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Posts by Erica Meekes (11)

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ADVANCE and Music Canada Announce 3 Year Partnership

September 16, 2020, Toronto: ADVANCE, Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, and Music Canada and its members, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada, are honoured to announce a new three year partnership. Black artists and music industry professionals are a driving force in the success of the music sector, and our organizations will work together to advance the shared values of the promotion, elevation and retention of Black people working in the Canadian music business.

ADVANCE is thrilled to work alongside Music Canada to create initiatives and pathways for change for Black music professionals. The partnership includes direct financial support as well as a commitment from Music Canada to contribute professional services to help achieve tangible reform in the music business landscape, particularly in the corporate, private, and government sectors. Initiatives will focus on creating, changing and sustaining the infrastructure needed to advance and amplify Black voices in the music industry. This commitment will support actions that align with ADVANCE’s four pillars: research, advocacy and government partnerships; mentorship and education; community outreach; and business development and entrepreneurship.

“ADVANCE looks forward to our partnership with Music Canada and its members. This partnership will facilitate direct lines of communication with the leaders in the industry and therefore is an integral step in not only identifying structural barriers for entry and employee/artist advancement, but most importantly, working to implement change that results in increased employment and development opportunities for Black music professionals in Canada,” said ADVANCE.

“Music Canada acknowledges the need to support this movement, and we are honoured to partner with ADVANCE,” said Jackie Dean, Interim Co-CEO of Music Canada. “We remain committed to sustained action that supports the values of equity, diversity and inclusion at every level of the music industry.”

Music Canada thanks our members for their support to build, with greater urgency, real and  meaningful change for the Black community. With the leadership and vision of our Advisory Council, Music Canada will also continue to promote initiatives that help shape a fairer future through education and accountability. 

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About ADVANCE
Serving as a unified front for Black people working within the business sectors of the Canadian music industry, ADVANCE creates conditions for long-term success by addressing racial equality and inclusivity through four areas: Advocacy, Mentorship, Community Outreach and Business Development and Entrepreneurship. By holding the corporate, private and government sectors accountable, ADVANCE is committed to building a more equitable Canadian music industry that grants Canada’s Black music communities a fair and valued voice in a consistently growing music nation. 

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

 

Jamelia Campbell
ADVANCE
jamelia@advancemusic.org

Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

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Music Canada, and its Advisory Council congratulate Meghan Symsyk, incoming President and CEO of FACTOR

Music Canada, and its Advisory Council congratulate FACTOR and Meghan Symsyk on their recent announcement of her role as incoming President and CEO, effective in 2021. Symsyk is a recognized leader within the music industry, starting her career at Universal Music Canada in 1998. 

Symsyk’s previous roles include Vice President, International Marketing and Artist Management at eOne, and with SRO/Anthem also in Artist Management, as well as Director of Creative, Marketing & Media. She brings a wealth of experience and insight that encompass a broad range of skills and relationships from all segments of the music sector, both domestic and international.

This appointment comes at a pivotal time within the music industry, and signals a further positive step forward for gender inclusion at the executive level.

Music Canada looks forward to continuing to work with FACTOR and Meghan Symsyk in her new role.

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National Research: Musicians Feeling the Pressure to Perform in a Continuing Pandemic

July 16, 2020, Toronto –  Music Canada has commissioned Abacus Data to conduct national research that explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the experience of Canada’s artists. Professional musicians are feeling increasing pressure as a result of the pandemic, due to a reduction in income and their ability to produce music that threatens their ability to survive.

“Musicians are experiencing severe, short-term impacts due to the restrictions on live, in-person events that many of us rely on as a main source of income,” said Miranda Mulholland, Artist and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council. “While live music is crucial to Canada’s professional musicians, both financially and as an outlet for their creativity, artists have strong concerns about the health risk of the virus and its impact on their ability to perform. And over the longer-term, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way artists earn a living and create music.”

The report found that professional musicians perform, on average, 96 times a year, typically traveling across Canada and the world. Revenue generated from live performances in turn helps support an average of 11.5 other people, such as band members, technicians, and other industry jobs. A staggering 85% have agreed that without live performances, they will have difficulty earning enough to pay their bills. To further highlight the full impact of the pandemic, for the remainder of 2020, the average number of bookings is eight, down from last year’s average of 87. More than half of musicians surveyed have zero performances booked for the remainder of the year. 

Music Canada thanks all participants who shared their experiences with Abacus Data. On behalf of Music Canada, Abacus Data conducted an online focus group to help guide the construction of the survey in order to accurately capture the impact the COVID-19 pandemic was having on the careers, emotional and financial well-being of professional musicians in Canada.

Many professional musicians have been able to take advantage of government emergency aid to pay for everyday expenses. As these programs come to a close, the outlook for 2021 is immensely uncertain. Many live events have been cancelled or postponed for the remainder of 2020, and well into 2021. Musicians are not expecting a quick return to the stage because of continuing government restrictions, and for many- their own concerns of performing while the health risk of the virus remains.

“As reopening begins and many focus on the impacts on businesses and the consumer experience, we asked artists’ how the pandemic is impacting them, and how they feel about performing again, after restrictions are lifted,” said Jackie Dean, Interim co-Chief Executive Officer & Chief Operating Officer. “What we hear is that for many, the pandemic feels like a choice that no one should have to make, a choice between earning a living or keeping family and loved ones safe. As governments move forward with plans to reopen the spaces artists work and perform, the concerns of artists must be included in the process.”

“Not only are musicians anxious about the financial implications resulting from cancelled concerts and impossible profit margins due to social distancing restrictions, they are also worried about the health risks associated with the pandemic,” continued Mulholland. “They are concerned about their families, their fans, audiences, and themselves. Even when safety precautions are being taken, the risk of COVID-19 is still too great for many musicians to consider touring for the foreseeable future.”

These findings reflect the feelings of musicians in the industry, and are significant for the prospects of the industry as a whole. As governments continue to implement physical distancing requirements, and live performances remain limited, many professional musicians in Canada will struggle to get by. This is having a long-term impact on their creativity, and ability to create new music.

For more information on the findings released from Abacus Data, please visit: https://abacusdata.ca/crowded-out-musicians-live-performances-covid19-pandemic/.

Initial Public Research Findings from Music Canada and Abacus Data on the pandemic, and the effect it is having on live music are available here.

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Erica Meekes
Director of Public Relations and Events
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

 


About Music Canada

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Music Canada Statement on The Next Steps for the Canadian Music Industry

Music Canada and its members, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada, have heard the calls for change within the music industry. We recognize that there is a need for improvement and are committed to sustained action in support of the values of equity, diversity and inclusion.  With the support of our members, Music Canada will build upon efforts with greater urgency to create meaningful change for the Black community.  To do so, Music Canada will continue to invest in and empower our Advisory Council to help shape a fairer future through education and accountability. 

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Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Music Canada Announces Departure of Chief Executive Officer

May 28, 2020, Toronto: The Music Canada Board of Directors and Graham Henderson, President and Chief Executive Officer, announced this afternoon Graham will be stepping down after serving more than 15 years. 

“I have been given the great honour and privilege of serving the members of Music Canada and the wider music community for 15 thrilling and rewarding years. And throughout this entire time I have had the unalloyed joy of working with the most incredibly dedicated, effective team of music lovers in the world: my staff!” Mr. Henderson said. “I have absolutely every confidence that the staff, the Board and everyone at Sony, Universal and Warner will go forward from strength to strength. I hope that my experience and insight may be of some value down the road.”  

On behalf of the Board, Chairperson Jennifer M. Sloan said, “We thank Graham for guiding Music Canada through a period of phenomenal growth and transition, including his dogged domestic and international championing of copyright reform and protection. Graham has led Music Canada’s transformation, strengthening our executive team and developing a clear strategic path forward as the trusted voice of the music industry in Canada and a recognized global partner.”

Graham added, “As for me? Well, my passion for the cause will never abate. In the meantime, I have one of the best darn poetry websites in the world and you are all welcome to join me as I explore the life and times of the revolutionary writer, Percy Bysshe Shelley! He reflects my mood best in these lines: “The world’s great age begins anew, The golden years return, The earth doth like a snake renew…A brighter Hellas rears its mountains…Another Athens shall arise.”

Graham will continue to serve as CEO until June 17, 2020. The Board wishes to thank Graham for all his years of dedicated service to the organization and to the advocacy work it does. 

The Board will initiate a search to identify a new CEO and has appointed Jackie Dean, Chief Operating Officer, and Patrick Rogers, Vice President Corporate Affairs, to serve as interim co-Chief Executive Officers, effective June 18, 2020.

 

Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Public Research Findings: Live Music Industry Faces Triple Threat During Recovery

May 14, 2020, Toronto: Music Canada commissioned Abacus Data to conduct public opinion research to determine how Canadians’ feelings around music have changed during the pandemic. The national public opinion survey gauged the comfort Canadians have for returning to live music as restrictions lift, and the results are startling. 

“As governments across Canada and the world increasingly shift their focus to recovery, this data from Abacus underscores the precarious position of the live music ecosystem – an ecosystem upon which artists rely for a significant, and in some cases predominant, portion of their livelihood,” said Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “The music industry faces a triple threat. First – the very real medical concerns of Canadians about the virus. Second – that government restrictions will remain on large gatherings well into recovery. And third – that even after government restrictions have lifted and economies begin to reopen – Canadian confidence in returning to these live events will continue to be low.”

The findings show that even of the self identified “live music lovers” – for many, it will be at least 6 months after government restrictions are lifted, before they feel comfortable going to: bars / pubs (28%); small venue concerts (35%); large venue concerts (42%); festivals (41%); community event with live music (31%). 

The research also demonstrated how important music is in helping Canadians to get through the pandemic. Nearly two thirds  (58%) of respondents reported feeling worse about the pandemic because of the cancellation of live music events. Half of those identified as “live music lovers” also reported listening to more music during the pandemic, and that for the vast majority (86%), listening to music is a way to relieve stress. 

“As an artist, what I’m finding I miss the most is the collaboration and connection I have onstage with my fellow musicians and that powerful, ephemeral experience that is created between artists and a live audience,” said Miranda Mulholland, Artist and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council. “What I find most heartening is that 84% of Music Lovers state that digital will never replace the live experience. Also, more than a third of respondents increased their music listening during this pandemic. These stats show that people clearly recognize the value and importance of music in their lives, perhaps more than they ever have.”

“Unfortunately, it’s clear that the pandemic will cause serious and possibly irreparable harm to Canada’s artists, the majority of whom were already living in a precarious state. We must continue to think about how we can help them through this as they’ve been here for all of us in this crisis,” said Mulholland.

Not only are these findings significant for the music industry, but they are important for the travel and tourism industries as well. As the government and music industry develops plans for recovery, they must understand that those whose businesses depend on large gatherings will continue to be affected by this pandemic for a much longer time. To that end, Music Canada will continue to assess Canadian’s changing perspectives on their comfort for returning to live music so that we can deliver this important and timely information to our partners.

For more information on the findings released from Abacus Data, please visit: https://abacusdata.ca/live-music-after-pandemic/.

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Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

 

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Canada’s major record companies announce support for Unison Benevolent Fund

April 29th, 2020, Toronto: In response to the impact on the lives of artists and their teams caused by COVID-19, Canada’s major record companies, Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada have announced direct financial support for the Unison Benevolent Fund, Canada’s leading music community support program. Unison is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to individuals working in the Canadian music community.

“This support helps Unison help the music community- and with the support of our member labels, Music Canada is proud to work even more closely with Unison to provide targeted support for the benefit of our creative industry,” said Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada.

Additionally, Music Canada has announced that it has expanded its supporting role for the organization. In response to COVID-19, Music Canada has provided Unison financial and administrative resource support, together with government relations expertise and guidance. “As one of the founding supporters of Unison, we have seen the crucial need for their services,” continued Henderson, “and we have seen the impact of their relief on those who come to Unison for help.” 

“Unison is enormously grateful for the continuous support from some of the biggest players in the Canadian music industry,” said Unison Fund Executive Director, Amanda Power. “The direct and valued efforts from Canada’s major record labels ensures that we can continue to provide discreet counselling and health services in addition to immediate financial relief for the most vulnerable in our industry at this very critical time.”

Unison is an assistance program – created and administered for the music community, by the music community. It provides discreet, dignified and meaningful relief to music industry professionals in times of crisis. Unison’s COVID-19 Relief Program is making $1,000 grants available to members of the music industry. The relief fund is allocated toward housing costs, medical expenses, groceries, and other necessities for those who are eligible.

Professionals in any role within the Canadian music community are eligible and are encouraged to register at https://unisonfund.ca/index.php/register

 

Erica Meekes
Director of Public Relations
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485


About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

About Unison Benevolent Fund
Unison Benevolent Fund is a non-profit, registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. We are here to help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties. Unison Benevolent Fund is an assistance program – created and administered for the music community, by the music community – designed to provide discreet relief to music industry professionals in times of crisis through financial assistance and counselling and health solutions.

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Music Canada applauds Government of Canada for clarifying CERB guidelines for artists and musicians

April 16, 2020, Toronto: Music Canada welcomes the recent clarification from the Federal Government on the guidelines for eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has responded to concerns around the preliminary rules that excluded people working reduced hours. These needed changes will help support artists and musicians who in some cases have been able to maintain limited hours of work, but are still facing incredible challenges.

Graham Henderson, President & CEO of Music Canada, and Miranda Mulholland, JUNO nominated artist and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council, recently shared concerns about the need for expanded eligibility criteria in a meeting with Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage. Music Canada thanks the Minister who has confirmed that artists who are earning less than $1,000 a month through their sources of income can still qualify for the CERB. Additionally, the Minister clarified that royalty payments are not included as a source of income, which means that royalties can be earned without penalty or loss of eligibility for the CERB.

“Artists are often the most vulnerable in our music ecosystem as a result of the gig economy,” said Miranda Mulholland. “Minister Guilbeault and Parliamentary Secretary Julie Dabrusin have been the champions that our community needs in a time like this. They have listened to our concerns and have taken action to help.” 

A recent survey distributed by Music Canada and CONNECT Music Licensing, and led by Miranda Mulholland, Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council, has reported financial impacts of this crisis on the artists in our music ecosystem that are widespread, and significant. When asked whether they would lose much of not all of their income due to the crisis, the answer was a nearly unanimous yes. Canada’s entire artist community is concerned about making ends meet: more than 80% of artists are in need of financial assistance. Many artists already live close to the poverty line, and now the pandemic has pulled the rug out from under them financially.

The impact on artists will ripple throughout our communities: Artists are entrepreneurs, and job creators. Respondents to the survey create an average of 3.7 jobs per artist – with artists unable to perform or create, these jobs will be lost as well.

There have been further impacts to the creative process with more than half reporting the cancellation of all songwriting sessions, and nearly two in three respondents have had studio sessions cancelled. Perhaps one of the most surprising and unsettling findings from the survey is that a form of “writer’s block” is widespread in the community. Creators are finding enormous stress in how they are living now, and it is adversely impacting the creativity and inspiration needed to generate work. This is especially true for those who are caring for children or loved ones at home. 

Alarmingly, musicians reported that they have virtually no resources to fall back on apart from going deeper into debt; and this includes running up credit card debt. It’s clear that these losses are threatening the survival of entire sectors of the industry, and that the impact will be felt long after the pandemic ends. 

“Music Canada has been working with Minister Guilbeault during this pandemic to ensure he has an accurate picture of how the industry, and our artists are being severely impacted,” said Graham Henderson. “Thank you for hearing our concerns and for sharing them with the government so that meaningful support reaches our artists, and the hardest hit in our community.”

Music Canada will continue to work with the government, and its partners across the industry to further support artists impacted by the pandemic. More information has been made available on its resource page which can be accessed at: https://musiccanada.com/covid-19-resources. 

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Erica Meekes
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

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Music Canada and CONNECT Music Licensing Artist Impact Survey Release

March 24, 2020, Toronto: CONNECT Music Licensing and Music Canada are sharing an Artist Impact Survey designed to help the government and the music industry better understand the impact COVID-19 is having on artists within the community. At the heart of the entire community are the creators, and they are at this moment in time the most vulnerable. They deserve our attention and assistance. 

How can you help? If you are a musician: you can complete the questionnaire.  If you are anyone else: you can get this questionnaire into the hands of a creator. And everyone can share it through their social media. You can find our survey here: https://bit.ly/3ag79oH.

“COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge for the music community as a whole, but for artists in particular,” said Miranda Mulholland, Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council. “It has been a welcome relief to see that the government has focused its initial efforts on the members of the gig economy – virtually all artists are self-employed. These people are most at risk, most under pressure and most in need in our music ecosystem. We need to provide the government with accurate and timely information on how and where to send help to those who are most in need. That is the purpose of our survey. Thank you to everyone who has already completed it. To those who have not, I urge you to complete it no later than March 27.”

The Artist Impact Survey was proposed by Miranda Mulholland, artist, label owner, festival founder and Chair of Music Canada’s Advisory Council, developed in consultation with other valued artist members of Music Canada’s Advisory Council and Deloitte Canada. The survey has been circulated by artists on social media, distributed to CONNECT’s 2,500 artist-entrepreneur members, and through direct outreach to Music Canada’s members.

The information received will be tabulated anonymously in order to respect the privacy of our respondents. It will be incorporated in an economic impact analysis that Music Canada is developing with Deloitte Canada. The results of this study will be made public to enable all who care about our artists to make informed choices about how to help them. 

“Music Canada and CONNECT are pleased to have been able to lend their resources to this very important undertaking. We share Miranda’s belief that our first concern in these trying times must be to build a bridge to the future. We need to do this by protecting the most vulnerable now and with urgent haste. But we must also safeguard the infrastructure of our business so that when we do reach the other side – careers can be rebuilt,” said Graham Henderson, President & CEO of Music Canada. “There is a role for all of us to play as we look for solutions that allow all industry players to survive this crisis – this survey will help us find them.”

If you are an artist, we encourage you to fill out the survey which is available here: https://bit.ly/3ag79oH, and share it on your social media. 

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Erica Meekes
Director of Public Relations
Music Canada
emeekes@musiccanada.com
(416) 462-1485

 

About Music Canada
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada:  Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

 

About CONNECT Music Licensing
CONNECT Music Licensing administers licences in Canada for the reproduction of sound recordings, and the reproduction and broadcast of music videos, on behalf of the copyright owners. CONNECT’s members, which include all of the major record labels, many independent labels, and thousands of independent artists and producers, own or control the copyright in the vast majority of all the sound recordings and music videos produced or distributed in Canada. CONNECT Music Licensing represents its members at Re:Sound for the communication, public performance and private copying of their eligible sound recordings.

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Music Canada Celebrates International Women’s Day 2020

Every year on March 8th, people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day, and at Music Canada we’re showing our commitment to gender equality by celebrating this year’s theme of #EachForEqual. The theme draws from a notion of ‘Collective Individualism,’ and the way that our individual actions can collectively make change and help create a gender equal world. Music Canada is also celebrating the phenomenal female artists and creators across Canada and beyond, who have helped to give the world a soundtrack for empowerment. 

With a few days until the JUNO Awards in Saskatoon, Music Canada recognizes Alessia Cara as just one of those empowering Canadians. The multi-platinum singer-songwriter is set to host the 49th annual awards ceremony on March 15th. She’s a music phenomenon who maintains well over 15 million monthly listeners. Alessia is also a two-time JUNO Award winner, and the first Canadian-born artist to win the Best New Artist award at the Grammys.

Music Canada applauds organizations in the sector who have created policies and programs that have improved representation across the industry. Recognition of female artists, gender parity on boards, a commitment to safe and respectful workplaces and an industry free of harassment are positive steps that have seen real results.

“We’ve taken action to promote gender diversity on our Board of Directors, amending bylaws to allow for additional independent outside directors, and to introduce a Board Diversity Policy,” said Jackie Dean, Chief Operating Officer at Music Canada. “We have created an Advisory Council, made up of 15 exceptional and passionate individuals from a gender inclusive and diverse cross-section of the music industry. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce nominated Music Canada for the 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Award, in recognition of our changes. We were honoured to be nominated for the award, which celebrates business excellence in supporting the creation of diverse and inclusive workplaces.” 

Significant progress has been made around the globe to protect and promote women’s rights. Yet, there is sadly still nowhere in the world where women can claim to have the same rights and opportunities as men, according to the United Nations. Of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor, the majority of this population are women. Women also receive between 30 to 40 percent less pay than men earn for the same work.

Music Canada congratulates the progress that has been made in the music industry, but recognizes there is still more to accomplish. We will continue to champion the rights of women, and we will do this while celebrating the unstoppable Canadian female artists and creators who have left permanent footsteps on the international music scene.

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