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A Warm Breeze from Davos Thaws the Online Cold War?

It has been popular in recent years to portray the debate over how the internet functions and how its functioning could be improved as some sort of Manichaean divide: a struggle between the forces of freedom and sharing and the forces of commerce and control. The stark duality of this over-simplified, zero-sum world view has had the effect of freezing meaningful dialogue on this critical issue for our times, creating a stalemated Cold War that has prevented anything meaningful from being discussed, much less accomplished.

Into this dogmatic Cold War comes an intelligent breeze that gives hope for a thaw and with any luck a return to meaningful dialogue.

A Report was issued last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos entitled: Norms and Values in Digital Media: Rethinking Intellectual Property in the Digital Age .

In the current stalemated political environment, this is a fairly astounding document. And it should be noted that this is not a top down assessment from the Davos elite, but rather the organic genesis of genuine dialogues between stakeholders in the North and the South, the East and the West. The Report notes:

Bringing together a wide range of stakeholders in the field revealed many points of contention. Nevertheless, the discussions revealed common elements of a shared vision for the future. The purpose of these principles, therefore, is to help stakeholders with disparate interests to identify areas of agreement. Getting to policy or legislation may still be contentious, but it will be more productive if, when inevitable disagreements arise, the stakeholders are able to refer back to the principles and discuss how the disagreements fit within this framework.

 

The principles articulated in the Report are spelled out below. The music industry is singled out as follows:

“In some industries, such as the music industry, significant progress has been made to shift or create new business models to reflect new consumer behaviours – streaming music services like Spotify being one such example. It is still unclear, however, what new business models and mechanisms will emerge to support large-scale, expensive works in the future.”

What principles are to be drawn from this? They are all important, but I would highlight in particular the following:

  • Foster and reward creativity: Develop a vibrant creative community that encourages the production of diverse content and rewards creators through financial remuneration, recognition or other types of value.
  • Give creators and rights owners control and choice: Provide creators and rights owners with tools to decide and control how their work is shared and used.
  • Strengthen global collaboration: Strengthen collaboration between people and governments in different geographic areas to help ensure that these principles can be respected and implemented globally, given the transferability of digital media.

Here are the principles in full:

Principles for the Creative and Information Economy in the Digital Age

Stakeholders attempted to identify a shared set of values through dialogues in the two pilot markets, the UK and Indonesia, as well as at one workshop in the US. Workshops were held to establish common ground among diverse stakeholders in the two pilot markets. Bringing together a wide range of stakeholders in the field revealed many points of contention. Nevertheless, the discussions revealed common elements of a shared vision for the future. The purpose of these principles, therefore, is to help stakeholders with disparate interests to identify areas of agreement. Getting to policy or legislation may still be contentious, but it will be more productive if, when inevitable disagreements arise, the stakeholders are able to refer back to the principles and discuss how the disagreements fit within this framework.

 

The principles are:

  •  Foster and reward creativity: Develop a vibrant creative community that encourages the production of diverse content and rewards creators through financial remuneration, recognition or other types of value.
  • Build an ecosystem for innovation: Create an ecosystem where innovation can occur by providing a level playing field for businesses and individuals, and incentives for innovation.
  • Expand access to content: Offer a wide range of means for the public to reach content, enabled by the Internet and other technologies, maximizing societal and economic benefit.
  • Inform users about ownership rights: Ensure that information about the ownership and permitted uses of digital content is clear and accessible to all, especially as technology enables more collaborative creation.
  • Give creators and rights owners control and choice: Provide creators and rights owners with tools to decide and control how their work is shared and used.
  • Enable people to be creators: Enable people to make, share and exchange content online by providing access, skills, tools and choice.
  • Strengthen global collaboration: Strengthen collaboration between people and governments in different geographic areas to help ensure that these principles can be respected and implemented globally, given the transferability of digital media.

This should provide a constructive shared foundation on which to build meaningful dialogue, resolve disagreements and, as the Report notes, “get to policy” that makes the internet a constructive forum for us all.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: My testimony before Ontario’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

Last week I had the chance to testify before the Provincial Finance Committee in support of the government’s Ontario Music Fund. It was an excellent opportunity to remind all parties of the importance of the music community – all facets of the music community. I felt it was particularly important given that we face a potential Spring election. It was therefore timely to stand up for the Ontario Music Fund. If there is an election, we want to make sure that whatever government is returned by the people of Ontario, it is a government that support the value of music and will not only stand by the Fund, but move to increase it.

When you appear at the Committee you are offered 15 minutes to use as you see fit. I chose to speak for 10 minutes allowing time for questions. Only one of the parties is entitled to ask questions. In my case it was the turn of the Liberals; this explains why there were no questions from the Conservatives or the NDP. However, simply judging from the body language, I can tell you that music is a topic which seriously interests people in government. It is inspirational, it is exciting. It is a gift that keeps giving. As we have always said, “Whatever your problem or opportunity, music can help.” Governments at all levels are waking up to this.

The days when the sole reason for supporting music was for its intrinsic value to our society and culture are waning. Today music is increasingly seen as a critical even essential component in a thriving economy. It is claimed that Archimedes once said, “”Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” As I point out in one of my answers – music is a very long lever, and it offers advantages to the economy out of all proportion to its own economic footprint.

I was particularly intrigued by Donna Cansfield’s questions. She picked up on the theme of music education, stressing its importance and allowing me to amplify the need for governments to at the very least demonstrate leadership in this area. But she also asked about music piracy and I thought her concern was moving. It is not particularly fashionable to talk about “piracy” these days. But it continues at an absolutely rampant pace. During the copyright reform debates, opponents of the cultural industries appeared before the various committees minimizing the impact and proposing techno-utopian solutions. The most bizarre of all was the idea that touring and performing would supplant the income lost because people, FANS, refuse to pay bands for their music. That canard has died a particularly swift death and its advocates simply proved the poverty of their vision and common sense in ever having proposed it was a workable solution in the 21st Century.

The other reeking skeleton in the closet is how little intermediaries like Google are doing to make it easy for consumers to find legitimate sources. I have written about this here. I would also refer you to David Newhoff’s excellent blog on the subject of Google, as well as IFPI’s sad tale about the infestation of Google by illegal search results – about which they are doing essentially nothing. Our friends at David Lowery’s excellent blog The Trichordist have also touched on the question of exactly how little intermediaries pay creators for the privilege of leveraging their art into untold billions of viewers and by extension fabulous wealth; wealth that is concentrated in increasingly fewer hands by the moment and on a scale which would make the Borgias cringe and blush. Here is an excerpt from this blog:

One of the most accessible points of piracy starts at Google search and they can absolutely do more to assist legal and licensed businesses that pay artists. Digital Music News recently reported that “ Google Receives Its 100 Millionth Piracy Notice. Nothing Changes… ” As we’ve seen with Google’s swift retribution to Rap Genius , search can very effective to discourage or remove bad actors from the legitimate marketplace (When it is in Google’s business interest to do so!). Google is also tracking over 200,000 known domains engaged in active piracy . This seems like an easy problem to solve.

Not only did a series of research studies by the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab identify Google as one of the primary companies feeding advertising to pirate sites, but there is actually a longer darker history of Google assisting illegally operating business online .

Artists don’t get paid anything from pirate sites profiting from advertising revenue. This is the big one, those who pay nothing at all but distribute the most music at the highest volumes.

Ms. Cansfield said, “I think there are things that we can also do, working with the Federal Government, and I was surprised you didn’t mention more of that, because that pirating of music is a significant drain on the economy.” I agree with her, and we would more than welcome any assistance the Provincial Government would care to offer! Together we are stronger.

 

Here is the transcript of my presentation, courtesy of The Legislative Assembly of Ontario.

The Chair (Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn): Our next delegation this morning is from Music Canada: Graham Henderson and Amy Terrill—or Graham by himself.

Mr. Graham Henderson: By myself.

The Chair (Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn): It’s the same as everybody else, Graham: 15 minutes. Use that any way you see fit. If there’s any time left over at the end, questions will come from the government this time. With that, the floor is yours.

Mr. Graham Henderson: Okay, thank you very much. Good morning, members of the committee, and thanks for the opportunity to speak today.

I would like to focus my remarks on something that was in last year’s budget, in order to ensure that you’re well aware of the positive nature of the policy and its impact on our sector. I’m talking about the Ontario Music Fund, which is a $45-million grant program spaced over three years.

As many of you know, Music Canada has actually been at the forefront of advocating for not only this initiative but also the Ontario music community in general. I’m confident in saying that the fund was designed to respond to market challenges that we brought forward to the government, and also the opportunities for growth and investment.

Allow me to explain. Music is now widely considered to be a key competitive advantage for Ontario. In a groundbreaking study that we commissioned a couple of years ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers determined that the major and independent recording companies alone generate about $400 million in spending and contribute $240 million to the national GDP. Over 80% of that activity takes place in Ontario.

Our sector employs thousands of young people in a cutting-edge digital environment, and then there is the live sector. The live sector in Ontario accounts for over half of the activity in Canada. Toronto is a “must” stop on every global tour and a home to thousands of homegrown artists. It is a key economic sector. It’s one of the top three markets for live music in North America.

The cities of Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Guelph, Peterborough, Windsor, Kingston and Ottawa have all identified the potential of music in their communities. Each of these communities sees it as an important part of the community and a catalyst for benefits ranging from music tourism to investment and talent attraction and to community building. These same benefits were highlighted in a recent white paper released by the provincial Conservative Party. I commend them for having drawn some attention to this.

Similarly, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has ranked music along with traditional powerhouses like mining and manufacturing as three of Ontario’s key economic sectors.

So why, might you ask, was there a need for government intervention in the form of the fund? The answer to that is germane to the issues that you deal with on a regular basis: financial liability, market imperative, investment climate, retention and attraction of jobs.

Perhaps no sector has experienced the consequences of the digital revolution more directly than the music community. Our entire ecosystem has been disrupted. Our community has embraced this challenge, and adaptation was necessary, but it certainly wasn’t easy. The process of transformation is far from over. A $38-billion business worldwide has become a $16-billion business. Revenues in Canada in the recorded music sector are less than half what they were in 1999.

While digital sales have grown significantly, they are not enough to make up for lost physical sales. Revenues from the digital market are on a completely different scale from those derived from CDs. We do not sell albums; we sell singles. Streaming music, which is becoming increasingly popular, generates a fraction of a penny per stream.

While there are more and more digital services, they are not all created equal. The landscape is littered with illegal services that do not pay artists or copyright owners. Many of them appear to be legitimate to the consumer, and they’re aided by Google. Google search results obscure the simple existence of legal sources of music.

Robert Levine, who is the former editor of Billboard and author of a book called Free Ride, wrote, “It has never been easier to distribute a creative work. At the same time, it’s never been harder to get paid for it.”

The Canadian Independent Music Association released a report recently, Sound Analysis, that concluded that 60% of the independent music companies in Canada—and these are basically small businesses—generate less than $50,000, and only the top 10% earn more than $500,000 a year. Artists, whom you should all consider entrepreneurs, earn an average of about $10,000 per year from music-related activities, and they spend about 29 hours a week pursuing music, because they must generate income elsewhere to put food on the table. This is radically different from just 10 or 15 years ago. Music is becoming a hobby, not a career.

People are also discovering music in different ways. Discovery is moving online—has moved online—yet for decades we have relied on a strategy to expose Canadians to new music using radio.

Almost all of our digital retailers are foreign-owned, posing the question, how do we guarantee shelf space?

All of this is unprecedented. Yet despite the gloom, we have learned from our research that there are unparalleled opportunities to leverage music in order to generate jobs and investment.

Austin, Texas—and we’ve spent a lot of time there—provides an example of a community that has figured out how to harness the power of music to create one of the most resilient economies in the United States while also supporting the small businesses and artist entrepreneurs who make up the sector. As the 11th-largest city in the United States, they were the last into the recession and the first out, and they credit their music community for that benefit. It’s on the top-10 list of every measurement: attracting young people, population growth, rate of venture capital investment, number of start-ups, number of jobs created. In Austin, music generates $1.6 billion.

By comparison, Toronto, which is three times as large, generates only one third of that activity. In Ontario, and we know this from the Ontario Arts Council, arts and culture tourists stay longer and spend more, and almost half of them list music as the key motivator for their trip.

In Austin, music is part of every pitch that the chamber of commerce or its mayor makes when they act as the business investment arm for the city. The government credits music for getting them the Formula 1, something that they were very, very anxious to get.

Music and tech are inextricably linked. We have seen this in Austin, but it has also been backed up by a study released by the Information and Communications Technology Council which points to a strong correlation between vibrant music scenes and technology clusters.

So it is in this challenging market environment where opportunity lies that the Ontario Music Fund appeared, to build on the competitive advantage that the music community has organically created and to turn the province into a live music and recording capital of the world. For the first time—the first time—Ontario is directly leveraging its live music prowess to generate increased tourism activity, which is a great source of jobs, if not the number one source of jobs, for young people. For the first time, Ontario is using the successful film and television model and applying it to music in order to attract and repatriate recording projects to our world-class music studios which, until now, have been suffering.

You might ask, “Why not just lower corporate taxes for companies and the artist-entrepreneurs?” Well, we believe that the stark numbers that I shared with you earlier demonstrate that the majority of our community needs access to capital and not lower taxes.

At Music Canada, we’ve identified seven key areas of growth for the music community in Canada at large and Ontario as well. They are: music education, digital innovation, music tourism, export development, tax credits or grant programs, music celebrations and community building.

With a bit of help from the government, the private sector is ready to create new wealth and jobs in this province. I’m confident that you’ll see that the Ontario Music Fund is money well spent.

Thank you.

The Chair (Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn): Very good. Thank you, Graham. You’ve left about five minutes.

Who would like to go first? Steven?

Mr. Steven Del Duca: I’ll go first. Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.

It’s great to see you, Graham. Thank you for being here and for delivering those remarks that I think underscore the importance of the decision that our government made last year with budget 2013, around the music fund itself.

The question I have is that in terms of going forward, you talked a great deal about how important it was for us to come to the table with that $45 million, I believe, over three years. I’m wondering, as we go forward, what other steps the government can take to support the industry—perhaps not by way of more funding, because $45 million over three years is considerable, but other measures the government can consider taking to support such an important economic driver, that sometimes is counterintuitive. People might not think it provides the economic activity that it actually does.

Mr. Graham Henderson: It’s correct. It’s a fulcrum that you can use to achieve immense leverage that is totally disproportionate to the size of our own economic footprint. Music tourism is a perfect example of that.

Minister Chan has announced the Live Music Strategy. The objective is to create in Ontario a global destination. We’ve never drawn attention to the fact that we have one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world. We’ve never spent any money on it. The government could simply support Minister Chan, as could the other parties, as he focuses and concentrates resources, that exist today in the ministry, on music. That would be one key area.

Once you build a music scene, you can also use it to leverage the attraction of businesses, the retention of businesses, young people and even immigrants. So as the province of Ontario looks at how it is going to attract the right immigrants to the marketplace, simply think about the advantage that our existing scene can offer you. It’s a big advantage.

Finally, I would suggest that music education is something that has been allowed to languish across the country. Just as you’ve announced an initiative to support mathematical education, you should be thinking about what you can do for music, because it is dying in our schools.

Mr. Steven Del Duca: Interesting. Thank you.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: Thank you very much and thank you for your presentation. I so wholeheartedly concur with you. Anyone who doesn’t have a teenager or who wasn’t a teenager doesn’t understand the value of music. We still have our Beatles albums. It’s just part of who you are and your heritage.

I want to ask two questions. First of all, about the education—and I concur wholeheartedly—interestingly enough, one of the countries in the world with one of the most vibrant music programs is Finland. That’s because in Finland every child takes music and every child gets an instrument.

Mr. Graham Henderson: Yes.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: They have one of the best music programs in the world because they have nurtured that. I think that’s something we could work on.

The other part of it is the illegal market. I think there are things that we can also do, working with the federal government, and I was surprised you didn’t mention more of that, because that pirating of music is a significant drain on the economy.

Mr. Graham Henderson: You can help us simply by vocally demonstrating leadership, by speaking out on issues like music education. We do not have Premiers or Prime Ministers like Bill Clinton and others, who vocally stood up for the importance of music education. If you can start to do that, it helps us.

We have an initiative that raises money called MusiCounts to put instruments into the hands of young musicians. Similarly, the federal government has done a lot to help us in our battle against illegal sources, but they could certainly do more. One of the biggest problems we have is that consumers cannot find legal services on Google. Type in: “Carly Rae Jepsen”; pick your song; press “search.” You would have to look to page 7 of the results to find iTunes. Before you get there, you have six and a half pages littered with illegal sites which are constantly being taken down and constantly being put back. With government support, maybe we can urge intermediaries to actually do something to help consumers find legitimate sources, because I think they’d like to.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: I concur with you, and I think it’s an education. I’m going to suggest that most young people who download music don’t realize how illegal it is. So there’s a whole education component—

Mr. Graham Henderson: Right—or the harm.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: —or the harm that it’s doing to the economy.

Mr. Graham Henderson: The difference between an artist’s career today and 15 years ago is stark.

Mrs. Donna H. Cansfield: You’re right. Thank you very much for your presentation.

The Chair (Mr. Kevin Daniel Flynn): Thank you for coming.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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In Australia, Victorian Coalition Government announces red tape reduction reforms to boost live music sector

Today in Australia, the Victoria Coalition Government announced a series of red tape reduction reforms in an effort to boost productivity and reduce costs for businesses in the state, including reforms for live music venues.

The reforms will make it easier for venues to host live music by easing unnecessary regulations related to liquor licenses.

”The hospitality sector will see the removal of an unnecessary regulation that requires liquor licensees to apply for approval to hold alcohol-free underage concerts on licensed premises, while other processes, including those around hosting live music, will be simplified,” said acting Premier and Minister for State Development Peter Ryan.

The main reforms affecting music include:

Under age venues : Currently licensees must obtain approval to hold alcohol-free underage and mix-aged live music events on licensed premises. This reform will remove that requirement

Small live music venues: Currently small live music venues wishing to undertake work to adapt or renovate to host live venues music attract permit and approval requirements based on the Building Code of Australia, Building Classification 9(b). This reform will simplify and reduce planning approval for change of land use for small venues seeking to host live music.

Temporary liquor licences: Currently a temporary limited liquor licence application must be lodged at least 8 weeks before an event. This reform will streamline the approval process for temporary liquor licences and examine the feasibility of introducing a notification process for repeat and low risk events run by licensees with a sound reputation.

The government has also promised to do whatever it can to implement an “agent-of-change” planning principle that would require residents who move into an area with established live music venues to foot the bill for any desired soundproofing.

Calling live music “one of Melbourne’s greatest tourism and cultural assets,’ Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the government would find a way to “give certainty” to the live music industry and its patrons.

Victoria’s State Government says the reforms were accepted following extensive consultation by Red Tape Commissioner John Lloyd, who met with 25 associations, including Music Victoria .

Over a year ago, Music Canada’s report highlighting the best practices in Austin, Texas hit Melbourne’s radar prompting city officials to contact Austin to learn more about their success .

Red Tape issues persist in Canadian live music sector:

In Toronto, some examples include:

  • Ambiguous licensing requirements: in response to concerns about dance clubs, the city created a new “entertainment license” that is not supposed to apply to live music venues, and yet, numerous venues have been fined for not having one.
  • Approvals for road closures often take many months, even for festivals that have a long track record.
  • Some public spaces are governed by Transportation, others by Parks Forestry Recreation. Lines of delineation are not clear.
  • Postering bylaw is ill-conceived and poorly enforced, with little understanding by City staff and bylaw enforcement personnel.

Music Canada and our partners in the live music sector have been advocating for the reduction in red tape at all three levels of government. Federally, we remain concerned about the effect of recent changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker program that reduce the ability of bars and restaurants to hire international performers. We were pleased to see red tape reduction in the music sector identified as a priority in a recent whitepaper from the Ontario PC party. In Toronto, the establishment of the new Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council is a significant achievement for the music community, promising an opportunity to address concerns.

Music Canada is continuing to advocate for the creation of a Music Office at Toronto City Hall, which was one of the recommendations outlined in our aforementioned report, Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth – Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas , commissioned and released by Music Canada in 2012. A Music Office would “create a valuable alignment between the City and the commercial music industry in Toronto,” the report found.

The Music Office could provide coordination across the various city departments that deal with issues relating to live music events and venues, as well as act as an Ombudsman and clearing house for music business operators. The report notes this could make a significant impact in “re-engineering the business/government interface to stimulate job creation and investment attraction,” one of key recommendations made by the Toronto Prosperity Institute’s 2011 report, Establishing The Path To Growth . The Music Office could also play a strong business development role, stimulating the growth of activity in the music sector.

The groundwork for a Music Office has already been laid; the City of Toronto recently issued a job posting for a Sector Development Officer (Music) , working in the Economic Development & Culture division.

We will share today’s news out of Australia with our government contacts, and continue to advocate for music in Canada in 2014.

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2013 a banner year for Music Canada’s advocacy efforts

2013 was a banner year for Music Canada’s advocacy efforts, with Toronto City Council, the Government of Ontario, and the Government of Canada all showing they recognize the value of the Canadian music sector, with all levels taking several concrete steps to grow the industry.

Toronto:

In Toronto, 2013 began with a landmark commitment to arts funding, as the 2013 Capital and Operating Budgets include a boost in arts funding derived from the billboard tax. Toronto artists celebrated as the Executive Committee endorsed a plan to increase funding to $25 per capita on arts programs and grants by 2016. Among the priorities listed in the motion put forward to the Executive Committee by Councillor Gary Crawford was “support for Toronto’s music cluster.” Unfortunately, in November, a City staff report recommended pushing back the target to 2018, although Councillor Crawford said he believes the 2016 target is still attainable, and plans to put forward a motion before the 2014 budget is finalized to phase in the funding by 2016.

In June, artists and musicians joined leaders from music, tourism and City Hall to launch 4479 – a campaign to position Toronto as one of the greatest music cities in the world. 4479 is designed to promote Toronto as a world leader in live and recorded music and also to build a community that engages artists, industry supporters and fans who share the vision of Toronto as a vibrant and diverse music city.

Later in June, Austin City Council voted in favour of a music city alliance with Toronto, creating the catalyst for the partnership between the two cities.

In July, Toronto City Council responded in kind, unanimously supporting a motion to establish a Music City Alliance with Austin. Members of Toronto’s music community expressed strong support for the alliance in a release issued by the 4479 campaign.

The 4479 website officially launched in September, with a video showcasing Toronto’s world class music scene, and advocacy tools and campaigns to encourage Toronto city councillors to “say yes to music” at upcoming votes at City Council.

The Alliance was made official in October , during a music and cultural business mission led by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Councillors Gary Crawford, Josh Colle, Doug Ford, and Michael Thompson, as well as representatives from the music sector, travelled to Austin, Texas.

The Alliance agreement states that the two cities will “work collaboratively to develop and expand all elements of the music industry, including but not limited to artists, venues, festivals, studios, management and promotion.”

The groundwork for a Music Office at City Hall was laid in October, when the City of Toronto issued a job posting for a Sector Development Officer (Music) , working in the Economic Development & Culture division. The creation of this position is an important milestone as it sends a clear signal that the city now regards music as an important economic sector. The creation of a Music Office at City Hall was one of the recommendations outlined in the Accelerating Toronto’s Music Industry Growth – Leveraging Best Practices from Austin, Texas report, commissioned by Music Canada.

Also in October, Toronto City Council voted unanimously to request the Federal Government extend the Temporary Worker Fee exemptions for musicians to all venues, including bars, restaurants and coffee shops, adding weight to the concerns raised throughout the music community.

In November, Toronto’s Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to adopt the Terms of Reference for a Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council. The City of Toronto then solicited applications for membership on the Council, with an invitation to apply, membership application, and background materials posted on the City of Toronto’s website .

This week, Toronto City Council has approved the establishment of the new Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council , marking a significant success for the music community.

According to the staff report, the “Toronto Music Industry Advisory Council will provide a forum for the discussion of opportunities and challenges, exchange of ideas, input and advice, and collaborative development of recommendations and a unifying voice to advance the music sector in Toronto.”

Ontario:

Ontario made it clear in 2013 that the province recognizes music is an integral part of Ontario’s cultural landscape and an innovative economic driver:

In January, the Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, announced that the government of Ontario would be developing a live music strategy that will strengthen the province’s position as a global leader for live music.

Minister Chan made the announcement at an event at Toronto’s legendary Horseshoe Tavern, which featured performances by DJ Clymaxxx, The Good Lovelies, and the Skydiggers. The room was packed with leaders from the live and recorded music sectors as well as artists and musicians. Minister Chan also announced an Industry Working Group to develop the strategy and strengthen Ontario’s position as a global capital for live music.

Minister Chan’s announcement was buoyed by a report from the Ontario Arts Council, who released the Ontario Arts and Culture Tourism Profile in January. The report provides a comprehensive profile of Ontario’s arts and culture tourists and their economic impact. The report shows that arts and culture tourism has a significant economic impact in Ontario, with arts/culture tourist spending generating $3.7 billion in GDP in Ontario in 2010, supporting 67,000 jobs and $2.4 billion in wages and generating $1.7 billion in taxes for all levels of government.

The music industry was recognized as a key economic driver during the Ontario Liberal leadership debate in January, as Kathleen Wynne noted that the music industry is “absolutely an important economic driver for the GTA, for the City of Toronto.”

In February, Premier Wynne highlighted the music sector in a key economic section of the Speech from the Throne, among traditional Ontario powerhouse industries like agriculture and the automotive sector.

In May, the Ontario government announced plans to create the Ontario Music Fund that would help support and create jobs and position the province as a leading place to record and perform music. Speaking at Lee’s Palace, Finance Minister Charles Sousa revealed that the new Ontario Music Fund is a proposed $45 million grant program over three years, starting in 2013-14.

Premier Kathleen Wynne spoke at Music Canada’s Annual General Meeting in July, where she expressed her desire to make Ontario a place where artists and musicians can succeed. She reaffirmed her government’s commitment to the Ontario Music Fund and the Live Music Strategy, emphasizing the importance of music to our economy and our culture.

In August, the Ontario government launched its Pan Am and Parapan Am Games Promotion, Celebration and Legacy Strategy, which aims to increase the economic benefits of the 2015 Games and support them in becoming the People’s Games. A key part of the strategy is a plan to celebrate and showcase Ontario talent from “the stage to the stadium” in local communities. This includes enhancing support for live music, celebrations and festivals, adding to Ontario’s reputation as a live music destination.

The Ontario Music Fund was officially launched in October, with the Honourable Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport making the announcement at Revolution Recording studio in Toronto. As per the release, the new fund will support Ontario-based music companies and music production and distribution through four streams:

The Ontario Music Fund is administrated by the Ontario Music Office, with more information available on their website.

Canada:

In July, Prime Minister Stephen Harper named The Honourable Shelley Glover as Minister of Canadian Heritage, with the Honourable James Moore moving to a new role as Minister of Industry Canada.

Both Minister Glover and Minister Moore underscored music’s importance to Canadian culture and Canada’s economy at two Minister’s Music Nights in 2013, which were produced by Music Canada and Quebecor.

The most recent event was hosted by the Honourable Shelly Glover, and featured terrific performances by Kaïn & Brett Kissel at the Museum of Civilization (History). The event also featured music from students of Hillcrest High School, an Ottawa, ON, school that features music education as a key part of their community and curriculum.
At the event, Minister Glover spoke passionately about the talent and diversity of Canada’s music scene, as well as the economic and cultural benefits of our music sector.
“I have always been very impressed by the talent and diversity of the artists who shape the music scene in Canada. I am particularly inspired by the number of talented young artists who keep music new and exciting,” said Minister Glover. “Canada’s recording industry is the seventh-largest in the world, generating almost $3 billion in economic activity every year. Thanks to the talent and creativity of our artists, Canada is the third-largest exporter of musical talent in the world.”

Back in February, then-Heritage Minister James Moore hosted invited guests at the National Arts Centre as Johnny Reid and Étienne Drapeau performed. Prior to the concert, both artists toured Parliament Hill with Minister Moore, and met with several MPs and Senators in a reception hosted by The Honourable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons.

In August, Music Canada expressed concern about changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers program that affect some Canadian music venues featuring international performers. It is our belief that these impacts are unintended consequences of regulations designed to protect jobs for Canadians. While this policy is borne out of a valid concern for Canadian employment, it will reduce the ability of bars and restaurants that host live music to hire international performers. Music Canada is optimistic that insightful exceptions can be extended to musicians performing in all venues, and look forward to the resolution of this issue.

Looking back, 2013 was a banner year for Music Canada’s advocacy efforts in Toronto, Ontario, and Canada, which we hope will lead to greater opportunities for Canadian artists and musicians and the teams that work with them. With all levels of government taking several concrete steps towards growing our music sector this year, the stage is set for a terrific 2014.

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Ontario Music Fund launched to help support and create jobs, and position the province as a leading destination to record and perform

The Ontario Music Fund was officially launched today, which will help support create jobs in Ontario’s music industry, and position the province as a leading destination to record and perform. The announcement was made by the Hon. Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, at Revolution Recordings studio in Toronto. 

As per the release, the new fund will support Ontario-based music companies and music production and distribution through four streams: 

  • Music Company Development – Helps Ontario-based music companies increase recording, production and marketing, which boosts sales of music and supports job creation.
  • Music Industry Development – Provides support for initiatives such as digital innovation, music training and new approaches to increase home-grown music exports.
  • Music Futures– Helps leverage Ontario’s diverse and emerging music industry by supporting small music companies and artist entrepreneurs, for example those who create music and also handle the business and promotion of their music.
  • Live Music– Helps increase the number of live music events in the province and generates more opportunities for new and emerging local artists — boosting tourism and growing local economies.

“Our government is proud to partner with our music industry through the new Ontario Music Fund that will capitalize on our infrastructure, critical mass and competitive edge to drive economic growth and jobs,” said Minister Chan. “Home to the largest and most diverse music industry in the nation, we are committed to amplifying our success on the world stage and place Ontario on the map as a cultural and creative capital.”

“Music is a superpower that’s primed and ready to perform for Ontario. It’s a smart investment given the globally competitive advantage we have in the recorded and live music sectors,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “Research has shown that targeted support for music will pay off with enormous dividends including job growth, increased investment, tourism and the transformation of Ontario into one of the recording capitals of the world. As we in the music community like to say, music can help.”

Applications for the Ontario Music Fund are open now, and can be made through the OMDC Online Application Portal at https://apply.omdc.on.ca/. Applications may be submitted on an ongoing basis until January 31, 2014.

At today’s event, Kim Cooke, owner of Revolution Recordings, introduced Minister Chan, saying it’s “important to acknowledge Minister Chan and his staff. In tough times, with a major workload and competing demands, he has fought hard for the cultural sector and embraced the Ontario Music Fund file with vigour.” OMFCooke

“Ontario has proven itself as a powerhouse competitor with other jurisdictions across a wide range of creative industries. The Ontario Music Fund will help us to build an even stronger music industry in the province and to ensure that our music continues to reach global audiences,” said Kevin Shea, Chair, Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC).

OMFShea
Artists Kardinal Offishall and Ladies of the Canyon were on hand for today’s announcement, as well as a wide range of industry stakeholders, including representatives from Music Canada, the Canadian Independent Music Association, The JUNO Awards, Polaris Music Prize, Music Managers Forum, and all of Canada’s major record labels. OMFChanKardinall

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Statement regarding the shutdown of isoHunt Web Technologies Inc.

Toronto, Oct 17, 2013: The closure of isoHunt’s worldwide operations announced today is a landmark victory for the creative community in Canada and around the globe. The members of Music Canada had united with other music companies in an amended pleading in the Canadian action against isoHunt Web Technologies Inc. and its owner Gary Fung. As one of the largest unauthorized BitTorrent sites in the world, isoHunt has been profiting from the work of creators by enabling millions of infringing acts and making a vast variety of unlicensed music, film and other creative content available for instant download. We welcome its closure.

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Music Canada deeply concerned regarding the uncertain future for the iconic sign from Sam the Record Man

The following is text from a letter sent to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the Chair of the Toronto and East York Community Council. On behalf of the members and partners of Music Canada, I wish to express our deep concern regarding the uncertain future for the iconic sign from Sam the Record Man.The sign, as the last remaining vestige of the Yonge Street store, holds significant historic and cultural value for Toronto. Sam’s was a destination for music lovers, musicians and artists from within Toronto and far beyond the city’s borders. It was a gathering place, a place for music discovery, and the original location of what would go on to become a symbolic Canadian retailer. Music is a key asset, economically, historically and culturally, for Toronto, and the Sam’s sign is a key component.

When the building was purchased, it was deemed important enough to warrant an agreement with Ryerson University for its restoration and reinstallation. Its value has not waned.

We encourage members of the Toronto City Council and the Economic Development Department to pursue a solution that will ensure the sign is properly restored, maintained and mounted so that it can be enjoyed by the public. The financial responsibility for these activities should be assumed by Ryerson University in accordance with the original agreement. If an alternate location must be found for the restored sign, the Toronto music community will be pleased to help identify an appropriate choice.

Sincerely,

Amy Terrill

Vice President Public Affairs,
Music Canada

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Report Identifies New Directions to Drive Growth and Job Creation in the Economy at Large and Canada’s Commercial Music Business in Particular

Report Identifies New Directions to Drive Growth and Job Creation in the Economy at Large and Canada’s Commercial Music Business in Particular

Music Education, Digital Innovation, Music Tourism, Export Expansion and Interconnected Tax Credits identified as critical areas for development

Toronto, March 21, 2013: Music Canada today tabled a new report identifying programs and public policies to stimulate the development of Canada’s commercial music sector. The Next Big Bang: A New Direction for Music in Canada proposes a renewed industrial strategy for music and pinpoints key recommendations in the following areas: music education, digital innovation, music tourism, export expansion and interconnected tax credits.

The report demonstrates that by addressing these areas, music can contribute more substantially to the broader economy. The commercial music industry employs thousands of people in a highly creative and dynamic field that has been reshaped by the digital revolution.

“The commercial music sector has the potential to support government efforts to improve economic performance and job growth at all levels. We want to get the message across that music can help in a multiplicity of ways,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “Music’s potential can be fully realized, and Canada can secure its place on the global cultural map, by updating current policies and programs from the analog era in which they were created.”

The Next Big Bang: A New Direction for Music in Canada is intended to stimulate a broader conversation about how best to strengthen Canada’s music business. The report was developed after months of research, interviews and expert submissions. Contributors include the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), Nordicity, digital expert Darlene Tonelli and Austin’s Titan Music Group.

The report’s recommendations are designed with the realities of today’s music industry in mind. Among these realities: (i) digital revenues have grown significantly but do not yet make up for the massive losses in physical sales; (ii) legitimate music services still must contend with unlicensed music sources that do not pay artists and music companies; (iii) in 2012, for the first time in over a decade, the global market for recorded music increased slightly over the previous year; (iv) music companies, despite the implosion of revenues, continue to invest in talent development; (v) music discovery has largely moved online; and, (vi) live performance constitutes an increasingly important part of an artist’s income.

The report contains 17 recommendations, including:

a) Given the strong evidence that music education prepares workers who are more creative, better problem-solvers, and possess soft skills that are critical in the digital economy, as well as the correlation between music scenes and tech clusters, governments should invest more in music education and should consider music scenes as a tool for economic development;

b) Music funding programs should reward innovation;

c) Efforts should be made to support the discovery of Canadian music online through partnerships with digital music services;

d) Cities and regions should develop a music tourism strategy in partnership with their local music community;

e) Canada should develop a national music export office to better assist music companies and artist entrepreneurs to expand their export markets;

f) A presence for the music industry should be established in Los Angeles to stimulate exports to the US market and attract more music recording activity to Canadian recording studios; and

g) Tax credits for music companies should be modernized and expanded, (replicating the best practices established in film and TV at the federal and provincial levels) resulting in jobs, economic activity and contributions to the tax base.

QUOTES:

“Ontario is home to a wealth of talent – from the artist to the industry. Our government is a proud partner of our music sector, working in concert with stakeholders like Music Canada to identify key priorities to further enhance the vitality and vibrancy of music in Ontario. Together, we are working in concert to develop a Live Music Strategy for Ontario that will firmly place our province on the map as a premier destination for live music on the international stage.”
Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport

“Music and technology are, in our view, inextricably linked. Tech jobs today require discipline and logical thinking, as well as creativity and an ability to innovate on the basis of strategic thinking. Music education, and lifelong involvement with music made possible in cities with strong scenes, could be Canada’s competitive advantage. Educators, parents, policy-makers and business leaders concerned with Canadian economic prosperity should consider the role music might play as a global competitive advantage.”
Jeff Leiper, Chief Policy Advisor, Information and Communications Technology Council

“Tax credits have been very effective as a creative industry stimulus. Properly enhanced, they could power even more growth in the music sector and its spin-offs in the economy at large. For instance, music could take a leaf from success in the film and TV business – and leverage foreign as well as domestic investment in Canada through tax credits.”
Peter Lyman, Senior Partner, Nordicity

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For more information:
Amy Terrill – Vice President Public Affairs, Music Canada
aterrill@musiccanada.com 647-963-6044

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record labels in Canada, namely Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also provides membership benefits to some of the leading independent record labels and distributors. Its members are engaged in all aspects of the recording industry, including the manufacture, production, promotion and distribution of music.

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National music organizations join voices to oppose cuts to TDSB music programs

The Coalition for Music Education, Music Canada and MusiCounts believe in the importance of music education for all young people in schools. We are joining our voices together to urge the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) to keep providing a comprehensive education that includes quality music instruction for all students, taught by individuals with a background and training in music. We strongly disagree with any reduction to music in schools and ask – what is the TDSB’s vision and plan to maintain quality music programs in TDSB schools for all students?Research has proven that music education provides far-reaching benefits to the lives of young Canadians, to our communities and to our culture. We believe that decisions minimizing any aspect of the TDSB’s music program will have a long-term negative impact on the lives of Toronto students and on the community.

Music is essential to education and to life.
Music education:

  • teaches students to think creatively and critically,
  • develops skills that are essential in the 21st century workforce,
  • opens students’ minds to diverse perspectives and thinking,
  • bridges languages, cultures and generations,
  • unites us through shared experiences,
  • enriches our sense of beauty and imagination, and
  • supports student success.

The Coalition for Music Education annually celebrates the importance of learning music in our schools
through a national event titled Music Monday. This year’s Showcase Concert in Toronto included a live
link with Commander Hadfield in the International Space Station, who said, “Everybody should be
learning music. Music opens doors. And music stimulates the brain. Music helps organize and even
wire your brain…Music education is really important in life. It’s a wonderful and applicable skill that
only makes you a more capable human – We should all learn music.”

Music Canada has identified music education as one of five critical components for the development of the music industry in Canada and points out that the recently announced Ontario Music Fund (OMF) sends a clear message from the government that it values the contributions of the music community and that it thinks music is a sound investment. “There is vast evidence that music education contributes to the broader development of young minds and more well-rounded citizens,” says Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. “Music is a great equalizer, bridging all cultures, and languages.”

MusiCounts is helping keep music alive in our schools. This year MusiCounts awarded over $1 million in grants and scholarships to schools and communities in Canada. MusiCounts’ mission is to ensure that children in Canada, regardless of socio-economic circumstances or cultural background, have access to a music program through their school. “Every child deserves the opportunity to experience and benefit from playing an instrument.” says Allan Reid, Director, MusiCounts. “Music can and does change lives.”

We urge decision-makers to maintain quality music programs in the TDSB.

About the Coalition for Music Education:
The Coalition for Music Education works to raise awareness and understanding of the role music education plays in Canadian Culture, and to promote the benefits music education brings to young people.
We envision Canada as a country where the lives of all children are enriched by quality school music programs, and where their active participation in music is valued and supported in our communities.

For more information about the Coalition, please visit MusicMakesUs.

For more information contact:
Holly Nimmons, Executive Director
(416) 371-6486 | holly@musicmakesus.ca

About Music Canada:
Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization founded in 1964 that promotes the interests of its members as well as their partners, the artists. Music Canada is a passionate advocate for music and those who create it. Music Canada also works closely with recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters and managers in the promotion and development of the music cluster.
For more information about Music Canada, please visit Music Canada

For more information, contact:
Amy Terrill, Vice-President, Public Affairs
(416) 967-7272 ext 103 | aterrill@musiccanada.com

About MusiCounts:
MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity associated with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), is helping to keep music alive in schools across Canada. MusiCounts’ mission is to ensure that children in Canada, regardless of socio-economic circumstances or cultural
background, have access to a music program through their school. MusiCounts includes Band Aid musical instrument grants, the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, Scholarships, and other music education initiatives.

For more information about MusiCounts, please visit MusiCounts

For more information, contact:
Allan Reid, Director
(416) 485-3135 ext 228 | allan@musicounts.ca

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