Winners & Losers 2013

In Culture: Drake made millions, Psy wore out his welcome, and Don Cherry got cornered

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Drake

A mogul in the making

Whether you believe he “started from the bottom” or not, the former Degrassi star proved this year that he’s not just another global rap superstar—he’s a global brand

Drake

“I’m going for the $200-million play. Whatever that’s going to be.” —Drake, speaking to the Globe and Mail, in September

(Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

When the Toronto Raptors announced that the city will host the 2016 NBA All-Star Game, seated on the dais alongside Mayor Rob Ford and a cadre of MLSE executives was Drake. The Toronto-born rapper in the cobalt-blue suit had just been tapped as the Raptor’s new “global ambassador,” in a bid to drum up a new wave of Raptor-mania. “I have to go to Harry Rosen and get some more neutral suits,” joked Drake (a.k.a. Drizzy, or as his mother calls him, Aubrey Drake Graham).

That’s the thing about Drake—everything he does stands out. However you measure it, the 27-year-old cemented his global superstar status in 2013. In February, his 2012 album, Take Care, won the Grammy for best rap album. The supporting tour grossed more than $42 million, numbers usually pulled in by dinosaurs like Aerosmith. In September, his streak continued with the arrival of his critically acclaimed third album, Nothing Was the Same. It was quickly certified platinum, selling more than a million copies in the U.S. alone.

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But 2013 was not just a banner year for Drake the artist. It was also a breakout for Drake the budding mogul. OVO Sound, the record label he founded in partnership with Warner Bros., released its first two albums (including Nothing Was the Same) this year. In August, OVO Fest, the annual concert Drake hosts at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre, drew the biggest names in rap, including Lil Wayne and Sean “Diddy” Combs. And when co-headliner Frank Ocean cancelled due to a vocal-chord injury, Drake managed to call in a last-minute replacement: just a little someone named Kanye West.

Drake, for his part, has made it clear he’s just getting started. He’s already surpassed his initial goal to make $25 million by the time he was 25. In June, he told a GQ interviewer his new target is $250 million by his 30th birthday. Or to be, as Jay Z once rapped, “a business, man” not a “businessman.”

His partnership with the Raptors demonstrates he’s already become what it takes to get there—a brand. And with every guest verse, every endorsement deal, every platinum album, Drake’s brand rubs off on Canada. “I may as well be in charge of the tourism board in Canada,” he told the Globe and Mail in September. Certainly, the image he projects shows the world a different Canada than they’re accustomed to—cosmopolitan instead of rural, basketball instead of hockey, brash and ambitious instead of polite and deferential. Forget about the tourism board; there’s a federal election around the corner. Drake 2015.



CBC

Blood on the ice

After 61 years, the CBC suddenly lost control of Hockey Night in Canada to Rogers. Coronation Street fans, you are now officially the Ceeb’s most valuable asset

Don Cherry

The first 329 days of 2013 were not vintage ones for the CBC. In April, the Mother Corp. lost Kristine Stewart, its well-regarded head of English-language programming, to Twitter Canada. In October, Radio 2 addressed a significant funding gap by accepting ads for the first time since the 1970s. And on the French side, Radio-Canada endured a humiliating (and ultimately aborted) attempt to drop “Canada” from its corporate name and rebrand itself as “ICI.”

But none of that seemed to matter much after what happened on the 330th day. That’s when Rogers Communications (which owns Canadian Business) announced an unprecedented 12-year, $5.2-billion deal for exclusive NHL broadcasting rights. The new deal spells the end of Hockey Night in Canada as a CBC institution. (Saturday games will air on the network through 2016, but Rogers retains editorial control and revenues.) It also severs the single most significant cultural tie the network has with Canadians.

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It ultimately means that the CBC—which devotes up to 40% of its prime-time schedule to hockey each NHL season—will have to radically reinvent itself, with less money, fewer viewers and smaller place in the national imagination.


Mavens & Mishaps in Tech Style

This year, journalists couldn’t help noticing how great Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Square’s Jack Dorsey were dressing. Was 2013 the year tech executives put on their grown-up clothes? Not quite

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Ethan Song, CEO of Frank & Oak

Ethan Song

CEO, Frank & Oak

The montreal based menswear e-tailer ought to dress well. It would look bad on the business if he didn’t.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo

Marissa Mayer

CEO, Yahoo

Vogue ran a feature this year called “What Would Marissa Mayer Wear?” (Oscar de la Renta, naturally.) Any other tech exec and the lessons would have been cautionary.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg

CEO, Facebook

A few years back, every young tech exec was rocking a hoodie just like Zuck’s. They still rock them, but only at Dave Matthews concerts.

Mike McDerment, CEO of Freshbooks

Mike McDerment

CEO, Freshbooks

The Toronto CEO told Bloomberg that Freshbooks didn’t need early-stage venture capital. But maybe someone could flip him some cash for a new T-shirt.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square

Jack Dorsey

CEO, Square

Las June, Esquire introduced the Jack Dorsey Scale of Silicon Valley Stylishness. So far, the Twitter co-founder is the only executive to score five-out-of-five Jack Dorseys.

Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle

Larry Ellison

CEO, Oracle

It'’s not that the $41-billion man doesn’t have taste. But something about the combo of Armani jacket, black turtleneck and goatee just reads as “bad guy from a Jackie Chan film.”

Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist of Google

Vint Cerf

Chief Internet Evangelist, Google

He pretty much invented the Internet. And, with apologies to Jack Dorsey, he also invented wearing a great suit in Silicon Valley.

Larry Page, CEO of Google

Larry Page

CEO, Google

Worth $25 billion. Still goes to Supercuts.

Aaron Levie, CEO of Box

Aaron Levie

CEO, Box

Steve Jobs had his New Balance 992s, Mark Zuckerberg has his shower sandals and Levie has his orange Pumas. The others made bigger companies, but levie wins the shoe contest.