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Tag archive: Miranda Mulholland (26)

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Playback 2017 panel: Canadian musicians discuss how the Value Gap affects their ability to earn a living from music

Music Canada’s annual industry dialogue and celebration, Playback, took place on October 17. At the event, Graham Henderson officially launched our latest research report, The Value Gap: Its Origins, Impacts and a Made-In-Canada Approach. Following the launch of the report, Canadian recording artists Damhnait Doyle and Miranda Mulholland joined moderator Andrew Cash, a musician himself, for an honest discussion about their strategies for survival working as musicians in 2017.

Miranda has been an outspoken advocate for the rights of music creators. In 2017, she became the first creator to give a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada, and has submitted two letters to the Canadian government on the topic of Copyright Board reform. She is a multi-talented fiddle player, singer, record label owner, music festival founder, and more.

Damhnait Doyle is an accomplished musician, songwriter, SOCAN Award winner, as well as a columnist and author. She has released multiple albums, both of solo material and as part of the group Shaye.

Andrew Cash is a JUNO and SOCAN Award winning musician and composer with over a dozen albums to his credit. He is also a former Member of Parliament and is co-founder of the Urban Worker Project.

Watch the full video below:

Quoted

Damhnait Doyle

“Musicians, technically and for a very long time, have been undervalued.”

“What I did today – I sang on a television show – which I will only get paid for once, the same with your (Miranda’s) situation with Republic of Doyle…I’m getting paid a ridiculously small amount of money, but I’m doing it because – where else am I going to make money?”

“It costs me an incredible amount of money to go out on the road, and to earn money, which is now kind of the only allotted place where artists earn money. Well, you’re not making money off the radio, you’re not making money off publishing, you’re not making money off records. So the only place you’re going to make money is playing live.”

“We’re really, really fortunate in this country to have things like FACTOR and to have things like Slaight Music who support our artists. In that one sense we are in a very rarified earth up here in Canada, that we do have an industry that supports us. It supports us in the creation of the art itself, but there, it falls off…It would be an artist’s dream to not have to apply to FACTOR. That would be a great milestone.”

“The fact that the government has not changed or amended this legislation is laughable, I mean, someone made a mistake and no one’s willing to clean up the mess. It’s a mistake.”

Andrew Cash

“There’s no bylaws and standards regulating a rock-n-roll band. And by and large, that’s been probably a problem.”

“One of the reasons we’re all here is that we love music, and we want music to happen. And it can’t happen unless artists can make a decent living and be healthy and happy in their lives.”

Miranda Mulholland

“I find my days are taken up with so much administration…I’m updating my Facebook and I’m doing my Spotify work. I’m selling their product basically, through my music, and trying to get people to subscribe to Spotify so that I can get paid .004 extra cents per stream.”

“Granting is great, and it’s amazing that we have those capabilities in Canada, but what we want is a sustainable working marketplace where we are creating art and we are being remunerated for it properly. And that is not happening for a variety of reasons.”

“Policy must change. The government needs to make some pretty swift cuts to end some of these subsidies, and that’s a big deal. And I love that people are actually having this conversation now and asking about what our lives look like, that it isn’t flashy parties, you know, and being more honest on Instagram and Facebook about what touring actually looks like because it doesn’t look the way that I think most people picture it.”

“If you look at France – they have very strong opinions about Spotify and about a lot of the streaming services, and they’ve taken some really harsh stances, and I feel as though our government is still in a lot of conversations, and they’re being very polite with a lot of these giant tech companies, where there actually could be some pretty significant…maybe further than conversations, but actually drawing a line in the sand. That would be appreciated by us and that would definitely change our livelihoods.”

Below is a selection of photos from the panel.

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Miranda Mulholland lays the reality for creators in the digital age bare at the Economic Club of Canada

On May 24,  Miranda Mulholland became the first musician to deliver a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada. Her speech, titled ‘Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace,’ drew on her years of experience as a musician, label owner and entrepreneur to shed light on the reality artists face in the digital age. In her speech, she also identified actions that government, the music industry and music fans can take to help bring balance to the world in which creators live.

The room had a large contingent of artists, including Scott Helman, Alx Veliz, Royal Wood, Tona Tencreddi, Bandana Singh, Ammoye, Amanda Martinez, Zeno Calini, Kanwar Anit Singh Saini, QuiQue Escamilla, Eliana Cuevas, Sarah Thawer, Justin Rutledge, Brenley MacEachern, Lisa MacIsaac, Bradley Thachuk, Monica Pearce, Damhnait Doyle, Suzie Ungerleider, Emma Barnett, Andrew Penner, Jennifer Bryan, Sally Shaar and Jordan Circosta.

There were also representatives from the municipal, provincial and federal governments, as well as music industry groups MusiCounts, Re:Sound, The Canadian Federation of Musicians, CIMA, Music Ontario, The Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), SOCAN, The Canadian Country Music Association, The Corporation of Massey Hall & Roy Thomson Hall, and record labels Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music.

Miranda was introduced by Toronto City Councillor Josh Colle, who chairs the Toronto Music Advisory Council on which Miranda also serves. Colle commented that musicians are often entrepreneurs, and in many cases, small businesses and that nobody is an embodiment of that more than Miranda Mulholland. He commented that artists should be supported by the City in the same way as other small businesses.

“As entrepreneurs and small businesses, I think it’s incumbent on all of us to want to see that they’re successful,” said Colle. “The same way we might put money or resources or time into helping other sectors and other small businesses, we should think of that the same way as our musicians and artists, who live in a city that’s increasingly expensive and difficult to find a place to live.”

The overarching theme of Miranda’s speech was accountability, and she pointed to a number of ways that digital music services eschew accountability to the music creators who make all of the content off which they profit.

“Picture each shiny new streaming platform as a shop window,” said Miranda. “Our content – at fire sale prices – fills their shop window, giving them credibility while creators of this content are asked to do the advertising. They give us – the creators – lists of ‘Best Practices’ to get more of our hard won fans to use their services. If we are not getting on playlists then it is our fault for not engaging with our fans enough.”

She was particularly critical of YouTube’s claims that it is merely a passive service, and as such, should be free from liability for the content that appears on the site.

“YouTube says – ‘it isn’t our fault – we are just the shop window. We didn’t put the items in the window, so we are not accountable for them. We are a passive intermediary. We are not liable for this massive copyright infringement.’ But – once again – wait. A top brass at Google just bragged that ‘80% of all watch time is recommended by YouTube.’ He explained that ‘Everybody thinks that all the music that’s being listened to and watched is by search.’  But it isn’t, and in his words, ‘that’s a really important and powerful thing.’ This means that YouTube actively directs consumers. This doesn’t seem all that passive to me. Zero accountability.”

Miranda went on describe the ways in which we can correct the situation faced by artists, saying “We all have a role to play as artists, as consumers, as industry and as government.”

For artists, Miranda encouraged them to be honest about their lifestyle, protect their intellectual property, support robust copyright laws and to pay back into the music ecosystem by championing young talent.

She encouraged music fans to be tastemakers, to create playlists of their favourite music, and to write reviews and rate albums and songs, actions which help shift algorithms in favour of artists. She also encouraged fans to buy albums on their release days, another action which can help to drive albums to front pages of music services. Buying band merchandise was mentioned as a great way to support artists. She also encouraged music fans to subscribe to a streaming service, as the subscription model delivers a much better return to artists than ad-supported streaming.

As for government, Miranda pointed to the elimination of “safe harbour” laws, which provide tech companies with immunity from copyright infringement liability. In Canada, she pointed to eliminating industry cross-subsidies that shift wealth away from music creators, and used the radio royalty exemption as an example, an exemption in place since 1997 that excuses radio stations from paying more than $100 in royalties to artists and record labels on their first $1.25 million in advertising revenue.

Miranda’s heartfelt speech had a visible impact on guests, who gave her an extended standing ovation.

Miranda’s speech was followed by a Q&A discussion with Kate Taylor, author, film critic and arts columnist at The Globe and Mail.

You can view the full event video via the live stream archive on our Facebook page.

Below is a selection of tweets from the event:

https://twitter.com/ScottHelman/status/867595308364161025

(Swipe left) Such an eventful meeting this morning with #EconomicclubofCanada redefining success in a digital market place. Pic’d here with Former Member of #parliament #AndrewCash who personality invited us as well as #JenniferHardy #GeneralManagerofOperations at #MusicCanada and #AmyTerrill #ExecutiveVicePresident also at Music Canada and #TracyJenkins of #LulaMusic & #ArtsCentre/LulaWorld who booked me for my #CityHallLive performance on Monday May29th!!! Inside @lulalounge @lulaworldfest!!! And our honoured guest speaker fellow entrepreneur and artist #mirandamulholland!!!! So informative And impactful was this speech and meeting!!! #changeascome #changeisgood #independentartist movement!!!! #toronto #Canada #reggaemusictotheworld #Lightworker #musicismylife #Andsoitis #makingmoves #Artistonamission to create #change!!! #DontCountMeOut Creating our own opportunities!!!!

A post shared by Ammoye💫 (@ammoye) on

Goosebumps!!! The incredibly articulate Miranda Mulholland delivers a thoroughly researched, beautifully written, MUCH…

Posted by Sarah Slean on Thursday, May 25, 2017

 

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Miranda Mulholland to address the Economic Club of Canada on ‘Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace’

On Wednesday, May 24, singer, songwriter, violinist, label owner and music festival organizer Miranda Mulholland will address the Economic Club of Canada on the reality for music entrepreneurs in the digital age.

Below is the event description:

Music unites us, bridges linguistic, cultural and income divides. Music heals. It connects. It provides a soundtrack to our greatest struggles and our highest triumphs.

Since the arrival of the digital age, music is more readily created, released and shared. It is available at our fingertips and it’s reaching more people than ever before.

With music’s intrinsic value in our lives and this new accessibility, one would expect that the people who create this unifying force would be thriving.

There is a widely held perception that the advent of the digital revolution has enhanced how music is created, money is made and creators’ lives are lived. There is a perception of a level playing field.

But it’s time for a reality check.

Join Artist and Entrepreneur, Miranda Mulholland as she talks about the creative process, reveals actual numbers, discusses how creators are faring in this new landscape and suggests a way forward.

The event runs from 11:30am – 1:30pm at the Toronto Marriott Eaton Centre (525 Bay Street). Lunch will be served. Tickets are available for purchase on the Economic Club of Canada’s website.

Miranda’s speech will be followed by a question and answer discussion with Kate Taylor, author, film critic and arts columnist at The Globe and Mail.

On November 1, 2016, Miranda shared her incredibly pertinent experiences as an artist entrepreneur operating in the digital age during her closing remarks at a speech delivered by Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, titled The Broken Promise of a Golden Age: How creators underwrote a tech revolution and were betrayed. Miranda’s remarks were so powerful they inspired the Economic Club of Canada to invite her back to headline her own event.

Be sure to get your tickets early, as this is sure to be a timely and impactful event!

VIDEO: Miranda Mulholland’s closing remarks at Graham Henderson’s speech to the Economic Club of Canada on Nov. 1, 2016

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Music Canada’s Graham Henderson speaks to the Economic Club of Canada on “The Broken Promise of a Golden Age”

On November 1, Music Canada’s President and CEO, Graham Henderson, delivered a moving address to the Economic Club of Canada on the erosion of creators’ rights in the digital age, and what can be done to re-establish a fair working environment.

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Canada’s cultural industries were well represented with attendees from Sony Music Canada, Warner Music Canada, Universal Music Canada, The Motion Picture Association of Canada, the Writers’ Union of Canada, SOCAN, CIMA, CMPA, The Screen Composers Guild of Canada, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, Canada’s Walk of Fame, Ontario’s Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Re:Sound, and TD Music. Guests from Ryerson University, OCAD, Humber College, CGC Education, Colleges Ontario, and York University represented the education sector. MPPs Monte McNaughton, Lisa MacLeod, Rick Nicholls, Lisa Thompson and Steve Clark were also in attendance.

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We were happy to have been joined by local musicians as well, including Miranda Mulholland, Amanda Martinez, Caroline Brooks of the Good Lovelies, Murray Foster, Alysha Brilla, Jay Douglas, Sonia Aimy, and Sally Shaar of Ginger Ale & The Monowhales.

The Economic Club of Canada’s President and CEO, Rhiannon Traill, who took on the role five and a half years ago with vision and passion, introduced Graham’s address. Rhiannon thanked Graham for the support he has shown for the Economic Club of Canada and for her as President and CEO, and praised Graham as a champion for Canadian culture.

“You’re about to hear a very important speech, and I am really, really proud to be hosting it,” she said. “Graham is an advocate, he is an innovator, he is a collaborator, a bridge builder, a visionary, and a truly great Canadian dedicated to advancing and protecting our country’s music, arts, and culture.”

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Below is the full video of Graham’s speech, titled The Broken Promise of a Golden Age: How creators got squeezed out in the digital era, and what can be done to restore their rights.

Graham’s address was followed by powerful remarks by Miranda Mulholland, who shared her personal experiences to shed light on just how dire things have become for creators trying to earn a living from their work in Canada. Miranda really drove home Graham’s message – we must fight to restore the rights of our creators, who bring such livelihood, spirit and identity to our country.

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Miranda is an accomplished violinist, singer, and label owner of Roaring Girl Records, which represents many JUNO and Grammy award winners. She’s a member of Great Lake Swimmers, Belle Starr, and the recently formed Harrow Fair. She has played or sung on over 75 albums, including JUNO nominated and award winning albums.

By all metrics she is an accomplished and respected musician, but in a very open manner, laid out the financial reality for creators in Canada.

“This is embarrassing, and I will level with you. I can barely afford rent in a city that I need to live in to work,” said Miranda. Musicians have had to become entrepreneurs, and experts in many fields, just to get by in the digital age. “I’ve had to get used to being a marketer, a promoter, a data entry clerk, a driver, a travel agent, a social media expert, and a paralegal, just in order to make a living as a singer-songwriter violinist. This is our new reality.”

Miranda and Graham agreed that we’ve reached a crisis point, and we cannot accept the argument that there’s nothing we can do to change current circumstances. We must fight for our creators, and we owe it to them to restore balance to the world in which they live.

Below is a selection of tweets from the event:

https://twitter.com/monowhales/status/793499575910797312

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Notes from the Road: A Secret Habit in the Music Industry

BelleStarr - bioCanadian singer and fiddler Miranda Mulholland has just completed a tour with Belle Starr, with stops across Canada and the US. She’ll be sharing her experiences in our Notes from the Road tour blog series.

Notes from the Road is Music Canada’s artist tour diary. Canadian artists on tour around the world will share their stories of fans, gigs and the “good, bad and the ugly” of touring!

There are some people in the music industry who have a secret habit. All of us musicians know about it though, we talk about it, we discuss these people in hushed tones. We really wish they would come forward and get it out in the open, to make this habit known. To be made an example of!

What is this secret habit? These industry people pay to see live music. Even though they work with musicians, even though they are friends with lots of musicians, even though we ALWAYS put them on the guest list because they are champions of our work, they pay anyway.

In this Brave New World – A world in which the digital age and its promise of “eliminating the middle man” has actually only eliminated the creative middle class, musicians are really struggling to find a sustainable business model.

What about streaming, you say? Well, streaming income is risible (785 plays = 12 cents!!) and actual sales are down because “why buy when you can stream for almost free?”

I get it. I really do – I am a consumer as well. There are benefits to having your music made readily available all over the world, I see that too.

Okay then, we are told touring is the way to make a living so we leave our families and hit the road. Expenses are high, however, guarantees are low and budgets get very tight. Every dollar matters. Every ticket matters.

So here’s the thing, music industry. We are glad to have you there at shows supporting us, we do understand that you go to a lot of concerts for work and it’s sweet when you buy us or all your colleagues drinks, but it would be even sweeter if you showed us you value our work by paying a cover. It really does make a difference.

Allow me to point out for a second that musicians pay YOU for the work YOU do. We pay you in commissions, in percentages and in flat out invoiced fees. We value your work. If YOU don’t value musicians and the work we do what kind of example does this set to the rest of the world at a time when we are all are trying to combat the notion that music should be free?

To the people who I see at every gig, who, on the list or not, hand over money to see a band, I want to thank you! We musicians know who you are, we talk about you with a lot of love and respect. We value YOU. THANK YOU!

Of all the secret habits to have in the music industry, this is a good one!

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Notes from the Road: Belle Starr – Winter Tour, 2016

BelleStarr - bioCanadian singer and fiddler Miranda Mulholland is currently on tour with Belle Starr, with stops across Canada and the US. She’ll be sharing her experiences in our Notes from the Road tour blog series.

Notes from the Road is Music Canada’s artist tour diary. Canadian artists on tour around the world will share their stories of fans, gigs and the “good, bad and the ugly” of touring!

 

A funny thing happened at the Canadian border the other night. As a band named for a famous outlaw, we shouldn’t be surprised by any skirmishes with the law, but this brush up got me thinking. After explaining where we were coming from and where we were going while crossing the border at midnight, the patrol guard actually asked us with condescension, pity and bewilderment “Is this really the way you make a living? All three of you?”

I am not surprised she asked. We did make a funny picture – packed tightly with our instruments, suitcases and merchandise in my 1998 Toyota Corolla. We had just played a two hour concert in Stowe, Vermont then negotiated some very treacherous roads for hours in a heavy snowstorm post show to reach where we would be sleeping that night so we were all rattled and pretty tired. Certainly not what one pictures when one dreams of being a touring musician.

For the majority of musicians, touring these days is not the glamorous or wild lifestyle depicted in movies, TV shows and books. That’s not to say these things don’t happen – you can buy me a glass of wine sometime and I can tell you some stories – but the quotidian existence of a touring musician is one of a lot of hurry up and wait, a few crippling lows and some exuberant highs for a very small paycheque. Somehow it seems to even out.

Our band, Belle Starr is a bit of a rarity as although all three of us are full time musicians, we don’t get to spend a lot of time touring together. Stephanie Cadman is a world class tap/step dancer as well as fiddler and was in the Toronto production of the musical Once. Kendel Carson plays in a duo with Dustin Bentall as well as being a member of Alan Doyle’s band and I am a member of Great Lake Swimmers among other projects. This makes it all the more special and exciting for us when we get to play music together.

We started this tour by flying to Alberta and driving up and down that beautiful province. Routing is rarely ideal and found us back and forth on the same stretch of highway a number of times and landing three days in a row for a needed coffee stop at the Red Deer Mall. I never thought I’d see that much of the Red Deer Mall.

The drive from Calgary to Cranbrook is one of Canada’s best. Watching the mountains appear to slowly rise up in front of you like benign giants watching over the rolling meadows of cows, horses and crops. While there are many long drives touring in Canada (Toronto to Winnipeg is 24 hours!) we really do have some of the most beautiful and diverse scenery in the world. And we see a lot of it! Sometimes the drives can be easy – a clear day, sunshine and empty road. We had our fair share of that on this tour but also torrential rains for hours, elk on the highway, twisty mountain roads and one of the scariest car crashes any of us had ever seen happen right in front of us. It takes nerves of steel sometimes!BelleStarr - road
Vancouver was next and we indulged in some delicious sushi and caught up with friends. One of the best parts of touring is getting to visit with pals all over the world – In contrast though, one of the hardest parts is not really ever being part of friend’s lives – not getting sharing the little victories and the hard times, birthdays, special occasions and casual hangouts. It seems to be an endless series of catch ups with hurried dinners between soundcheck and the show.

Crossing the border into the USA is always a bit difficult. Even with our very expensive permits to perform in the United States, it is not always a guarantee that we will get across. We had a lovely officer on this crossing who wished us a safe trip, so we breathed a collective sigh of relief. The spring-like weather down the coast was very welcome and we enjoyed the green and blossoms beginning.

Mondays and Tuesdays are hard to book so we had two days off in groovy Portland. Great coffee, amazing vintage stores and my favourite bookstore in the world, Powell’s. Instead of a hotel, we opted for an AirBnB to take advantage of laundry and save some money by cooking and catch up on sleep. It was such a treat to not have to drive anywhere for 48 hours!

The biggest performing highlight of the west coast tour was just around the corner. The Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, WA was built in 1942 as a movie theatre and was beautifully remodeled in 1997. It has a water theme with mermaids and waves and one of the only remaining steel marquees left in the USA. The staff were very professional and friendly and the audience was warm, appreciative and really made that show tremendously memorable.

BelleStarr - Marquee

Live music is all about alchemy. Creating something from simple elements into something unforgettable and valuable. What happens during a performance happens because all those elements are there and once over, can never be recreated. The audience has as much to do with this chemistry as the artists – it is a symbiotic relationship. This is what I love most, the ephemeral quality of live music. It happened. We heard it, felt it, experienced it – and it can never truly be captured, and that is what makes it so special.
Is this really the way I make a living? Why, yes. it is. Sometimes it’s the wild west out here, it can be really tough, but the highs are really high…and I couldn’t be more proud to make my living this way.

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