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Posts by Ramlah Ismail (24)

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The JUNO Awards returning to Toronto in 2021 for its 50th Anniversary

The The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced that the 2021 JUNO Awards will be held in Toronto. This commemorates the 50th anniversary of the event, and will take place on March 28th at the Scotiabank Arena.

It has been a decade since Toronto last hosted the JUNOS – which first began in 1970, and was held at the historic venue St. Lawrence Hall. The award ceremony continued to take place in the city for another exciting 20 years, and will now return to Toronto for its golden anniversary in 2021. During this time, the JUNOS hit the road, with each host city seeing an average of over $10 million in economic impact.

“50 years ago Walt Grealis and Stan Klees created the JUNO Awards right here in Toronto and it’s an honour to bring Canada’s biggest night in music back home to where it all started,” said Allan Reid, President & CEO of CARAS / The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts, in a release. “This country continues to produce some of the most vibrant artists in the world and we invite you to join us in what will be the greatest national celebration of Canadian music ever.

The return of the JUNOS is supported by the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto. Both the Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture Lisa MacLeod and Toronto Mayor John Tory released statements highlighting the city’s excitement over this announcement. In a video posted on his Twitter account, Mayor Tory added how Toronto’s music industry “has thrived as we foster a succesful environment for new and emerging artists, many of whom I hope to see at the JUNOS in a few short years.” 

JUNO Week 2021 will kick off on March 22 with the finale event, The JUNO Awards Broadcast, streaming on CBC Music from the Scotiabank Arena. The 2020 JUNOS are also just around the corner, airing live from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on Sunday, March 15, 2020.

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The Mastering of a Music City Summit at CMW 2019: Recap

On Saturday May 11th, Music Canada held its fourth annual Music Cities Summit during Canadian Music Week. This year’s summit was hosted in partnership with the Music Policy Forum, and the event featured a plethora of local and international speakers who gathered to discuss issues regarding the value of music and its relationship to creative city-planning.

The morning kicked off with opening remarks from Music Canada’s Vice-President of Strategic Initiatives Sarah Hashem, as well as remarks from Ashlye Keaton of the Music Policy Forum.

         Pictured here: Chris Campbell (Grant W. Martin Photography)

The keynote address was given by Chris Campbell, Director of Culture & Entertainment Tourism and Tourism London. Campbell spoke about the journey to get Canadian music’s biggest milestone to London, Ontario: the JUNO Awards.

As Chair of the JUNOs host committee, Campbell worked with a team to pitch London as the right home for the awards in 2019. He discussed how the city was a bit of an underdog in the selection process as it was much smaller than many of the cities that have hosted the JUNOs in the past. Campbell also outlined the steps the team took to successfully stage a series of live music events throughout JUNO Week across London.

 

Pictured here: Ana Bailão, Mirik Milan, Kate Becker (Grant W. Martin Photography)

Chris Campbell’s illuminating keynote presentation was followed by a fascinating conversation on the intersection between the nighttime economy and music strategies. This immersive discussion took place between Mirik Milan, the first Night Mayor of Amsterdam; Kate Becker, the former Director of the Seattle Office of Film + Music; and Toronto City Councillor Ana Bailão, who has long been a champion for locally based projects in the arts space.

The trio discussed the economic and social benefits of having a thriving night time economy, and Councillor Bailão emphasized how a city’s vibrancy is enhanced by having a strong community of artists and musicians living, working, and creating.

Pictured here: Dominique Grant, Charlie Wall-Andrews, Kanika Gupta, Amy Terrill (Grant W. Martin Photography)

The next session examined the topic of inclusivity and diversity in the context of a music city. Amy Terrill introduced the keynote video, given by Mark Roach of Recorded Music New Zealand. In the video, Roach spoke about the efforts taken by his city of Auckland to ensure that the Māori language and culture was given proper respect, and incorporated into their music strategy and policies.

The panel component of the session then commenced, moderated by Charlie Wall-Andrews. In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the SOCAN Foundation, Wall-Andrews was also selected as the Vice-Chair of Music Canada’s recently instituted Advisory Council. Joining her on stage was artist and creator Domanique Grant and Kanika Gupta, an artist and social innovator. The discussion ranged from steps organizers can take to ensure that their events are inclusionary in nature, to how cities can ensure the the foundation of their music strategies provide support for segments of the music community that may be traditionally underrepresented.

Participants in ‘the ‘Hypothetical’ session on DIY Music Spaces and the City

For many, the highlight of the Music Cities Summit was the session exploring the topic of DIY music spaces, and their relation to the cities they reside in. Inspired by an event hosted by Melbourne Music Week in 2018, this innovative session was based on a hypothetical scenario: in a fictional city, a beloved underground music venue has just been forced to close. The reaction on social media has been swift. A local artist posts on social media how disappointed they are – this is the venue they got their start at. A public backlash ensues. As the days pass, more information regarding how and why this venue shut down becomes available, making the situation even more complex.

The session was hosted by Darlene Tonelli, founder of Inter Alia law and member of Music Canada’s Advisory Council, who guided the room through this exercise as they collectively worked through the twists and turns of this social dilemma. The session featured a ‘panel,’ composed of key stakeholders including artists, DIY venue operators and promoters, City officials, music industry professionals, and fans. As the scenario developed, they were called upon to offer their insight and expertise, and describe their course of action at critical flashpoints of the scenario.

Session participants included: Ian Swain (Bonjay); Brian Wong (Gingy, ‘It’s not U It’s Me’); Said Yassin (‘It’s OK’); Kwende Kefentse (Memetic, City of Ottawa); April Aliermo (Hooded Fang, Phedre); Erin Benjamin (CLMA); Toronto City Councillor Joe Cressy; Cory Crossman (City of London’s Music Development Officer); Kate Becker (City of Seattle); Rod Jones (Director of Bylaw Enforcement, Municipal Licensing & Standards); Mark Garner (Downtown Yonge BIA); Errol Nazareth (CBC’s Big City, Small World); Tracy Jenkins (Lula Lounge); Shaun Bowring (Garrison, Baby G); Gavin Le Ber. 

After a networking lunch, the afternoon kicked off with an engaging panel that explored the topic of music incubators and co-working spaces. Moderated by Sarah Hashem – Music Canada’s Vice President, Strategic Initiatives – the session featured input from some fantastic panelists: Chris Corless, Founding Partner at Toronto’s Signal Creative Community; Toni Morgan, founder of the Beat Academy; and Mustafa El Amin, founder and Executive Director of MyStand Mentorship and NorthBlock Entertainment. 

The conversation highlighted how creative incubators and hubs can help artists gain access to resources and support that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to. The panelists went on outline the various ways that new models of co-working can help level the playing field for creators – particularly young and emerging artists and producers.

The next session examined how to effectively build a coalition when developing a music city. A keynote presentation was given by Erin Benjamin, the CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association, and took a deeper look at the organization’s successful first five years. The session then moved into a panel discussion, moderated by Michael Bracy of the Music Policy Forum. Participants included Katherine Carleton, Executive Director of Orchestras Canada; Cody Cowan, founder and Executive Director or Red River Cultural District in Austin; and Katie Tuten, co-founder of Chicago music venue The Hideout.

This year, the Music Cities Summit also featured two exciting ‘Masterclass’ sessions. These interactive, discussion-based seminars allowed the speakers to interact directly with participants in the room, often answering questions and offering direct advice based on their extensive experience in the music city world.

The first Masterclass was entitled ‘Strategy Development – Back to Basics’. Leading this in-depth conversation were four practitioners in this space: Mike Tanner, Toronto’s Music Sector Development Officer; Jarrett Martinaeu, Cultural Planner from the City of Vancouver; the City of Ottawa’s Kwende Kefentse; and Maryann Lombardi, Chief Creative Economy Officer at the DC Office of Cable, Film, Music and Entertainment.

The second Masterclass featured cutting-edge research from two major players in the music city field. Amsterdam’s Mirik Milan – who spoke about the research being conducted at Creative Footprint, a global civic initiative that measures and indexes creative space – and Peter Schwarz of Sound Music Cities, who took the attendees through his organization’s work implementing their Austin Music Census method in Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Pictured here: Ashlye Keaton, Leah Ross, Chris Campbell, MP Michael Barrett (Grant W. Martin Photography)

The last session of the day was a spotlight on the impact and benefits of music tourism for a city. The panel was moderated by Ashlye Keaton (the Ella Project; Music Policy Forum), and featured opening remarks by MP Michael Barrett (Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes). MP Barrett also participated in the panel discussion, alongside London’s Chris Campbell and Leah Ross, the Executive Director of the non-profit Birthplace of Country Music.

The panel explored questions related to how a city can make sure its music tourism is authentic to  the city, has an economic impact, balances the needs of residents, and – ultimately – benefits the artists who help drive this attraction.

The day ended with a post-summit reception at the co-working space Signal Creative Community, hosted by the City of Toronto. Mayor John Tory also attended and provided some insightful remarks highlighting the benefits of municipal support for music, touching on some of the recent exciting achievements in Toronto.

Thanks to all those who participated and attended Music Canada’s fourth annual ‘Mastering of a Music Cities Summit’.

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The ‘Mastering of a Music City Summit’: Saturday, May 11th 2019

Music Canada’s fourth annual The Mastering of a Music City Summit is returning to Canadian Music Week. This exciting full-day event is being held on Saturday, May 11th 2019 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto.

The summit this year is being hosted in partnership with the Music Policy Forum. The event will feature a plethora of local and international speakers, and will bring together policy-makers, industry executives, City staff and music community members to explore issues around the value of music and its relationship to creative city-planning.

Some of the themes and topics of the day include:

  • Inclusivity, equity and diversity in the context of a music city
  • The intersection between the night-time economy and developing music strategies
  • Underground music venues, and their relationship to the city
  • The value of music tourism to a city
  • Exploring co-working spaces/incubators, and how they level the playing field for artists
  • Building successful coalitions in the music community

Register for this exciting event, and check out the full program agenda to learn more about the full conference.

Click here to see full recaps of last year’s summit.

 

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City of Toronto holding Public Consultation Meetings for Noise Bylaw Review

The City of Toronto’s Municipal Licensing & Standards (MLS) division is holding public consultations as part of its noise bylaw review. The review aims to introduce updates that reflect our growing and vibrant city, while enhancing the noise standards that protect the residents of Toronto.

Public consultations will take place during a series of five meetings between January 28 to February 06, 2019 that aim to present and seek feedback on developing Noise Bylaw updates.

The third meeting will be centered around the topic of ‘Amplified Sound’, and will be highly relevant to the music community in Toronto. Artists, venue operators, festival and music event organizers, and many other members of the live music industry are invited to attend and contribute to the process. The meeting will take place on January 30th at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas St. West), from 6-8 p.m.

The music industry has played an important role in helping to influence policy-making at the City. In particular, the Toronto Music Advisory Council (TMAC) has had a significant impact on the development of various noise bylaw-related initiatives. Indeed, one of TMAC’s major accomplishments was its role in endorsing the adoption of a version of the ‘Agent of Change’ principle in Toronto – a landmark policy decision that will go towards helping protect live music venues in the city.

To see the full schedule of meetings: Noise Bylaw Review Public Consultation Schedule

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New RIAA-commissioned report examines how record labels are amplifying talent in the modern music market

A comprehensive new report highlighting how record labels have transformed in response to the digital and streaming age was recently released. The study was conducted by NYU Professor Larry Miller (who also hosts the popular Musonomics podcast) and was commissioned by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The report – entitled Same Heart. New Beat. How Record Labels Amplify Talent in the Modern Music Marketplace – features in-depth interviews with 50 company executives at both major and independent record labels. The study also incorporated revenue data from the RIAA on the music industry over the last several decades. The RIAA’s Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier discussed the impact of the study in a recent op-ed.

The report examines many different components of the relationship between labels and artists. In particular, it outlines: the evolution of label efforts to discover and market musical artists; how marketing plans differ and enhance opportunities for artists in a streaming world; the increasing role of data in label strategies; approaches undertaken by labels to build artist branding, and more.

As Professor Miller describes, just as in the past, “labels work to discover and develop artists, connect them with creative collaborators and make great records, promote and position them in the media or wherever fans go to get music, and reward successful outcomes. But how labels do their job is nearly unrecognizable from just a decade ago.”

Some of the key findings of the study include:

Data analysis has become a crucial tool for record labels: a variety of techniques and algorithms have been developed by labels in order to ingest the huge amounts of data available, in order to quickly produce actionable insights. Data has become king.

Labels are transitioning from B2B businesses to direct-to-consumer businesses, with a particular focus on building strong relationships with fans: As Professor Miller describes, the shift from the ‘access-based’ model of today has meant that artists often release a continuous flow of new content, rather than the traditional every-other-year album release cycle. The structure and promotional capacity of record labels has rendered them the most effective body to undertake these marketing necessities. Indeed, the report outlined how the labels’ promotional ‘machines’ are best equipped to release a steady flow of singles, EPs, and albums and videos and maximize the impact of each, while the social media departments are able to support this promotion through various social media platforms.  

The digital transition has had a profound impact on the modus operandi of record labels, due to the prevalence of massive amounts of real-time discovery and consumption data: Staff at labels now analyze thousands of global inputs, such as: Twitter, Facebook followers, YouTube views, Instagram interaction, Shazam queries, Wikipedia searches — and more. This is in addition to the daily analysis of streaming and download figures on numerous music services, often globally. All this data is then consolidated and utilized to develop highly customized plans for artist releases.

It is true that the music industry has experienced extreme disruption brought on by the birth of digital services. Yet despite the impressive success of many DIY self-released artists, Professor Miller concludes in the report that “labels remain the key enabler for artists to maximize their creative vision and achieve their dreams for global visibility.”

Read the full report: Same Heart. New Beat. How Record Labels Amplify Talent in the Modern Music Marketplace.

 

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Debora Spar Op-Ed ‘Return to the Era of Rule-Making’ featured in The Hill Times

In an op-ed published today in The Hill Times, distinguished Harvard professor and author Debora Spar examined how rapid technological advancements have affected the evolution of the recorded music industry – highlighting how governments worldwide are reforming their copyright legislation to contend with the rising impact of these digital-based streaming services and user-upload platforms.

The article was adapted from a keynote speech Spar delivered at Music Canada’s 2018 Playback event in October. In her remarks, she discussed her groundbreaking 2001 book Ruling the Waves: From the Compass to the Internet, a History of Business and Politics along the Technological Frontier.

In the piece, Spar outlined the book’s thesis that the Internet – like of a long chain of communications technologies that began with the printing press, telegraph, and then the radio – was destined to go through four major phases of political and commercial evolution.

These four phases include:

  1. Innovation
  2. Commercialization
  3. Creative Anarchy
  4. Rule-Making

From here, the piece highlights how the progression of these four stages parallels  major developments within the music industry, with the ‘innovation’ stage occurring in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Spar goes on to discuss how the industry is now in the hypothesized ‘rule-making’ stage – pointing to government initiatives like Canada’s ongoing Copyright Act Review as evidence we are in this final phase of regulation and enforcement.

Read the full Hill-Time piece here.

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Strumbellas drummer Jeremy Drury delights students in hometown with surprise instrument donation

On November 6, 2018, we were thrilled to hold the first presentation of musical instruments collected through The Three Rs Music Program with students at Central Senior Public School in Lindsay, Ontario. Our first donation event was a special one for the students, who were surprised by Jeremy Drury of The Strumbellas. Drury had donated a drum set of his to The Three Rs Music Program during our Lindsay instrument drive a few weeks prior.

After picking up the drums and a few other instruments at Van Halteren Music Centre, one of the local repair shops refurbishing instruments collected during our inaugural drive in Lindsay, Jeremy and the Music Canada Cares crew waited patiently outside of the school for a break in hall traffic as students went from class to class. They made their way to a boiler room beside the music class, before music teacher Holly Smith announced the surprise to her students.

Watch Jeremy surprise students with his drum set donation below.


“When I heard that Music Canada Cares was doing the drive for instruments, I looked in my basement and I saw all of the drums I have collected over the years, which is a lot, and my girlfriend would tell you that they need to go,” said Jeremy. “So this kit, I used for rehearsals, practicing on my own, and then when we were working on rehearsals for the new Strumbellas record, this is the drum kit that I used. And I am so very happy to donate it to you guys today and I hope you guys get good use out of it.”

Following Jeremy’s remarks, Sarah Hashem, Managing Director for The Three Rs Music Program, thanked Jeremy for his generosity and encouraged students to find ways to impact others’ lives with acts of kindness like Jeremy had done for them.

Jeremy then took questions from students about his favourite touring memories, making music his full time job, and what led to him pursuing a career in music. He then set up the students’ new kit and played a quick percussion set. He signed autographs and took one on one questions from students, including requests for Jeremy to follow them on Instagram.

A few other key members of the team behind the Lindsay instrument drive were on hand to witness the presentation, including Beth Wilson, Music Consultant for the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, and Rob Barg from the Coalition for Music Education.

The Three Rs Music Program aims to improve equitable access to music education by increasing the inventory of instruments in Ontario’s publicly funded schools. We also strive to connect students to Canadian artists and Canada’s dynamic music industry to inspire career opportunities and enrich their classroom experience.

We were thrilled and inspired to see the students’ reaction to our first surprise donation and look forward to many more to come!

Check out a few photos from the donation event below.

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Miranda Mulholland highlights copyright and artist remuneration issues at the 2018 World Trade Organization Public Forum

In October 2018, Canadian musician and artist advocate Miranda Mulholland participated in the the World Trade Organization Public Forum 2018 in Geneva as part of a panel discussion on the future of innovation and creativity.

The panel also featured Richard Bagger, Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Market Access at Celgene, and Nicholas Hodac, Government and Regulatory Affairs Executive, IBM, and was moderated by Ellen Szymanski, Executive Director, Global Innovation Policy Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In her remarks, Mulholland provided a stark picture of the current realities of artist remuneration in this increasingly digitized musical landscape. She outlined the differences in opportunities for artists in the 1980’s and 1990’s, whose earnings sustained their livelihood and enabled them to enter the middle class –  in a way that artists today are simply not able to.

Photos: © WTO/Jay Louvion

“Royalty checks that once paid for a down-payment on a home for those lucky enough to be working before the digital disruption, only amount to enough to buy a cup of coffee today.”

Indeed, rapid technological and digital advancements has meant that music has become instantly accessible, in a variety of mediums and services. Yet, the remuneration of creators and musicians for the use and commercialization of this work has not matched the pace of these developments.

Mulholland connected this reality to the phenomenon of the Value Gap: the significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to its creators.

She ended her remarks by reflecting on the positive regulatory and legislative steps that have been occurring at the federal level worldwide. Canada’s ongoing statutory review of the Copyright Act, as well the EU’s review of the Copyright Directive have both created opportunities for meaningful reforms that better protect creators.

Watch Miranda Mulholland’s full remarks below.

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Playback 2018: Keynote Address from Debora Spar, Professor and Author

On Tuesday, October 16, Music Canada hosted Playback 2018, our annual industry dialogue and celebration. The event featured an  annual review from Music Canada Executive Vice President Amy Terrill, a panel discussion on how to help music creators living in the Value Gap, followed by a ‘fireside’ chat with Cary Sherman, the Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

One of the highlights of the event was the keynote address delivered by Debora Spar, who first spoke at Music Canada’s Global Forum event ten years ago about her book Ruling the Waves: From the Compass to the Internet, a History of Business and Politics along the Technological Frontier.

In her remarks at Playback 2018, Spar took a look back at how predictive her groundbreaking 2001 book was – particularly when applied to the evolution of the recorded music industry. The central theme of the speech was a reflection on what progress has been made in applying rules to the wave of commerce and chaos that the internet has brought.

As Spar describes,

“My thesis was that the Internet – despite all the hoopla surrounding it; despite the vast fortunes already being made and the even greater fortunes being foretold – was part of a long chain of communications technologies that began with the printing press; and a technology whose development needed to be seen as part of this broader historical evolution… I argued that the Internet, like the printing press and the telegraph and the radio, was destined to go through four major stages of political and commercial evolution.”

After outlining each of the four phases (innovation, commercialization, creative anarchy, rule-making), Spar drew a parallel to the evolution of the music industry, with the ‘innovation’ stage occurring in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. 

Spar went on to trace how the major developments of the music industry corresponded to the four phases described in her 2001 book – pointing to government initiatives like Canada’s ongoing Copyright Act Review as evidence we are in the final ‘rule-making’ stage.

To watch Debora Spar’s full remarks below, check out the video below.

To view more moments from Playback 2018, a photo gallery can be found on Music Canada’s Facebook page.

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Playback 2018: Fireside Chat with Cary Sherman, CEO and Chairman of the RIAA

On Tuesday, October 16, Music Canada hosted Playback 2018, our annual industry dialogue and celebration. The event began with an annual review from Music Canada Executive Vice President Amy Terrill, followed by a keynote address from professor and author Debora Spar, and a subsequent panel discussion on how to help music creators living in the Value Gap.

The final program of the afternoon was a ‘fireside’ chat with Cary Sherman, the Chairman and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Moderated by brilliant artist advocate and musician Miranda Mulholland, the conversation centered on Sherman’s long career as an industry titan and passionate supporter of the rights of music creators.

The discussion began with a deep-dive into the recently passed Music Modernization Act (MMA) in the US, and an outline of Sherman’s role in the evolution of this historic legislation. The MMA contains several important new components, but some of the key achievements include:

  • The creation of a cohesive ‘blanket’ mechanical license: involves the establishment of a blanket license for streaming services to companies, managed by a new collecting society that will receive these payments and distribute them to the creators.
  • Pre-1972 Recordings: royalty protections are now ensured for pre-1972 performances.
  • New ability for producers (and other ‘adjunct’ creators like sound engineers and mixers) to be paid directly from their share of the artist’s royalties.

In addition to outlining the key policy components of the MMA, Sherman also touched on how rewarding it was to see the strong support and recognition of the value of this legislation that existed on both sides of the aisle. As he described, the consensus that formed between different aspects of the industry became a powerful force that ultimately helped present a united coalition.

To watch more of the conversation, check out the video below.

Following the conversation, Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson presented Sherman with a framed Leonard Cohen poster, commemorating Cohen’s 2017 Polaris Prize Short List nomination. Sherman is a Leonard Cohen fan and shared a recollection of a special performance of his song ‘Hallelujah’ by k.d. lang at Cohen’s Songwriters Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

 

A full Playback 2018 photo gallery can be viewed on Music Canada’s Facebook page.

 

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