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.
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.
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.”
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.
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:
— Monte McNaughton (@MonteMcNaughton) November 1, 2016
— Lisa MacLeod (@MacLeodLisa) November 1, 2016
"The creative middle class within the span of a single generation has ceased to exist." – @GFHenderson. (I have had bands tell me this too.)
— Josh O'Kane (@joshokane) November 1, 2016
— Mike Tanner (@abbottheleme) November 1, 2016
— The Music Den (@RyersonMusicDen) November 1, 2016
— Miriam Kramer (@miriambkramer) November 1, 2016
— jkdegen (@jkdegen) November 1, 2016
— Sundeep Chauhan (@ActuallySundeep) November 1, 2016
— Matthew Holmes (@semimatte) November 1, 2016
— Ontario Chamber (@OntarioCofC) November 1, 2016
— Murray Foster (@MurrayFoster1) November 1, 2016
— Steve Bellamy (@SBellamy_Humber) November 1, 2016
— The Economic Club (@ECofCanada) November 1, 2016
— Caroline Brooks (@carobeelove) November 1, 2016
— Rhiannon Traill (@ECCPres) November 2, 2016
— Michael Westcott (@michaelwestcott) November 1, 2016