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Anthology: Defining Moments in Canadian Music

Tonight at the opening reception to the 46th Annual JUNO Awards in Ottawa, Music Canada unveiled Anthology: Defining Moments in Canadian Music. The installation is a timeline that chronicles the events that helped shape Canadian music, including artistic and award-based milestones, industry and regulatory developments, as well as media and technological changes that have been part of our industry’s evolution.

With facts compiled by renowned music journalist Larry LeBlanc, and designed by Ben PurkissAnthology is made up of five large prints containing more than 180 moments. When aligned side-by-side, the prints create a continuous timeline from 1969 to 2017.

Music fans can test their Canadian music knowledge with our quiz card, which is being distributed to attendees at the opening reception. An answer key is available on the back of the card, which highlights the Focus On Creators initiative.

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Music Canada reacts to 2017 Federal Budget

Music Canada is pleased to see that the 2017 federal budget, which was tabled yesterday in the House of Commons, contains encouraging language for Canada’s music sector.

Intellectual Property Strategy 2017

The budget announced that the Government will develop a new intellectual property strategy over the coming year. The budget notes that “intellectual property rights incentivize creativity and the development of new ideas and technologies by helping companies, academics and inventors recoup their investment once new products reach the marketplace.” This is especially true in the music business, as music is intellectual property, and musicians are innovators.

Recorded music is an investment intensive business, and a strong intellectual property regime gives labels the confidence to invest in new artists and recordings, which helps all parties in the recording ecosystem. Record labels are the primary investors in music, investing 27% of global revenues into discovering, developing, and marketing artists. A & R (artists and repertoire) is record companies’ defining skill, and the equivalent of R & D (research and development) in other sectors. We welcome the Government’s IP Strategy, which the budget states will “help ensure that Canada’s intellectual property regime is modern and robust and supports Canadian innovations in the 21st century.”

Canada’s Digital Future

In this budget, the Government has placed a priority on supporting Canada’s digital innovation, with a section on Canada’s Digital Future. Recognizing that Canada’s creative entrepreneurs and cultural leaders are essential to building an inclusive and innovative Canada, the budget acknowledges that Canada’s creative industries are facing rapid and disruptive change, which includes both risks and opportunities. The budget states that the Government will outline a new approach to growing Canada’s creative sector – “one that is focused on the future, and bringing the best of Canada to the world.”

The music industry has extensive experience in adapting to digital disruption. In many ways, the music sector was “the canary in the coal mine” in this regard: with the launch of Napster in 1999, the music industry was the first media sector to feel the full impact of the Internet. But, after almost two decades of nearly uninterrupted declining revenues, the global music sector reached a key milestone in 2015, with a return to positive revenue growth and digital revenues surpassing income from physical formats for the first time. This achievement was made possible by the transformation of record companies to meet changes in consumer behavior, the proactive licensing of new digital services, and continued investment in talent and innovation in bringing artists to a global audience. We have some perfect examples of the last point; last year, Drake topped IFPI’s Top Ten Global Recording Artist chart, while fellow Ontarians Justin Bieber and The Weeknd reached #5 and #10, respectively.

However, despite these encouraging results, the music industry’s transformation is not complete. There is a weakness in the foundation, known as the “Value Gap.” While music is now being consumed at record levels around the world, the surge in consumption has not been matched by coinciding remuneration to artists and producers. Addressing this market distortion is crucial to ensuring creators are fairly compensated. We look forward to working with the Government of Canada to address the Value Gap as part of the plan for Canada’s digital future.

Promoting STEM to Young Canadians

The budget also includes a laudable section on promoting STEM to young Canadians, noting that they are “curious, talented, entrepreneurial and well-educated”, making them “well-positioned to deliver the next great breakthrough in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).” This is very true, though we note the equal importance of studying the humanities, and encourage the Government to consider a broader outlook, by including the arts in this strategy.

An arts education does more than prepare students for careers in the culture sectors. Arts educations instill the importance of creativity, and teach students to apply creative thinking and design skills to STEM projects. By expanding the outlook from STEM to STEAM, the Government can help students develop the full skillset required for careers in tomorrow’s labour market.

 

Budget 2017 rightly states that changes in the economy presents incredible opportunities for middle class Canadians, and that Canadians’ future success “will be determined by our ability to prepare for and adapt to change.” As we strengthen Canadian content creation and prepare for the future, Music Canada is committed to working with government to ensure music is properly valued & creators are fairly compensated.

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Department of Canadian Heritage releases #DigiCanCon consultation report

On February 21, the Department of Canadian Heritage released its Canadian Content in a Digital World consultation report. The government commissioned the independent data analysis firm Ipsos to synthesize the information gathered from the DigiCanCon consultations. The results contained in the report are described as a thematic overview of submissions received.

The television and film industries are thoroughly discussed, and while the report doesn’t contain many direct mentions of music, some sections have a strong focus on creators and the need to showcase Canada’s cultural sector at home and abroad, as well as “a need to ensure that Canadian creators share in the financial rewards resulting from increased dissemination of cultural content via digital channels.”

The report identifies three main principles that arose during the consultations, and positives for the creative community can be drawn from the feedback the government received related to each of these principles:

  1. Focusing on citizens and creators

This principle involves supporting creators through skills development and ownership protection, investing in creators with a re-evaluated funding model to allow broader access, and respecting citizen choice to afford all Canadians with access to a diverse body of cultural content.

  1. Reflecting Canadian identities and promoting sound democracy

A sentiment expressed by many during the consultations was that “the Canadian ‘brand’ should reflect the diversity of both Canada’s cultural and ethnic populations and also Canada’s geography and landscape.” Per the report, “there was general agreement that a robust Canadian cultural offering contributes to a strong Canadian identity which in turn breeds engaged citizens.” This is how many participants felt that culture can promote a sound democracy.

  1. Catalyzing economic and social innovation

How to create a cultural ecosystem that fuels growth of the middle class was one of the questions the government sought to answer. While participants reportedly had difficulty expressing how a thriving cultural sector would benefit the middle class, it’s important to remember that many members of the creative class earn an income below the poverty line from their creative work. Independent musicians earned an average of $7,228 per year from music-related activities in 2011. In many respects, a strong creative class contributes directly to a strong middle class. This is one of the main reasons the Focus On Creators coalition exists – to ask the government to put creators at the heart of future policy so they can earn a reasonable living from their work, and BE part of the middle class.

We were very encouraged by one of the “next steps” identified by the government to “through both public policy and perception, reposition the cultural sector as an engine of economic growth and innovation in Canada.” We firmly believe that music has incredible potential as a driver of economic growth and job creation and we’re committed to spreading this message.

One of the key themes of the consultations, identified on page 10, is “Modernizing Canada’s legislative framework and national cultural institutions.” According to the report, the Copyright Act was one of the institutions that participants said has “not kept pace with the shifting digital environment and should be examined.” The upcoming government-mandated Copyright Act review in 2017 was identified as a vital opportunity for Canada to stand up for creators, noting that “most agreed that changes to IP legislation that divert the flow of revenue back to the hands of the idea generators is essential to the future of the cultural ecosystem in Canada.” The Copyright Act is also included as a legislative framework in the government’s “federal cultural policy toolkit.” We hope that the opportunity presented by the 2017 Copyright Act review is used to its full potential to benefit Canada’s cultural industries.

Although it was not mentioned in the Ipsos report, The Copyright Board of Canada also has enormous potential to act as a business development force for our cultural industries. In a report released in December of 2016, The Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce stated “The Copyright Board of Canada plays a pivotal role in Canada’s cultural sector. Yet, from what the committee heard, the Board is dated, dysfunctional and in dire need of reform.” The Senate committee report recommended that an “in-depth examination of the Copyright Board of Canada’s mandate, practices and resources” be included as part of the 2017 Copyright Act review.

Music Canada would like to commend Minister Joly and the Department of Canadian Heritage for undertaking such a thorough consultation at this crucial moment in time for Canada’s cultural industries. We are very encouraged by the commitment to creators displayed by both the government and participants in the consultation, and we are hopeful that these consultations will result in new policies to better support our creative industries in the digital age.

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Buffy Sainte-Marie announced as 2017 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award recipient

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced iconic singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, social activist, educator, philanthropist and visual artist Buffy Sainte-Marie as the recipient of the 2017 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award, presented by Bell Media. The award, which began in 2006 with recipient Bruce Cockburn, recognizes an outstanding Canadian artist whose humanitarian contributions have positively enhanced the social fabric of Canada and/or whose impact can be felt worldwide.

“It’s our privilege to present the legendary Buffy Sainte-Marie with the 2017 Allan Waters Humanitarian Award,” said Randy Lennox, President, Broadcasting and Content, Bell Media. “Her dedication to improving the lives of Indigenous people is truly humbling. We look forward to celebrating this iconic artist and her inspiring philanthropic work at this year’s JUNO Awards.”

Born on the Piapot Plains Cree First Nation Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan, Sainte-Marie is celebrated for her thought provoking lyrics and her passion for supporting Aboriginal people. In 1964, she became well known for her anti-war peace anthem “Universal Soldier,” and was one of the first people to merge pop and Aboriginal music with her 1976 hit “Starwalker.” Sainte-Marie’s 2015 album Power in the Blood won the 2016 JUNO Awards for Aboriginal Album of the Year sponsored by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, as well as the Polaris Music Prize.

“I’ve had some great partners in mobilizing my ideas in art, education and technology, especially the W.K. Kellogg Foundation who taught me that there’s a difference between an administrator and a visionary. Both are important but visionaries are seldom pushy in that business way that administrators learn; and visionaries don’t think in corporate pecking order terms so often get squashed out in normal business systems,” said Sainte-Marie. “I’ve been lucky enough to work in both worlds, and although my timing has sometimes been off and gotten my big mouth into trouble, other times, with the help of other people, I’ve been effective beyond my expectations. So I thank all my colleagues in and out of the music business for helping put my songs to work.”

This year’s award will be presented at the JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards presented by SOCAN on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.

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National Music Centre reveals programming for Bell Let’s Talk Day at Studio Bell

On January 25, 2017, Canadian musicians, including noted ambassadors Serena Ryder and Stefie Shock, will join millions of Canadians across the country in recognizing the 7th annual national Bell Let’s Talk Day, which aims to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. For every text, call, tweet, Instagram post, Facebook video view and Snapchat geofilter,  Bell will donate 5¢ more towards mental health initiatives in Canada.

In Calgary, AB, the National Music Centre will host a full day of programming focusing on mental health and music at Studio Bell. Singer-songwriter Séan McCann, a passionate advocate for mental health awareness, will play an evening concert following the day of free programming, which includes a mental health exhibition featuring regional community partners, and a lunchtime music therapy presentation with celebrated music therapist Jennifer Buchanan.

“The power of music to explore, treat and combat stigma around mental health is undeniable, and the National Music Centre is proud to partner with Bell Let’s Talk and a host of community partners to become part of this important national discussion,” said Andrew Mosker, President and CEO for NMC. “We’re also delighted to host Séan McCann as an artist in residence and look forward to him sharing some of his inspiring stories and music with us on January 25.”

At 7:00 pm, McCann, a founding member of Newfoundland’s multi-platinum selling group Great Big Sea, will perform a 90-minute concert featuring the stories behind his songs, a look into his recent artist residency, and incredible music. “I believe that music is strong medicine and that a song can save your life,” said Séan, who left the band in 2013 to deal with both alcohol addiction and coming to terms with the sexual abuse he suffered as a young man. Since then, Séan has been using his words and music to bring healing into his life and the lives of others.

“Bell Let’s Talk is proud to partner with the National Music Centre and Séan McCann to celebrate Bell Let’s Talk Day in Calgary,” said Mary Deacon, Chair of Bell Let’s Talk. “Featuring the therapeutic and healing powers of music for those living with mental illness is a wonderful way to participate in the conversation about mental health on Bell Let’s Talk Day.”

While tickets to McCann’s performance are sold out, you can still pop by on January 25 from 10 am to 5 pm for more mental health programming, courtesy of Bell.

Programming Schedule for Bell Let’s Talk Day at Studio Bell

10:00 am – 5:00 pm     Open to the public and community booths in Canada Music Square

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm     Session with leading music therapist Jennifer Buchanan

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm      NMC President’s Tour highlighting the healing and restorative power of music

3:00 pm – 3:30 pm       Kimball Theatre presentation “Why does Music make us feel emotions?”

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm       NMC and Bell Let’s Talk present Séan McCann (doors open at 6:30 pm)

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Music Monday to celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary with new anthem in support of music education

On Monday, May 1, 2017, the Coalition for Music Education will celebrate Music Monday with a cross-country sing-along to raise awareness for music education. The annual event celebrates the unifying power of music as thousands of Canadians join in singing and performing the Music Monday anthem at their schools and other community centres.

This year, inspired by Canada’s 150th anniversary, the Music Monday sing-along will be led by a live-streamed showcase from the nation’s capital. In recognition of the sesquicentennial year, the 2017 Music Monday anthem will celebrate Canada’s musical heritage in its lyrics and instrumentation. The anthem, titled Sing It Together, focuses on the power of voices, and “asks us to sing for joy, for truth, for healing, and for freedom,” explains the event press release. The recording features Inuit throat singing, Métis fiddling, Indigenous drumming, and children’s choirs in celebration of Canadian musical heritages.

Sing It Together was co-written by JUNO Award winners Marc Jordan and Ian Thomas, and was recorded at Canterbury Music in Toronto, with additional layers recorded at Ottawa’s Audio Valley Recording Studio, and Hamilton’s St. James Anglican Church.

“Music is the landscape of Canada,” said Marc Jordan. “We hope it will be a song that illuminates the mosaic of music and cultures that thrive in every corner of the country.”

To join the Canada-wide chorus of students and community groups in singing and performing the song on Music Monday, visit the Get Involved section of the Music Monday website.  Arrangements, audio-visual learning tools, and lyrics in several languages will be made available on the website ahead of the event.

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Music Canada’s Graham Henderson discusses his Economic Club speech and Focus On Creators on Canadian Musician Radio

Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, was recently interviewed by Canadian Musician’s Michael Raine for the Canadian Musician Radio podcast. Graham and Michael began by discussing Graham’s November 1 speech to the Economic Club of Canada, in which he gave an impassioned defence of creators’ rights. The conversation then flowed to the Focus On Creators initiative, which launched on November 29 with a joint letter to Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly signed by nearly 1,100 musicians, authors, playwrights, poets, songwriters and other creators, urging the government to put creators at the heart of future policy.

A common theme of both Graham’s speech and Focus On Creators is that our government must act to restore a fair and balanced working environment for creators before full-time creativity becomes a thing of the past.

“We are out of our enabling phase. We’ve enabled this new digital marketplace,” said Graham. “Very clearly, we created market distortions we didn’t intend, and now we are going to play the role, the government, will play the role of a leveler. We are going to restore balance.”

Graham spoke of the widespread support behind Focus On Creators from high profile Canadian artists and creators, but stressed the significance of the younger generation of artists who have added their names to the joint letter.

“What is just as important is the young artists. They’re signing up in droves because they’re the ones for whom this promise evaporated,” said Graham. “Our new generations of musicians are digital natives. There’s almost nothing about that environment they don’t know and they don’t understand…The problem is, they do it all, and they don’t get paid properly. They can’t afford rent. Prominent musicians who’ve had their music on 75 records, who have JUNOs, JUNO nominations, can’t afford rent. Ridiculous!”

The full interview is available on Canadian Musician Radio’s website. Graham’s interview begins at the 22:50 mark.

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Nominations open for Canada’s Volunteer Awards

Header 625x190Nominations are now open for Canada’s Volunteer Awards, which recognizes a not-for-profit organization, an individual, a group, or a business who is making a positive impact in their community. As Canada prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2017, it is important to acknowledge the tireless efforts volunteers put in to improve lives in our communities and country.

Awards will be presented in the following categories:

  • One (1) national award – Thérèse Casgrain Lifelong Achievement Award;
  • Five (5) regional awards – Emerging Leader, for young volunteers aged 18 to 30;
  • Five (5) regional awards – Community Leader, for individuals or groups of volunteers;
  • Five (5) regional awards – Business Leader, to recognize businesses that demonstrate social responsibility; and
  • Five (5) regional awards – Social Innovator, to recognize the contributions of not-for-profit organizations.

Nominees will be assessed according to six criteria: role, impact, reach, engagement, challenges, and inspiration. Award recipients will be recognized at a ceremony and will be able to choose a not-for-profit organization to receive a grant of $5,000 (regional awards) or $10,000 (national award).

The nomination period closes Friday, February 3, 2016.

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Canada’s creative industries to host Thought-Leadership Event on 2017 Copyright Act review in Ottawa

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UPDATE – NOV 30, 12:54PM: Due to extreme weather, this event had been postponed to a future date.  Further updates will be provided when available.

Ottawa, ON – November 30, 2016:  Creative industries that rely on the Copyright Act are holding a thought leadership event today in Ottawa in preparation for the upcoming government-mandated review of the Act in 2017.

Creators and rights holders in the music, book-writing and newspaper sectors will convene with Members of Parliament and decision-makers in Ottawa. The event is intended to unite Canada’s major cultural sectors as they discuss how legislative, program and policy improvements can help their industries grow and prosper in the digital age.

The rules governing the digital environment were established twenty years ago, with the intent of supercharging the digital marketplace – to be a boon to both creators and the public. But the reality is that within the span of a single generation, the creative middle class has virtually ceased to exist.

Independent artists earned an average of $7,228 per year from music-related activities in 2011; not nearly enough to allow them to pursue a music career full-time. Taking inflation into account, writers made 27 percent less in 2015 than they did in 1998 from their writing. With average writers’ revenues that fall below the poverty line, the Writers’ Union of Canada says that writers will increasingly abandon their craft for other employment. The average income of a playwright in Canada, in 2004, was less than $10,000.

On November 29th, a joint letter addressed to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, urged the government to put Canada’s creators at the heart of our cultural policy. The letter was signed by nearly 1,100 Canadian musicians, songwriters, composers, music producers, authors, poets, playwrights, film composers, actors, directors, visual artists and other members of the creative class.

The letter is sure to be a topic of discussion at the event, as Canada’s cultural industries further unite to ensure our creators can continue to tell Canadian stories to the world and global stories to Canadians. Music Canada will be live-streaming the event, so please look out for the video link on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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Canada’s creative industries join together to form Focus On Creators coalition, release joint letter to Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly

focus-social-facebookA growing list of nearly 1,100 musicians, authors, songwriters, composers, music producers, poets, playwrights, film composers, actors, directors and other members of the creative class have signed a joint letter addressed to the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, urging the Canadian Government to put creators at the heart of our cultural policy.

The impressive list of signatories on the letter includes Alanis Morissette, Brett Kissel, Blue Rodeo, Gord Downie, Gordon Lightfoot, Grimes, Metric, The Sheepdogs, Marie Claire Blais, Rudy Wiebe, Guy Gavriel Kay, Sharon Pollock, Daniel David Moses, Mary Vingoe, Garth Richardson, Gary Barwin, Alice Major, Maureen Hynes and many more.

The following is a passage from the joint letter:

The carefully designed laws and regulations of the 1990s were intended to ensure that both Canadian creators and technological innovators would benefit from digital developments. We hoped that new technology would enrich the cultural experiences for artists and consumers alike. Unfortunately, this has not happened. Instead, our work is increasingly used to monetize technology without adequately remunerating its creators. Income and profit from digital use of our work flow away from the creative class to a concentrated technology industry.  Allowing this trend to continue will result in dramatically fewer Canadians being able to afford to “tell Canadian stories,” much less earn a reasonable living from doing so.

Canadian creators are encouraged to add their names to the letter on the initiative’s website, www.focusoncreators.ca, to help send this important message to policymakers in Ottawa.

The Focus On Creators coalition was formed to bring focus to the artists’ perspective in light of some major federal cultural policy activities, including the Canadian heritage review, and the upcoming Copyright Act review in 2017. These activities present a timely opportunity to re-establish a fair working environment for creators.

Focus On Creators has widespread support from Canada’s creative industries. The initiative’s supporting partners are:

  • Music Canada
  • The Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA)
  • The Writers’ Union of Canada
  • The League of Canadian Poets
  • The Canadian Music Publishers Association
  • The Playwrights Guild of Canada
  • The Canadian Country Music Association

On November 30, 2016, creators and rights holders in the music, book-writing and newspaper sectors will convene with Members of Parliament and decision-makers in Ottawa for a Thought Leadership Event hosted by industries that rely on the Copyright Act. The event is intended to unite Canada’s major cultural sectors as they discuss how legislative, program and policy improvements can help their industries grow and prosper in the digital age. Music Canada will be live-streaming the event. Look out for the link on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

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