Feist's hit album a big boost for Canadian label

Fri Jun 20, 2008 8:20pm EDT
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By Robert Thompson

TORONTO (Billboard) - Canadian independent label Arts & Crafts may be enjoying the biggest hit of its six-year existence, but label co-founder/president Jeffrey Remedios says he'll never change his "quality over quantity" business mantra.

The Toronto-based label has seen Feist's "The Reminder" become a runaway hit, selling more than 200,000 copies in Canada since its May 2007 release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"It has allowed us to build out our infrastructure," Remedios says. "We now have all the tools at our disposal that any much larger label has. We can do things that were previously outside our scope."

Remedios points to increases in the label's publicity, marketing and retail abilities in recent months as a demonstration of Arts & Crafts' rise in stature.

The album has proved a worldwide hit, selling more than 600,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, although A&C has the rights only for Canada. The label anticipates that "The Reminder" will continue to sell, with a Canadian arena tour for Feist slated for the fall.

Such dizzying heights seemed a long way away when Remedios founded the label with Broken Social Scene frontman Kevin Drew in 2002 to put out BSS' debut, "Feel Good Lost." The subsequent success of the band's second album, "You Forgot It in People," raised the label's profile, and with Leslie Feist singing on several BSS songs, Remedios got a preview of the tracks that would later appear on her solo breakthrough, "Let It Die."

Although major labels were pursuing her in Europe and the U.S., Feist signed to A&C in Canada because of the homegrown nature of the label, Remedios says.

"When people heard 'Let It Die,' bidding wars ensued," he says. "But before any of that happened, Leslie was deep in with our camp. She wanted to work with us and was intensely loyal."   Continued...

<p>Singer Feist accepts the Juno Award for Album of the Year at the Juno Awards, the Canadian Music Awards, in Calgary, April 6, 2008. REUTERS/Patrick Price</p>