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Music Canada CEO Patrick Rogers delivers CMW 2024 “State of the Industry” opening keynote

Today, Music Canada CEO Patrick Rogers delivered remarks at Canadian Music Week’s opening keynote, “State of the Industry: A(nother) Year of Change.” Looking back on a year that changed everything (again!) Patrick shared his views on how the industry is working together to navigate seismic events like generative AI and the Online Streaming Act implementation.

Read his full remarks below.


Good morning,

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome you to the opening of Canadian Music Week and our morning of Music Canada programming.

What a year it’s been since last year’s CMW. We’ve seen government, regulators, industry, artists, and streaming platforms come to grips with what’s next in regulating the digital space. Simultaneously, we have seen many of those same players try to get their heads around the AI of today, the AI of tomorrow and the AI that we must guard against.

In just a couple of moments, I’m going to sit down with renowned economist and digital streaming expert Will Page to talk about the realities of streaming, glocalisation, Canada’s place in the global market and what we all need to understand as the CRTC ramps up its next phase of consultations.

After that, we are going to hear from Human Artistry Campaign’s Dr Moiya McTier, and Sony Music Entertainment’s Chris Frankenberg who are going to share their views on the industry’s efforts on AI and what we should be looking out for here in Canada.

I am very excited to hear from these two experts but while I’m up here let me tell you the two things about AI that I have become certain of since last year’s CMW.

The first is there is no doubt that the ingestion of songs to train AI is a use of copyright – everyone’s copyright in a song. We need to remember that AI is simply a technology – and copyright is the framework used to protect the VALUE of the art.

In so many ways, none of this is new. Every time a new technology comes around that harvests, mines or ingests that VALUE for free we have this debate. But I feel good about where we stand on this and am proud to join creators in the protection of the value of their creations.

Now, why do I feel this way – well, I could tell you that I can’t help but notice that those who spent the last 30 years as professors, lawyers and consultants for the anti-copyright movement have all suddenly become professors, lawyers and consultants for the AI-should-be-allowed-to-steal everything movement. It’s amazing really.

But the other reason that I know this is a copyright issue is because of the outputs. The undeniable voice of Johnny Cash singing Barbie World only proves that the AI was trained on Johnny Cash and Aqua. Or take the generated image that just happens to include someone else’s watermark – that proves the same thing. This past year has taught us that these systems aren’t actually creating anything truly new. Only humans can do that.

Our industry is an early adopter of AI and we’re excited about what AI can bring to Human Creative expression. But we need credit, compensation and consent. Creators must be able to decide IF and HOW their life’s work is used and they must be able to negotiate for that value in a fair market.

But I’m optimistic that if we respect creators and the copyright framework, we can go from the world’s most complicated paint-by-numbers to something truly magnificent.

The second thing I’ve become convinced of over this past year is the very real – and very urgent – danger of deepfakes. The pace at which the technology has accelerated from “I don’t think that’s real” to “I need to check if that is real” is terrifying. This isn’t just a music industry issue – it’s a society issue. Music Canada has spent a lot of time talking to politicians about this over the last year. What’s so striking is that, while we have laws to prevent impersonation or stealing a persona over the phone, in magazine advertisements and on billboards – and everyone agrees this is important – there’s still uncertainty about what to do about AI impersonations.

Our answer is simple – make what’s illegal in the analogue world – illegal in the digital world.

Deepfakes aren’t just a problem for our top artists, or world leaders, they are increasingly becoming a threat to hard working Canadians and distressingly – their kids. All Canadians deserve a clear publicity right that protects how their name, image and likeness is used. We are going to keep working on this and I look forward to reporting back to you next year.

Turning to Music Canada’s other priority in the digital space – CRTC’s work to implement the Online Streaming Act and their updated roadmap.

At Music Canada, we take this process really seriously, I believe it’s a once in a generation regulatory process and ALL involved, should treat it as such.

But I do think that it would be helpful to break down why I think it’s so important.

I’ll start with the simplest. We’ve had home internet broadly available in this country for 30-plus years. And we all learned to make the most of it without a Canadian regulatory body overlooking it for that entire time. So much so that on April 26, 2023 digital platforms in Canada were not regulated – and on April 27, 2023 – with the passage of the Online Streaming Act, they were . That’s always felt to me like a big change.

It’s why I believe that the CRTC should be encouraged to build the very best regulatory system for the digital platforms and the Canadian creators that create the songs that have seen us all flock to the services.

What we cannot do is simply try to graft the old radio rules to the global digital economy in which Canadian artists are finding success and that consumers enjoy.

We also simply cannot ignore the presence, investment and contribution of the platforms to the Canadian industry during the unregulated time. It matters that the platforms have teams based in Canada – everyone in this room knows how important that is to help artists reach their fans around the world. The same is true of our members – Canada’s major labels – with brand new buildings full of Canadians focused on Canadian artists and their global success.

In one of the most powerful parts of the Phase 1 consultations at the CRTC in November, Patrick Aldous from Nettwerk warned that we must not forget the damage done to the music industry in the dark days of the digital piracy era – and that those dark days have been replaced by a licensed streaming era that has opened doors for Canadian and Indigenous artists to build global fanbases.

To me, this means that regulation must not interfere with the listening experience on streaming platforms or we risk driving users back to unlicensed services.

If this regulation is going to work, we need to build a system for today and tomorrow and not simply try to catch up on 30 years of lack of regulation.

That’s why I believe it’s time to turn over every stone. Really REALLY understand streaming. How Canadians listen, how artists benefit from it; dive deeply into how we can create more success.

It’s also why I’m so skeptical of those who encourage us to turn over NO stones.

Here’s what I think we will find when we really really dive in and look carefully at all aspects of the streaming market and our regulatory framework: at its heart, we will find artists. Canadian and Indigenous Artists in every corner of this country singing, writing, rapping and performing. Not just for audiences in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal or EVEN New York but for fanbases made possible by the global digital industry in Nigeria, Senegal and India.

Canadian artists don’t need a “made-in-Canada ceiling” to “keep them here.” They need and importantly WANT a map of the world.

We need a system that encourages Canadian artists to work with the best in the world so that they can compete with the world.

We have a lot of work to do. Because streaming isn’t just different from radio it’s the opposite.

I’m going to explain how I know this to be true. Not because Will Page told me so but because my dad would blow my mind on road trips when I was a kid.

Whenever we were in the car for any great length of time, with my Dad at the wheel, my Mom would flip to Q107, CHUM FM or CHFI on the dial in our Ford Tempo. After only a second or two, she would turn the volume dial to 0. After a little bit of humming to himself, my dad would either name the tune – or if he was feeling especially showy – he would join the song in progress.

Now there’s a lot going on here – first let’s give my dad some credit – it’s a cool party trick. Developed by a misspent youth locked away in his bedroom listening to endless amounts of music – but – it’s also an explainable mathematical equation.

A generation ago, it was possible to know every second of every song in the most popular genres because making it to radio, being broadcast, was the beginning of truly making it.

Our regulatory system is built for my Dad’s party trick.

But, today, joining the 120,000 songs uploaded to platforms every DAY is barely the beginning of the beginning.

And yet – more artists around the world are being listened to more than ever by more people in more genres than ever – thanks to streaming. Canada is a success story in the global digital economy.

Our new regulatory system needs to reflect that. It needs to respect the new players in the space, understand the modern paths to success and truly WANT TO MAKE the decisions required to help make Canadian artists into global stars.

With that, let’s start that process with someone who truly understands what we’re talking about – an economist and expert on music streaming, Will Page.

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Music Canada teams with economist Will Page to launch first-of-its-kind study on the Canadian streaming market

Report details where and how Canadian artists are reaching fans today

As the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) continues its work to implement the Online Streaming Act, Music Canada has commissioned a first-of-its-kind report examining the presence and prominence of Canadian artists in Canada’s domestic audio streaming market.

The report, authored by renowned economist and streaming music market expert Will Page, analyzes Luminate data of the top 10,000 artists and top 10,000 songs listened to by Canadians on audio streaming platforms to determine the breadth and depth of Canadian artists connecting with Canadian fans. 

In the years studied, of the top 10,000 artists streamed in Canada, the report found nearly 1,000 were Canadian. Moreover, Canadian artists are well distributed throughout the top 10,000 – not just in the niche tail. Among the 1000 most-listened-to artists, 100 of them are Canadian, including a diversity of talent like Tate McRae, Karan Aujla, Lauren Spencer Smith, Fouki, Alexandra Stréliski and Josh Ross. 

“As the CRTC develops frameworks to bring streaming platforms under its regulatory purview, it’s really important they have a clear understanding of the current unregulated domestic streaming marketplace, and the wide array of Canadian artists who are finding success within it,” says Patrick Rogers, CEO, Music Canada. 

The report also considers the global nature of streaming, demonstrating how essential these platforms are to Canadians’ success around the world. It finds that, for every one stream at home, Canadian artists get almost 10 overseas. In fact, of the top 1,000 singles worldwide, Canadian artists ranked third, behind only the US and UK. 

“In a world where fans can listen to any artist, from any country in the world, and with nearly every recorded song at their fingertips, listeners are choosing Canadian music. Our regulatory framework should build on streaming’s ability to connect Canadian and Indigenous artists with fans at home and abroad,” says Rogers.

Read the full report here

 

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Music Canada appears before the CRTC in Phase 1 of its Online Streaming Act consultations

Today, Music Canada CEO Patrick Rogers appeared before the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as part of multi-phase consultations to implement the Online Streaming Act. 

The focus of this Phase 1 hearing, which began November 20 and is scheduled to run for three weeks, is to consider what financial contributions online music and AV streaming services – such as Spotify, Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Music – should contribute to Canada’s broadcasting framework which aims to support Canadian and Indigenous content. 

As outlined in Music Canada’s initial submissions to the CRTC (which you can find here) and reiterated today by Rogers, Music Canada encouraged the Commission to keep Canadian and Indigenous artists at the centre of their policy decisions. Streaming is a global marketplace where these artists are competing not only for fans and engagement in Canada but across the world. The ultimate framework should encourage and incentivize platforms to grow their on-the-ground investments and teams in Canada who play an essential role in helping these artists break through in global markets. Artists should be able to choose to work with whatever talent and businesses they see as best poised to help them achieve their creative and career goals. 

Watch Rogers’ full remarks to the CRTC here, and you can read them below.  

You can follow the virtual public hearings here.  


Oral Remarks of Music Canada 

Presented by Patrick Rogers, Chief Executive Officer, Music Canada

November 22, 2023

Good afternoon everyone,

My name is Patrick Rogers and I am the CEO of Music Canada. We are the trade association for Canada’s major labels all of whom have offices in Toronto and Montreal full of Canadians dedicated to helping Canadian artists reach and connect with their fans at home and around the world.

I am excited to take part in this hearing because we recognize that this is a once-in-a-generation regulatory process. I hope that you will take the earnestness of this presentation as respect for CRTC’s influence on the day-to-day lives of Canadians and as a desire to help you get it right.

Today, I will share with you the three key principles that make up our core understanding of the topics at hand.

The first is that while our members, who partner with Canadian artists, are not being regulated directly, the decisions you make about the platforms will profoundly impact artists and how they connect with their fans. Fundamentally, we encourage you to keep Canadian and Indigenous ARTISTS at the heart of your policy.

As leaders in the Canadian music industry, our members work closely with the platforms and their teams on the ground here. That is why we have engaged throughout the legislative and now regulatory processes to ensure that decision makers like you have the clearest view into our world to make the best policy possible. 

Decisions made here will impact what Canadians listen to, who does business in this country, and the opportunities that flow to Canadian artists. For these reasons, Music Canada has submitted examples of how the platforms’ activities and investments in Canada positively impact the Canadian music industry. Financial contribution obligations must not jeopardize these investments. We believe strongly in the correlation between the platforms’ investments in people, marketing, and sponsorship in Canada and the doors that have opened for Canadian and Indigenous artists both here and abroad.

Access to markets abroad is critical, because the streaming services are global in nature. Every song by every artist in Canada is in competition with every song and every artist from around the world. Canadian artists should be given every advantage in the global streaming market, instead of being given a “Made in Canada” ceiling.

Which brings me to my second principle: We can all be proud of the accomplishments of the radio regulations created and successfully administered by the CRTC without feeling the need to port them over to the streaming age. Because the streaming space isn’t a little different from radio – it’s, in most cases, the opposite. 

There is a finite number of regulated radio hours each year, whereas the amount of potential listening on streaming is infinite. While radio is programmed, streaming is based on user choice. And while the best and rarest thing that can happen to you while listening to your favourite song on the radio is that another song you like will come on – the goal of streaming algorithms is to give you an endless stream of your favourites and new titles and new artists to add to your listening repertoire.

Ultimately, the success of your work will depend on whether or not the new frameworks and funding models and criteria that you create meet the drive, innovation and immense goals of the modern artist – not the industry of the past.

Importantly, today’s streaming platforms do not represent the end of history. In my lifetime the industry has moved from $20 physical CD sales, to overwhelming piracy that nearly eradicated artists’ livelihoods, to downloads, and now to streaming. This year, the streaming platforms have moved to change some of the core fundamentals of the streaming experience for both listeners and artists. We must be cognizant that the CRTC is entering into this space at neither the nascent beginning nor the tired end. 

The last principle is about timelessness.

In preparing for this once in a generation regulatory process I could not help but think of my  daughters Grace and Rose and their love of the Canadian children’s performers Splash and Boots. They are what my members call super fans. They stream, they go to concerts, they wear their merch. YouTube and Spotify play their favourites, while surfacing new tracks from the group and other artists that they are also likely to love. I can report to you that they are very happy customers.

Together, right now, we could probably come up with a regulatory framework for Grace and Rose’s world today. But the challenge is infinitely larger for an entire country and, as my example shows, the framework needs to be timeless. Because my girls will need a soundtrack for their lives. We will need to go through the time-honoured traditions of not understanding the music that they like, laughing when they “discover” MY favourite artist and compromising on a roadtrip playlist. My goal is to make a future where my girls find and enjoy their favourite music on world class licensed services, that pay artists when their music is played, and that give them the best music that Canada and the world have to offer. And importantly, that we never have to have a conversation about VPN’s, piracy or geo hopping to get around Canadian rules to do it.

I thank you for your time and welcome any questions that you may have.

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