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.