The Lula Lounge in Toronto played host to Music Canada’s 2014 Annual General Meeting on September 10th, with more than 150 representatives from our member labels and industry partners in attendance.
The event began with a State of the Industry conversation between acclaimed record producer Bob Ezrin and Music Canada President Graham Henderson. Much of the discussion focused on the Copyright Board of Canada’s recent decision on Re:Sound’s Tariff 8, which sets appallingly low royalty rates for non-interactive and semi-interactive webcast services. Re:Sound has since filed an application for Judicial Review of the Board’s decision, and a coalition of more than 70 music organizations released a joint statement in support of Re:Sound’s Application for Judicial Review.
Mr. Ezrin spoke passionately of the importance of “one voice” in opposition to the Tariff 8 decision. “We need, somehow, as an industry… as one business… get together quickly and get to Ottawa and fight this tariff…. Because this is truly the beginning of an end.”
I Stand For Music was created as a space for the industry and fans to amplify their voices in opposition to the Tariff 8 decision, and to show their support for recorded music and Canada’s music community.
Following the discussion with Ezrin, Henderson described what’s on the horizon for Music Canada. In addition to the battle over Tariff 8, Henderson revealed plans for Music Canada Live that will soon represent the live music community. “The vision for the association is that is truly national in scope, representing all sizes of live music companies, for profit and not-for-profit, in all corners of the country,” said Henderson. “It’s going to identify common issues, and create a strong, collective voice to ensure the live music community is well represented when decisions are made at all levels of government, and that is unprecedented.”
Henderson also shared that Music Canada is undertaking an economic impact study of Ontario’s live music sector in conjunction with the Ontario Media Development Corporation. “We expect this to be as vital to the debate as our economic impact study of the recording industry has been,” said Henderson.
Henderson also spoke of OntarioLiveMusic.ca, a live music portal developed by Music Canada, under contract with the Ontario government, which profiles Ontario as a destination for music tourism. Music Canada’s work on Toronto as a music city will continue under the 4479 Toronto brand, as well as on the Music City Alliance with Austin, Texas. Henderson also touched on a new partnership with the National Music Centre in Calgary, AB, in the development of a study on leveraging Calgary’s music sector for economic development.
Next, Music Canada’s Amy Terrill moderated a ‘New Directions’ panel, featuring a conversation with old friends in new positions in the industry, including Melanie Hurley from Canada’s Walk of Fame, Allan Reid from the Canadian Academy of Recorded Arts and Sciences (CARAS), Rick Fenton from Music Ontario, and Zaib Shaikh from the City of Toronto.
Allan Reid spoke of CARAS’ expanded emphasis on artist development, noting that as MusiCounts does great work at the very beginnings of a music career, and the JUNOs celebrate them at the pinnacle of their success, CARAS sees room to expand to help artists in the middle ground.
Rick Fenton told the audience that Music Ontario is developing a market access program, as well as creating a physical and virtual resource centre to help “artists affect change with a common voice,” on issues like Tariff 8 and more.
Melanie Hurley shared that as Canada’s Walk of Fame is preparing for its 5th annual festival later this month, her next priority is to continue to develop partnerships with Toronto and Ontario, and expand the Walk of Fame brand. “Our first initiative is to celebrate, and the second is to inspire future generations,” said Hurley. “And I think that’s where we can really take off, where we can expand and look at doing scholarships and partnerships, and bring in people to talk to the next generation.”
Zaib Shaikh spoke of Toronto’s strength in both economics and culture, and shared information on recent developments at the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture division, which has grown to 30 employees, and will soon add a Music Sector Development officer, whom Shaikh said should be in place by the beginning of October. “I’m looking forward to Toronto being seen as a leader in what we can do with entertainment, and obviously music is a key cornerstone in that,” said Shaikh.
The meeting closed out with a special performance by Shawn Hook, who performed two new songs from his upcoming album, including the new single ‘Million Ways’.
For more photos from the event, see the album on our Facebook page.