Music Canada Playback 2017

Our story of the past 12 months

At The Federal Level

The Broken Promise of a Golden Age

The framework for Music Canada’s advocacy in the past year was laid out on November 1, 2016, in Graham Henderson’s address to the Economic Club of Canada, titled The Broken Promise of a Golden Age.

Graham argued that the well-intentioned regulations governing the internet created two decades ago have failed music creators, and that governments must act now to restore balance to the world in which creators live.

Focus on Creators

Music creators are not alone in experiencing the adverse effects of outdated internet regulations. In the fall of 2016, a coalition of Canadian musicians, authors, composers, poets, playwrights, actors, directors and other members of the creative class launched Focus On Creators to urge the government to put creators at the heart of Canadian cultural policy.

The coalition penned a joint letter addressed to The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, which has now been signed by thousands of Canadian creators.

“The carefully designed laws and regulations of the 1990s were intended to ensure that both Canadian creators and technological innovators would benefit from digital developments. We hoped that new technology would enrich the cultural experiences for artists and consumers alike. Unfortunately, this has not happened. Instead, our work is increasingly used to monetize technology without adequately remunerating its creators.” - Focus On Creators letter

Copyright Board of Canada

Legislation is just one of the levers in the government’s toolkit to address the needs of creators. Another lever is Institutions, and one institution in need of repair is the Copyright Board of Canada.

Music Canada has been the lead stakeholder in calling for a reformed Copyright Board. In his Economic Club speech, Graham Henderson called for the Board to be turned into a true business development office for creative industries. He also participated in hearings held by the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce that resulted in a 2016 report titled Copyright Board: A Rationale for Urgent Review.

In August of 2017, The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, in conjunction with The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, launched a consultation process to reform the Copyright Board of Canada, with the goal of enabling creators to “get paid properly and on time.”

“The Copyright Board of Canada plays a pivotal role in Canada’s cultural sector. Yet, from what the committee heard, the Board is dated, dysfunctional and in dire need of reform.” - Copyright Board: A Rationale for Urgent Review

Supreme Court of Canada issues decision in Equustek v. Google

In our continued efforts to promote and protect the livelihoods of music creators, Music Canada, together with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and other creative industry associations, was actively involved as an intervener in Equustek Solutions v. Google, a case that has been widely regarded as a global landmark ruling in intellectual property law.

On June 28, 2017, The Supreme Court of Canada upheld an earlier ruling that Google can no longer provide search results anywhere in the world that point to a website that unlawfully sells the intellectual property of another company.

“This is welcome news for creators of all stripes who rely on the Internet as their primary market and for whom illegal online activity can instantly wipe out careers and destroy investment in new releases. Today’s decision provides a vital remedy to address illegal online activities and enforce the rights of creators,” said Graham Henderson in a release.

The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-in-Canada Approach

The Value Gap is an issue of critical importance to the current and future health of Canadian culture and our nation’s cultural industries. It is defined as the significant disparity between the value of creative content that is accessed and enjoyed by consumers, and the revenues that are returned to the people and businesses who create it.

Lawmakers in Europe and the United States are examining ways to address the Value Gap, but what can be done here in Canada?

Music Canada’s latest report explores the origins of the Value Gap, its impacts on music creators as well as other creative industries, and provides concrete recommendations for Canadian policymakers to address the Value Gap here at home.

View the Report

Capital Beat

To emphasize the value of music and the importance of Canada’s music creators to Ottawa’s decision-makers, Music Canada, in partnership with Quebecor, hosted Capital Beat on May 16, 2017. The non-partisan, intimate celebration of music featured performances by Scott Helman and Vincent Vallières, as well as special guest speaker The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Supporting Artist Advocates

Artists are best equipped to speak to the challenges they face. That’s why Music Canada has sought to support artist advocates, who can share their realities firsthand with policymakers and music fans.

We are constantly seeking opportunities to connect artists with the decision-makers that can effect positive change for creators. On May 24, 2017, Music Canada was proud to support Miranda Mulholland’s honest and compelling speech to the Economic Club of Canada titled Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace, in which she shared actions that governments, industry members, music fans, and artists themselves can take to help music creators succeed.

The Power of Music: Indigenous Artists Discuss Music’s Ability to Unite, Inspire and Heal

Indigenous musicians in Canada, and what music means to them, were the focus of the 2017 Global Forum at Canadian Music Week, titled The Power of Music: Indigenous Artists Discuss Music’s Ability to Unite, Inspire, and Heal. JUNO and Polaris Prize-winning experimental vocalist Tanya Tagaq delivered a brilliant and emotional keynote address before joining Susan Aglukark, Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red, and Mike Downie, who co-created the Secret Path project, for a profound, wide-ranging panel discussion moderated by John Kim Bell. Music Canada has been a proud sponsor of the Global Forum for more than a decade.

Anthology: Defining Moments in Canadian Music

At the 46th Annual JUNO Awards in Ottawa in March of 2017, Music Canada unveiled Anthology: Defining Moments in Canadian Music. The project was originally presented as a series of five prints, each representing a decade in Canadian music history. When put together, the prints form a timeline that chronicles the events that helped shape Canadian music, including artistic and award-based milestones, industry and regulatory developments, as well as media and technological changes that have been part of our industry’s evolution.

To bring the project to a wider audience, Music Canada developed an interactive website, launched in October of 2017, which includes links to historical photos and videos. The defining moments highlighted in Anthology were compiled by renowned music journalist Larry LeBlanc, and the prints as well as accompanying website were designed by Ben Purkiss.

View the site

Provincial Strategies

Atlantic Canada

Striking a New A-Chord

Released at the 2017 East Coast Music Awards: Festival and Conference, the report calls for a unified Atlantic Canadian Music Strategy to strengthen the future of the region’s music sector. The report has led to the formation of provincial working groups and has inspired discussion and policy-focused events such as the Backbeats and Bylaws symposium.

“Music is fundamentally linked to Atlantic Canadian culture. This report clearly shows that – in addition to bolstering that identity – supporting this sector means helping small businesses, creating opportunities to attract and retain youth employment, and developing our artists to compete at an international level. The first step to harnessing these opportunities is creating a pan-Atlantic strategy.” – Andy McLean, Executive Director of the East Coast Music Association

View the report

British Columbia

In Working For You, the 2017 BC NCP platform, the British Columbia NDP Party committed to increasing investment in Creative BC to support BC musicians, publishers, authors and other creators. Creative BC is the organization that administers the BC Music Fund, a $15 million investment to support the growth of BC’s music industry.

“BC artists don’t just make our communities more interesting, vibrant, and beautiful, they are huge contributors to our economy.”-Working For You, 2017 BC NDP Platform

British Columbia cuts red tape for music festivals and special events

Following red tape reduction recommendations contained in Music Canada’s BC’s Music Sector: From Adversity to Opportunity report, the Government of British Columbia announced a simplified Special Event Permit for music festivals, concerts, and other cultural events in October of 2016.

“BC has a deep musical heritage and is home to some of the finest production facilities, artists, and labels in the world. We’re very happy to see the Province make changes that can better position BC to compete in an increasingly global marketplace.”- Graham Henderson, President and CEO, Music Canada

Read More

BC Music Fund – New programs launched

In December 2016, Creative BC announced the allocation of $8.21 million from the BC Music Fund to support four new programs – the Sound Recording Program ($3 million), Live Music ($2.5 million), Research ($300,000), and Industry Initiatives ($1 million) – in addition to $1.41 million to support the expansion of Music BC’s activities in the areas of export & professional development, and touring & expanded showcase opportunities.

Music Cities

Music Cities Summit at Canadian Music Week 2017

At Canadian Music Week (CMW) in 2017, Music Canada hosted its second international Music Cities summit, “The Mastering of a Music City.” The summit built on the success of our 2015 report of the same name, which set out a roadmap for communities of all sizes to maximize the potential of their local music economies. In addition to the 200 guests and delegates from Canada, the United States, Poland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Jamaica, and Colombia in attendance, over 5,000 people from around the world tuned in to the event’s live stream.

Spotlight on Selected Canadian Music Cities

The following section features projects Music Canada was involved with, and also highlights the efforts of regional players.

London, ON

London, Ontario, completes first-ever music census

The London Music Census was a first-of-its-kind study of London, Ontario’s music sector completed in 2017 by the London Music Office. The census identified barriers to prosperity, as well as potential areas of future growth. Several key statistics emerged from the census, including:

  • London is a hub for emerging talent with 875 students studying music at post-secondary institutions
  • The live music sector is growing with 4,620 music events held in 2015 and new festivals introduced in 2016
  • London has a diverse mix of venues which includes 52 live music venues, with total seating capacity of 57,000
  • Nearly half (44.7%) of musicians surveyed are strictly performing original music
  • Over $ 7 million dollars earned in royalties by 1,203 music writers and publishers in London (2015)

“The London Music Census provided an opportunity to understand our advantages, issues, and gaps faced by the growing local music industry. Through community and industry support we collected a database of assets and baseline figures for future analysis and measurement.” - Cory Crossman, Music Industry Development Officer, City of London

Toronto, ON

Mayor John Tory and Councillor Josh Colle issue statement confirming commitment to Toronto’s live music industry

In response to the closure of several live music venues in 2016 and early 2017, Mayor John Tory and Councillor Josh Colle, Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Council, released a statement confirming Toronto’s commitment to supporting the live music industry.

“We are dedicated to growing our music sector. Ensuring a thriving music scene helps drive economic growth and will keep Toronto as a vibrant place to live.” - John Tory, Mayor of Toronto

Music Canada Live convenes Regional Advisory Council

To confront some of the challenges and obstacles facing Toronto’s live music venues amid a wave of venue closures, Music Canada Live convened a Regional Advisory Council (RAC) in March of 2017. RACs in other Canadian cities have proven to be an effective means to influence change with municipal governments and other agencies. Participation in the RAC is open to all Toronto clubs, venues and stakeholders whose core business is live music.

“Its essential that the industry come together and work with cities and provinces to ask the hard questions, now. When you lose a venue, you lose part of the character and quality of a community. What makes a great neighbourhood? We need action to stem the loss of the creative people, spaces and places that help to define who we are. The entire Canadian venue ecosystem will benefit from this work” - Erin Benjamin, Executive Director, Music Canada Live

YYZ Live launches

To promote and showcase the music and musicians of Toronto to newcomers and visitors to the city, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Councillor Josh Colle launched YYZ Live on June 27, 2017. The concert series featured two daily performances by local musicians for international arrivals at Pearson International Airport. Presented in celebration of Canada 150, the series ran from June to September 2017, with 150 performances by 75 emerging artists from Toronto’s music scene.

"This program is part of the City's overall efforts to provide paid performance and exposure opportunities for Toronto musicians through its own initiatives and by collaborating with others." - Josh Colle, Toronto City Councillor and Chair of the Toronto Music Advisory Council

City Hall Live expands support for live music

Music Canada, in partnership with TD Bank Group, was proud to return as a sponsor of City Hall Live in 2017. Formerly known as Live From City Hall, the program expanded in 2017 to include new collaborations with local venues, presenters and musicians. In addition to its outdoor summer concert series in Nathan Phillips Square, City Hall Live brought a larger focus this year on panel discussions and other learning opportunities for the music community.

“This series provides performance opportunities, information sessions and discussions that we hope will inform and empower Toronto’s talented music community. By bringing City Hall Live directly to artists and their communities, the series is now more accessible and can have greater impact.” - John Tory, Mayor of Toronto

Windsor-Essex, ON

Windsor-Essex gets Music Advisory Council

To foster growth and collaboration in Windsor-Essex’s music sector, the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (WE EDC) and the Small Business Centre (SBC) convened a Music Advisory Council and organized a report to identify the opportunities and challenges for the music industry in the region. The Music Advisory Council advocates for the local music community and aims to bolster local artist development and assist musicians with the business side of their careers. The council is composed of musicians, producers, managers, and representatives from other local arts groups.

Ottawa, ON

Ottawa to develop Music Strategy

In March of 2017, the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition (OMIC), in collaboration with the city of Ottawa, created a task force composed of stakeholders from the music industry and connected sectors like film and tourism to develop a plan to make Ottawa a Music City. This includes growing the city’s talent base and providing opportunities for local artists.

“Developing a municipal music strategy is about bringing together industry and government to create an environment that nurtures music’s transformative potential.” - Andrew Vincent, Executive Director of OMIC

“Live music is a growth industry in Ottawa. It shapes our identity and who we are as a city. In addition to the cultural benefits, a thriving music industry helps to level the playing field for our homegrown companies who are competing to attract talent from around the world.” - Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa

Vancouver, BC

Music and arts leaders, including Music Canada’s Amy Terrill, are working together to identify viable strategies for Vancouver in response to a council motion in 2016 which called for increasing city support for musicians and music. As the host city of JUNO Week 2018, the spotlight will be on Vancouver.

Moncton, NB

Bylaws & Backbeats Symposium in Moncton

On October 13, 2017, Music/Musique NB, Music Canada and the City of Moncton presented a full-day symposium as part of Festival (506) called Bylaws and Backbeats. The symposium focused on identifying key strategies and concrete recommendations that policymakers, political leaders and members of the music community can use in building a strong, more vibrant music community. Music Canada’s Executive Vice President, Amy Terrill, discussed key strategies and successes garnered from our 2015 report The Mastering of a Music City.

Gold Platinum

Music Canada’s historic Gold/Platinum program experienced a monumental year in 2017, with continued growth in album and track certifications due to the inclusion of on-demand audio streaming data.

Music Canada began accepting streams with the introduction of the Single Award in September 2016, replacing the sales-based Digital Download Award, launched in March 2006. By October 2017, track certifications had already increased 3% from 2016’s total, with the number expected to grow during 2017’s final quarter.

In July 2017, Music Canada began accepting TEAs (Track Equivalent Album) and SEAs (Stream Equivalent Album) toward Album Award certifications. Since the update, Music Canada experienced nearly a 40% increase in album certifications from 2016, with a 70% increase in Canadian artist certifications.

Music Canada continues to add value to the Gold/Platinum program with dedicated social media accounts, a new online application portal, and streaming platform presence. Currently available through Spotify and Google Play, the Gold In Canada playlist is updated weekly with the latest tracks earning the coveted Gold certification. Custom social media banners, playlist additions, and presentation photos are frequently shared by artists and thousands of fans across the globe, often accompanied by the growing #GoldInCanada hashtag.

2017 Gold/Platinum Award Presentations


2017 Music Canada President’s Award recipients: Cory Crossman and Chris Campbell

The Music Canada President’s Award is presented to an individual working outside the music community who displays a deep passion for music and the people who make it.

The last 12 months have been a banner year for music in London, Ontario. The city hosted Country Music Week in 2016, completed its first ever music census, and has taken steps to modernize noise bylaws for music and dancing on outdoor patios. Credit for these outstanding accomplishments is due not only to one individual, but two passionate community leaders.

This year, London’s Music Industry Development Officer, Cory Crossman, and Chris Campbell, Director of Culture and Entertainment Tourism at Tourism London, have been selected as co-recipients of the President’s Award for their incredible commitment to making London a Music City.

The first ever President’s Award was presented to Mark Garner, Executive Director of Downtown Yonge BIA in 2015.

Inaugural Music Canada Artist Advocate Award recipient: Miranda Mulholland

Miranda Mulholland does it all. From running a record label and a music festival, to singing and playing fiddle in multiple acts, and even performing as a member of Toronto’s Soul Pepper Theatre Company, Miranda is the epitome of a multi-talented artist. On top of her artistic achievements, Miranda has emerged as a trailblazer in the global artists’ rights movement.

In 2017 Miranda became the first creator to deliver a keynote address at the Economic Club of Canada, where she shared an honest first-hand look at the reality music creators in the digital marketplace and laid out concrete steps the industry, music fans, and governments can take to help artists succeed. In 2017 she also spearheaded a letter signed by fellow artists on recommendations for a reformed Copyright Board of Canada, which is often tasked with determining the value of music in this country.

In recognition of her outstanding advocacy efforts to improve the livelihoods of music creators, Miranda Mulholland is the recipient of the inaugural Music Canada Artist Advocate Award.