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Toronto Music Policy Survey – 2014 Mayoral Candidates

Music Canada is a passionate advocate for music and those who create it, identifying ways to strengthen Canada’s music sector.

Our research shows that Toronto has the potential to be the greatest music city in the world. It is the third biggest music market in North America, and is home to a vibrant music scene. This is why Music Canada has also led the 4479 Toronto Music City initiative, and why this survey has been created. Music Canada has surveyed Toronto’s mayoral candidates in order to raise awareness of music issues in Toronto, and to secure music friendly commitments.

We asked Olivia Chow, Doug Ford, and John Tory three questions on key music policies as identified by Music Canada. We have listed their responses alphabetically below, and encourage Torontonians to consider a candidate’s positions on music policy when casting their ballot. Voting day is Monday, October 27, 2014, and Advance Polls are open now through October 19th. For information on how or where to cast your vote, visit the City of Toronto’s Election Services site.

 

Toronto Music Policy Survey – 2014 Mayoral Candidates

Toronto’s live music venues, concert promoters, and studio owners have all revealed that regulations and red tape at City Hall are creating an impediment to business growth. Based on best practices from Austin, Texas, Music Canada has recommended that the City of Toronto create a Music Office within its Economic Development & Culture Division. With a modest budget, this office would assist Toronto’s music community in navigating city infrastructure and regulations, and in stimulating business development opportunities, all of which will lead to greater investment and employment in the music sector.
We asked: How will you support the creation of a Toronto Music Office?
Olivia ChowOlivia Chow “As an artist herself, Olivia has a history of championing the arts. Olivia will create the Toronto Music Office, which could be paid for with increased revenue from the billboard tax. Like the Film Office already does to support film in our city, the Music Office will create an even more attractive environment for music and culture in our city.Olivia supports making city services work for people, from small business tax cuts to ensuring that economic development agencies in the city streamline their processes. Austin, Texas is a leader on the music front and we can do the same here in Toronto with a much larger population and pool of artists. This will build on the incredible musical talent in our city, and the music festivals and awards shows that already attract so many to our city.”
Doug Ford
Doug Ford
“I believe in the power of the music industry to stimulate our economy, bring jobs to our city and create a vibrant cultural scene. In the past four years we have supported the arts and we have supported Toronto’s music industry. We increased arts funding by $22 million to support arts and culture in Toronto. I am also very proud of our work in partnership with Music Canada to help advance the music industry by travelling to Austin Texas on Toronto’s first music industry business mission. In Austin we signed the world’s first Music Cities Alliance between Toronto and Austin. We have also helped fund a new position at City Hall to liaise with the music industry to help them do business with the City of Toronto. We want to replicate the success we have seen with Toronto’s Film Office and apply that same approach to the Music Industry. I will work with stakeholders like Music Canada to make sure we expand on this and create fully functional Music Office at the City of Toronto.”
John Tory
John Tory
“John Tory’s “Music City” policy is an important part of his larger Arts and Culture policy which acknowledges the vital contribution the creative sector makes to the city. The creative sector creates the conditions for the city to thrive – it builds our international reputation, employs hundreds of thousands of people, and contributes billions to our GDP. It is important that the city creates the conditions for our creative sector to thrive.In May during Canadian Music Week, John announced his plan to support the growth of the music industry in Toronto. Included in his “Music City” program is the commitment to establish a new stand–‐alone Music Office which will act as a one stop shop for the music community.The City of Toronto can learn from its efficient and collaborative work with the film and television community. The city’s film office has succeeded in improving customer service has helped to increase the level of activity in Toronto in this important creative sector. Based on this success story, and a similar experience in Austin Texas in the music sector, the City of Toronto will benefit from the creation of a Music Office. The Music Office will be established within the Economic Development department and will open in 2015. The Music Office will be expected to accomplish two main goals: reduce red tape and stimulate greater economic activity in the music community. Both of these activities will help to reduce the impediments to business growth currently being faced by the music community in Toronto. Targets will be set and progress measured over a 5 year term. Expected results will include greater activity in the music sector, increased employment and private sector investment, and greater efficiency at City Hall.The Music Office will be supported in its work by the Toronto Music Advisory Council which was established in December 2013 and reports to the Economic Development Committee. John commits to extending the mandate of the Music Advisory Council.”

 

Tourism is an important part of Toronto’s economy, with almost ten million overnight visitors in 2010, generating over four million in city revenue. The specific impact of music tourism on Toronto’s economy has yet to be measured, though given the concentration of the music industry in the GTA, it could be significant. Working with the music community, the City of Toronto and Tourism Toronto could quantify existing music tourism revenues and develop targeted initiatives to further increase its impact.
We asked: How will you champion the development of a music tourism strategy for Toronto?
Olivia Chow
Olivia Chow
“Olivia has committed to seeing the city invest more in the arts, bringing our investment from $22.5 per capita to $25 per capita. With worldclass awards shows like Polaris Music Prize and the MMVAs, and festivals like Pride Toronto and the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, Toronto is a cultural capital unlike any other. Our commitment to investing in parks and green space in our city will reduce red tape surrounding large events and help support street festivals and open streets initiatives. Through strategies like this, we can continue to make our city a vibrant and dynamic cultural centre.”
Doug Ford
Doug Ford
“When we went down to Austin, Texas, last year I saw the power of the music industry first hand. Austin is a City one third the size of Toronto, yet they have created a thriving music industry that generates three times the economic activity of Toronto’s. I learned a lot in Austin, I learned the potential of the music industry to drive tourism and stimulate economic development. I will support Toronto’s music industry to help it thrive. A vibrant cultural scene makes a City more attractive to visitors, investors and businesses alike. I will drive a music tourism plan through the Economic Development Committee to ensure we are doing everything we can at the City of Toronto to attract more music tourism to our city.”
John Tory
John Tory
“John Tory believes our creative sector is one of our best tourism assets. Addressing the barriers to growth in music activity by establishing a Music Office will, in itself, help to further boost the opportunity to attract music tourists. Festivals, concerts and other music events, staged throughout the city, will position Toronto as a key destination for music tourists. John is also committed to facilitating greater connectivity for tourists to Toronto’s creative hotspots through the SmartTrack line. This will improve the overall tourist experience, as well as benefit Toronto residents who want to access music events. Increasing the audience, whether drawn from afar or here at home, will create greater demand for live performances and therefore, generating more opportunities for artists and musicians to perform.Toronto’s destination marketing organization, Tourism Toronto, should work with the music community in order to further incorporate Toronto’s music story into our tourism marketing.”

 

Toronto has an active and culturally vibrant live music scene, but red tape at City Hall has made it difficult for new and existing festivals and events to put on live music in Toronto’s parks and squares.
The application process is ambiguous and unclear, and can be overwhelming for people who are unfamiliar with it. If City Council were to place a higher priority on live music there would be a greater impetus to overcome these barriers.
We asked: How will you support the growth and development of live music in Toronto?
Olivia Chow
Olivia Chow
“At the beginning of this year the Fords went after Electronic Dance Music (EDM) in our city and tried to prevent any EDM on city property, especially on the Exhibition grounds. Olivia has been a long-time supporter of safe EDM events on public property. As a city councillor, she worked to reverse an ill-conceived ban on raves in public spaces and bring in protocols to ensure the events were safe and fun.The city has a vital role to play in facilitating great music in our city. The Toronto Music Office will lead this effort and we need to make sure that there are places, throughout our city, that can easily serve the needs of music artists. Fort York, for example, has become a musical and event destination in our city. Olivia has pledged to reduce the red tape and process in getting permits on public space.4479 is a great initiative that will help move our city’s cultural sector ever more forward. Olivia looks forward to working with 4479, Music Canada, other partners, and the new Toronto Music Office to make our city even better.”
Doug Ford
Doug Ford
“I will support the creation of a music office to make it easier for the music industry to operate in Toronto, especially the live music scene. Toronto already has an amazing live music scene, we have amazing festivals like NXNE. I believe what we need to make Toronto’s live music scene even better is more cohesion between the industry and the City and a concerted effort from the City of Toronto to make it easier to get permits for live music events. In Austin we attended the ACL music festival, a live music events that attracts thousands of visitors and generates over $100 million in economic activity each year. I want to bring a live music festival to match ACL to Toronto, while still supporting our existing music events and helping them grow. I am also committed to exploring the creation of a music industry incubator to support new music industry startups.”
John Tory
John Tory
“The importance of the music community and the broader creative sector cannot be understated. In addition to the direct economic benefits that result from a vibrant music sector, live music also serves as a magnet for tourism, investment and talent (both inside and outside the creative community). In order to ensure greater communication with the creative community, John will appoint a Creative Economic Advocate within the Mayor’s office who will act as a liaison to the Mayor. This measure will, along with other initiatives, ensure that the creative community and its benefits, including music, are better understood and appreciated by City Council and staff.In regards to presenting music in particular, the establishment of a Music Office will help to eliminate the barriers facing music presenters who wish to program Toronto’s underutilized spaces, and help to stimulate greater activity in the music community through business outreach efforts. A large international festival, for instance, is a missing critical component in Toronto’s music infrastructure. Whether growing an existing festival, or attracting the creation of a new festival, John will support efforts to fill this gap.”

For more information on Toronto’s municipal election, visit the City of Toronto’s Election Services page.

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UK’s Charli XCX Presented With Platinum Award For “Boom Clap”

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UK singer/songwriter Charli XCX had quite the summer in 2014. After reaching #1 with her appearance on Iggy Azalea‘s summer anthem “Fancy”, Charli XCX earned a Canadian Platinum certification for her own song “Boom Clap”, which was featured on the soundtrack for the The Fault In Our Stars. Prior to her sold out show in Toronto, Charli XCX was presented with a Platinum award plaque for “Boom Clap” from the Warner Music Canada team, along with a plaque commemorating the #1 position of the song on Canadian CHR/Top 40 radio.

Check out the video for “Boom Clap” below:

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Echosmith Presented With Gold Plaques For Single “Cool Kids”

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During a tour stop in Vancouver, BC on Wednesday, Los Angeles indie-pop outfit Echosmith were presented with Canadian Gold award plaques for their single “Cool Kids” off their debut album Talking Dreams (Warner Canada). Echosmith is comprised of 4 siblings: Sydney, Graham, Noah, and Jamie Sierota. This summer, the band completed their second stint on the Vans Warped Tour and is currently opening for American Authors on the Honda Civic Tour.

Upon recieving their awards, Echosmith tweeted the following:

Check out the brand new video for “Cool Kids” below:

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Guest blog: Fairness in the Fishbowl – Reconsider the Copyright Board Ruling on Tariff 8

The following is a guest blog by Greg Nisbet, Founder & CEO of Toronto-based digital music company Mediazoic:

Made-in-Toronto music biz legend Bob Ezrin recently wrote about the Copyright Board ruling on Tariff 8, speculating that it may be “The Day The Music Died”. In the piece, he states the following:

Perhaps the worst result of the low rate is that we will be granting a 90% discount to American streaming companies that covet our market and will eagerly sweep in here with powerful and well-funded systems that will wipe out any Canadian-owned competition – all at the expense of the creators you have historically supported with thoughtful policy.

I run a 100% Canadian music streaming company and I agree with Mr. Ezrin. The ruling was a bad idea and the rates are too low.

It may at first seem counter-intuitive that a streaming company would advocate for paying higher costs to do business, in a business that is already notoriously expensive. Indeed, I was asked in a recent Globe & Mail article if music streaming companies will ever make money.

Well, I don’t know about other companies, but I am proud to be able to claim that ours has been built without any of the digital and entertainment grants available, and, not having had access to those deep wells of venture capital available to many of the international streaming companies, we have therefore managed any progress we’ve made through our own devices.

In our first couple years in business, that lack of funding was actually by choice 😉 People in the industry told me for years that Mediazoic was the ultimate grant magnet – Canadian, digital, music, and media all rolled into one. I used to respond that I didn’t think we could consider ourselves a viable business model unless and until the market had decided our fate. We were going to focus on getting clients, not writing grants.

Then one day we lost a huge deal to a very well-funded international service because, in order to enter our market, they were willing to do for free what I’d have actually had to pay my people to do. I understood immediately the frustration of the local merchant with the big box store opening next door (and yes, we started applying for all the grants we could!)

So yes, Bob Ezrin has a point, but mine is not an argument for protection of companies like mine up against better-funded international competitors. I still think having to stand on our own two feet helps us understand how to build something valuable and sustainable.

My concern with the Copyright Board ruling is that it will foist this “big box” model on our music creators as well. The price-driven “big box stores” (streaming companies) are set up to thrive, but their “suppliers” (artists, management, labels, etc.) are not. And listeners may think they’re better off, but when the creators suffer, it is ultimately music fans who suffer.

It would have been one thing if licensors, who have a deep understanding of the business/culture balance and of Canadian/international ownership complexities, had decided the timing and nature of a change in rates. As we all know, streaming even at low rates is still preferable to file sharing, or streaming from sources that don’t report their plays. The progress that has been made in monetizing convenient access to great music is not something likely to reverse, and in spite of the whipping-boy status earned during the piracy wars, I haven’t found anyone in the business who understands that better than label folks.

And yes, streaming companies do need an environment in which to make a profit. But rather than push for lower rates, my company chose to innovate the business model. Basically, we believe the success of each project we undertake is based on three parties – us for providing the platform, the rightsholders of the music played on our system, and our station hosts (clients) for getting it out there. As such, when planning and implementing a project, we always strive for a fair and transparent split of the revenue between the parties. This isn’t just because we’re nice and we love music – we believe that in the music business of the future, the most successful companies will be the most fair and transparent.

Indeed, we hear repeatedly that one of the main reasons our clients choose to do business with us is that they want to support a flourishing arts community, even more so if that has built-in support for Canadian artists and companies.

We live in a fishbowl. Fairness may be desirable now for organizations, but it is rapidly becoming necessary. Systems that are not based on fairness are doomed to fail, as they will not bear the ever-increasing scrutiny that comes with our interconnected world.

Simply put, the Copyright Board ruling is not fair. It is my hope that the artistic community will use every means at its disposal to support the many innovative new ways of delivering music that actually focus on giving artists a fair shake.

 

Greg Nisbet

Mediazoic…Radio, Evolved

gregn [at] mediazoic [dot] com

http://www.mediazoic.com

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National Live Music Association Launches with Naming of Executive Director

Music Canada Live, a new national association that will represent members of the live music community, has announced that Erin Benjamin will become its first Executive Director.

Ms. Benjamin, formerly the Executive Director of both the Canadian Arts Presenting Association (CAPACOA) and the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (now known as Folk Music Ontario), has spent the past 14 years of her career working on behalf of the presenting and touring sector. “It’s incredibly exciting to be a part of the emergence of a new organization at a time when governments and audiences alike are deepening their awareness of the value, impact and role of live music in and on our communities.  I look forward to working in partnership with colleagues from across the country, to shine the spotlight on the live sector – here at home, and around the world”.

Music Canada Live is a newly incorporated trade association that will represent business members engaged in the live music industry in Canada (ie. venues, promoters, festivals, agents, award shows, ticketing suppliers).  It has been formed with seed funding from its founding members, and with the support of the Government of Ontario’s Music Fund.

“Hundreds of businesses and non-profit corporations are operating across Canada in the live music sector, employing thousands of people, and yet, unlike other segments of the music industry, there is no national association devoted to representing the interests of this large and diverse group,” says Benjamin.  “With many issues affecting the live music industry specifically, including, immigration, licensing and funding, Music Canada Live will provide a forum for identifying solutions and advocating on behalf of the industry.”

Music Canada Live is in the formative stages but will seek to attract general members and additional founding members and directors from across the country, big and small, for profit and not-for-profit.  In addition to advocacy, through networking events and communications, it will provide greater opportunities for partnership and collaboration among its members.

 

Founding Members:

The Agency Group

Budweiser Gardens

Canadian Music Week

Collective Concerts

The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall

Evenko

Live Nation

NXNE

Music Canada

Ticketmaster

The Union Ltd. (Union Events)

 

Erin Benjamin will assume her new responsibilities on Monday, November 10, 2014.  A limited number of opportunities exist to join the Founding Members who will be responsible for developing the strategic plan, membership structure, and the organizational priorities for its launch.  For further information on becoming a Founding Member or for general information, please contact info@musiccanadalive.ca.

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Sweden’s Tove Lo Receives Platinum Award For Single “Habits”

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Following her headlining concert at Toronto, ON’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, Universal Music Canada recording artist Tove Lo was presented with a Canadian Platinum award plaque for her track “Habits (Stay High)” off her 2014 debut album Queen Of The Clouds. The Swedish singer took her to Instagram to thank the crowd for an amazing show and break the news of the Platinum certification.

Watch the video for “Habits” below:

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Chromeo Presented With Gold Plaques For Summer Hit “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”

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After a busy summer touring the globe in support of their album 2014 White Women, Montreal, QC’s Chromeo paid a visit to Last Gang Records‘ Toronto headquarters where they were surprised with Gold and Platinum award plaques for their smash single “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”. The awards were the first ever for the “funks lords”, who were in Toronto for a highly anticipated concert at the Kool Haus.

Check out the video for “Jealous” below:

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Tariff 8 Royalty Calculator

How does Tariff 8 affect you? In the box below, enter the number of times your song has been streamed on a non-interactive or semi-interactive streaming service to learn how much the Copyright Board of Canada thinks you deserve to be paid for your music:

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Bob Ezrin: “Please don’t let this be the day the music died”

Esteemed Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin has published the following op-ed on the Copyright Board of Canada’s Tariff 8 decision in this week’s edition of The Hill Times.

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE HILL TIMES, SEPT. 22, 2014

Please don’t let this be the day the music died

By BOB EZRIN
Published: Monday, 09/22/2014 12:00 am EDT

TORONTOIt’s always been a mixed blessing to live next to the economic and cultural behemoth to our south. On one hand, we have access to the world’s largest market, while still enjoying the more liberal and enlightened Canadian life. On the other hand, they can easily overwhelm us with sheer bulk and easy access to our market.

One of Canada’s most valuable resources—and most profitable exports—is our culture. Per capita, we may be the world’s largest exporter of culture and talent. This has been made possible by the wise decisions of our hard-working parents and by forward-thinking government policy to support the arts in schools and in the marketplace and to provide developmental resources to Canada’s creative class.

We’ve grown successive generations of creators who are the equal to any of their global counterparts. And we have a vibrant national cultural industry.

Historically we’ve ensured that our creators are not just “sponsored” as they grow, but able to earn a sustainable livelihood. But now we face a major sea of change in the marketplace that begins with Canadian music and will ultimately swamp Canadian television, film, and even literature.

It is clear that in the future most music will be consumed through digital streaming services, offering low-cost “all you can eat” subscription plans in place of selling “à la carte” songs or albums. This will become true for television and film as well.

Streaming services want rights holders to believe that, with universal penetration, we will earn much more than we used to collect selling our creations. The reality is quite different. Historically, huge global hit songs would generate millions and fund the industry’s investment in tomorrow’s hit-makers—our R&D.  Today, in the streaming model, the return is a fraction of that.

And in Canada, we are beginning to set rates that are dramatically less than that.

Today, a massive hit streamed 100,000,000 times on  “non- or semi-interactive” services in most developed countries earns performers and their record labels between $130,000 and $220,000. Under the tariff set by our Copyright Board earlier this year, 100,000,000 listens in Canada—a near impossibility given our size—would generate a whopping $10,200. That is less than 10 per cent of what is paid in most other major markets—and roughly 10 per cent of what our industry had already negotiated in direct deals with the streaming services here! And the amount paid to Canadian songwriters and publishers is a similar pittance.

I know that the board operates with the best of intentions, but I am afraid in the case of Tariff 8 it has miscalculated what this industry needs, and Canadian music creators will suffer the consequences.

In short, if the Copyright Board’s inadvertent devaluation of our music is widely adopted and spreads to other rights, we’re dead. Our homegrown Canadian music industry cannot survive this. We will shrivel and die. And when we shrink, it will affect all the workers who support us, from graphic artists to marketing people to truck drivers to hotel workers to stagehands and software engineers—because many of us will simply no longer be able to afford to be creators and marketers of music, or to put our shows on the road.

Perhaps the worst result of the low rate is that we will be granting a 90 per cent discount to American streaming companies that covet our market and will eagerly sweep in here with powerful and well-funded systems that will wipe out any Canadian-owned competition—all at the expense of the creators Canada has historically supported with thoughtful policy.

My message to our government and the Copyright Board is simple:  Please pay attention to the marketplace, because that’s where we make our living. And please recognize that if our digital marketplace is to flourish, it will depend on the health and sustainability of our creative industries, which provide the content that fuel the digital marketplace. Please reconsider Tariff 8. And let’s sit down together to find a way to protect this most valuable of Canadian resources—our culture—in the new economy.

Please don’t let this be the day the music died.

Bob Ezrin has produced some of the world’s most important music artists, including Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel, Johnny Reid and Young Artists for Haiti. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2013. In 2013, he was also named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Bob can be reached at:  bobezrin@nimbusarts.ca.

 

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Nunavut Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq Wins 2014 Polaris Music Prize

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On Monday night, the 2014 Polaris Music Prize was awarded to Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq for her album Animism.  Tagaq, who received a standing ovation from the gala attendees following her uplifting performance, was awarded a cash prize of $30,000 for her Polaris win. The winner was decided by a panel of selected music critics and announced during the 9th annual gala event at The Carlu in Toronto, hosted by actor Jay Baruchel.

The evening consisted of performances from 6 of the 10 nominees including Mac Demarco, Basia Bulat, Owen Pallett, Jessy Lanza, Shad and winner Tanya Tagaq. Timber Timbre, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan and Win Butler of Arcade Fire were in attendance but did not perform. Drake, who was nominated for Nothing Was The Same was not able to attend the gala due to a scheduled concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles with Lil Wayne.

Music Canada is a proud sponsor of the Polaris Music Prize and would like to congratulate Tanya Tagaq on winning this year’s award, as well as all of the nominees for making the 2014 short list. Photos of the gala can be seen below:

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