Toronto, Dec 13, 2017: Music Canada applauds today’s announcement by The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, in conjunction with The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, regarding the review of the Copyright Act, to be conducted by the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.
“I applaud Minister Bains and Minister Joly for initiating this review of the Copyright Act,” says Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “Music creators, and all creators who depend on copyright, deserve a Copyright Act that protects their rights when their works are commercialized by others. This is our chance to address the Value Gap threatening the livelihood of Canadian creators and the future of Canadian culture.”
“A modern copyright framework containing strong IP and copyright provisions is essential for an effective marketplace for music creators,” says Artist Advocate Miranda Mulholland. “This Copyright Act review is an important first step in ensuring artists and labels are able to earn a fair market value for their work. Canadian creators have been eagerly awaiting this review.”
Music Canada looks forward to participating in the process to ensure that creators are fairly compensated for the use of their works under the revised Act.
Adds Henderson, “We must ensure this review yields meaningful results.”
For more information: Corey Poole, Music Canada
+1 (647) 808-7359
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. For more on Music Canada, please visit www.musiccanada.com
Mulholland’s keynote topic was “Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace.” Her speech highlighted the challenges for artists working in today’s digital age and proposed solutions to help create a more balanced music ecosystem in which creators can earn a living.
Mulholland’s speech was followed by a panel discussion with representatives from different cultural industries, who discussed how the digital marketplace has affected their industries and their individual careers. The panel, which was moderated by Vassy Kapelos, Global National’s Ottawa Bureau Chief and host of The West Block, included:
Mulholland began by observing “an extremely important anniversary in the lives of all creators” – the date the Copyright Modernization Act came into force, just over 5 years ago. Although Mulholland referred to the Act as a “landmark”, she acknowledged that it wasn’t perfect and “probably created as many problems for creators as it solved.” Fortunately, the legislation included a specific provision that mandates a review of the Act, 5 years to the day that it came into force. Unfortunately, that date passed two weeks ago, and creators are still waiting for the review to begin.
“I find this disappointing,” said Mulholland. She then spoke about her path to advocacy, referencing two conversations with Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, who told her “artists need to speak up” in the government’s “Canadian Content in a Digital World” consultations. Those conversations led directly to the founding of Focus On Creators, a coalition of more than 3,500 Canadian creators asking the government to put creators at the heart of future policy. Speaking of her previous speech at the Economic Club, Mulholland thanked MP Julie Dabrusin for raising some of the issues her keynote addressed in a meeting of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. After noting that she is aware of the government’s increased funding for grants and export, Mulholland reiterated her call for a market that properly values their work: “the main message of creators, and what we’re trying to say, is that we want a functioning marketplace right here at home. We are here, and we’re speaking up. We’d love to be heard.”
After a brief recap of her artistic bona fides – violin training since age 4; studying Opera Performance at Western and McGill Universities; founding a record label and festival; performing as a member of Harrow Fair, Great Lake Swimmers, and performing on hundreds of recordings by artists such as Cowboy Junkies, Donovan Woods and Rose Cousins, as well as film & television work including CBC’s Republic of Doyle and the film Maudie; a member of the Soulpepper Theatre Company and the Board of Governors of Massey/Roy Thomson Hall – Mulholland acknowledged that she has a serious problem: “My problem is that because of this Broken Promise of a Golden Age, I’m barely able to make a living.”
Mulholland explained that when sharing her concerns with policymakers, the response that she is often given “is that creators are asking for the clock to be turned back… but that is not what we want. However, we do need to look back at the policies and promises that were made in the late 90s, and recognize that times have changed. My MySpace page doesn’t work anymore. If anything, we’d like to turn the clock forward and rethink some of these ideas and assumptions that have turned out to be false and predictions that have sadly not come to pass.”
After outlining some of the challenges that today’s artists face, including financial hardship and an increasing number of middlemen involved in distributing her music and collecting revenues, Mulholland pivoted from the solution often offered to creators expressing their concerns (“adapt”) to a key theme of her speech: Accountability.
“Let’s look at the current situation and who is accountable for the devaluation to which we are forced to adapt,” said Mulholland. “Accountability means acknowledging value and compensating for it.”
Mulholland called for accountability from digital services like YouTube, and showed why the often-proposed solution of live touring is not a panacea, or even feasible for many artists. Turning to solutions, Mulholland referred a pamphlet distributed with advocacy infographics, which are available on her website. Explaining that we all have a role to play in improving the music ecosystem, Mulholland identified steps that artists, consumers, industry members, and government can take to help ameliorate the current situation.
Mulholland urged the government to end tech company safe harbours: “The European Commission has now acknowledged that the market isn’t functioning properly, and they have identified and accepted the problem as the unintended Value Gap, and agreed that legal clarification is needed. Can we follow suit?”
She also called on the government to end other industry cross-subsidies, such as the Radio Royalty Exemption, “an industry cross-subsidy given to every commercial radio station in Canada, exempting them from paying more than $100 in royalties to artists and record labels on their first $1.25 million in advertising revenue,” said Mulholland. “The Exemption was introduced as a political compromise in the 1997 amendments to the Copyright Act, but it is now outdated and unjustified – if it ever was justified. It is really not right that artists and labels continue to subsidize these large media companies. I am subsidizing Bell.”
Mulholland then highlighted that due to the definition of sound recordings in the Copyright Act, recorded music is actually not considered a ‘sound recording’ (and thus not entitled to royalties) when it is included in a TV or film soundtrack. “This affects me greatly,” said Mulholland, “because for example, even though I played on almost every episode of CBC’s Republic of Doyle, which is now syndicated worldwide, I only received the one-time union rate I got per session, which was around $280, while the composer collects residuals every time that show airs. 44 countries around the world – the UK, France and Australia among them – afford performers and record labels the right to receive public performance royalties when their sound recordings are used as a part of a soundtrack in TV and film.”
Mulholland closed by stating “a culture of permission-less innovation” is what led to the current situation. With that, she referenced another anniversary – the two hundredth anniversary of Frankenstein. “Mary Shelley wrote this classic after witnessing the disastrous consequences of her industrial revolution,” said Mulholland. “The moral of her story is that monsters are created when the only question being asked is ‘Can I?’
We know what’s it has done to the livelihood of creators – it’s produced the Value Gap, and that is our monster.”
Thanks for coming everyone! Now, let’s get to work. Government was required to appoint or designate a committee two weeks ago. This did not happen. Creators are in crisis. That was @miramulholland’s message. Let’s act with urgency. https://t.co/KkTJ3pURDo
From where Team GDW sits, this is a huge point – we all benefit from a vibrant, diverse, talented creative community that's not determined solely by their ability to make huge amounts of money and create the biggest media splash. https://t.co/CK6BNseSK2
“Music unites us, bridges linguistic, cultural and income divides. Music heals. It connects. It provides a soundtrack to our greatest struggles and our highest triumphs.
Since the arrival of the digital age, music is more readily created, released and shared. It is available at our fingertips and it’s reaching more people than ever before.
With music’s intrinsic value in our lives and this new accessibility, one would expect that the people who create this unifying force would be thriving. There is a widely held perception that the advent of the digital revolution has enhanced how music is created, money is made and creators’ lives are lived. There is a perception of a level playing field. But it’s time for a reality check.
Join Artist and Entrepreneur, Miranda Mulholland as she talks about the creative process, reveals actual numbers, discusses how creators are faring in this new landscape and suggests a way forward.”
Following Mulholland’s speech, a panel of creators and representatives from various cultural industries will discuss how the digital marketplace has affected their industry and their own careers. The panel will include:
Alan Frew – Songwriter, Public Speaker & Author
Ari Posner – Film & Television Composer
Roanie Levy – President & CEO, Access Copyright
This will be the second time Mulholland addresses the Economic Club, following her speech in Toronto in May 2017. Her powerful and honest speech resonated with the crowd, earning her a standing ovation and social media praise by many of the artists in the room. That speech was covered by the Globe and Mail’s Kate Taylor, in an insightful column titled “What happens when we starve our artists.”
The City of Ottawa made a significant commitment to the city’s burgeoning Music Strategy today, as Mayor Jim Watson unveiled Ottawa’s Draft Budget 2018 at City Council. The draft budget earmarks $100,000 to support the Ottawa Music Strategy.
The Ottawa Music Strategy was announced last March, and is part of the legacy of Ottawa’s hosting of the 2017 JUNO Awards. The Strategy is being developed by the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC), with the goal of making the nation’s capital one of the world’s premier music cities. OMIC has already assembled a group of music industry representatives and local business and community leaders, known as the Ottawa Music Strategy Task Force, to develop a series of practical recommendations for the Strategy.
The announcement was applauded on Twitter by OMIC, Ottawa Councillor Jeff Leiper, and Music Canada Live.
We’re also very happy to hear there will be the financial support needed to follow through on the strategy and grow the local industry! Thank you for your support Mayor @JimWatsonOttawa! https://t.co/5SVLnhGVgl
Today, the Downtown Yonge BIA announced a second Music Mural will be added to Yonge Street in Toronto, which will pay tribute to the music legends that played the area in the 1970s & ‘80s. The 22-storey fresco mural will cover the entire south wall of the Toronto Community Housing building at 432 Yonge St.
The mural, which is being developed by artist and musician Adrian Hayles, celebrates artists The Band, David Clayton-Thomas, Rush, GODDO, Carole Pope, Kim Mitchell, Salome Bey and Lonnie Johnson, as well as the landmark venues from the era, including Brown Derby Tavern, Gasworks, Piccadilly Tube and A&A Records. The 70-metre-tall piece is expected to take two to three months to complete.
This mural compliments the first Music Mural on the north side of the same building, which was unveiled last year, and features luminaries from the 1950s & 60s, including Glenn Gould, Diane Brooks, Jackie Shane, Muddy Waters, Shirley Matthews, B.B. King, and Oscar Peterson. That mural was also created by Hayles, as was the mural on Reggae Lane, located at 1529 Eglinton St. West, Toronto, which honours the history and origins of Toronto’s reggae music scene.
“Great cities all over the world have murals as part of their public realm,” said Garner. “We think the music mural fits perfectly with the vision for a vibrant Yonge Street – combining visual and musical artistry.”
Parliament Hill was alive with the sound of music last week, as the inaugural Capital Beat event brought together parliamentarians, Hill staff, and media for a non-partisan celebration of Canadian music. Presented by Music Canada and Quebecor, Capital Beat featured performances by Scott Helman and Vincent Vallières, as well as remarks by special guest speaker The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Also sponsored by TD Bank Group and Stingray Digital, Capital Beat took place at the National Arts Centre, where invited guests enjoyed the performances in an intimate setting. DJ del Pilar provided music before the event as well as at the afterparty.
“Tonight we are here to acknowledge the importance of music – music unites us – it inspires us – it makes us smarter and allows us to tell our stories,” said Amy Terrill, Executive Vice President of Music Canada in her opening remarks. “It builds our communities and heals our wounds.”
“It is both a pleasure and an honour for Québecor to help foster an exchange between artists, politicians and industry people but, most of all, we are happy to bring these remarkable musical talents to the attention of our nation’s parliamentarians,” said J.Serge Sasseville, Québecor’s Senior Vice President, Corporate and Institutional Affairs, in a release the day of the event.
Prior to the show, both Scott Helman and Vincent Vallières, as well as their label and management teams, were treated to a tour of Parliament by Julie Dabrusin, MP for Toronto-Danforth and member of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
In the May/June 2017 issue of Canadian Musician magazine, journalist Michael Raine spoke with leaders in the Canadian music industry, including Music Canada’s President and CEO Graham Henderson, about the Value Gap and the industry’s complex relationship with the streaming giant.
Regarding YouTube’s assertion that the music community should be satisfied with the payments it receives from the service, Henderson said “it’s ludicrous because if they were on the same footing [as other streaming services], it wouldn’t be $2 billion, it would be $20 billion or $30 billion that they would be paying out and I can tell you we would live in a very, very different world. They would restore the old balance where there was enough money in the hands of independent and major labels so that they could actually invest in artists.”
Stuart Johnston, President of the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), expressed similar concerns. “If YouTube were to pay rights holders even what Spotify pays for their free tier, it would be a significant and positive step forward for the independent community, but they don’t,” said Johnston. “So that business model – and I am going to say it over and over again – it devalues music. It is an unfortunate situation.”
Safwan Javed, an entertainment lawyer, songwriter and drummer, and VP of the Songwriters Association of Canada, spoke to the problems resulting from the safe harbour provisions. “Imagine the labels’ move with YouTube is to say, ‘We need to renegotiate our agreement,’ and YouTube says ‘no.’ So what’s the labels’ next move? If they want to go to a contentious and aggressive posture and say, ‘OK, we’re going to pull our catalog,’ well that’s all fine and the videos they’re making are not uploading, but other people are probably going to still be uploading stuff,” said Javed. “The general public will still be able to upload stuff, and sure you can try to police that, but policing that is exceedingly difficult and you’re spending a lot of resources on something that is essentially like a whack-a-mole that doesn’t stop.”
A new report unveiled during the 2017East Coast Music Awards: Festival and Conference today calls for the need to develop an Atlantic Canadian Music Strategy in an effort to strengthen the future of the region’s music sector.
Striking A New A-Chord, a report spearheaded by the East Coast Music Association (ECMA), Music Canada, and Music Canada Live, emphasizes that concentrated investment in the music industry is beneficial not only for those who work in the sector, but ultimately for the region as a whole.
“Music is fundamentally linked to Atlantic Canadian culture,” says Andy McLean, Executive Director of the ECMA. “This report clearly shows that – in addition to bolstering that identity – supporting this sector means helping small businesses, creating opportunities to attract and retain youth employment, and developing our artists to compete at an international level. The first step to harnessing these opportunities is creating a pan-Atlantic strategy.”
Delivered during a presentation at the Saint John Trade & Convention Centre this afternoon titled Stronger Together, the report also marks a landmark partnership between all five music industry associations – Musique/Music NB, Music Nova Scotia, Music NL, Music PEI, and the Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative – who have committed to working with the ECMA, Music Canada, and Music Canada Live to establish this regional strategy.
“Atlantic Canada has one of the richest, most important – but fragile – music scenes in the country. Creating and executing a region-wide strategy will ensure the true economic, social and cultural potential of the industry, and its countless benefits for cities and towns, can be realized,” says Erin Benjamin, Executive Director of Music Canada Live. “This is an historic moment in the timeline of East Coast music, and huge milestone for all of the associations involved. Congratulations, Music Canada Live looks forward to supporting the hard work ahead.”
The report, which was officially commissioned at last year’s ECMAs in Sydney, NS, underscores a number of challenges facing musicians and industry professionals in Atlantic Canada including stringent liquor laws, changing business models in the industry, restrictions on live venues, and lack of industry infrastructure. The latter is a key focus for the proposed strategy, calling the shortage of music publishing companies, agents, publicists, bookers, and artist managers in the region “alarming.”
Among other recommendations, Striking A New A-Chord also calls for the development of an Atlantic Canadian Music Fund that would seek to provide resources to complement existing programs, attract investment, and develop and incentivize musicians and music related businesses to reinvest in Atlantic Canada.
“Targeted investments in other parts of Canada have strengthened those music communities and stimulated additional private spending as well, leading to increased activity in the sector,” says Amy Terrill, Executive Vice President of Music Canada. “We look forward to working with government and industry stakeholders to find ways to complement the existing programs available to the music community in Atlantic Canada in order to create a stronger, more sustainable Atlantic music sector.”
The entire Striking A New A-Chord report is available to read HERE.
it is clear from this @Music_Canada @abacusdataca study that artists and those who work closely with them in the live performance space will need further support as the economy begins to reopen. #canadianmusic #livemusic
Public Research Findings: Threat to live music extended as more Canadians to avoid public events for longer https://musiccanada.com/news/public-research-findings-threat-to-live-music-extended-as-more-canadians-to-avoid-public-events-for-longer/
Abacus Data survey reveals extent of pain inflicted on Canadian musicians by COVID-19 pandemic https://www.straight.com/music/abacus-data-survey-reveals-extent-of-pain-inflicted-on-canadian-musicians-by-covid-19-pandemic