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Music Canada and CONNECT Music Licensing launch National Artist Entrepreneur Survey

Music Canada and CONNECT Music Licensing invite artists to share their insights and experiences in a new national survey that focuses on artists’ business needs in an ever-changing music economy.

The two Canadian music organizations have partnered to conduct research in response to changing trends in the music ecosystem in which artists increasingly operate as business owners, often referred to as “artist-preneurs.” The project kicked off earlier this spring with an environmental scan conducted through a series of focus groups with artists and industry leaders.

Survey findings will be used to guide the design and delivery of a pilot artist entrepreneur program later this year.

Canadian artist entrepreneurs at any stage of their career are invited to complete this short survey which is available in both official languages, until June 21, 2019. Participants will be able to opt in for a chance to win a Long & McQuade gift card valued at $25.

Click here to complete the survey

For any inquiries, please contact Sarah Hashem, VP Strategic Initiatives at Music Canada, at shashem@musiccanada.com.

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Music Canada et CONNECT Music Licensing lancent une étude de marché nationale pour les artistes entrepreneurs

Music Canada et CONNECT Music Licensing invitent les artistes à partager leurs points de vue et leurs expériences dans le cadre d’un nouveau sondage national axé sur les besoins commerciaux des artistes dans une économie musicale en évolution constante.

Les deux organisations musicales canadiennes se sont associées pour mener des recherches en réponse aux tendances changeantes de l’écosystème musical dans lequel les artistes fonctionnent de plus en plus en tant que propriétaires d’entreprises. Le projet a démarré plus tôt ce printemps avec une analyse de l’environnement réalisée grâce à la tenue d’une série de groupes de discussion avec des artistes et des leaders de l’industrie.

Les résultats du sondage serviront à orienter la conception et la réalisation d’un programme pilote d’artistes entrepreneurs plus tard cette année.

Où qu’ils en soient dans leur carrière, les artistes canadiens sont invités à remplir ce court sondage qui sera disponible dans les deux langues officielles jusqu’au 21 juin 2019. Les participants pourront s’inscrire pour courir la chance de gagner une carte-cadeau Long & McQuade d’une valeur de 25 $.

Remplir le sondage

Pour toute question, veuillez contacter Sarah Hashem, vice-présidente, Initiatives stratégiques, à Music Canada, au shashem@musiccanada.com

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New report calls for development of an Atlantic Canada Music Strategy

A new report unveiled during the 2017 East Coast Music Awards: Festival and Conference today calls for the need to develop an Atlantic Canadian Music Strategy in an effort to strengthen the future of the region’s music sector.

Striking A New A-Chord, a report spearheaded by the East Coast Music Association (ECMA), Music Canada, and Music Canada Live, emphasizes that concentrated investment in the music industry is beneficial not only for those who work in the sector, but ultimately for the region as a whole.

“Music is fundamentally linked to Atlantic Canadian culture,” says Andy McLean, Executive Director of the ECMA. “This report clearly shows that – in addition to bolstering that identity – supporting this sector means helping small businesses, creating opportunities to attract and retain youth employment, and developing our artists to compete at an international level. The first step to harnessing these opportunities is creating a pan-Atlantic strategy.”

Delivered during a presentation at the Saint John Trade & Convention Centre this afternoon titled Stronger Together, the report also marks a landmark partnership between all five music industry associations – Musique/Music NB, Music Nova Scotia, Music NL, Music PEI, and the Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative – who have committed to working with the ECMA, Music Canada, and Music Canada Live to establish this regional strategy.

“Atlantic Canada has one of the richest, most important – but fragile – music scenes in the country. Creating and executing a region-wide strategy will ensure the true economic, social and cultural potential of the industry, and its countless benefits for cities and towns, can be realized,” says Erin Benjamin, Executive Director of Music Canada Live. “This is an historic moment in the timeline of East Coast music, and huge milestone for all of the associations involved. Congratulations, Music Canada Live looks forward to supporting the hard work ahead.”

The report, which was officially commissioned at last year’s ECMAs in Sydney, NS, underscores a number of challenges facing musicians and industry professionals in Atlantic Canada including stringent liquor laws, changing business models in the industry, restrictions on live venues, and lack of industry infrastructure. The latter is a key focus for the proposed strategy, calling the shortage of music publishing companies, agents, publicists, bookers, and artist managers in the region “alarming.”

Among other recommendations, Striking A New A-Chord also calls for the development of an Atlantic Canadian Music Fund that would seek to provide resources to complement existing programs, attract investment, and develop and incentivize musicians and music related businesses to reinvest in Atlantic Canada.

“Targeted investments in other parts of Canada have strengthened those music communities and stimulated additional private spending as well, leading to increased activity in the sector,” says Amy Terrill, Executive Vice President of Music Canada. “We look forward to working with government and industry stakeholders to find ways to complement the existing programs available to the music community in Atlantic Canada in order to create a stronger, more sustainable Atlantic music sector.”

The entire Striking A New A-Chord report is available to read HERE.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: The Broken Promise Of A Golden Age – How Creators Underwrote A Tech Revolution And Were Betrayed

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.

This is the text of a speech I delivered to a sold out crowd at the Econonmic Club of Canada on the 1st of November 2016.  It is much longer than my usual posts, but then the issues at stake are in some respects deserving of the additional words.

This is also an edited and expanded version with sources for quotes and references included.

The Economic Club of Canada, which is where I spoke, has earned the prestigious reputation as Canada’s “National Podium of Record”. In the last two years the ECofC has welcomed reputable names such as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, Toronto Mayor John Tory, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and the Chair of President Obama’s Global Development Council Mohamed El-Erian. The ECof C mission is to “educate, inspire new ideas and connect our members with the most influential leaders of our time.”  Having been offered an opportunity to address the Club on cultural issues at a critical juncture in the history of the creative sector was an honour.


Back in 2003, a famous Canadian recording artist had this to say when he was asked about his prospects in the new digital economy: “we are entering a golden age……a golden age.” This was an idea embraced by artists, the media, pundits, professors and most importantly, policy makers around the globe.

The reason for this heady optimism was the seismic events which were then unfolding in the online distribution and consumption of creative content. Peer-to-peer file sharing had become the default way for people to access virtually unlimited music for free, and the iPod had taken mobile digital music into the mainstream.

The artist who praised the unfolding of this golden age believed that the digital era would usher in a utopia for both musicians and the consumer. Artists would gain access on the Internet to a larger audience than ever before, and in return for the collapse of their traditional marketplaces, they would make more money from the sale of concert tickets, merchandise and other means. This was an epic leap of faith with virtually everything riding on one thing – the promise of digital technology.

The passage of time has instructed us that we might have benefited from a judicious skepticism, that we might have done well to have questioned the extraordinary promises and prognostications that were being made at the time. Had we done so, I wonder if the world in which we now live would have the characteristics that it does – a world in which the creative middle class, within the span of a single generation, has virtually ceased to exist.  A world in which artists struggle more than ever before to earn a living wage and put food on the table. As they transition to the world of the self-employed “entrepreneur”, they are working longer hours and are sometimes engaged in activities for which they have little aptitude, such as data entry clerks – all for scandalously less money.

Jaron Lanier is an author, composer, computer scientist and, some say, the father of virtual reality. He is concerned about the challenges facing creators. In a recent edition of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s magazine, Lanier concluded that,

“We have seen an implosion of careers and career opportunities for those who have devoted their lives to cultural expression. … Opportunities are rare compared to the old-fashioned middle-class jobs that existed in great numbers around things like writing, photography, recorded music and many other creative pursuits.”

jaronlanier

Jaron Lanier

Here in Canada, our creators, the people who build our nation’s cultural foundation and much of the intellectual property we export – are struggling, and along with them the people and businesses who support their work are struggling. Well paid jobs with benefits are disappearing and being replaced by precarious employment. Culture today, more than at almost any time in our history, is dependent on the largesse of the government.

One of the most deeply unpleasant aspects of the past 20 years has been the manner in which the gutting of the creative class, and now an entire way of life (think of youth being told they must accept a world of precarious employment), has been presented as an inevitability. At a recent round table, I sat beside a young entrepreneur who was beside himself at the idea that the Minister of Heritage was having hearings on the digital economy. For him it was simply case of the “horse having left the barn.” There was no turning back the clock, and no point belabouring the issue: “This is the world we live in. Get used to it.”

Today I want to question that supposition. The idea that we cannot change the circumstances in which we live seems to be, dismayingly, widely held. I believe this outlook is founded on a sort of market-driven, hyper-capitalism, a debased and absolutist form of economic, technological determinism. Ayn Rand would love this; it is a sort of libertarian fantasy: the market determines how we live our lives and governments need to get out of the way – and that means us, the people. But let’s remember that we live in a social democracy – we live in a place where the people, not corporations, and not plutocrats, get to decide how to order their lives.

We must (and I include our government policy makers here) harness our imaginations. We cannot look at the world and see it only as it is. We have to be able to see it as it might and should be. And frankly, creators are really good at doing that. This was the skill that Percy Bysshe Shelley would have had us all learn.

Creators for centuries have fought and in some cases died to change the worlds in which they lived. Oppressive forms of employment were ameliorated and tyrannical regimes were overthrown. In the case of Canada, an opposition politician named Tommy Douglas, (who famously stated, “Courage, my friends; ’tis not too late to build a better world.”) set out to change the public morality as a method of forcing the government of the day to adopt universal health care – he succeeded.

tommydouglas

Tommy Douglas, leader of the New Democratic Party pictured in 1953.

The people demanded change. People got change because because they decided that they wanted to live in a better world – a world hey were prepared to fight for.

We are inheritors of this great tradition. And we can deploy it to restore the balance. Minister Joly, for example, as part of her cultural consultations, has asked us to think outside the box, to be bold and to think big. Well, one way to do that is to ignore the conventional wisdom that tells us: this is the way it has to be. And that is what I hope to do today.

But first, let’s look at how we in the creative community got to where we are today.

The foundation for most of the rules and regulations which govern our modern digital environment are two treaties adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1996: The WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

To help us better appreciate the magnitude of the task the negotiators of those treaties faced, we need to understand what the world looked like at that time. This was a world in which digital technologies – and their adoption by consumers – were in their infancy.

In 1996, less than 1% of the world’s population was online. If you were one of the few, it was via a dial-up modem that delivered websites at the rate of 30 to 60 seconds a page. You searched the 100,000-odd websites using AltaVista or Yahoo – Google wouldn’t launch for another two years.

In 1996, email had yet to surpass the U.S. Postal Service in terms volume of messages delivered. Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill was the world’s top selling album – though fans were more likely to purchase it from a mail-order club than an online retailer.

After the adoption of the WIPO treaties, it would be a full two and a half years before Napster appeared. It was four and a half years before the introduction of the iPod (2001), six years before the advent of the Blackberry “smartphone”, eight years before the first video was uploaded to YouTube and over a decade before the first song was streamed on Spotify.

The people setting the rules for our world were well-intentioned and clever; but the reality is that they were guessing. Now there is nothing wrong with guessing. We all make educated guesses on which we base our actions.  But the beauty of our world is that with the passage of time and the accumulation of experience, we have the luxury of reassessing our situation, and adapting our behaviours when those first guesses clearly turn out to have been ill-founded. We have now had 20 years of experience with those early WIPO guesses.  How are we doing?

Well, the preambles to these treaties give us an idea of what WIPO wanted to do. The people who drafted the Copyright Treaty, told us that it was designed to:

(1) recognize the profound impact of the development and convergence of information and communication technologies on the creation and use of literary and artistic works,

(2) emphasize the outstanding significance of copyright protection as an incentive for literary and artistic creation, and

(3) recognize the need to maintain a balance between the rights of authors and the larger public interest.

These are laudable goals.  But very clearly everything would come down to the question of balance. If balanced correctly, the new rules would supercharge the digital marketplace – a boon to both creators and the public.

But very quickly, fissures began to appear. Technology advocates and so-called intermediaries argued that in order for the new technological infrastructure to get off the ground, creators were going to have to give up something to get something. What they would give up would be copyright payments that would otherwise have been required under the pre-WIPO rules: exceptions would be created.  In return, creators would benefit from a larger, more diverse marketplace.  So-called “middle men” would disappear.  All manner of economic miracles would take place. It would be win-win.

So when the first major country to implement the WIPO Treaties, the US, did so in 1998, the intermediaries and other technology companies insisted on a quid pro quo:  a series of “safe harbours” from liability.  These safe harbours were codified in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and subsequently served as a template to legislators around the world. Almost every exception excused someone from making a payment to a copyright owner that they would otherwise have had to make. But there was also a social quid pro quo that was articulated over and over and over again: creators would be better off.  In my view this amounted to more than a bargain, more than an article of faith: it was a social contract. A bargain which very quickly turned Faustian; a social contract that is now in a shambles.

The French economist Olivier Bomsel was among the first to call this arrangement out for what it was – a massive system of cross-subsidies. By foregoing money otherwise payable to them, the creative community would subsidize the development of the technology infrastructure.

olivierbomsel

Olivier Bomsel

Up to this day, much of the policy-making regarding copyright law continues to be driven by the popular mythology that digital technologies and platforms produce lucrative new opportunities for the creative economy.

Until very recently, however, the hypothesis that digitization and the Internet would unleash a Golden Age for the creative economy had not been adequately put to the test. Music Canada decided to address this information gap by commissioning an independent analysis to measure the impact of digitization on the creative economy.

The author of this study is Dr. George Barker, Director of the Centre for Law and Economics at Australian National University, and currently a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics. His paper examines the data on the effect of digitization and the Internet on among other things, Canadian music industry sales.

The paper seeks answers to the questions:

  • Have digital technologies and the Internet –together with the copyright liability exceptions adopted to spur them — spawned a Golden Age for creative content?”, and
  • Has the need for intellectual property protection fallen in light of these benefits?

The answer to both questions, according to Dr. Barker, is no. His study found that digital technologies and the Internet were associated with sharply reduced demand, prices and sales, and consequently, to lower investment and employment.

The evidence he cites overwhelmingly supports this finding, and here are but two examples from music:

  • Globally, music sales fell about 70% in real terms between 1999 and 2013.
  • In Canada from 1997-2015, music revenues fell to 20 percent of what they would have been had they kept pace with inflation and real GDP growth – a modest expectation, to say the least.  This resulted in a cumulative revenue gap of over 12 and-a-half billion dollars.

Put another way, over 12 and-a-half billion dollars that would have gone to artists and rights holders simply disappeared. Most remarkably, this happened at a time when music consumption rose to record levels.

As music was gaining in value and use to the consumer, its value to the creator was going into sharp decline.

Francis Gurry, the Director General of WIPO, decried this phenomenon in 2013, concluding that the migration of creative works from analog formats and physical distribution to digital technology and internet distribution had been accompanied by an “avoidable and inappropriate loss of value to creators, performers and the creative sector.

Here is the full text:

The past 20 years has witnessed the steady migration of creative works from analogue formats and physical distribution to digital technology and distribution over the Internet. This has been a classic process of creative destruction. It is a normal part of any such process that value shifts. But what has been worrying in the transition from analogue to digital is the seemingly avoidable and inappropriate loss of value to creators, performers and the creative sector. A multiplicity of studies have been undertaken to measure this phenomenon and discussion, if not arguments, abound about methodology and magnitude. What is clear, however, is that the impact of illegal downloading is significant and negative. While the value of digital sales has been rising, they have not been rising at the same rate as analogue sales have been falling and value is being lost.

At least for musicians, a key component of the social contract was that while the market for the sale of music might decline, new and different income sources would arise.  Infamously, this came to be associated with the idea that touring and merchandise income would supplant the sale of music products.  It has not. If there is a Golden Age, it has eluded a new generation of musicians.

It comes as no surprise then that, in 2011, the average artist in Canada earned about $7,200 per year from music-related activities, according to a 2013 study conducted for the Canadian Independent Music Association. This reflects the sharp erosion of the ability of artists, especially young ones struggling to build a career, to earn a living from their creative work.

As alternative income sources failed to appear, a new and offensive concept has appeared: the idea that creators have an inner compulsion to create, and that remuneration is not integral to the creative impulse – an idea which reached its nadir in Amanda Palmer’s remark that musicians would be happy to perform with her for “beer and hugs”.

Musicians aren’t the only creators feeling the pinch. According to a 2015 survey by the Writers’ Union of Canada authors are earning 27% less from their craft than they did in 1998, after taking inflation into account.

The survey also found that median net income from writing was less than $5,000 and the average income was about $12,900 – far below the average Canadian income of $49,000. More than 80% of writers earn an income from their writing that is below the poverty line!

Creators are not alone in their struggle to stay afloat in the new economy. Taking a broader view, British economist Guy Standing argues that technologies are disrupting the way income and earnings are distributed.  Standing is known for his conception of a new class of society, the “precariat” and has just published a new book, “The Corruption of Capitalism:  Why Rentiers Thrive and Work Does not Pay.”  In a review for the Guardian, Katrina Forrester noted that:

the ‘precariat’ is defined by the insecurity and instability of the work it performs. Its members are diverse: immigrant Uber drivers and millennial interns, part-time lecturers and the cleaners and couriers of the “gig economy”, the old working class forced into temporary and casual labour.

She continues:

“For Standing, what matters is that technologies are destroying the way our income and earnings have been distributed. A new “rental wedge” has been created – between profits, which are growing, and ever more concentrated, and wages, which are falling and ever more uncertain. Work is no longer the road to riches, or even the way out of poverty. There may be more work, but it pays less.”

Creators belong on this list as well – as its charter members, I would argue. I have heard corporate executives and government policy makers discuss the “gig economy” in almost breathless terms – and invariably the people extolling its virtues have full time jobs with benefits and pensions.  They have no IDEA how desperate life in the gig economy can be. Musicians know.

All of this is taking place in an environment in which music is generating fabulous amounts of money. It is just that, as Gurry points out, very little of it seems to be finding its way on to the creators’ side of the ledger.

Part of the problem has to do with how people are consuming music online.  There are two principal methods – subscription and ad-supported.  It is the latter – ad-supported, on-demand music services such as YouTube and SoundCloud – that have driven most of the increase in digital music consumption – largely because they are free to the consumer. According to a recent study by the IFPI, the problem is that those services deliver far less revenue than paid services.

A subscription service, such as Spotify for example, returned $18 (US) a year per consumer in 2014 – compared to YouTube’s $1. Ad-supported services, with more than 13 times more users than paid services, delivered less than one-third as much money to artists and other rights holders.

The effect of this gaping disparity is that overall digital music revenue growth has lagged far behind consumption.

This disparity has been dubbed the “Value Gap” – which Music Canada defines as “the gross mismatch between the volume of music being enjoyed by consumers and the revenues being returned to the music community.”


So where to from here? What can be done to restore the creative middle class and level the playing field?

As I noted when I began, we are fortunate in Canada to live in a well-functioning social democracy. We can make choices about the type of society we live in, and collectively, through our political representatives, we can take action.

Music Canada is among those now calling for reforms. But the entire creative community, here in Canada and around the world, is speaking up. The Writers’ Union views the situation we face as nothing less than “a cultural emergency for Canadians.” They argue, “If we want a strong and diverse publishing and cultural industry, it is essential that creators are reasonably and fairly compensated….If writers continue to be compensated…at these low rates it will inevitably become impossible for professionals in the field to earn a living.”

This year in Europe and the US, thousands of artists have petitioned their governments to address the value gap and rebalance the rules.  Expect more of the same, very soon, in Canada.

There is very clearly a call to action – so what should this action look like

Well for a start, any approach to the problem should be holistic and multijurisdictional.

Municipal Action!

Music Canada has been aggressively opening new channels to do this. For example, we have been taking the message to municipalities that they can implement simple, straightforward local policies to improve the business environment for creators and the businesses that support them.

Music Canada identified these options in a 2015 report, The Mastering of a Music City. The report has gone viral all over the world.

The idea of local governments creating music cities and mayors running on pro music platforms would have been ridiculous just a few years ago. Yet today, in Canada alone, nine municipalities of various sizes across the country have Music City strategies in place. And more are coming.

Municipalities are taking these steps because they now understand that the benefits are worth the effort. For example: job creation, economic growth, tourism development, city brand building, artistic and cultural growth. Perhaps most importantly, strong music scenes have also been proven to attract other business investment along with talented young workers who put a high value on quality of life, no matter what their profession.

Provincial Action!!

At the provincial level, Ontario and BC are trailblazers having created music-friendly programs that are almost unique in the world.  Both provinces have dedicated substantial music financial resources and have created music-friendly policies such as the BC’s red tape reduction strategy that is designed to supercharge the live music economy.

Federal Action!!!

For her part, Minister Joly has been crisscrossing the country, asking people to think big, to be ambitious and to step outside the box; these are her exact words.

Minister of Heritage, Melanie Joly

Minister of Heritage, Melanie Joly

So let’s do that – let’s think big. How can the federal government get involved? How can it innovate and, like Ontario and BC, blaze a new trail? The government has made it clear that it wants a new toolkit to confront the challenges facing Canada’s creators and that it seeks a new social contract for creators. This comes after almost two decades of federal government policy-making that has almost exclusively favoured the user community.  A favoured rubric of the previous Conservative government was that creators and the creative sector would have to take “water in their wine” if they wanted any change at all to the copyright framework. By the time the wine was finished being watered, it bore little resemblance to wine at all.

If the Minister of Heritage is serious, then the government of Canada has to employ a creator-centric approach.  And to do this it has four “levers” in its toolkit: legislation, program funding, policies and treaties, and institutions. Here are some thoughts about how those levers might be manipulated to benefit our creative community:


Legislation

This one is simple.  End all the cross-subsidies paid by creators. Now.

The businesses that benefit from these cross-subsidies have become wealthy beyond imagination over the years. The goal initially was to get them off the ground. Job done. The creative community has been making its contribution for two decades. It’s payback time.

Policies and Treaties

First, I’d like to applaud the federal government on signing the CETA agreement with the European Union. This treaty contains provisions that will encourage the creation of intellectual property assets.   The production of these assets results in a double dividend for our country: firstly they are material assets, which are owned by Canadians and are exportable, and secondly they are cultural assets which allow us to tell our story to the world.  More of this please!

Second, I note that Ontario, BC and municipalities across Canada are all designing policies to attract foreign direct investment in the domestic music economy.  The federal government would do well to heed those examples, and pitch in with supportive policies of its own.

Third, Canada is home to one of the most vibrant live music scenes in the world. Provinces and municipalities are awake to the music tourism opportunities this presents. This is an easy one Ottawa:  tell the rest of the world what a brilliant destination we are for music tourism; market music! Brand Canada as one of the greatest live music scenes in the world, and brag about it!

Program Funding

First, Canada currently boasts an enviable system of programme funding for music. But that funding needs to keep pace with inflation as well as the changing realities of the marketplace and creators’ lives. I have repeatedly urged the government to pay attention to how the lives of creators have changed. For example, in a globalized market, developing export opportunities is critical for them. So? Spend money on the Trade Routes programme – a LOT of money; earmark some of it for music.

Next, artists’ incomes have cratered. What could that mean? Well, how about the fact they can’t afford homes. Housing affordability has become an increasingly urgent issue for them. The federal government should seriously examine this issue in the context of cultural infrastructure.  And by the way, Ontario? Get with that as well … cultural infrastructure has to be part of your infrastructure spending.

Finally, musicians used to be surrounded by a plethora of enablers and supporters. They are gone with the ecosystem, gone with the money. Musicians are now more often than not micro businesses, sole proprietors and individual entrepreneurs. Has any thought been given to a programme that would fund skills and entrepreneurial training?   This is actually an initiative in which municipalities could also play a large part.

Institutions

Here, the federal government has already taken positive steps such as increasing funding for the CBC and the Canada Council for the Arts. During her recent consultations, Minister Joly made the point that the government is looking to go in new and bigger directions. She looked back to eras in which the CBC, the CRTC and the Canada Council had been created.

But before we create something new, let’s fix something old.  One institution that needs to be reimagined and reinvented for the digital era is the Copyright Board of Canada. The Senate of Canada itself is conducting hearings into the operation of the Board – that is how serious the problem has become. The government needs to turn it into a true business development office for the creative and user communities.

As for something new, here’s a really big idea. Right across the country music education is in jeopardy; frankly it is under assault. Increasingly, the students with access to music education are from more affluent families. Inner city youth, remote, rural and indigenous communities are getting shut out. But it is not just music, it is the liberal arts in general that are at risk.

We need to reconnect our young people with the importance of a liberal arts education, with the importance of creativity. One of the things we’ve seen is an erosion of respect for the creative process. Rebuilding respect for the humanities will assist us in rebuilding our shattered framework. Someone who has done an enormous amount of thinking about this, and who sees the value of humanities is Charles Fadel. An example of the type of work he and his Center for Curriculum Redesign have been doing can be found here. Today it is all to common to attend conferences on innovation at which the topics of culture and the humanities are literally never raised; instead the four-headed god of STEM is worshiped with a fervour the catholic church can only wish to entertain from its adherents.

The Federal Government needs to exercise a leadership role because this is a national issue of national importance.  The Government already supports a programme like this – focused on science.  It an absolutely wonderful programme called Let’s Talk Science.  Their own description of their mission is as follows:

Let’s Talk Science is an award-winning, national, charitable organization focused on education and outreach to support youth development. We create and deliver unique learning programs and services that engage children, youth and educators in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

If Science, then why not Humanities?  I urge the Department of Heritage to convene an expert panel to consider this issue.  I urge them to go further than simple funding a charitable endeavour to promote the humanities to our youth, I urge the government to establish a permanent National Humanities Council.

CODA

I will offer a coda at this point.

One of the questions being asked by the Minister of Heritage is “how can we (I assume she means both the people of Canada and the government) use content to promote a strong democracy?” This got me thinking about the intimate connection, throughout history, between creators and democracy.

Poets, film-makers, and novelists have always played an essential role in the fight for democracy and civil rights.  Here in Canada we have an immediate example at hand, Gord Downie’s The Secret Path. But to his name we can add Pete Seeger, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Vaclav Havel, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Fela Kuti and many, many more. These are all people who were banned, exiled or jailed for their fight for justice and democratic principles.

It is instructive, is it not, that after the revolution in Czechoslovakia, the people turned not to a strongman but to a playwright. A playwright whose velvet revolution had been powered by illicit tapes of Lou Reed’s band, The Velvet Underground. You can read the story here.

As you may have heard when you entered the room, our background music was a selection of protest songs.  That has been one of music’s great contributions to our world: music and protest anthems have been associated with just about every social change for decades.  I’ve put a Spotify playlist of protest songs together that you can find here. BUY SOME OF THESE SONGS!!

Creators are truly, as Shelley famously said, “the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”  Now, when he says they are legislators, he doesn’t mean they’re lawyers, he doesn’t mean they’re necessarily politicians. What I think he is saying is that creators predict our future, they underpin our future, and they create a framework (political AND cultural) for our future. To the extent we allow these voices to be in any way compromised or marginalized, our democracy will suffer a great loss.

Should we just “get used” to the way things are?  Some of our politicians and virtually the entire techno-utopian community are saying so.  Why? Why should we get used to the way things are?  The citizens who opposed the brutal child labour regimes of the 1st Industrial Revolution did not “get used to” those conditions – they fought to change them – and they did change them.  They changed the world for the better.  We’re are in the midst of what some are calling the 4th Industrial Revolution.  And while it has ushered in great boons, just the way the 1st Industrial Revolution did, so too it is ushering in banes.  Mary and Percy Shelley fully understood this when they wrote Frankenstein.  They understood that the unmediated introduction of new technology into world cancreate monsters.  But it does not need to, not if technology is accountable to the people – all the people.

The members of the modern technological “precariat” are also objecting to the circumstances of their lives. And I warrant they will fight to change them.  As I said at the outset, in a social democracy we do not have to get “used to it”.  We have the right to decide what sort of world we live in.

So my answer to the Minister’s question is this: If you want a stronger democracy that is less vulnerable to special interests, that distributes wealth equitably, then do everything in your power to restore balance to the world in which our creators live. Encourage and enable them.  Our creators are not living in a golden age.  That was the promise but they didn’t get their golden age. The promise was broken.  We owe it to them.  And we owe it to them now.

We would do well to remember that the fight for democracy and justice has always had a soundtrack.

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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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Thoughts on Minister Melanie Joly’s speech to the Economic Club of Canada

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.

This article was originally published on www.grahamhenderson.ca

On 9 June 2016, Minister of Heritage, Melanie Joly addressed the Economic Club of Canada on the topic of “Canada’s Culture Dividend: The Creative Sector As Economic Driver.”  I believe this was her first public, policy-oriented speech and it is significant that she chose the Economic Club as the venue.  As a sponsor of the event, Music Canada was afforded a podium opportunity to thank the Minister and reflect on her remarks.  Before we get to what I said then, I will draw attention to a few important aspects of her speech. Unfortunately, and for reasons I do not understand, this important speech has not yet been published by the Minister’s office, so I cannot link to it.  An official request has been made by Music Canada.

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The Minister put on a bravura display which showcased an extraordinary grasp of a complex topic.  Clearly much thought had gone into what she said.  She was conversant with all of the facts and figures and conveyed the important message that culture is big business in Canada.  She noted that government support for the arts should not just be about funding – that funding was only part of the answer.  She bluntly stated that cultural policy in Canada needed a “new toolbox.” and pledged to create it.  This is one of the most prescient and important undertakings that any Heritage Minister in memory has made, and with a mandated review of the Copyright Act coming in 2017, it will be very interesting to see how the Minister intends to put her words into meaningful action.

There was one interesting moment in the event that actually took place during my remarks.  I was in the process of discussing the music industries transition from an analogue to digital economy. I had pointed out the extent to which we had embraced this evolution but then remarked that the Government needed to work together with the creative community “to ensure one critical result: appropriate remuneration of artists for their work.” This drew a veritable storm of sustained applause that even surprised me – I hope this is something the Minister and her staff noticed.

For all of the positives in her speech, there were some very surprisingly sour notes. The entire literary world was completely ignored; a fact that drew a measured but forceful rebuke from a member of the audience during the question and answer period. A question from a member of the fashion industry about whether or not the Minister considered fashion design to be a part of Canada’s cultural mosaic was met with what amounted to a flat out “no”. It is hard to understand why, say, videos games are considered to be “cultural” products but fashion designs are not. A question about just how substantive the government intended its mandated 2017 copyright review to be was met with a surprisingly inchoate response.  I would have thought that a Minister of a government in search of a new “toolbox” would have responded to that question with an emphatic “We intend our review to be VERY substantive.”

Overall it was a very satisfying speech which introduced the cultural community to a Minister with vision and passion who clearly desires to cast herself in the role of a champion.

Now, as to my speech, I spoke extemporaneously from bullet points and notes scribbled during the Minister’s speech.  What follows is the transcribed text of my remarks with a few amendments to clarify grammar!


I’m Graham Henderson. I’m from Music Canada, and it’s my honour to thank the Minister and offer some brief thoughts on her remarks.  I guess if I had been asked to do a formal review, I could do it in one word: “wow.” Minister Joly, you managed in a very short period of time to demonstrate your grasp of the importance of the cultural industries to our economy. I won’t go into all of the economic details – we are all familiar with them: for example the fact that culture represents 3% of our GDP. This amounts to a 55 billion dollar contribution to our nation’s GDP each year.  But beyond this, thanks to pioneering work being done by Music Canada, we now understand that culture’s contribution to our society is so much more complex.  Music for example has an enormous impact on the quality of life in our communities. And, as you recognize, government contributions to this sector represent an investment, and not just a financial outlay – there is an enormous return on that investment.  Additionally, as you have observed, culture is a key component of “Brand Canada.” In many respects culture is a gift to the people of Canada, and we are not doing enough to incorporate it into Brand Canada, and celebrate it around the world.

I was also very, very pleased to hear your call for more investment from business in the cultural sector. Also I was pleased by your references to and emphasis on the humanities.  The humanities underpin everything that we do, and actually, are under threat here and around the world. As you probably know, Republican governors across the United States are calling for the removal of state funding for students seeking an education in the humanities. Here in Canada the last Government financially supported an excellent STEM initiative called “Let’s Talk Science.” Well, in response to the comment that you made about the importance of the humanities, perhaps your government could introduce a program called “Let’s Talk Humanities;” a program geared to interest our young people in an education in that sector and turn STEM into STEAM!

This year is a good year for music. It’s the first year in almost two decades that there has been an uptick in our revenue picture. Global growth is up three percent. Music consumption is exploding, particularly through the streaming services. This is great news and it reflects an industry that is adapting to the rapid transformation of technology.  However, it requires us to continue to work together to ensure one critical result: appropriate remuneration of artists for their work.

I think everyone in this room looks forward to working with you in the coming months on the legislative review of the Copyright Act. This must not be a pro forma review. This needs to be meaningful. We have fourteen years of experience to guide us.

Now, in concluding, I am going to do something I always try to do whenever I’m speaking in public! I try to work in some of the ideas of my favourite poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, which I’m going to do now. In this case, given some of the things the Minister has said, I think it’s exceedingly appropriate.

Shelley

Sketch of Shelley drawn by Edward Ellerker Williams. 1821-22. In my view the only extant image that captures the man.

Shelley wrote a defence of creativity almost two hundred years ago to which he gave the title “A Defence of Poetry.” When Shelley wrote this, he was responding to a pointed attack on poetry itself, but I like think of the essay as a defense of creativity in general.  In it, Shelley lists some of the important contributions of science and economics, but he then goes on to say,

“…it exceeds all imagination to conceive what would have been the moral condition of the world if neither Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Calderon, Lord Bacon, nor Milton, had ever existed; if Raphael and Michael Angelo had never been born.”

And this feeds in directly to his conclusions.  Shelley writes:

“Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”

When Shelley speaks of “poets,” I believe here he means creators; and when he says they are legislators, he doesn’t mean they’re lawyers, he doesn’t mean they’re necessarily politicians. What I think he is saying is that creators predict our future, they underpin our future, and they create a framework for our future. And this is why I am excited about what Minister Joly has said.  The Minister intuitively understands this. The Minister sees that creators are deserving of our respect and protection.  I am so glad to see that we actually have with us an elected legislator who sees that it is our poets who are the true legislators of the world.

Thank you.

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Music Canada voted onto IFPI’s Main Board

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Graham Henderson, President & CEO of Music Canada

Graham Henderson, President & CEO of Music Canada, has been voted onto the Main Board of IFPI, the organization that represents the recording industry worldwide. This marks the first time a representative from Canada has held a position on the Main Board. In addition, Music Canada now has a seat on IFPI’s ILC (International Legal Committee), a group of leading legal experts from IFPI and its member organizations.

IFPI (International Federation for the Phonographic Industry) represents the interests of the recording industry worldwide. IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for record producer rights and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all its member markets. Its membership comprises around 1,300 major and independent music companies in 62 countries.

The Main Board provides direction and guidance from leading global organizations, markets and music companies to steer IFPI’s priorities. Currently, the Main Board is comprised of representatives from major and independent labels, as well as regional and national trade associations.

“I am honoured that Music Canada will have the opportunity to represent Canada’s music labels on an international level,” says Graham Henderson. “As the music industry continues to adapt alongside new technology, I am proud that Music Canada will be able to collaborate with international colleagues on issues of crucial importance to artists and rights holders worldwide.”

According to Canada’s Department of Heritage, Canada is the third largest exporter of musical talent in the world.

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Canadian music companies successfully settle legal action against isoHunt

MC smallIFPI Small

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Vancouver, 25 July 2016:  Canadian and international music companies have settled litigation against isoHunt Web Technologies Inc. (“isoHunt”) and its founder Gary Fung (“Fung”) with the entering of orders by consent against isoHunt and Fung.  The settlement ends a lawsuit filed in 2010 alleging substantial copyright infringement of music on the isoHunt site, as well as an opposing action filed by isoHunt and Fung.

isoHunt and Fung agreed to a court order finding them liable for infringing the music companies’ rights in their recordings, which were made available for BitTorrent file-sharing through isoHunt’s websites. Fung and isoHunt further agreed not to be associated with any service that makes the music companies’ recordings available without authorization, including by BitTorrent or any other file-sharing technology.

“Music companies in Canada stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against illegitimate sites that distribute massive volumes of creative works without compensation to creators,” said Graham Henderson, President & CEO of Music Canada. “Thousands of Canadian creators, our creative industries, and their employees are directly harmed by these activities. This settlement is a step forward towards providing consumers with a marketplace in which legitimate online music services can thrive.”

isoHunt was one of the largest unauthorized BitTorrent sites in the world, offering access to a vast array of music and films for instant download by millions of users. It operated out of Vancouver with worldwide reach.

“Courts all over the world have confirmed that websites such as isoHunt infringe rights”, said Frances Moore, Chief Executive Officer of IFPI. “Artists, creators and record companies pay a heavy price for that infringement, in lost revenues, lost jobs and lost investment. This settlement sends a strong message that anyone who builds a business by encouraging and enabling copyright infringement faces legal consequences for these actions.”

A timeline of legal activities involving isoHunt:

  • 2008 – isoHunt files a petition in British Columbia Supreme Court against Canadian music companies, seeking to have its BitTorrent file-sharing site declared legal under the Canadian Copyright Act;
  • 2009 – The British Columbia Supreme Court rejects isoHunt’s application, and grants the Canadian music companies’ application to have the petition proceed by way of an action or full trial. isoHunt files such an action;
  • 2009 – A US federal district court finds isoHunt liable for copyright infringement in a case brought by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), citing unchallenged evidence that 95% of the files traded through isoHunt’s sites were likely infringing;
  • 2010 – Two dozen Canadian and international music companies file a lawsuit against isoHunt and Fung in British Columbia Supreme Court, alleging massive copyright infringement and seeking damages;
  • 2012 – The Canadian government passes The Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11), which ensures that businesses that enable infringement can be held liable for the activities they facilitate. In public statements, government representatives identify isoHunt as the type of “enabler” that the law is intended to target;
  • 2013 – A US federal court of appeals unanimously upholds the US district court’s decision;
  • 2013 – isoHunt and Fung agree to halt all operations worldwide and are deemed liable for a judgment of US$110 million in the US proceedings;
  • 2016 – by way of a consent order filed in the Canadian proceedings in British Columbia Supreme Court, isoHunt and Fung are liable for CAD$55 million in damages and an additional CAD$10 million in punitive damages.  isoHunt and Fung further agree not to be associated with any service that makes the music companies’ recordings available without authorization.

Despite these successful legal actions, piracy remains a significant problem for the music industry. IFPI estimates that 20 per cent of all fixed line internet users worldwide regularly access services offering infringing music. A recent report by the Digital Citizens Alliance demonstrates that one in three piracy sites contains malware, which could result in identity theft, stolen banking information, or exposure to hackers.

̶   Ends  ̶

For more information:

Quentin Burgess, Music Canada

qburgess@musiccanada.com

+1 (416) 967-7272 x106

 

Adrian Strain, Director of Communications, IFPI

adrian.strain@ifpi.org

+44 (0)20 7878 7935

 

 

Notes for editors:

About Music Canada

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada, namely Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

About IFPI

IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in 61 countries. It also has affiliated industry associations in 57 countries.  IFPI’s mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for record producer rights and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all its member markets.

 

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East Coast Music Association announces new partnership with Music Canada and Music Canada Live

Last week, over 600 performing artists and 8,000 fans gathered in Cape Breton for East Coast Music Week (ECMW). Amidst the performances music professionals and representatives from music associations from across Canada met and began an initiative to make the music industry stronger in Atlantic Canada.

As ECMW came to a close, Andy McLean, of the East Coast Music Association, announced the beginning of a process to study the east coast’s music industry. In partnership with Music Canada and Music Canada Live, this initiative will eventually lead to the production of an industry profile of Atlantic Canada which will identify its strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for growth and development.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is to ensure that East Coast musicians can have a sustainable career without having to leave the region.

“The amount of talent in the Atlantic region is undeniable, and large events and festivals like the ECMA, bring outstanding cultural and economic benefits to the region,” says Amy Terrill, Executive Vice President of Music Canada.  “We look forward to learning more about the things that are working well in the Atlantic region and generating some new ideas that would help build a stronger, more successful music community.”

The initial report, which is expected by September 2016, has the support of all five regions and the local music industry associations (Music Nova Scotia, Music PEI, Music New Brunswick, Music Newfoundland & Labrador and the Cape Breton Music Industry Cooperative) who will participate in the study.

Amy Terrill spoke to the East Coast Music Week Industry Conference about Music Canada’s research—the BC Music Sector report which led to the Government of British Columbia’s recent $15 million investment in the music industry, and The Mastering of a Music City report which continues to generate discussion about how cities can make themselves more music and musician-friendly.

“It’s exciting to see the music city conversations blossoming in the Atlantic provinces,” added Terrill.  “Music has an incredible impact on community vitality and quality of life, which is critical for attracting and retaining young workers from every sector.  Working with the music community to ensure a friendly environment for the presentation of music is a win-win approach.”

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Music Canada’s 2014 Annual General Meeting

The Lula Lounge in Toronto played host to Music Canada’s 2014 Annual General Meeting on September 10th, with more than 150 representatives from our member labels and industry partners in attendance.

The event began with a State of the Industry conversation between acclaimed record producer Bob Ezrin and Music Canada President Graham Henderson. Much of the discussion focused on the Copyright Board of Canada’s recent decision on Re:Sound’s Tariff 8, which sets appallingly low royalty rates for non-interactive and semi-interactive webcast services. Re:Sound has since filed an application for Judicial Review of the Board’s decision, and a coalition of more than 70 music organizations released a joint statement in support of Re:Sound’s Application for Judicial Review.

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Mr. Ezrin spoke passionately of the importance of “one voice” in opposition to the Tariff 8 decision. “We need, somehow, as an industry… as one business… get together quickly and get to Ottawa and fight this tariff…. Because this is truly the beginning of an end.”

I Stand For Music was created as a space for the industry and fans to amplify their voices in opposition to the Tariff 8 decision, and to show their support for recorded music and Canada’s music community.
Following the discussion with Ezrin, Henderson described what’s on the horizon for Music Canada. In addition to the battle over Tariff 8, Henderson revealed plans for Music Canada Live that will soon represent the live music community. “The vision for the association is that is truly national in scope, representing all sizes of live music companies, for profit and not-for-profit, in all corners of the country,” said Henderson. “It’s going to identify common issues, and create a strong, collective voice to ensure the live music community is well represented when decisions are made at all levels of government, and that is unprecedented.”

Henderson also shared that Music Canada is undertaking an economic impact study of Ontario’s live music sector in conjunction with the Ontario Media Development Corporation. “We expect this to be as vital to the debate as our economic impact study of the recording industry has been,” said Henderson.

Henderson also spoke of OntarioLiveMusic.ca, a live music portal developed by Music Canada, under contract with the Ontario government, which profiles Ontario as a destination for music tourism. Music Canada’s work on Toronto as a music city will continue under the 4479 Toronto brand, as well as on the Music City Alliance with Austin, Texas. Henderson also touched on a new partnership with the National Music Centre in Calgary, AB, in the development of a study on leveraging Calgary’s music sector for economic development.

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Next, Music Canada’s Amy Terrill moderated a ‘New Directions’ panel, featuring a conversation with old friends in new positions in the industry, including Melanie Hurley from Canada’s Walk of Fame, Allan Reid from the Canadian Academy of Recorded Arts and Sciences (CARAS), Rick Fenton from Music Ontario, and Zaib Shaikh from the City of Toronto.

Allan Reid spoke of CARAS’ expanded emphasis on artist development, noting that as MusiCounts does great work at the very beginnings of a music career, and the JUNOs celebrate them at the pinnacle of their success, CARAS sees room to expand to help artists in the middle ground.

Rick Fenton told the audience that Music Ontario is developing a market access program, as well as creating a physical and virtual resource centre to help “artists affect change with a common voice,” on issues like Tariff 8 and more.

Melanie Hurley shared that as Canada’s Walk of Fame is preparing for its 5th annual festival later this month, her next priority is to continue to develop partnerships with Toronto and Ontario, and expand the Walk of Fame brand. “Our first initiative is to celebrate, and the second is to inspire future generations,” said Hurley. “And I think that’s where we can really take off, where we can expand and look at doing scholarships and partnerships, and bring in people to talk to the next generation.”

Zaib Shaikh spoke of Toronto’s strength in both economics and culture, and shared information on recent developments at the City of Toronto’s Economic Development & Culture division, which has grown to 30 employees, and will soon add a Music Sector Development officer, whom Shaikh said should be in place by the beginning of October. “I’m looking forward to Toronto being seen as a leader in what we can do with entertainment, and obviously music is a key cornerstone in that,” said Shaikh.
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The meeting closed out with a special performance by Shawn Hook, who performed two new songs from his upcoming album, including the new single ‘Million Ways’.

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For more photos from the event, see the album on our Facebook page.

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Music Community Pleased with Work Permit Changes for Foreign Artists

Work Permit changes announced yesterday for foreign music artists will dramatically improve the landscape for much of the live music community in Canada for the benefit of venues across the country, artist managers, agents, Canadian record labels, as well as Canadian and foreign artists. These changes were made at the request of Canada’s music community.Effective immediately, all foreign artists performing in time-limited engagements – so, on contract for a tour for instance – and their essential crew – will no longer have to expend the time or the cost to obtain a work permit, regardless of what kind of venue they’re performing in across Canada. If an artist has been hired for a permanent position, however, they will need to go through a different process.

Music Canada, CIMA, CCMIA and CAPACOA and the broader music community applaud these changes, and thank the government and Minister Chris Alexander (Citizenship and Immigration) for supporting the music industry in this regard.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Six music cities to share best practices for music development at Music Cities Exchange during NXNE

Toronto, June 12, 2014: Representatives from six cities who have taken a pro-active approach to developing their music scenes will take part in a Music Cities Exchange during NXNE on Friday, June 20, 2014. Panelists from Toronto, Austin, Hamilton, London, Chicago, Kitchener, and Montreal have been invited to participate in a moderated forum where panelists discuss the steps their city has taken to leverage their respective music scenes and grow opportunities for music development.

The Music Cities Exchange will share best practices, discuss challenges and opportunities facing their respective music communities, and explore the relationship between music and tourism agencies, municipal governments and other sectors.

When: Friday, June 20 @ 2:30 – 4 pm

Where: The Portland Room, The Spoke Club, 600 King St W, Toronto

To arrange interviews with panelists, please contact Quentin Burgess at qburgess@musiccanada.com or 647-981-8410.

This event is proudly sponsored by NXNE, 4479, and Music Canada.

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For more information:

Music Canada Media Contact: Quentin Burgess, 647.981.8410, qburgess@musiccanada.com

NXNE Media Contact: FLIP PUBLICITY Damien Nelson, 416.533.7710 X221, damien@flip-publicity.com

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