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Tag archive: Canadian Music Week (34)

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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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Media Advisory: The Next Big Bang, A New Direction for Music in Canada

Toronto, March 19, 2013: Music Canada President Graham Henderson will release a report presenting five key directions for the Canadian music industry during the State of the Industry address at Canadian Music Week on Thursday, March 21, 2013.

The music industry has undergone massive changes with the shift to digital technologies and platforms; all aspects of the industry have been disrupted. Yet many of the programs and supports designed to support this important cultural and economic sector were designed for the analog era.

With this in mind, Music Canada has, through months of research, interviews and expert submissions, developed seventeen policy recommendations in the following areas: music education, digital innovation, music tourism, export expansion and interconnected tax credits.

The Next Big Bang: A New Direction for Music in Canada
, will be released March 21st during a keynote address.

WHEN: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at Canadian Music Week, State of the Industry
WHO: Graham Henderson, President, Music Canada
WHAT: The Next Big Bang: A New Direction for Music in Canada
WHERE: Toronto Downtown Marriott Eaton Centre, Grand Ballroom C/D

One-on-one interviews can be arranged upon request. Also available for interviews will be the following contributors:

1. Jeff Leiper, Information and Communications Technology Council – Music Education
2. Darlene Tonelli – Digital Innovation
3. Nikki Rowling, Titan Music Group – Music Tourism
4. Peter Lyman, Nordicity – Tax Credits

– 30 –

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Global Forum 2013: Brand Supported Piracy with David Lowery, Chris Ruen, and Chris Castle

Writer and musician David Lowery and Author Chris Ruen do not shy away from identifying major companies that support the pirate sites that damage creators every day by distributing unlicensed copies of music and movies.

On March 22, 2013 at Canadian Music Week’s Global Forum, the pair will discuss brand-sponsored piracy, a practice whereby Fortune 500 companies, whether knowingly or unknowingly, purchase advertising inventory from illegal sites. Advertising revenues keep these sites in business while ad agencies, exchanges and networks also make money in the process. The only ones left without compensation are the artists, songwriters and filmmakers.

David Lowery of the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, has emerged as one of the strongest artist advocates through his contributions to the blog, The Trichordist. The blog has begun a “name and shame” campaign which identifies major brands that are supporting piracy by placing ads on illegal sites.

Chris Ruen, whose essays and criticism have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The New York Press and Stereogum, recently published his first book, Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Appetite For Free Content Is Starving Creativity.

First brought to the attention of CMW delegates in 2011 by indie filmmaker Ellen Seidler, brand-sponsored piracy will be discussed during the Global Forum Networking Breakfast, a ticketed event, with moderator Chris Castle. David Lowery and Chris Ruen will be available for one-on-one interviews upon request.

For ticket and registration details, please visit www.cmw.net, or visit the registration office onsite at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel during posted hours.

The Global Forum is sponsored by Music Canada.

Update: Video from the Global Forum is now available below:

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Shining a Light on Brand Supported Piracy

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.

As Rambler readers will know, I have been monitoring Google’s promise to downgrade pirate sites in their search rankings since it was announced last August. I was initially skeptical about Google’s push, but willing to give them credit for this ‘better late than never’ effort. However, I was soon disappointed as my research showed that time and time and time again, licensed music sites and services were buried beneath dozens of links to dodgy sites that exploit artists’ work for financial gains. Unfortunately, Google’s 2010 claim that they would remove piracy related search terms from their Auto-complete feature was also exposed as bunk.

My findings were backed up today as the RIAA released their Google Report Card, a new document that shows how ineffective Google’s change was. The takeaway is clear: “Six months later, we have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy. These sites consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or artists.”

Since Google’s pledge to downgrade pirate sites in their search rankings has been shown to be a complete farce, you’ll have to forgive me for taking their latest announcement with a handful of salt. According to the sparse details in the Telegraph, the Palo Alto search giant will now look to cut off financial payments to illegal download sites. Ellen Seidler, the independent filmmaker who became a reluctant advocate in the fight against piracy after finding her film hosted on thousands of illegal sites funded by advertising, has also announced her skepticism about Google’s latest move, asking “how much is just PR posturing versus real action?” Seidler’s blog, Pop-Up Pirates, has been documenting examples of brand supported for nearly three years.

Of course, there is a reason that these pirate sites are created: they make money from the advertisements. As Seidler said at Canadian Music Week’s Global Forum in 2011, “Online piracy isn’t about altruism, it’s about income.” Seidler’s presentation thoroughly explained how “legit” companies (such as ad service providers, advertisers, and payment processors) encourage and facilitate this theft while profiting from it. You can see video from her presentation on her Vimeo page.

Some of the screenshots below provide an example of how major brands are encouraging mass piracy by financing sites with their advertising dollars:

Here, Bell is supporting the exploitation of The Dears by placing an ad next to pirated copies of their album on 4Shared, a site that has received hundreds of thousands of copyright removal requests in the past month.

Bell - TheDears - 4Shared

Here, Lysol buys advertising on a page illegally distributing Drake’s Grammy award winning album ‘Take Care’:

Drake - Lysol - SongsloverIn this screenshot, the History Network funds advertisements next to pirated copies of The Tragically Hip’s music:

History Network - Tragically Hip - 4SharedOne of the most prominent critics of this ad-supported piracy is David Lowery of Cracker and Camper van Beethoven fame. Lowery will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2013 Global Forum at Canadian Music Week, which is coming up on March 22nd and is proudly sponsored by Music Canada.

Lowery 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?.

The Trichordist has kickstarted discussion in this area, notably by launching a ‘name and shame’ campaign highlighting brands advertising on pirate sites. Music Canada has joined the campaign, tweeting at one brand per day to draw their attention to the problem. Canadian labels Last Gang Records and Six Shooter Records have also tweeted their support, as has the Featured Artist Coalition. The campaign has been gaining attention, and top brands have responded by ensuring their advertisements do not appear on pirate sites. For example, Levi’s was quick to respond to the news their ads were appearing next to pirated content. “When our ads were running unbeknownst to us on these pirate sites, we had a serious problem with that,” said Gareth Hornberger, Levi’s senior manager of global digital marketing. “We reached out to our global ad agency of record, OMD, and immediately had them remove them…. We made a point, moving forward, that we really need to take steps to avoid having these problems again.”

Also keynoting the Global Forum this year will be Chris Ruen, 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.

Chris Castle will reprise his role as master of ceremonies at the 2013 Global Forum, which is sure to be an engaging conversation. I’d also like to announce that for the first time in the event’s history, the 2013 Global Forum will be streamed online and will encourage interaction through social media – which will hopefully bring the issue of brand supported piracy further into the mainstream discussion and encourage more brands to ensure they do not encourage or facilitate the exploitation of artists’ work.

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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