In the mid-1990s, Ron Proulx often hit Sam the Record Man’s flagship emporium on Toronto’s Yonge Street to locate info on rights holders. Now, a few beats later, the music supervisor leads his own shingle, Arpix Media. “I don’t know how I did what I do before the Internet,” laughs Proulx, a former BMG recording artist schooled early on about the connection between art and commerce by his art-dealer mom.
Over the past decade, as music licensing became an increasingly important revenue stream — especially for small acts — Proulx kept his busy shop in step with new technologies and saw his business evolve in response to developments on the homefront.
“The big key for me has been the growth of Canadian filmed entertainment from the late ’90s until now,” says Proulx, who also co-owns the Rights Co. (intellectual property research and clearance) and, in the past few years, has added a roster of Canadian screen composers, including Robert Carli and Gary Koftinoff. Recent Arpix clients include Shaftesbury (“Murdoch Mysteries,” “The Listener,” “Life With Derek”), Pink Sky (“Flashpoint”) and 724 Films (“Heartland”).
“Early on I worked a lot for Alliance and Shaftesbury and as those companies grow so do I. It’s an incredible time, we’ve never exported as much TV as we do today.”
He sees a big increase in requests for Canadian music after years of being ignored, citing CBC-TV’s Alberta-set family drama “Heartland,” on season five and now airing internationally, as a showcase for an array of Canuck talent, including young singer-songwriters Jenn Grant (who did the show’s theme song) and iTunes’ 2010 Songwriter of the Year Royal Wood. Both artists have also been heard on “Flashpoint.” “I like the producers’ directive to find a song for the montage that falls near the end of each episode — it’s a great showcase spot,” he says.
“Music budgets on Canadian productions may not compare to American budgets, but I think the tracks you hear are musically and creatively as good or better.”