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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Merkel

New music platform broadening Canadian artist’s reach

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

Unreel Sessions is a new visual music platform leading the way in Canada

Unreel Sessions

Unreel Sessions is a new visual music platform leading the way in Canada

Since the end of the blog era, hip-hop has seen multiple different online spaces that have served ashotbeds for emerging artists attempting to make a name for themselves. WordStar, Lyrical Lemonade, and NPR’s tiny desk have all served as avenues for musicians to showcase their musical catalogue and performing prowess. However, Canadian artists have been forced to look below the border, or even across the pond for these types of opportunities. Luckily, there is a new team based out of Winnipeg that’s working to increase the footprint of Canadian musicians. Unreel Sessions is quickly becoming a

force in the industry.

Eric Peters is the owner and operator of the musical platform that borrows aesthetic similarities toColors Studios. Has been working in film and production since 2012, helping accumulate a portfolio thatincludes work with award winning artists and producers.

One thing he noticed while creating music videos was the lack of marketing that followed the release.

Often he would be disappointed to see talented musicians’ post videos on their own platforms, and notaccumulate the amount of attention he felt like they deserved.

“There was no real marketing behind what they were putting out” he said.

Unreel Sessions

“I would feel kind of bad for it because I was charging 3 or 4 thousand dollars for a music video and it was getting 200 to 300 views”

To solve this, Peters and his business partner Trevor Johnsen began to think of ways they could easilymarket musical content under one brand. He aimed to create a professional platform that presented a product that reflected well on artists. Peters specifically referenced Colors Studio’s and Tiny Desk

Concerts as inspiration.

“I just thought maybe we can do something really simple, really clean that can catch their eyes right away” he said.

“We want to step out and just mention this is not another music video. This is an opportunity to get those views, to be viral, essentially to get your name out there. This is to find you fans as an artist. This is to find you fans that gravitate towards your music.”

Peters and Johnsen initially did not have a specific genre of music in mind when they created Unreel Sessions. When they had their first artist on the platform, Indigenous rapper Caid Jones and his DJ Kuya, Peters explained they were simply just trying to create a quality video.

His expectations were quickly blown out of the water after Jones rapped for 7 minutes straight, turning in an incredible performance that continues to be his favourite on the platform.

After 3 months of editing and fine tuning the video, Peters said the reception was outstanding after it was posted on YouTube.

“We had just launched our submission page on our website a few days before” he said.

“We got over a hundred submissions after those three days. We launched in August, so now we’ve had enough artists to fill our release schedule for the next 3 years.”

Since the first video was created, Peters stated that the majority of submissions had been made by male artists, primarily based in hip-hop and Afro beats. Peters explained that those genres align with his own musical taste, but he would appreciate having more female artists, or other types of musicians on Unreel Sessions.

Additionally, most of the artists featured on the platform have been primarily based in Winnipeg. This list includes YSN Fab, Myazwe, and Max Winds. Peters believes these artists are only a small sample size of an immense talent pool that is far too often written off.

Unreel Sessions

He believes many labels and companies that support artists often overlook Manitoba, leaving many without opportunities.

Additionally, he pointed out countless musicians have moved to bigger cities,

then get lose momentum in a larger, more saturated scene.

“There is so much growth that we’re capable of” he said.

“I feel like a lot of the time, artists, musicians, creators, as soon as they think they’re big enough, then they all leave. If we just stayed, and continued to build what we have here, we could be bigger than Toronto and Vancouver.”

Less than a year later, Peters shared he that he’s been consistently contacted by artists from larger Canadian markets to make videos. He has also been regularly told that platforms like his do not exist in the big cities. Peters hypothesized this perception is due to the high competition in big cities, something

he says prevents platforms from growing.

Peters stated this has allowed Unreel Sessions to stand out and attract performers to his hometown and keep artists from searching elsewhere for promotion. He believes that by expanding Winnipeg’s tight networks, people within the music industry will find endless opportunities.

“We’re eager to build the platform and be up top” he said.

“I’ve seen how Colors Studios works, I’ve seen how Tiny Desk Concert works, those are world-wide […] that’s essentially where we wanna build this too.”

Check out Unreel Creative and Unreel Sessions on YouTube, Instagram and Tik Tok to see their latest content.

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