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Graham Henderson launches Music Canada’s first-of-its-kind Value Gap report at Playback 2017

Music Canada’s annual industry dialogue and celebration, Playback, took place on October 17. The headlining portion of this year’s event was the launch of Music Canada’s latest research report The Value Gap: It’s Origins, Impacts and a Made-In-Canada Approach. This new report is the first comprehensive collection of information about the Value Gap, and the solutions available to Canadian policy makers.

At Playback 2017, Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, shared highlights from the report and described the four concrete recommendations contained within for the Government of Canada to address the Value Gap plaguing Canadian music creators and other cultural industries.

Watch the full video below:

The Value Gap is the most pressing global phenomenon hurting creative industries, including publishing, journalism, film and television production, and music. It is an issue of critical importance to the current and future health of Canadian culture, our nation’s cultural industries, and the creators of our cultural works.

Many of our creative industry partners affected by the Value Gap, some of whom are supporting partners in the Focus On Creators coalition, attended Playback and shared their reaction to the report:

Below is a selection of photos from the launch of the report.

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Graham Henderson’s introductory remarks from Ontario Provincial Arts Education Roundtable

Below are introductory remarks delivered by Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, at the Provincial Arts Education Roundtable hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Education and Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport on October 16, 2017.

It sometimes feels today as though the liberal arts and the humanities are under siege. Right across the United States, Republican governors are rolling back support for state universities that offer liberal arts education. And we must be vigilant – because if it can happen there, it can happen here.

Culture and the arts are worth fighting for. The poet Percy Bysshe Shelley believed that the arts can reform the world.  He developed a theory of the imagination.  He believed that what he called the “cultivated imagination” can see the world differently – through a lens of love and empathy.  And how do you get one of those “cultivated imaginations”? Well through exposure to culture.

Now, it might be said that we live in a technology obsessed world.  And you, know, Percy’s wife, Mary had something to say about that.  She wrote Frankenstein, a book whose central message seems to be that the unmediated, unexamined introduction of technology into our lives is fraught with risk and danger. It can, not always, but it can create monsters.

Poets today continue to operate in this tradition.  If you don’t know the Texan poet and performance artist Arielle Cottingham, you should. Cottingham, now living in Melbourne, won the 2016 edition of the Australian Poetry Slam with an electrifying performance. She was recently interviewed for the magazine ArtsHub. In an article meaningfully entitled, “Why We Need Poets More Than Ever Before”, Cottingham cited Shelley as an inspiration for her work and pointed to his famous comment in A Defense of Poetry: Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

Shelley used the term “legislator” in a special sense. Not as someone who “makes laws” but as someone who is a “representative” of the people. In this sense creators must be thought of as the voice of the people; as a critical foundation of our society and of our democracy. They offer insights into our world and provide potential solutions – they underpin our future.

Cottingham agrees and explained it this way:

[Shelley] argues that poets are the moral barometers of their times and circumstances – and look at the well-known poets today. Bob Dylan is lauded as the voice of a generation. Maya Angelou elevated the voice of the black woman to an unprecedented visibility. Gil Scott Heron wrote a single line of poetry so prescient that it became more famous than he himself did – “The revolution will not be televised.” To quote Miles Merrill, “poets are more honest than politicians.”

A liberal arts education and an education in the humanities – STEM blended into STEAM – is therefore essential to a healthy society and one that is governed by empathy and love.

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World’s largest music stream ripping website to cease operations globally following legal action

IFPI, in conjunction with the RIAA and BPI, announced today that following successful legal action from record companies in the United Kingdom and the United States, the world’s largest music stream ripping website will shut down.

YouTube-mp3.org, a Germany-based site with 60 million visitors a month, facilitated the ripping of downloadable music files from online audio-visual works. Sites like YouTube-mp3.org typically extract large profits from advertising while delivering nothing to music makers. IFPI estimates the site generated “hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue per month, often from major brands.” In addition to agreeing to cease operations, the site’s operator has agreed to not infringe the rights of artists and labels in the future.

“The largest site dedicated to the fastest growing form of music piracy is shutting down. This is welcome news for music creators and the fans that support them,” says Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “Artists and advocates around the world are fighting for a better future for creators. As we continue to work with governments and legitimate music services to build a functioning ecosystem, it’s important that flagrant violations like stream ripping be met with firm action.”

In a joint release issued by IFPI, the RIAA and BPI, industry leaders welcomed the news:

“Stream ripping sites blatantly infringe the rights of record companies and artists,” said IFPI Chief Executive Frances Moore. “Today, music companies and licensed digital services work together to offer fans more options than ever before to listen to music legally, when and where they want to do so – hundreds of services with over 40 million tracks – all while compensating artists and labels. Stream ripping sites should not be allowed to jeopardise this and we will continue to take action against these sites.”

“This is a significant win for millions of music fans, as well as music creators and legitimate music services,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman and CEO, RIAA. “One of the world’s most egregious stream ripping sites has shuttered. Sites like these undermine the health of the legitimate marketplace and the livelihoods of millions of music creators worldwide. The swift and successful conclusion of this case should send an unmistakable signal to the operators of similar sites.” 

“This illegal site wasn’t just ripping streams, it was ripping off artists,” said Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI. “Most fans understand that getting music from a genuine site supports the artists they love and allows labels to nurture the next generation of talent.  Music stands on the cusp of an exciting future in the streaming age, but only if we take resolute action against illegal businesses that try to siphon away its value.”

Piracy, and particularly stream ripping, remains a significant concern in Canada. A survey commissioned by IFPI in 2016 found that 27% of Canadian respondents reported pirating music, and 22% reported doing so via stream ripping. The age group most likely to use stream ripping sites was 16-24 year-olds, with 48% reporting doing so in the past year. While Youtube-mp3.org was the largest stream ripping site, the industry hope is that this legal action will send a clear message to other sites still in operation that they are breaking the law, and will face similar action if they do not shut down.

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Graham Henderson calls for full and meaningful review of the Copyright Act in 2017 in Policy Options Op-Ed

In an op-ed published today for Policy Options, a digital magazine published by the Institute for Research on Public Policy, Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson details the Value Gap, which is an issue affecting all cultural creators, and warns that action must be taken to restore integrity to the marketplace.

Henderson describes what led to the Value Gap, defined as “the gross mismatch between the volume of music being enjoyed by consumers and the revenues being returned to the music community.” Identifying the problem as “a product of decisions made by governments around the world that have allowed cultural content to be distributed, made available, consumed and monetized by others without proper payment to creators,” Henderson points to out-of-date rules and regulations, such as exemptions that have benefited broadcast and technology industries to the detriment of creators.

Henderson outlines a series of policy recommendations that the government should consider immediately to restore balance to the world in which creators live.

Some of the actions are:

  • Ending all cross-subsidies paid by creators that subsidize corporations – the outdated $1.25 million radio royalty exemption in the Copyright Act is one example in Canada.
  • Consider federal policies to attract foreign direct investment in the domestic music economy, as Ontario, British Columbia, and municipalities across Canada have done.
  • Examine and reform the Copyright Board of Canada, the tribunal that is responsible for setting royalty rates that many in the cultural industries rely on. A recent Senate of Canada report found the Board to be “dated, dysfunctional and in dire need of reform,” signalling that reforms are urgently needed. “The government needs to turn the Copyright Board into a true business development office for the creative and user communities,” writes Henderson.

Henderson concludes by calling for “a full and meaningful review that identifies and recommends necessary amendments to the Act,” and reiterates that “the only way the government can restore integrity to the marketplace is to curtail all cross-subsidies and the outdated exemptions on which they are based.”

Read the full article on the Policy Options website.

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Graham Henderson gives keynote address on the Value Gap at CMW’s Global Creators Summit

On April 21, 2017, Music Canada President and CEO Graham Henderson delivered the opening keynote at Canadian Music Week‘s Global Creators Summit, highlighting the growing issue of the Value Gap for music creators. In “The Broken Promise of a Golden Age,” Graham urges artists and creators to stand up for what’s theirs, and use the power of democracy to generate positive change for the creative community.

Following CMW, the speech was featured on FYI Music News, and the full recording, initially live-streamed on Music Canada’s Facebook page, can be viewed below.

Canadian creators are encouraged to join the Focus On Creators initiative and sign the letter to The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, urging government to put creators at the heart of future policy.

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Recommended Reading: Canadian Musician – “YouTube: Friend or Foe of the Music Industry?”

In the May/June 2017 issue of Canadian Musician magazine, journalist Michael Raine spoke with leaders in the Canadian music industry, including Music Canada’s President and CEO Graham Henderson, about the Value Gap and the industry’s complex relationship with the streaming giant.

Regarding YouTube’s assertion that the music community should be satisfied with the payments it receives from the service, Henderson said “it’s ludicrous because if they were on the same footing [as other streaming services], it wouldn’t be $2 billion, it would be $20 billion or $30 billion that they would be paying out and I can tell you we would live in a very, very different world. They would restore the old balance where there was enough money in the hands of independent and major labels so that they could actually invest in artists.”

Stuart Johnston, President of the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA), expressed similar concerns. “If YouTube were to pay rights holders even what Spotify pays for their free tier, it would be a significant and positive step forward for the independent community, but they don’t,” said Johnston. “So that business model – and I am going to say it over and over again – it devalues music. It is an unfortunate situation.”

Safwan Javed, an entertainment lawyer, songwriter and drummer, and VP of the Songwriters Association of Canada, spoke to the problems resulting from the safe harbour provisions. “Imagine the labels’ move with YouTube is to say, ‘We need to renegotiate our agreement,’ and YouTube says ‘no.’ So what’s the labels’ next move? If they want to go to a contentious and aggressive posture and say, ‘OK, we’re going to pull our catalog,’ well that’s all fine and the videos they’re making are not uploading, but other people are probably going to still be uploading stuff,” said Javed. “The general public will still be able to upload stuff, and sure you can try to police that, but policing that is exceedingly difficult and you’re spending a lot of resources on something that is essentially like a whack-a-mole that doesn’t stop.”

Raine highlights the growing chorus of artists that are speaking out and calling for reforms, specifically the artists petitioning the US Copyright Office to reform the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the Focus On Creators initiative in Canada, which has sent a letter to to Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly, which urges her to put creators at the heart of future policy.

The article is available online at http://canadianmusician.com/features/archives/214.

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Canada climbs to sixth largest global recorded music market in IFPI’s Global Music Report 2017

Toronto, ON – April 25, 2017:   Today the International Federation for the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) released its Global Music Report 2017, which shows Canada is now the sixth largest recorded music market on the planet, surpassing Australia.

The annual Global Music Report compiles revenues from physical and digital sales, streaming, synchronization and performance rights, to provide a ‘state of the industry’ snapshot while highlighting innovation and investment within the industry as it progresses further into the digital age.

Highlights of Canada’s 2016 music revenues:

  • Overall recorded music revenues rose 12.8% in 2016 and totalled CAD $489.4 million
  • Digital music revenues accounted for 63% of recorded music revenues in 2016
  • Total streaming revenues, including subscription and ad-supported streaming, more than doubled in 2016, rising from USD $49.82 million to an impressive USD $127.8 million
  • Subscription audio streaming generated the majority of all streaming revenues in 2016 at USD $94.45 million, compared to USD $15.72 million from ad-supported audio streaming and USD $17.59 million from video streams
  • Digital revenues grew to USD $233 million in 2016, up from USD $170 million in 2015
  • Revenues from physical sales continue to decline, falling to USD $99 million in 2016 from USD $114.4 million in 2015

Though music consumption around the world continues to rise to never-before-seen levels, the “value gap” remains a significant problem, as the revenues returned to music creators have not kept pace with music consumption.

“I am happy to see Canada regain its position as the sixth largest recorded music market in the world,” said Amy Terrill, Executive Vice President of Music Canada. “While the growth in overall revenues, driven by a huge increase in subscription audio streams is very encouraging, the music community must remain united and vigilant in fixing the value gap. I urge the Canadian federal government to put creators first in any future policy decisions, such as the upcoming Copyright Act review in 2017, so that creators can be properly compensated for the record levels of music consumption we’re witnessing.”

“The whole music community is uniting in its effort to campaign for a legislative fix to the value gap and we are calling on policymakers to do this,” said Frances Moore, chief executive of IFPI, in the report release. “For music to thrive in a digital world, there must be a fair digital marketplace.”

Key figures from global recorded music revenues:

  • Global revenue growth: +5.9%
  • Digital share of global revenues: 50%
  • Digital revenue growth: +17.7%
  • Growth in streaming revenues +60.4%
  • Physical revenues: -7.6%
  • Download revenue: -20.5%

Canada’s ascension to the sixth largest market follows IFPI’s announcement in February that Drake was named Global Recording Artist of 2016. Justin Bieber and The Weeknd took the number five and number ten spots, respectively, as Canadians occupied three of the top 10 positions.

Today’s Global Music Report 2017 shows that albums by Canadian artists performed very well at home in 2016, with six of the top ten album spots occupied by Canadian artists, including Drake’s Views at number one. Other Canadians in the top albums chart include Céline Dion, Leonard Cohen, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, and The Tragically Hip.

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Music Canada at Canadian Music Week 2017

Canadian Music Week 2017 kicks off Tuesday, April 18, for a week of unforgettable shows across Toronto, along with dozens of panels and workshops scheduled at the Sheraton Centre. Music Canada is thrilled to join the festivities as a supporting sponsor, with members of our organization appearing on several panels throughout the festival.

We’ve outlined our participation in the list below:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017

Richard Pfohl, General Counsel to Music Canada, will join Mitch Glazer (RIAA), Martin Ajdari (Ministry of Culture, France), Gilles Daigle (SOCAN), and Casey Chisick (Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP) for the CMW Copyright Summit, moderated by Emmanuel Legrand (Music Week). Richard’s expertise in the subject of copyright law comes at a crucial time, as the push towards legislation supporting creators continues to take steam with initiatives like Focus On Creators.

The Copyright Summit at Canadian Music Week runs noon to 12:50pm at Sheraton Hall A/B

THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017

Graham Henderson providing remarks at CMW Global Forum 2015

Music has the ability to bridge cultural and social divides, and at this year’s Global Forum, Indigenous artists will discuss the power of music and its ability to unite, inspire, and heal.

Sponsored by Music Canada, the panel will feature a keynote by Polaris-winning throat singer Tanya Tagaq, who will join a panel with JUNO-winning artists Susan Aglukark, and Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red.

The panel will be moderated by conductor and advocate John Kim Bell, and the event will feature a performance by experimental R&B artist isKwe.

Gord Downie’s brother, Mike Downie, co-creator of album and graphic novel Secret Path, will also join the panel to discuss the multimedia project on the devastating legacy of residential schools.

The CMW Global Forum Networking Breakfast is invite only, and will run 8:45am – 11:00am at Osgoode Ballroom East.

FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017

Amy Terrill at inaugural Music Cities Summit, 2016

Music Canada’s Executive Vice President, Amy Terrill, will host the second CMW Music Cities Summit, an all-day event that will explore in-depth the relationship between creative city planning, quality-of-life, and the music industry.

The event was inspired first by Music Canada’s report on Toronto’s 2012 Music City initiative with Austin, and directly by Music Canada and IFPI’s internationally-acclaimed report The Mastering of a Music City, Key Elements, Effective Strategies and Why it’s Worth Pursuing.

Toronto Mayor John Tory will appear at the summit for the second year in a row, sitting in on the Music City Leader’s Panel along with Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry, former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, Filippo del Corno (Milan, Italy), Maria Claudia Lopez Sorzano (Bogota, Colombia) and Manon Gauthier (Montreal). Several members of the Toronto Music Advisory Council will also participate in the summit, including council co-chair Andreas Kalogiannides, who will join the Music Ecosystem Panel, and Councillor Josh Colle, who will moderate the panel How To Work With The Development Community.

Registration for the summit is still open.

At 1:50pm, Music Canada’s President & CEO Graham Henderson will provide the keynote at a panel titled “How Significant is the ‘Value Gap’ and How Can It Be Fixed?” in Sheraton Hall C. Panelists include Eddie Schwartz (President Emeritus, Songwriters Association of Canada), Neville Quinlan, MD (Peermusic Canada, Canadian Music Publishers Association), and Suzanne Combo (CEO, Guilde des Artistes de la Musique, France).

Canadian Music Week has provided a convenient Music City guide for music fans who are new to the city, and the full schedule of music is now available.

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Music Canada applauds BC Liberals recommitment to BC Music Fund in 2017 platform

Music Canada applauds British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and the B.C. Liberal Party’s recommitment to the B.C. Music Fund in the party’s 2017 election platform. The platform, titled ‘Strong BC, Bright Future’, commits to invest an additional $15 million in the BC Music Fund over the next three years.

The BC Music Fund was launched by Premier Clark in 2016, with a $15 million grant as part of a comprehensive strategy to protect and promote the province’s music industry. Administered by Creative BC, the Fund has various streams to support the province’s music ecosystem, including Sound Recording, Live Music, Research, Industry Initiatives, Careers of BC Artists, Music Company Development, as well as new Innovation and Signature Artist Programs that were announced last week.

“I am delighted to see Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals pledge an additional $15 million to the BC Music Fund in their 2017 platform,” says Graham Henderson, President and CEO of Music Canada. “The Government of BC has shown a belief in the power of music as a driver of employment and tourism, as well as pride in its incredible local artists, studios, labels, cultures and industry. I applaud this proposed BC Music Fund extension, along with other recommendations from Music Canada’s BC music report, like red tape reduction, that have already been implemented.”

The B.C. Liberal platform highlights the fact that with 24,800 artists, British Columbia is home to more artists per capita than any other province. The platform notes that B.C. is the third largest centre for music production in Canada, with more than 80 independent labels, 123 studios, and hundreds of music publishers, managers, and other businesses involved in the sector.

A comprehensive BC Music Strategy was one of the recommendations from the BC’s Music Sector – From Adversity to Opportunity report that was released by Music Canada last year. The report examined the province’s music assets and provided recommendations to position the province to compete in an increasingly global marketplace while also creating more opportunities for emerging BC artists to succeed and earn a living from their music.

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Music Canada’s Graham Henderson discusses his Economic Club speech and Focus On Creators on Canadian Musician Radio

Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, was recently interviewed by Canadian Musician’s Michael Raine for the Canadian Musician Radio podcast. Graham and Michael began by discussing Graham’s November 1 speech to the Economic Club of Canada, in which he gave an impassioned defence of creators’ rights. The conversation then flowed to the Focus On Creators initiative, which launched on November 29 with a joint letter to Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly signed by nearly 1,100 musicians, authors, playwrights, poets, songwriters and other creators, urging the government to put creators at the heart of future policy.

A common theme of both Graham’s speech and Focus On Creators is that our government must act to restore a fair and balanced working environment for creators before full-time creativity becomes a thing of the past.

“We are out of our enabling phase. We’ve enabled this new digital marketplace,” said Graham. “Very clearly, we created market distortions we didn’t intend, and now we are going to play the role, the government, will play the role of a leveler. We are going to restore balance.”

Graham spoke of the widespread support behind Focus On Creators from high profile Canadian artists and creators, but stressed the significance of the younger generation of artists who have added their names to the joint letter.

“What is just as important is the young artists. They’re signing up in droves because they’re the ones for whom this promise evaporated,” said Graham. “Our new generations of musicians are digital natives. There’s almost nothing about that environment they don’t know and they don’t understand…The problem is, they do it all, and they don’t get paid properly. They can’t afford rent. Prominent musicians who’ve had their music on 75 records, who have JUNOs, JUNO nominations, can’t afford rent. Ridiculous!”

The full interview is available on Canadian Musician Radio’s website. Graham’s interview begins at the 22:50 mark.

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