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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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March in support of music therapy this Sunday in Toronto

On Sunday March 26, 2017, join Music Canada in celebrating Music Therapy Month by marching through the streets of Toronto to generate funds and awareness for the music therapy initiatives.

The annual March For Music Therapy, hosted by the Canadian Music Therapy Trust Fund, will kick off at 11am outside Toronto City Hall (100 Queen West), with the march scheduled to begin at noon.

Participants can register beginning at 11am in the Committee Room 2, and will wrap up around 1pm at Grace O’Malley’s (14 Duncan St.) for food, drinks, and a performance by music therapy group SUPERFIRE.

If you’re not able to make the Toronto event, you can support the cause by contributing to the $40,000 fundraising goal. Over $25,000 was raised in 2016, with proceeds supporting programming for patients in palliative care and for seniors in long-term care facilities

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Nominees revealed for 2017 Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards

The nominees have been announced for the 2017 Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards at Canadian Music Week. The awards will be handed out at the MBIA Gala happening Thursday, April 20, 2017, at the Grand Ballroom, Sheraton Centre in Toronto.

Eligible voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots in dozens of categories for venues, labels, retail outlets, streaming services, and many more areas within Canada’s music industry. Several honourary award recipients have already been announced including legendary rock trio Rush for the 2017 Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award, Jann Arden and Live Nation’s Arthur Fogel for their Canadian Music Industry Hall Of Fame inductions, and media personality Marilyn Denis, who will become the first woman to accept the Allan Waters Broadcast Lifetime Achievement Award.

The full list of nominees can be viewed here. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased here.

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Music Canada Newsletter: Mid-March 2017

The mid-March 2017 edition of our bi-weekly newsletter is now in your inbox! Not subscribed? Sign up here to get Music Canada’s industry updates straight to your inbox every second Thursday.

This week’s edition begins with a 2017 JUNO Awards update, followed by coverage of the music winners at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards, and a statement from Focus On Creators. We have a Music Cities update from New York City, along with information on the upcoming Music Cities Summit at Canadian Music Week. This will lead into our events section, which features upcoming dates and deadlines for events like the Ottawa Music Summit, Music March For Music Therapy, Live Music Industry Awards, JUNO Cup, and the Canada House at SXSW. We have a selection of music related job opportunities, and as always, will finish our update with the latest Gold/Platinum award presentations and certifications.

Click here to access the March 16, 2017 edition of our newsletter.

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2017 JUNO Awards adds second wave of performers

Multi-Platinum rockers Billy Talent will perform at the 2017 JUNO Awards

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced the next group of performers for the 2017 JUNO Awards, broadcasting in 4K from Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre April 2, 2017, on CTV.

JUNO-winners Billy Talent, Dallas Smith, and July Talk have been confirmed as performers for the broadcast, joining the previously announced artists Arkells, A Tribe Called Red, Alessia Cara, Ruth B, Shawn Mendes, and The Sturmbellas. Diamond-certified Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee Sarah McLachlan rounds out the list of confirmed performers for this year’s broadcast.

CARAS has also revealed that in light of its superstar roster, the 2017 JUNO Awards, hosted by Bryan Adams and Russel Peters, will expand to two-and-a-half hours for the first time in five years. This announcement also comes on the heels of the 2016 JUNO Awards winning the Canadian Screen Award for Best Music Program or Series last week.

Tickets for the 2017 JUNO Awards, starting at $59, are available through Ticketmaster or by phone at 1-877-788-3267. $1 from every ticket is donated to MusiCounts through the JUNOs’ partnership with Plus 1, a non-profit that partners with touring artists to facilitate a $1 add-on from every concert ticket to go to a cause the artist believes in. The donation will help ensure that children and youth across Canada have access to musical instruments.

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Simple Plan receive Gold Single plaques in Toronto

Photo courtesy of Warner Music Canada

Canadian pop-punk heavyweights Simple Plan took over Toronto’s Air Canada Centre Tuesday night in support of their 2016 album Taking One For The Team. Prior to their set, staff from Warner Music Canada and Coalition Music presented the group with Gold Single plaques for the album’s lead single “I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed.”

“I Don’t Wanna Go To Bed,” which features a verse by rapper Nelly, is the group’s first track to be certified since 2014, when “Summer Paradise” was certified Triple Platinum.

Later this week, Simple Plan will embark on a North American tour commemorating the 15th anniversary of the album No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, which was certified Double Platinum in 2005. The Montreal-based group plays their hometown tonight at the Bell Centre before embarking on the tour.

The video for “I Don’t Want To Go To Bed” can be viewed below.

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Rock, pop, and jazz score big at 2017 Canadian Screen Awards

The 2017 Canadian Screen Awards, which recognize excellence in Canadian film, TV, and digital media productions, were handed out Sunday night at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Canadian rock heroes The Tragically Hip picked up the most awards in the music-related categories for the unforgettable broadcast of their August 20, 2016 hometown show in Kingston, ON.

The Tragically Hip: A National Celebration earned six awards for the production’s direction, design, sound, and photography. Hip members Paul Langlois and Rob Baker were on hand to accept their award for Best Performance in a Variety or Sketch Comedy Program, sharing their appreciation for all the support they felt during their Man Machine Poem summer tour.

Born To Be Blue, the Chet Baker biopic starring Ethan Hawke, picked up two awards for the film’s original score. Todor Kobakov, Steve London, and David Braid were awarded Achievement in Music – Original Score, while Braid also won Achievement in Music – Original Song sponsored by Slaight Music for “Could Have Been.” The film was shot in Sudbury, ON.

Trevor Yuile’s win for Best Original Music Score helped Orphan Black earn their leading total of nine ‘Candy’ awards, while Best Original Music Score for a Program sponsored by Slaight Music was awarded to Robert Carli for Murdoch Mysteries.

The 2016 JUNO Awards broadcast won Best Music Program or Series sponsored by Yangaroo. Last year, the 2015 JUNOs broadcast won the Live Entertainment Special category, which was awarded to the Tragically Hip this year.

The full list of winners and nominees can be found here.

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NYC completes first ever Music Report

A new report has established New York City as one of the largest music ecosystems in the world. The “Music in New York City” report, the first-ever economic impact study of the city’s music industry, was commissioned by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and it found that the music sector supports nearly 60,000 jobs, accounts for $5 billion in wages, and generates $21 billion in total economic output for the city.

When Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Julie Menin Commissioner of the MOME in February 2016, the role of the agency was expanded to include music. This was the first time that a New York City agency had been given a mandate to support and promote the music industry. This study was considered an essential step to help the MOME understand the music sector’s scale, landscape, challenges, and opportunities.

“Music is an inclusive force and economic driver in this City,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “As we continue to build good jobs for New Yorkers, we see that raw talent and homegrown energy has built a powerful local industry. Together, we will continue to grow that success.”

“The music industry is a vital part of the city’s creative economy and we are thrilled to be its go-to agency in the City,” Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin said. “This first-of-its kind study details the substantial amount of economic activity that all aspects of this rapidly changing sector of the entertainment industry generate in the City. The study also squarely reaffirms New York City’s status as the music capital of the world. Because of the City’s resilience and resourcefulness, New York has weathered changes in the music industry better than other cities and has come out on top. We look forward to building on that momentum and working with the industry to help it continue to grow and thrive.”

According to the report, the four key pillars of the city’s music ecosystem are local artist communities, mass music consumption, the global record business, and infrastructure and support services. These are directly responsible for approximately 31,400 jobs, $2.8 billion in wages, and $13.7 billion in economic output.

The economic impact of the sector is broken down in the report; the key findings are as follows:

  • Through transactions with suppliers and vendors to the music business (such as professional services, IT, and telecom), New York City’s music industry has an indirect economic impact amounting to approximately 10,100 jobs, $900 million in wages, and $3.4 billion in economic output.
  • The induced economic impact – created when those employed within the industry, or in jobs indirectly supported by it, spend their wages in New York City – amounts to approximately 16,100 jobs, $1.0 billion in wages, and $3.9 billion in economic output.
  • The music industry’s ancillary economic impact – tourism spending that can be attributed solely to attending music-related events – amounts to $400 to $500 million.
  • Total music ecosystem jobs and wages are slightly outpacing the broader New York City economy, growing at annual rates of 4 and 7 percent, respectively (by comparison, total city jobs and wages are growing at annual rates of 3 and 5 percent, respectively). Jobs and wages in the mass music consumption pillar grow the fastest, with 5 and 12 percent, respectively.

The report identifies rising real estate prices, high cost of living, and the global disruption ushered in by digital services and technologies as challenges facing the music sector. It notes that many smaller venues have closed in recent years, and that many artists are seeing their income from record sales decrease while the demand for live performance slots increases.

The study recommends that the city capitalize on opportunities to:

  • Support and help to build thriving local artist communities.
  • Create more performance opportunities for local artists.
  • Increase the economic impact of mass music consumption.
  • Harness and expand the presence of digital music services.

You can read the city’s press release here.

And read the report here.

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Clean Bandit presented with Double Platinum plaques for “Rockabye”

Photo courtesy of Warner Music Canada

During a visit to Toronto, British electronic group Clean Bandit were presented with Double Platinum award plaques for “Rockabye” by Warner Music Canada. The track, which features Sean Paul and Anne-Marie, is the group’s second track to be certified Double Platinum in Canada, joining their 2014 hit “Rather Be.”

Clean Bandit will return to Toronto amidst a North American tour on April 24, 2017, with Zara Larsson and Starley. The tour will also hit Montreal on April 25.

The video for “Rockabye” can be viewed below.

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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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