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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: David Lowery & Chris Ruen Shine a Light on Brand Supported Piracy at Canadian Music Week’s Global Forum

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 month during Canadian Music Week, Music Canada was pleased to bring two of today’s foremost advocates for artist rights together for a discussion on brand-sponsored piracy. Music Canada has been sponsoring the Global Forum for several years now, because we feel it’s important to bring people who are connected with our world together to talk about the problems that we face. 

Brand supported piracy is a practice whereby Fortune 500 companies, either knowingly or unknowingly, purchase advertisements on illegal sites, providing the pirate sites with ad revenue while ad agencies, exchanges, and networks also make money in the process. The only ones who are not compensated are the artists whose works are exploited on these pirate sites.

This year, we were honoured to have two keynote speakers who have emerged as essential voices for musicians and creators in David Lowery and Chris Ruen. 

Many will know David Lowery as lead singer of the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, although he has also worked as a producer and started several music-related businesses including a studio, a record company, and a publishing company. Recently, he has emerged as one of the most articulate voices championing artist rights in the digital age, penning a series of blogs at The Trichordist, including Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered and Meet The New Boss, Worse Than The Old Boss?.

Chris Ruen is the author of the new book, ‘Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Appetite for Free Content Starves Creativity’, which is an essential read for those working in the music industry. His essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The New York Press and Stereogum, and he brings both a music fan’s perspective and a journalist’s point of view to an issue that affects both creators and consumers. 

We were pleased to once again have Chris Castle moderate the discussion. Chris has been as one of the real, great artist advocates over the past several years, and I would encourage everyone to follow him on Twitter and his blog at www.musictechpolicy.com/. 

The video from the Global Forum is now available and embedded below; I would encourage all creators and those working in music to watch it and share it widely.


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

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