Steve Thomson is a 40-year veteran of both the Canadian and International Music and Entertainment businesses. He has spent the majority of his career producing, managing and promoting artists. He has always been involved with Musicians Rights. At an early age as a teenage songwriter, he joined Canada’s leading Music Rights organization Pro Canada that eventually became PROCAN which merged with CAPAC to become SOCAN one of the most esteemed Performing Rights Organization in the World.
Thomson continues to be a member of SOCAN to this day. During his youth, he was leader of his own band playing lead guitar which eventually led him to booking and managing many of his friends’ bands building a roster which consisted of 25 bands while making a good living in a very difficult business – all before he reached the age of 25. Eventually he fell into the graces of some of Canada’s most prestigious names in the business including Ronnie Hawkins, Gordon Lightfoot, Brian Adams, Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson. His management experience includes a 20-year stint producing and managing the Arkansas ex-pat Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins taking Ronnie back to Arkansas and into Europe.
As of late his career has been focused on ensuring that Creators get paid through his international music publishing companies and partnerships promoting, licensing and collecting earnings for the companies various music catalogs. These experiences have allowed him to learn the way the existing system works, and to see how it is broken. The insights he has gained over his career well position him to manage a diverse and complex business that operates in one of the most difficult businesses that still exist. His successes in management, and as the President and CEO of an organization in the Music Business are unparalleled. Many have come and gone but Steve is still here.
Film and TV Credits Include:
Honky-tonk: CTV Talent Co-ordinator and Artist Liaison
“Musikantenstadl”, Put together the Broadcast deal with CTV and was also a Producer for this Mega German Production. In addition to selling out every show to capacity… all tickets were sold through my office with Ticket Prices of $100 to $150 per seat. It was filmed live at Exhibition Place, in Toronto, and generated an estimated 18 Million dollars for the City of Toronto over 3 days. We booked every hotel in the City and the show saw over 5,000 tourists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland journey to Canada for the show. The show had such an impact that Air Canada changed their beer preference from Molson to Gösser Beer to secure the Air transportation rights.
“Let It Rock”, a mega concert at Massy Hall on the occasion of Ronnie Hawkins 60th Birthday with special guests, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Band, Jeff Healey and Lawrence Gown. Produced by Steve Thomson/Backstage Productions International – Broadcast Nationally on CTV before going into syndication.
“Let It Rock at the Crossroads of Rock’N’Roll”, An award winning Documentary Film on the History of American Rock’N’Roll which garnered an endorsement from the Smithsonian Institution as “One of the most succinct documentaries on American Rock’N’Roll”, Produced and Directed by Steve Thomson.
“The Gathering Place”, Producer of a 91 Episode Series starring Graham Kerr – “The former Galloping Gourmet”. This series garnered the reputation of being a lifestyle trend setter and it is still relevant today. Thomson also distributed the series, which saw it on CTV, PBS and a number of European Channels.
“Toronto City Hall New Year’s Eve Special”, Hosted by Ronnie Hawkins and became a New Year’s Eve Mainstay for Torontonians and Television Audiences across the country for which Thomson was the Original Producer and earned a credit as Producer. The event spanned twenty years.
“Canada Rocks Cannes”, Producer of the first major Export Initiatives for the Canadian Music Industry at the time which was presented at the Music Industries Annual Trade Show held in Cannes, France. It became the benchmark for MIDEM Music Showcases.
“Superstar”, A documentary starring Thai Singing Sensation “Manne”.
“Being A Musician In Today’s World”, a documentary feature hosted by CBC’s Holger Petersen. The Concert components for the documentary were filmed and recorded “Live” at Euro Disney in Paris, France.
Backstage has a physical presence in Toronto, Canada and Paris, France making it a truly Global Company.
Steve Thomson began his career as a musician playing guitar in the Canadian rock group “Fat Chance”. In addition to playing guitar in the band, he also handled the business affairs for the group. After a degree of local success, he left the band and became the full time manager for the group. As well as representing Fat Chance, he handled 25 other groups which he booked coast to coast in Canada, making a reputation for himself and his company as a talent agency.
In the 1970’s, he formed Trilogy Records International to release product by the key artists he worked with. Some of the artists that were recorded and released on Trilogy included Ronnie Hawkins, LaToya Jackson, Reckless, Kids, Rolls Royce, J.K. Gulley, The Band, Jeff Healey, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Larry Gowan, Phantom Black, David Bacha, Kimberley Richards, Patti Jannetta, Bai Bang, Danny Brooks, David Hutchins, Uranus and many others. The label is distributed throughout the world and has had considerable success in the far east.
In the late 70’s, Ronnie Hawkins asked Thomson to be his manager, a relationship that lasted 18 years. During this period Thomson proved his worth as a manager, producer and promoter. Thomson has always been associated with major international projects. He produced what some say is the biggest export initiative in the history of the Canadian pop/rock music business, when he staged Canada Rocks Cannes, a concert event that was presented at MIDEM in Cannes, France. The event became the benchmark for MIDEM showcases.
He has produced some very successful television concerts including Let It Rock which features Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, The Band, Jeff Healey, Lawrence Gowan and Ronnie Hawkins; Mr. Thomson made his Directorial debut in 2005 with the highly acclaimed “Award Winning” documentary “Let It Rock At The Crossroads Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” which has caught the attention of music enthusiasts around the world and receiving rave reviews from critics as well as an endorsement from the Smithsonian Institutions Rock ‘N’ Soul Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. Also the documentary’s merits were honored with an Accolade Award.
Read the Accolade Award Press Release.
Some of his other impressive projects include a documentary and CD for Asian Super Star Manee; a camera animated children’s television series titled “Find Your Own Magic“; as well as 130 hours of “The Gathering Place” television series for the world renowned culinary guru Graham Kerr, who was formerly known as “The Galloping Gourmet”.
In addition to his day to day businesses, Mr. Thomson has worked in the music industry serving on many boards including CARAS, The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Science, the organization which produces Canada’s largest and most prestigious award show – The JUNO Awards. During his tenure he headed up The Country Music Advisory Committee. He continues to serve on CIRPA, The Canadian Independent Record Production Association, where he has worked diligently producing a number of successful fund raisers including CDs titled “The Best Of Canadian Rock” and “The Best Of Canadian Country”.
The following article by freelance journalist Mike Beggs, although dated, is an interesting take on Thomson’s career.
Read the Mike Beggs article on Steve Thomson.
Read the Publisher Profile Words and Music SOCAN Spring 2012 article on Steve Thomson.