Toronto Life - The Informer

Insider intel on the politics and personalities shaping the city. Sign up for Preview newsletter for weekly updates



How one Toronto musician fooled Starbucks into shilling his songs

Struggling musicians have traditionally had to endure a lot of hardships: working at a coffee shop (Starbucks, for example) to make rent, living skint until that big break that may or may not ever happen, and as we learned in Josie in the Pussycats, stretching one pack of ramen pretty far. But the resourceful—and super-smart—Toronto indie musician Gavin Slate has decided to take his singing career into his own hands by scamming Starbucks consumers. Slate printed fake—yet very convincing—single download Starbucks Song of the Week cards and put them in front of legit cards from, we assume, Norah Jones and Hawksley Workman. Then, in a vain and brilliant marketing strategy, he recorded the entire process, complete with pointing out MuchMusic for not playing his songs and, of course, a lot of free Starbucks advertising. Slate printed 1,000 cards and he has already received close to 200 downloads.