many successful entrepreneurs in music publishing, he was courted by would-be buyers, but he always resisted the temptation to sell. “I keep being approached by people who offer me money to buy my company,” he told me. “But I am not interested. I want to keep looking for new people, new writers. I am interested in being a publisher. A real publisher is someone who is on the ground and who works the songs; and you have to be transparent.”

A perfect definition of music publishing from a true publisher, who paid as much attention to the creative developments of his signings as he would to the management of his repertoire. He will be missed.

A funeral service for Ed Glinert will be held on Monday May 23 at 2:30pm at Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel in Toronto.

Glinert’s business partner, Casablanca Media Publishing Vice President Jennifer Mitchell sent the following mail on May 21:

Dear friends,

It is with great sadness and shock that I share the news that Ed Glinert passed away this morning.  Unfortunately the extent of the damage from his stroke was too severe to recover and he was pronounced legally brain dead.

The family, knowing that Ed would never want to be kept alive on machines,  has made the decision to make him an organ donor so that he might help countless other people live full and productive lives.  I think everyone that knew Ed’s generous nature would agree that he would have wanted that.

Ed was not only my business partner, but a true friend and mentor, and it is no exaggeration to say that I will miss him tremendously.  I’m sure most of you feel the same way.  Ed’s life may have been cut short, but he managed to touch a lot of people lives in that time, helping them in various capacities and generously giving his time, knowledge, advice and compassion to his friends, colleagues and even strangers wanting advice on how to break into the music business.

The family will be holding the funeral service at Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel.  Details regarding the date and time will be confirmed  by notice on the Benjamin’s website but at the moment it looks like either Monday the 23rd or Tuesday the 24th   (you can also leave messages of condolence on the website).  The family will be sitting shiva following the service and burial at 11 Wembley Road, Toronto.

Donations in Ed’s name can be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada  or the Hospital For Sick Children which was one of Ed’s favourite charities.

This is truly a great loss – and I don’t think words can really adequately express the extent to which Ed will be missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

Jennifer


Jennifer Mitchell
Vice President
Casablanca Media Publishing
151 Bloor Street West, Suite 701
Toronto, Ontario. M5S 1S4
www.casablancamediapublishing.com 


Update (October 28, 2011):
This post has been seen over 2000 times since it was first published in May 2011. This shows that Ed was really a unique and much loved individual, and a great music publisher too. I have been digging in my notes and here is an edited version of the conversation I had with him in March 2009 for a profile on the Canadian market that I wrote in Impact:



> On starting Casablanca:
“I’ve been 40 years in the business. About ten years ago, I had enough being an entertainment lawyer so I looked at publishing and saw real opportunities. I started with my own money, had some backing, but no hedge funds. I was approached by banks, but they view publishing as something you put money in, buy catalogues, milk them for three years and then sell them. It’s nonsense! On the other hand, you have so many publishers who buy catalogues but have no administration to back them. So I started building my administration infrastructure and then went on to buy catalogues or sign creators.”
> On music publishing:
“A real publisher is someone who is on the ground and who works the songs; and you have to be transparent. I think I have one of the best reporting system in the world. We do administer other companies, such as high-end indies like Carlin, Bug, Windswept, Fox. Some knew me as a lawyer and knew I’d take good care of their catalogues.”
> On A&R:
“Until last year we did not sign directly artists. I felt we were not ready. We have now started building our own roster, but you cannot sign 40 writers, you’ve got to be reasonable. I have people with good ears and I am not going to tell them how they feel about it, especially if it is not my taste, but it does not mean that I cannot make decisions by myself. We signed 23-year-old Brandon Chandler, after seeing him at SXSW. He’s a great performer. He has all the making of a star. We also signed Winter Gloves from Montreal. They play a hybrid electronic/rock. They have a unique writer in Charles F, very European-style. They also have an ability to co-write, which is great for a publisher.”
> On growing the company:
“There are opportunities in the Canadian market, but only of a certain scale. So if you want to build a strong company you have to look around. But I do not believe in opening offices everywhere. If you are Warner/Chappell that’s OK, but with my size…no! In terms of growth, I have bought a few catalogues and will buy more. I keep being approached by people who offer me money to buy my company. But I am not interested. I want to keep looking for new people, new writers.”

5 comments:

  1. I am very sorry to hear of this tragic news. I worked with Ed for a couple of years at Casablance and he gave me a chance to work in the publishing business which I knew nothing about, but he knew he could teach me. It was a very interesting time of my life and I appreciate the chance that he and Jennifer gave me. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
    Jacquie Fex

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  2. I was sad to hear about Ed passing. A real character he always had his goals and objectives clearly in site and achieved many of them to his happy satisfaction.
    No doubt he will be signing up publishing rights for all the new tunes that band in the sky is writing since they have left us all behind.

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  3. It is going to be hard for us all to get used to the idea Ed and his warm, wacky sense of humour is not with us anymore
    I look at the lovely picture of him in your article and even though it is in regard to his passing it brought a smile to me. he was and will always remain a wise, warm and funny guy.

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  4. We'll be gathering at Serafina Broadway, At 55 street & Broadway, NY, NY at 5:30 PM Wednesday evening to remember Ed. Feel free to join us and tell us your favorite story about Ed. The family asked us to tape them, so be prepared!

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  5. Sorry to hear this. Ed had given a true helping hand to myself and a past client of mine. He didn't know either of us at all and went over and above to help us out.

    Our business collab didn't work out but I truly appreciated what he did and I send my condolences to his family, business collegues and friends.

    You had a good man in Ed!

    Rip.
    Gail Phillip
    Gnote Management

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