Distribution was critical when vinyl was the medium. Many of Creed’s early months with his new management team would likely have been spent negotiating distribution deals. The Canadian deal was announced in Billboard Magazine – August 11th, 1970.

Effective July 2nd, 1970, CTI had an office and warehouse in Montreal and manufacturing in Toronto.

Not only was distribution everything to get product into the stores, but decisions and actions taken on distribution are also what bought CTI to an end.

Follow the money

Distributors took a slice of the record cost, the artists had to be paid royalties, and union rates for recording performances, staff had to be paid, studio time had to be paid. Then there were pressing plants, truckling, and more

I assume, unless CTI was unique, they were also subject to the the payola (pay to play) schemes, which while not as rampant in the 70’s as they were in the 50’s and 60’s most certainly still existed. Surprisingly, even in todays digital world, it still exists.

But by-and-large the biggest slice of the vinyl pie went to distribution and distributors. Get it wrong and it would be serious. Sadly, Creed did. I’ll come back to look at what I could find out about Creed’s distribution in later “ON THIS DAY” columns.

Canadian labels

The Canadian releases would start with the same labelling as the US releases, same color. But there were fewer single releases, and they never switched style and color when the US did. For example, this 1973 Deodato single was never issued in the US in white promo with this design, only in the yellow/gold colors with the newer design. Also note the absence of any kind of promotional or Radio Station notation.

The same was true for those early albums as well. Here, for example is Red Clay by Freddie Hubbard. Again no promo or radio station nomenclature, just a white label Canadian release.

For today, welcome to the family Canada.

More information

Taylors Dozen, see section on CTI labels [via ctproduced.com]
Payola, the basics in 2018 [via the music career]
Labels – Marc Myers discusses label and category overlap [via jazzwax.com]

2 Replies to “ON THIS DAY: CTI Opens Canada Wing”

  1. Great article! I have that Deodato white label, and I initially thought it was a promo, but then was thrown off by the lack of wording. I guess I am back to believing it to be a promo!

    1. It’s near impossible to confirm any of this now, even the people who were there can’t remember the details. Add in the fact that there was a whole scam involving donating promo copies to stores and claiming tax write off and letting the store sell them and pocket the cash in exchange for pushing album sales.

      I don’t have any stories or evidence of CTI doing anything specific in this area, but it was pretty common. The best story I’ve read involved a label owner driving around New Jersey with a trunk full of Mafia cash for payola scams. Thanks for commenting.

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