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Graham Henderson’s testimony at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology – Canadian Copyright Act review 2018

On June 12, Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, appeared before the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) to provide testimony during the five-year statutory review of the Canadian Copyright Act. Henderson appeared before Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage two weeks prior to provide testimony on remuneration models for artists and creative industries. Below is the full-text of Henderson’s remarks before the INDU Committee.

 

Good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to testify to this committee on behalf of Music Canada.

This committee’s review of the Copyright Act comes at a critical time for Canada’s creators. It is a time when governments around the world are questioning whether the current digital marketplace is functioning fairly for the world’s creators.

The reality for music creators in Canada is that there are provisions in our own Copyright Act that are preventing them from receiving fair market value for their work.

I believe the best way that this committee can assist in creating a marketplace that is transparent and supports Canadian creators is by providing the government with straightforward, accessible solutions to address the Value Gap.

Music Canada produced a comprehensive report on the Value Gap in Canada which you will find in French and English in front of you.

We define the Value Gap as “the significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed and enjoyed by consumers,” this is enormous, “and the revenues that are returned to the people and businesses who create it,” – it’s tiny.

Today, more music is consumed than at any time in history. However, the remuneration for that content has not kept pace with the record levels of consumption. The same is true for digital video content, film and even journalism.

I was pleased to hear Minister Joly recognize this point earlier this year, when she stated:

“The benefits of the digital economy have not been shared equally. Too many creators, journalists, artists have been left behind.”

The origins of the Value Gap extend back to more than twenty years ago. It was the dawning of the digital marketplace and countries around the world struggled to reinterpret copyright laws that were designed for an analog age.

They wanted to protect creators, but they also wanted to give a boost to young technological startups and inevitably, perhaps understandably, mistakes were made.

Around the world, lawmakers and policy analysts thought of the internet as a series of “dumb” pipes where your browsing habits were anonymous and the data travelling between sites was so vast it was unknowable. But twenty years later we know the internet is composed of the “smartest pipes” humankind has ever devised.  Your web habits are meticulously tracked and the metadata that they generate is collected, analyzed and sold every second of the day, mostly without our consent or knowledge.

While well-intentioned when they were created, the impact of these laws today is that wealth has been diverted from creators into the pockets of massive corporate entities, and what little is left over for creators is unfortunately concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. As a result, the creative middle class has virtually disappeared, and with it, numerous jobs, opportunities, and dreams.

There is no need to point fingers. No one planned for the creative middle class to suffer. The important thing at this juncture is to move forward purposefully and without delay to get the rules right. You should make absolutely certain that Canada’s Copyright Act ensures a creator’s right to be fairly remunerated when their work is commercialized by others.

The Value Gap is built on outdated safe harbour policies around the world. The announcement made last week by Ministers Bains and Joly that the Telecommunications Act and the Broadcasting Act will be reviewed, is an important step and in line with an international movement to find a solution to this problem. Safe harbours have been raised by other witnesses, and I hope that the committee will give significant consideration to addressing them.

But right now, the Copyright Act is exacerbating the Value Gap by effectively requiring creators to subsidize billion dollar technology companies.  Here are four steps that this committee could recommend. They could be immediately, quickly implemented, and would help creators and harmonize Canadian policy with international standards:

  1. Remove the $1.25 Million Radio Royalty Exemption
    Since 1997, commercial radio stations have been exempted from paying royalties on their first $1.25 million of advertising revenue. It amounts to an $8 million annual cross-industry subsidy paid by artists and their recording industry partners to large, vertically-integrated and highly profitable media companies. The cost to creators since inception…$150 million dollars. Internationally, no other country has a similar subsidy, and the exemption does not apply for songwriters and publishers – meaning that performers and record labels are the only rights holders who are singled out to subsidize the commercial radio industry. This is unjustified and should be eliminated.
  2. Amend the Definition of ‘Sound Recording’ in the Copyright Act
    The current definition of a “sound recording” in the Copyright Act excludes performers and record labels from receiving royalties for the use of their work in television and film soundtracks. This exception is unique to television and film soundtracks, and does not apply to composers, songwriters and music publishers. It is inequitable and unjustified, particularly in light of the profound role music plays in soundtracks, and it is costly to artists and record labels, who continue to subsidize those who exploit their recordings. The cost to creators? About $55 million dollars per year. The Act should be amended to remove this cross-subsidy.
  3. Amending the term of copyright for musical works
    The term of copyright protection in Canada for the authors of musical works is out of line with international norms. Under the Copyright Act, protection for musical works subsists for the duration of the author’s life plus a further period of 50 years, and that is out of line with international standards.
  4. Private Copying: Renew Support for Music Creators
    Years ago, a private copying levy had been created, originally intended to be technologically neutral. It has been limited by various decisions to media that are obsolete.  This important source of earned income for over 100,000 music creators is now in jeopardy unless the regime is updated. Music creators are asking for the creation of an interim four-year fund of $40 million dollars.

Each of these changes removes an unfair subsidy, harmonizes the laws within our industries, and brings us to international standards, and they can be done simply and they can be done today.

This is an exciting time. As you review the Act, you have the opportunity to put creators at the heart of your policy making, ensuring that creators are paid every time their work is commercialized by others.

Thank you.

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Miranda Mulholland issues call to action at Banff World Media Festival

On June 11 at the Banff World Media Festival in Banff, Alberta, musician, label owner and music festival founder Miranda Mulholland presented a keynote address titled “Your content isn’t free – fixing the Value Gap.” Mulholland has become an internationally-recognized figure in artist rights advocacy, having just returned from Midem in Cannes, France, where she was the keynote speaker at an event presented jointly by Music Canada and the International Association of Entertainment Lawyers (IAEL). She also participated in panel discussion on North American copyright updates at Midem on June 7.

The Banff World Media Festival, now in its 39th year, brings together creators, producers, media moguls, and industry stakeholders to learn, build relationships, and tackle the biggest issues facing their industries. The festival features high profile speakers from media industries, pre-booked face-to-face meetings, and other networking and development opportunities.

In Mulholland’s keynote, she reflected on her path to speaking publicly on the challenges creators face and her experiences working with politicians and other decision makers. In her trademark style, she also issued a call to action, urging everyone, regardless of their position or affiliation, to take steps to help creators succeed in the digital marketplace. Many of these actions are detailed in an infographic available on Mulholland’s website.

Below are select passages from Mulholland’s keynote address.

All of us need to stay updated on all the ways artists can be compensated. This includes royalty opportunities, the differences between streaming platforms and how fans consume our art. Use your platform to advocate for change for creators. Create opportunities for others to speak – like this conference! and speak up yourself. This will help everyone, including you. We are all highly effective advocates. No one knows about our experiences as well as we do and sometimes making change is as easy as being very honest about how things really are.

 

The legal framework within which we are operating and trying to innovate was concocted in the 1990s. This is when I wore scrunchies. Governments haven’t meaningfully adapted their laws since then. I should have kept the scrunchie. The fashion has come back but the policies have left us far behind.

 

Minister Joly has herself concluded that “The benefits of the digital economy have not been shared equally. Too many creators, journalists, artists have been left behind, and there needs to be a better balance.” Imagine if the governments around the world had realized that in 2003? Where would we all be now? 

 

Much has changed since I first spoke to Minister Joly two years ago. I get the sense now that the Government is finally listening to us but we have to act with urgency. In Europe there is a very important vote going through in a few weeks – their stance on Safe Harbours could set a precedent for the rest of the world. If we, as creators, don’t speak up, pieces of important of legislation will be drafted without our consent.

 

None of us gave our informed consent about what was going to happen to our work, our businesses, our industries twenty years ago. We do however have the ability to inform policies moving forward.

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Graham Henderson’s testimony at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s study of Remuneration Models for Artists and Creative Industries

Earlier today Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to provide testimony on remuneration models for artists and creative industries as part of the Copyright Act review. Below is the full-text of Henderson’s remarks.

 

My name is Graham Henderson, and I am the President and CEO of Music Canada. We are a passionate advocate for music and those who create it.

I am very pleased to see the Heritage Committee studying remuneration models for artists and creative industries. This is an aspect of the music industry ecosystem that I, and Music Canada, have for years been working to modernize. Creating a functioning marketplace where creators receive fair compensation for the use of their works forms the bedrock of our mission.

But the reality for Canadian music creators is there are provisions in our own Copyright Act that prevent them from receiving fair market value for their work.

I believe the best way that this committee can assist in creating a marketplace that is transparent and supports Canadian creators is by providing the government with straightforward, accessible solutions to address the Value Gap.

Music Canada produced a comprehensive report on the Value Gap in Canada which you will find in French and English in front of you.

We define the Value Gap as “the significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed and enjoyed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to the people and businesses who create it.”

Today, more music is consumed than at any time in history. However, the remuneration for that content has not kept pace with the record levels of consumption.

I was pleased to hear Minister Joly recognize this point earlier this year, when she stated:

“The benefits of the digital economy have not been shared equally. Too many creators, journalists, artists have been left behind.”

The origins of the Value Gap extend back more than two decades to a time when countries around the world, including Canada, began adapting and interpreting laws created in another era to protect common carrier telephone companies in the then-dawning digital marketplace.

Around the world those laws understood the internet as a series of “dumb” pipes where your browsing habits were anonymous and the data travelling between sites was so vast it was unknowable. But twenty years later we know the Internet is composed of the “smartest pipes” humankind has ever made.  Your web habits are meticulously tracked and the metadata that it generates is collected, analyzed and sold every second of everyday.

While well-intentioned when they were created, the impact of these laws today is that wealth has been diverted from creators into the pockets of massive digital intermediaries, and what little is left over for creators is concentrated into fewer and fewer hands. As a result, the creative middle class is disappearing, if it hasn’t disappeared already, and with it, numerous jobs and opportunities.

There is no need to point fingers. No one planned for the creative middle class to suffer. The important thing at this juncture is to move forward purposefully and without delay to get the rules right. You should make absolutely certain that Canada’s Copyright Act ensures a creator’s right to be fairly remunerated when their work is commercialized by others.

The foundation of the Value Gap is outdated safe harbour policies and exceptions – all around the world. A safe harbour, by the way, is a way to limit the liability of an intermediary and allow music to be consumed without payment. I know that Ministers Joly and Bains are working on this issue and having conversations with their international counterparts to find a solution to this problem.

But here in Canada, there are particular laws that exacerbate the Value Gap by effectively requiring individual creators to subsidize billion dollar commercial technology companies.  Here are four steps that this committee could recommend immediately that would help creators immediately and harmonize Canadian policy with international standards:

  1. Remove the $1.25 Million Radio Royalty Exemption
    Since 1997, commercial radio stations have been exempted from paying royalties on their first $1.25 million in advertising revenue. It amounts to an $8 million annual cross-industry subsidy paid by artists and their recording industry partners to large, vertically-integrated and highly profitable media companies. Internationally, no other country has a similar subsidy, and the exemption does not apply for songwriter and publisher royalties – meaning that performers and record labels are the only rights holders whose royalties are used to subsidize the commercial radio industry. The exemption is unjustified and should be eliminated.
  2. Amend the Definition of ‘Sound Recording’ in the Copyright Act
    The current definition of a “sound recording” in the Copyright Act excludes performers and record labels from receiving royalties for the use of their work in television and film soundtracks. This exception is unique to television and film soundtracks, and does not apply to composers, songwriters and music publishers. It is inequitable and unjustified, particularly in light of the profound role music plays in soundtracks, and it is costly to artists and record labels, who continue to subsidize those who exploit their recordings to the tune of $55 million per year. The Act should be amended to remove this cross-subsidy.
  3. Amending the term of copyright for musical works
    The term of copyright protection in Canada for the authors of musical works is out of line with international copyright norms. Under the Copyright Act, protection for musical works subsists for the duration of the author’s life plus a further period of 50 years. By contrast, the majority of Canada’s largest trading partners recognize longer copyright terms for musical works, and a general standard of the life of the author plus 70 years has emerged. I note that a vice-chair of this committee, Mr. Van Loan, introduced a Private Members bill on this issue and we thank you for your support.
  4. Private Copying: Renew Support for Music Creators
    The private copying levy, originally intended to be technologically neutral, has been limited by various decisions to media that are effectively obsolete.  This important source of earned income for over 100,000 music creators is now in jeopardy unless the regime is updated. Music creators are asking for the creation of an interim four-year fund of $40 million per year. This will ensure that music creators continue to receive fair compensation for private copies made until a more permanent, long-term solution can be enacted.

Each of these changes removes an unfair subsidy, harmonizes the laws within our industries and brings us to international standards, and they can be done today.

As the creative community anxiously awaited this review of the Copyright Act, an organization called Focus On Creators sent Minister Joly a letter that has now been signed by more than 3,650 Canadian creators.  In that letter, the creators discussed their concerns with the Value Gap and how the Value Gap is causing the middle-class artist to disappear in Canada. The creators’ letter concludes with a message I hope you will take to heart, “We know you understand the cultural significance of our work; we hope you also see its value and crucial place in Canada’s economy. We ask that you put creators at the heart of future policy.”

Thank you.

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Music Canada EVP Amy Terrill’s remarks at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s study on Cultural Hubs

This morning, Music Canada’s Executive Vice President Amy Terrill participated in the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s study on Cultural Hubs and Cultural Districts in Canada.

Her remarks, which pulled from Terrill’s extensive Music Cities research, including The Mastering of a Music City report, are included below.

Remarks (check against delivery): 

Chair MP Dabrusin,

Distinguished members of the committee,

 

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today.  I’d like to commend you on your study as it is an active topic of discussion currently across the country.

My interest stems from my work on Music Cities which we began at Music Canada in 2011.

We define Music Cities as a municipality of any size that has a vibrant music economy which is intentionally supported and promoted.

Since 2014 I’ve led our study of close to 30 international cities and become one of the world’s leading thinkers on the topic.   I’ve advised cities on every continent and spoken at countless events.  I’m an active member of music city committees in Vancouver and Toronto.

Music Canada published a roadmap for the development of a Music City in 2015 and since then about a dozen Canadian cities or regions have taken that roadmap and begun to develop music strategies – including most recently Ottawa which released a strategy just two weeks ago.

 

One of the most important components of a Music City is the availability of spaces and places – to rehearse, record, perform – It’s also likely the top issue identified in Canadian communities.

Some of the common concerns that arise in public surveys and focus groups relating to music are:

  1. Lack of affordable rehearsal spaces; live-work spaces – and housing in general
  2. Pressure on small grassroots venues – affordability pressures – and pressures that come about from mixed use areas – venue closures are creating gaps in what we call the venue ladder which is needed to adequately incubate artists
  3. Heavy red tape is also cited
  4. The need for greater audience engagement
  5. And greater opportunities to collaborate – to connect with other professionals – both within music – and also across the cultural sectors

Creative hubs and cultural districts can, in their own ways, respond to these commonly identified needs and in so doing accomplish larger policy, economic, or cultural goals.

 

In our Music City investigation – we have identified three typical formats for creative hubs:

  • Hubs that are artist-centric with recording facilities, rehearsal and performance spaces, workshops, access to professional services like lawyers or accountants. The Kitchener Public Library is emerging as a cultural hub of this kind.
  • A music business incubator like you might see for other industries providing hot desks, networking events, business development support and training.
  • Or a combination of the two; The Music District in Fort Collins Colorado is a great example. 4000 square feet with programming aimed at both of the two groups, plus outreach to the broader community.

Cultural districts, on the other hand, allow municipalities, in particular, the flexibility to design rules and regulations that can be used to nurture creative activities and organizations in a set geographic area.

Both of these tools are ultimately about creating spaces and places for cultural uses.

 

As you consider this topic and how best the federal government can support them there are two key things I’d like you to remember:

Music spaces are sometimes not what you might expect.

A large portion are not buildings built specifically for a music purpose.  Likely half of the inventory is made up of multi-use, repurposed or unusual spaces.  Bars, restaurants, coffee shops, libraries, retail spaces, micro-breweries, repurposed industrial properties – to name a few.

In large cities and small towns – places for musical creation and performance are emerging from unique raw materials.

Similarly creative hubs do not fit a tight definition – I encourage you to think in broad terms about what qualifies as a creative hub.

And secondly this network of cultural spaces is composed of a mix of for-profit and not-for-profit– both are critical for the sustenance of our cultural sector.

The same artists who perform at not-for-profit venues, perform at for-profit venues – it really makes no difference.

Our cultural districts are also made up of this mix.

Commercial entities – as an example music venues or music studios – are important tenants in cultural districts and struggle with some of the same challenges facing their non-profit cousins, but typically do not qualify for federal funding programs.

Queen Street West was mentioned in the department’s testimony.  One of Queen West’s most iconic and longest-serving operators – the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern – is only able to maintain its space thanks to the generosity of the building’s owners.  Should the landlord choose to charge market rent – the Horseshoe could not remain.

Other jurisdictions have recognized the important contributions of the commercial sector – and that they too face affordability pressures – and heightened demands from nearby residents to mitigate sound – and have made loans or grants available to venues to upgrade their facilities or acquire specialized equipment.

This is something that could be considered in an enhanced funding program.

Again – I applaud you for your study.

Thank you and I look forward to expanding on some of these issues in the Q&A.

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Miranda Mulholland calls for action for creators in Washington, DC

Last week, musician, label owner and prominent creators’ rights advocate Miranda Mulholland was in Washington, DC, for a series of meetings and engagements focused on what can be achieved in a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to ensure creators in Canada, Mexico, and the United States have a fair chance at success and receive proper payment for their work.

Miranda Mulholland and Stephen Exell, Vice President for Global Innovation Policy at ITIF

“From all the conversations I had in Washington, what really struck me was just how necessary the artists’ voices are on this issue. Whether Canadian, Mexican or American artists, we share the same need for strong and consistent IP protections. People in Washington are listening. We need to speak up now more than ever,” said Mulholland following the trip.

This was the second occasion that Mulholland, who is becoming increasingly well-know internationally for her advocacy work, has spoken to an American audience. In January of 2018, she participated in the inaugural Artists Rights Summit in Athens, Georgia.

On April 11, Mulholland delivered a speech at an event jointly organized by ACTION for Trade and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). More than 20 government and industry leaders attended the event which also featured a speech from Stephen Exell, Vice President for Global Innovation Policy at ITIF. Both speakers underlined the importance of strong IP protections and enforcement in NAFTA.

A post-event report by ACTION for Trade noted that “Mulholland spoke about how governments need to adapt policies to fit today’s landscape and protect creators’ work,” in particular that they must consider the “99 percent” of creators who aren’t mainstream superstars.

The day before the ACTION for Trade event, Mulholland visited Capitol Hill where she met with officials and stakeholders to discuss the need for action.

For more information on Mulholland’s advocacy work, visit the advocacy section of her website. You can also watch the full video of her outstanding 2017 speech to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa titled “Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace” below.

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#EveryStage: How Music Canada celebrates the success of Canada’s artists

Throughout March, Music Canada has been highlighting the ways our advocacy supports artists at every stage of their career, including our work on Music Education, Music Cities, and Copyright. As we head to Vancouver for the 47th Annual JUNO Awards, we now share our final instalment of the #EveryStage series outlining how Music Canada celebrates success of Canada’s artists and the music that resonates around the world.

Music Canada is proud to once again return as sponsor of the JUNOS Album of the Year category, as well as the Presenting Sponsor of the Chairman’s and Welcome Reception on Friday, March 23. With our sponsorship of the award, we join music fans across the country in celebrating the works from this year’s nominees – Arcade Fire, Ruth B, Shania Twain, Johnny Reid, and Michael Bublé – and congratulate the dedicated label and production teams involved with each release.

All of this year’s nominated Album of the Year releases have been officially certified through Music Canada’s Gold/Platinum program, which was launched in 1975 to celebrate milestone sales of music in Canada. The Gold/Platinum Certification & Awards Program provides a tangible recognition of national success for artists and their teams with our unique award plaques, who are often surprised with the plaques during tour stops throughout the country.

With over 17,000 albums, singles, digital downloads, ringtones, and music videos certified over the past 44 years, the program provides a unique historical record of popular music in Canada. Over the years, the certification sales criteria for Gold and Platinum records have reacted to market conditions, and are indicative of overall trends in the music industry. For example, we updated the program’s certification criteria in 2016 to begin accepting on-demand audio streaming towards new single certifications, and again in 2017 for albums. As with past updates, the current guidelines provide a more accurate reflection of Canadian music fans’ consumption habits, and has helped reward a new generation of Canadian and international artists who utilize these new digital platforms.

The Gold/Platinum Canada-branded certification announcements and award presentation photos are shared by thousands of fans across the world on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to help congratulate their favourite artists’ for success in our territory. In conjunction with the program’s social media presence and updated guidelines, Music Canada launched the Gold In Canada playlist in July 2017 on Spotify and Google Play, and updates the playlist every Thursday with 50 of the latest tracks across all genres earning the coveted Gold certification. In 2018, Music Canada curated three new all-Canadian playlists from the Gold/Platinum archives – Canada Vibes, Canada Rocks The 2000s, and Forty 45s – which are now available to stream across Apple Music, Spotify, and Google Play.

https://twitter.com/GoldPlatCA/status/952956265675837441

Music Canada also presents two awards annually at Playback, our annual industry dialogue and celebration. In 2017, Music Canada presented the inaugural Artist Advocate Award to Toronto-based artist, label owner, and activist Miranda Mulholland, in recognition of her outstanding advocacy efforts to improve the livelihoods of music creators.

Since 2015, Music Canada has also presented the President’s Award to an individual working outside the music community who displays a deep passion for music and the people who make it. In 2017, this award was co-presented to London Music Industry Development Officer, Cory Crossman, and Chris Campbell, Director of Culture and Entertainment Tourism at Tourism London, for their incredible commitment to making London, ON, a Music City. Their efforts helped the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences select London as the next host city for the 2019 JUNOS, which will be the first time the city will host the JUNO celebrations.

The 2018 JUNO Awards and portions JUNO Week events will stream live through CBC Music from Vancouver, BC, on Sunday, March, 25 at 8pm ET/5pm PT. Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees, and we look forward to celebrating another year of Canadian music with fans nationwide.

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Music Canada launches #EveryStage campaign, focusing first on music education

Music Canada is proud to return as a Platinum Partner of the 47th annual JUNO Awards in 2018, sponsoring both the Album of the Year category as well as the Welcome Reception, which is the official kickoff party to JUNOs weekend happening Friday, March 23rd in Vancouver.

Leading up to this year’s annual celebration of Canada’s brightest stars in music, Music Canada will be highlighting the ways in which our advocacy supports Canadian artists at every stage of their career. In the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of blogs detailing our research and advocacy efforts in four defined areas: music education, music cities, copyright, and celebrating success. To kick it off, we’ll start where most Canadians learn the fundamentals with music education.

One of the key recommendations in Music Canada’s Next Big Bang report, which identifies programs and policies designed to stimulate the development of Canada’s commercial music sector and to drive growth and job creation in the economy at large, is to enhance and invest in music education. The recommendation states:

Given the strong evidence that music education prepares workers who are more creative, better problem-solvers, and possess soft skills that are critical in the digital economy, as well as the correlation between music scenes and tech clusters, governments should invest more in music education and should consider music scenes as a tool for economic development.

This recommendation drives much of the advocacy undertaken by Music Canada to secure equitable access to quality music education for all young Canadians.

We are currently working with multiple provincial governments on various initiatives and strategies to meet this goal, and have been a long-time supporter of groups like MusiCounts and their efforts put more instruments into the hands of Canadian kids, as well as the Coalition for Music Education, promoting their efforts to improve the state of music education in Canada.

From a curriculum standpoint, music education falls under the mandate of provincial ministries, but municipalities also have a role to play in ensuring equitable access to music education for all Canadians. And the relationship is reciprocal, as music education also plays a role in the development of vibrant Music Cities.

As our 2015 landmark report, The Mastering of a Music City notes:

Music education is present in successful Music Cities. Generally, it is understood to include formal music training in the education system, as well as specialized programs at colleges and universities. Not only do these programs help develop future musicians, but they develop appreciation for music at a young age, seeding future audiences. The many other benefits of learning and playing music are well documented and wide-ranging. These include enhancing children’s neural activity, language development, test scores, IQ and learning abilities.

One way that municipalities can promote music education is through a phenomenal program that has been popping up in cities across Canada – music instrument lending libraries. Public library branches in Barrie, Kitchener, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and other cities now allow Canadians of any age to experiment with and learn new instruments free of charge.

We look forward to sharing more news in the near future on our work to promote and strengthen music education. Next in our series of blogs about how our advocacy supports artists at every stage of their career, we’ll dive deeper into Music Cities and how musicians can benefit from vibrant, actively promoted local music economies.

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Music March For Music Therapy returns to Toronto for fifth year

Music Canada is proud to return as a sponsor for the 5th Annual Music March for Music Therapy in Toronto on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in support of the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund in partnership with the Canadian Association of Music Therapists.

The march will take place along Bloor Street West, which is a new route for the annual family-focused march. Participants will depart from the Music Therapy Center (1175 Bloor St. W) at noon and will end at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W) around 1:15pm, where amazing entertainment, delicious food, fun activities, and tons of auction prizes await.

This year’s fundraising goal has been set to $25,000 in honour of the charity’s 25th anniversary, which works to enhance our communities by providing accessible music therapy to our nation’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.

The march is free to attend, while the after party at Lee’s Palace will be $25 at door unless the attendee has made a fundraising page. Those who would like to donate to the fund but cannot attend the event can do so at the same page. Stay tuned to the Facebook event page for more information on the afternoon, including the reveal of this year’s musical ambassadors and performers!

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Leading Canadian copyright lawyer says “support for Canada’s content creators is imperative” in Globe and Mail op-ed

Barry Sookman, one of Canada’s leading copyright lawyers, wrote an op-ed published in The Globe and Mail on January 18, addressing two of the major challenges facing the cultural industries in Canada: pirate streaming and the Value Gap. The piece was later posted in its full, unedited length on Sookman’s personal website.

Sookman says that “our outdated legal frameworks” are a significant contributing cause of these challenges. He references Music Canada’s 2017 report The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-In-Canada Approach, which shows that “the market value of music in Canada is still a fraction of what it once was, and equitable remuneration for access to music remains elusive.”

The report defines the Value Gap as the “significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed and enjoyed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to the people and businesses who create it.”

As Sookman points out, the Value Gap is not only a problem for music creators. He says that most of Canada’s leading cultural industries are also affected, including journalism, television and film.

A coalition of author and publisher groups have documented the harm caused by the Value Gap to their sector, and in 2017 launched the I Value Canadian Stories campaign to urge Canadian lawmakers to “restore balance between the need to compensate our creators for educational copying and the need to promote access to quality content.” The campaign website notes that royalties to creators and publishers for copying of their works have declined by 80% since 2013.

Sookman concludes that, given the magnitude of this problem and the threat to Canada’s cultural industries, the issue, as well as practical solutions, “deserve the attention and support of Canadians.”

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Canadian venues to support music therapy programs with A Night Out For Music Heals 2018

Music therapy charity Music Heals has revealed details for the 2018 edition of their annual A Night Out For Music Heals event, which invites bars, venues, nightclubs, pubs, and breweries across Canada to come together on one night (March 3, 2018) to support the organization’s initiatives.

Now in its sixth year, A Night Out For Music Heals takes place on the first Saturday of every March, and kicks off Music Therapy Awareness Month. The initiative raises funds and awareness for Canadian music therapy programs, with $1 from each patron at a participating venue donated to support music therapy programs across the country.

90 venues across Canada participated in 2017, helping raise over $19,900 for music therapy. The Vancouver-based organization hopes to see over 150 venues participating in 2018, and anticipates growth of international audiences as Music Heals spearheads the launch of the first ever World Music Therapy Day in March 2018.

RSVP to Music Heals’ Facebook event page to stay up to date with the latest venues joining the initiative. Venues that are interested in participating in 2018 can contact Music Heals at nightout@musicheals.ca.

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