The Music Canada President’s Award is presented to an individual working outside the music community who displays a deep passion for music and the people who make it.
The recent past has been filled with many firsts and milestones for music in London, Ontario. The city hosted an incredibly successful Country Music Week and the CCMA Awards in September 2016; completed its first ever music census; has taken steps to modernize noise bylaws for music and dancing on outdoor patios; and on November 17, will host its first Music Career Day. Credit for these outstanding accomplishments is due not only to one individual, but two passionate community leaders.
At Playback 2017, Music Canada’s annual industry dialogue and celebration, London’s Music Industry Development Officer, Cory Crossman, and Chris Campbell, Director of Culture and Entertainment Tourism at Tourism London, were both presented with the 2017 President’s Award for their incredible commitment to making London a Music City.
Miranda Mulholland does it all. From running a record label and a music festival, to singing and playing fiddle in multiple acts, and even performing as a member of Toronto’s Soul Pepper Theatre Company, Miranda is the epitome of a multi-talented artist. On top of her artistic achievements, Miranda has emerged as a trailblazer in the global artists’ rights movement.
In recognition of her outstanding advocacy efforts to improve the livelihoods of music creators, Miranda Mulholland was presented with the inaugural Music Canada Artist Advocate Award at Playback 2017.
Watch Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, present Miranda Mulholland with the inaugural Music Canada Artist Advocate Award below.
Below is selection of photos of Miranda receiving the award.
On October 17, at the first Playback event, Music Canada’s Executive Vice President, Amy Terrill, launched the Playback 2017 site and highlighted some of Music Canada’s accomplishments from the past 12 months described in the publication.
Watch the full video below, and for a fuller picture of Music Canada’s work in the past year, check out the Playback 2017 website.
Below is a selection of photos from the Playback 2017 year in review.
Music Canada’s annual industry dialogue and celebration, Playback, took place on October 17. At the event, Graham Henderson officially launched our latest research report, The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-In-Canada Approach. Following the launch of the report, Canadian recording artists Damhnait Doyle and Miranda Mulholland joined moderator Andrew Cash, a musician himself, for an honest discussion about their strategies for survival working as musicians in 2017.
Damhnait Doyle is an accomplished musician, songwriter, SOCAN Award winner, as well as a columnist and author. She has released multiple albums, both of solo material and as part of the group Shaye.
Andrew Cash is a JUNO and SOCAN Award winning musician and composer with over a dozen albums to his credit. He is also a former Member of Parliament and is co-founder of the Urban Worker Project.
Watch the full video below:
“Musicians, technically and for a very long time, have been undervalued.”
“What I did today – I sang on a television show – which I will only get paid for once, the same with your (Miranda’s) situation with Republic of Doyle…I’m getting paid a ridiculously small amount of money, but I’m doing it because – where else am I going to make money?”
“It costs me an incredible amount of money to go out on the road, and to earn money, which is now kind of the only allotted place where artists earn money. Well, you’re not making money off the radio, you’re not making money off publishing, you’re not making money off records. So the only place you’re going to make money is playing live.”
“We’re really, really fortunate in this country to have things like FACTOR and to have things like Slaight Music who support our artists. In that one sense we are in a very rarified earth up here in Canada, that we do have an industry that supports us. It supports us in the creation of the art itself, but there, it falls off…It would be an artist’s dream to not have to apply to FACTOR. That would be a great milestone.”
“The fact that the government has not changed or amended this legislation is laughable, I mean, someone made a mistake and no one’s willing to clean up the mess. It’s a mistake.”
“There’s no bylaws and standards regulating a rock-n-roll band. And by and large, that’s been probably a problem.”
“One of the reasons we’re all here is that we love music, and we want music to happen. And it can’t happen unless artists can make a decent living and be healthy and happy in their lives.”
“I find my days are taken up with so much administration…I’m updating my Facebook and I’m doing my Spotify work. I’m selling their product basically, through my music, and trying to get people to subscribe to Spotify so that I can get paid .004 extra cents per stream.”
“Granting is great, and it’s amazing that we have those capabilities in Canada, but what we want is a sustainable working marketplace where we are creating art and we are being remunerated for it properly. And that is not happening for a variety of reasons.”
“Policy must change. The government needs to make some pretty swift cuts to end some of these subsidies, and that’s a big deal. And I love that people are actually having this conversation now and asking about what our lives look like, that it isn’t flashy parties, you know, and being more honest on Instagram and Facebook about what touring actually looks like because it doesn’t look the way that I think most people picture it.”
“If you look at France – they have very strong opinions about Spotify and about a lot of the streaming services, and they’ve taken some really harsh stances, and I feel as though our government is still in a lot of conversations, and they’re being very polite with a lot of these giant tech companies, where there actually could be some pretty significant…maybe further than conversations, but actually drawing a line in the sand. That would be appreciated by us and that would definitely change our livelihoods.”
Music Canada’s annual industry dialogue and celebration, Playback, took place on October 17. The headlining portion of this year’s event was the launch of Music Canada’s latest research report The Value Gap: It’s Origins, Impacts and a Made-In-Canada Approach. This new report is the first comprehensive collection of information about the Value Gap, and the solutions available to Canadian policy makers.
At Playback 2017, Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, shared highlights from the report and described the four concrete recommendations contained within for the Government of Canada to address the Value Gap plaguing Canadian music creators and other cultural industries.
Watch the full video below:
The Value Gap is the most pressing global phenomenon hurting creative industries, including publishing, journalism, film and television production, and music. It is an issue of critical importance to the current and future health of Canadian culture, our nation’s cultural industries, and the creators of our cultural works.
Many of our creative industry partners affected by the Value Gap, some of whom are supporting partners in the Focus On Creators coalition, attended Playback and shared their reaction to the report:
Below are introductory remarks delivered by Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, at the Provincial Arts Education Roundtable hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Education and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport on October 16, 2017.
It sometimes feels today as though the liberal arts and the humanities are under siege. Right across the United States, Republican governors are rolling back support for state universities that offer liberal arts education. And we must be vigilant – because if it can happen there, it can happen here.
Culture and the arts are worth fighting for. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley believed that the arts can reform the world. He developed a theory of the imagination. He believed that what he called the “cultivated imagination” can see the world differently – through a lens of love and empathy. And how do you get one of those “cultivated imaginations”? Well through exposure to culture.
Now, it might be said that we live in a technology obsessed world. And you, know, Percy’s wife, Mary had something to say about that. She wrote Frankenstein, a book whose central message seems to be that the unmediated, unexamined introduction of technology into our lives is fraught with risk and danger. It can, not always, but it can create monsters.
Poets today continue to operate in this tradition. If you don’t know the Texan poet and performance artist Arielle Cottingham, you should. Cottingham, now living in Melbourne, won the 2016 edition of the Australian Poetry Slam with an electrifying performance. She was recently interviewed for the magazine ArtsHub. In an article meaningfully entitled, “Why We Need Poets More Than Ever Before”, Cottingham cited Shelley as an inspiration for her work and pointed to his famous comment in A Defense of Poetry: Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
Shelley used the term “legislator” in a special sense. Not as someone who “makes laws” but as someone who is a “representative” of the people. In this sense creators must be thought of as the voice of the people; as a critical foundation of our society and of our democracy. They offer insights into our world and provide potential solutions – they underpin our future.
Cottingham agrees and explained it this way:
[Shelley] argues that poets are the moral barometers of their times and circumstances – and look at the well-known poets today. Bob Dylan is lauded as the voice of a generation. Maya Angelou elevated the voice of the black woman to an unprecedented visibility. Gil Scott Heron wrote a single line of poetry so prescient that it became more famous than he himself did – “The revolution will not be televised.” To quote Miles Merrill, “poets are more honest than politicians.”
A liberal arts education and an education in the humanities – STEM blended into STEAM – is therefore essential to a healthy society and one that is governed by empathy and love.
On July 19, a new initiative called Polyphonic Ground was announced, with the aim of strengthening Toronto’s culturally-diverse music industry. The initiative is spearheaded by Small World Music, and is composed of 12 Toronto live music presenters: Ashkenaz Foundation, Batuki Music Society, Good Kind Productions, iNative, Link Music Lab, Lula Music & Arts Centre, MonstrARTity Creative Community, Music Africa, Revolutions Per Minute, Small World Music Society, Uma Nota Culture, and World Fiddle Day Toronto. The collective plans to foster engagement with a monthly collaborative concert series and diverse professional development programming.
In partnership with Music Ontario, City Hall Live, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) and Music Canada Live, Polyphonic Ground will be hosting a series of conversations about diversity in the live music industry. To inform these conversations, and ensure as many voices as possible are heard, Polyphonic Ground has launched an online survey.
The survey states:
The lack of gender and cultural diversity reflected by the larger Toronto music industry has been a hot topic of late. Ad hoc conversations around these issues have taken place at recent panels and forums focused on topics such as venue closures, noise bylaws, the media etc. However, there have been few opportunities to deal with these issues head on and explore how inequities can be addressed.
Have your say and help shape these important conversations. The survey closes Friday, August 11th at 5pm.
Music Heals, a Vancouver-based charity that raises money and awareness for music therapy programs across Canada, has launched a unique new fundraising campaign for artists and their fans. With the Covers For The Cause campaign, artists are taking requests from their fans to perform covers of songs in exchange for a donation to the charity.
“We’ve listened to artists who have told us that they are looking for creative ways to give back,” Music Heals executive director Chris Brandt told The Georgia Straight. “Music Heals supporters are, first and foremost, music fans. This puts the musician and the fan in direct contact, for the purpose of supporting music therapy for kids, seniors, palliative care, dementia, and more.”
In an op-ed published today for Policy Options, a digital magazine published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson details the Value Gap, which is an issue affecting all cultural creators, and warns that action must be taken to restore integrity to the marketplace.
Henderson describes what led to the Value Gap, defined as “the gross mismatch between the volume of music being enjoyed by consumers and the revenues being returned to the music community.” Identifying the problem as “a product of decisions made by governments around the world that have allowed cultural content to be distributed, made available, consumed and monetized by others without proper payment to creators,” Henderson points to out-of-date rules and regulations, such as exemptions that have benefited broadcast and technology industries to the detriment of creators.
Henderson outlines a series of policy recommendations that the government should consider immediately to restore balance to the world in which creators live.
Some of the actions are:
Ending all cross-subsidies paid by creators that subsidize corporations – the outdated $1.25 million radio royalty exemption in the Copyright Act is one example in Canada.
Consider federal policies to attract foreign direct investment in the domestic music economy, as Ontario, British Columbia, and municipalities across Canada have done.
Examine and reform the Copyright Board of Canada, the tribunal that is responsible for setting royalty rates that many in the cultural industries rely on. A recent Senate of Canada report found the Board to be “dated, dysfunctional and in dire need of reform,” signalling that reforms are urgently needed. “The government needs to turn the Copyright Board into a true business development office for the creative and user communities,” writes Henderson.
Henderson concludes by calling for “a full and meaningful review that identifies and recommends necessary amendments to the Act,” and reiterates that “the only way the government can restore integrity to the marketplace is to curtail all cross-subsidies and the outdated exemptions on which they are based.”
On April 20, 2017, JUNO and Polaris Prize winning experimental vocalist Tanya Tagaq delivered a brilliant and emotional keynote during the 2017 Global Forum at Canadian Music Week. Following her keynote, Tanya joined acclaimed Canadian musicians Susan Aglukark and Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red, as well as Mike Downie, co-founder of the Secret Path project and the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund, for a panel discussion moderated by John Kim Bell. The profound, honest, and moving discussion covered a wide range of topics such as culture, identity, residential schools, reconciliation, and the responsibility and pressure Indigenous artists feel to assume activist roles.
Before Tanya’s keynote, the Global Forum began with a stunning performance by Hamilton-based experimental trip-hop artist IsKwé, a welcome from Music Canada’s President and CEO Graham Henderson, and opening remarks from Arif Virani, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism) and Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park.
For more than a decade Music Canada has been proud to sponsor the Global Forum at Canadian Music Week, which brings together Canadian music professionals and international delegates for a networking breakfast and discussion. Over the last few years the Global Forum’s theme has been “music can help,” and in 2017 the focus shifted from a global outlook to an inward exploration of the role music has played for Indigenous musicians in Canada, bridging cultural divides and bringing national attention to Indigenous issues.
Watch the full video of the Global Forum panel discussion below.
Susan Aglukark on the role music has played in her life:
The thing that music and art has done for me over the last twenty five years; it’s opened up this place and space where all opinions, thoughts, cultures, everything matters. Everything is a part of recovering and building bridges.
Bear Witness on visibility of Indigenous artists in mainstream culture:
We always get asked all these things about Indigenous issues, and it’s such a broad thing in trying to figure out what to talk about, and I kind of decided that in the kind of work I’m doing, the thing I can affect most is visibility and how I present myself to the world and how I want to be seen. And that’s something that goes back to how I grew up. We were actually talking before we came out about seeing a poster of you (John Kim Bell) that was up in a high school guidance office, or something like that. Seeing that poster was a huge inspiration for me. Because it was that idea of seeing an Indigenous person who was visible, who was getting recognition for excellence in their craft. I come from a long line of Indigenous artists and I’m probably the most visible out of any of them. By far not the most talented. So that idea that there’s been all of these talented Indigenous artists, generations of them, that have gone unnoticed, and to be noticed meant to give up your Indigeneity often. It’s a really new thing for us to be up here, representing the way that we all are.
Tanya Tagaq on identity in her music:
There shouldn’t be pressure culturally for us to get out of a box, stay in a box, or anything. We’re allowed to be what we want to be – cultural freedom – that’s what I want. And I don’t expect people to comprehend or even enjoy my music, because I was born and raised up there, but yeah I went to residential school for high school, and since we started touring I’m really into going to contemporary art galleries and I like applying concept to pieces. I like contemporary music. I like noise music. I love Cindy Sherman. Anish Kapoor is one of my favourite artists. So why is it that, because I’m an Inuk, what I’m doing in a contemporary sense is applied to this pan-Inuit concept? I think it’s total bullshit, and that I’m allowed to be free and do what I want and not bear the burden of people saying I’m a traditional artist, cause I’m not.
Mike Downie on Secret Path and using the platform music and fame provides to draw attention to social and political issues:
Our feeling was – maybe this can be an on-ramp for people to learn more, because the stories keep coming and they get a lot darker than a little boy by himself on the tracks. And so, I think we did feel like there was an opportunity to use this story to get it out to not just Gord’s fans, but to the country, and also I think, just come with a message too that if you’re coming to this now, it’s OK, but keep coming, don’t turn away, and keep following that path.
Bear Witness on the sense of responsibility Indigenous artists feel:
As Indigenous artists we take on a lot of responsibility to represent and speak about Indigenous issues, especially when we’re using our culture in our work. And one of the things you (John Kim Bell) said right away was that feeling of responsibility, that this isn’t a choice, this is something that we have to do. That filled me with so much confidence and so much happiness to hear you say that, because I say that all the time, to feel that there’s other artists who’ve gone through those same feelings.”
Tanya Tagaq on the way art affects collective consciousness and politics:
Our cultural climate is dictated by the individual and then by the school of fish that we are, so there’s a collective social consciousness that’s being affected by art right now, by people waking up, so I think that the way the government is going to change is by every single one of us taking the opportunity to learn and understand and cry out. I remember growing up it was still bad to be gay, and now you’re an idiot if you’re a homophobe, right? So I’m hoping that with all of us working together we’ll force the hand of the government into making it easier for us and I think it’s up to the youth to pick up the mantle and it’s up to every single one of us to bear some of the weight because it’s a little bit unfair for the people that are already hurting to have to bear the additional pressure, and that’s why I’m so appreciative of what you (Mike and Gord Downie) have done in your work.
[email protected] & @RyersonDI have released a survey to gain a deeper understanding of how sustained action in support of the values of equity, diversity and inclusion can better serve the music community by identifying diversity and inclusion gaps.
ATTN: @MusicCanada & @RyersonDI has released a survey with the intention to identify diversity and inclusion gaps within the music industry & barriers to the success of diverse artists, creators and music professionals in the Canadian music industry: https://bit.ly/3tOhHVj.
Add your voice; @Music_Canada in collaboration w/ @RyersonDI have launched a new research study on Diversity & Inclusion in Canada’s music industry. Artists, creators, and music industry professionals and crew are encourages to participate in the survey.
Congratulations to all of the artists’ whose work was named to the 2021 @PolarisPrize Long List!
See the full list of albums at https://polarismusicprize.ca/blog/2021-polaris-music-prize-long-list-is-here/. #Polaris2021 #LongList
Congratulations to all involved with the Int’l @Indigmusic Summit, which concludes tonight, following five days of programming that brought Indigenous artists and music industry professionals together to honour tradition and forge new pathways.
How can sustained action in support of the values of equity, diversity and inclusion can better serve the music community?
Help Music Canada & @RyersonDI identify diversity and inclusion gaps in Canada’s music industry by completing this survey:
[email protected]_Canada is conducting a research study on Diversity and Inclusion in Canada’s Music Industry. Help them to identify diversity and inclusion gaps in the music community. Take the survey now https://bit.ly/3zbcCKB
Are you an artist, music creator, or industry professional in Canada’s music industry? Your perspective can make a difference! ✨@Music_Canada has launched a new research study on Diversity and Inclusion in Canada’s Music Industry 🎶!