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Canada’s Copyright Board Tariff 8 Decision Devalues Music as a Profession, Suggests Music is Worth 900% More in the U.S.

On May 16, 2014, the Copyright Board of Canada issued its decision setting rates for Re:Sound’s Tariff 8 – Non-Interactive & Semi-Interactive Webcasts, 2009-2012.

The Tariff 8 decision is a serious insult to Canada’s musicians because it sets the world’s worst royalty rates for non-interactive (e.g. CBC Music) and semi-interactive (i.e. Songza and Pandora) music streaming.

As noted previously, the new rates certified by the Board amount to about 10% of what digital services companies have been paying in Canada and less than 10% of what those same services pay in the United States.

In The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Tariff 8 decision establishes “10% of Nothing Rates”, Music Canada President Graham Henderson poses the rhetorical question:  “Do Canadian plumbers get paid wages equivalent to 10% of American plumbers? Teachers? Auto workers? Farmers? Who? What profession receives compensation in Canada for their labour that is equal to 10% of the wages paid across the border?”

The answer, obviously, is nobody.

In fact, on closer examination, the answer is that in each of those professions, Canadians – on average – happen to earn MORE than their U.S. counterparts.

Plumbers
Median Annual Salary according to payscale.com
Canada = $57,950
U.S. = $48,632

Professors
Median Annual Salary for a “Professor, Postsecondary/Higher Education” according to payscale.com
Canada = $91,550
U.S. = $83,801

Auto Workers
Median Annual Salary of “Assembly Line Worker, Automotive” according to payscale.com
Canada = $50,565
U.S. = $32,150

Farmers
Median Annual Salary according to payscale.com
Canada = $42,000
U.S. = $32,030

Despite the absurdity of a Canadian earning less than 10% of what his or her counterpart south of the border earns for the same job, the Copyright Board of Canada has decided that professional musicians should get paid 90% less for certain types of music streaming.  Some people may argue that Tariff 8 isn’t an artist’s only source of income.  But the reality is that for these types of services (CBC Music, Stingray, Songza, etc.), Tariff 8 royalties are the only guaranteed source of income for a performer.  Artists deserve to be fairly compensated for their music.  The Tariff 8 decision sends a message that music is not valued as a profession here, and this message is completely inconsistent with Canadian values.  The Canadian government – who did not create this problem – should step in and take the necessary steps to fix Tariff 8 so Canada is not offside with royalty rates in the United States and around the world.

Send a copy of I Stand for Music’s Open Letter to Industry Minister James Moore to show your support for Canada’s music community.

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