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Tag archive: Tariff 8 (22)

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Guest blog: Fairness in the Fishbowl – Reconsider the Copyright Board Ruling on Tariff 8

The following is a guest blog by Greg Nisbet, Founder & CEO of Toronto-based digital music company Mediazoic:

Made-in-Toronto music biz legend Bob Ezrin recently wrote about the Copyright Board ruling on Tariff 8, speculating that it may be “The Day The Music Died”. In the piece, he states the following:

Perhaps the worst result of the low rate is that we will be granting a 90% discount to American streaming companies that covet our market and will eagerly sweep in here with powerful and well-funded systems that will wipe out any Canadian-owned competition – all at the expense of the creators you have historically supported with thoughtful policy.

I run a 100% Canadian music streaming company and I agree with Mr. Ezrin. The ruling was a bad idea and the rates are too low.

It may at first seem counter-intuitive that a streaming company would advocate for paying higher costs to do business, in a business that is already notoriously expensive. Indeed, I was asked in a recent Globe & Mail article if music streaming companies will ever make money.

Well, I don’t know about other companies, but I am proud to be able to claim that ours has been built without any of the digital and entertainment grants available, and, not having had access to those deep wells of venture capital available to many of the international streaming companies, we have therefore managed any progress we’ve made through our own devices.

In our first couple years in business, that lack of funding was actually by choice 😉 People in the industry told me for years that Mediazoic was the ultimate grant magnet – Canadian, digital, music, and media all rolled into one. I used to respond that I didn’t think we could consider ourselves a viable business model unless and until the market had decided our fate. We were going to focus on getting clients, not writing grants.

Then one day we lost a huge deal to a very well-funded international service because, in order to enter our market, they were willing to do for free what I’d have actually had to pay my people to do. I understood immediately the frustration of the local merchant with the big box store opening next door (and yes, we started applying for all the grants we could!)

So yes, Bob Ezrin has a point, but mine is not an argument for protection of companies like mine up against better-funded international competitors. I still think having to stand on our own two feet helps us understand how to build something valuable and sustainable.

My concern with the Copyright Board ruling is that it will foist this “big box” model on our music creators as well. The price-driven “big box stores” (streaming companies) are set up to thrive, but their “suppliers” (artists, management, labels, etc.) are not. And listeners may think they’re better off, but when the creators suffer, it is ultimately music fans who suffer.

It would have been one thing if licensors, who have a deep understanding of the business/culture balance and of Canadian/international ownership complexities, had decided the timing and nature of a change in rates. As we all know, streaming even at low rates is still preferable to file sharing, or streaming from sources that don’t report their plays. The progress that has been made in monetizing convenient access to great music is not something likely to reverse, and in spite of the whipping-boy status earned during the piracy wars, I haven’t found anyone in the business who understands that better than label folks.

And yes, streaming companies do need an environment in which to make a profit. But rather than push for lower rates, my company chose to innovate the business model. Basically, we believe the success of each project we undertake is based on three parties – us for providing the platform, the rightsholders of the music played on our system, and our station hosts (clients) for getting it out there. As such, when planning and implementing a project, we always strive for a fair and transparent split of the revenue between the parties. This isn’t just because we’re nice and we love music – we believe that in the music business of the future, the most successful companies will be the most fair and transparent.

Indeed, we hear repeatedly that one of the main reasons our clients choose to do business with us is that they want to support a flourishing arts community, even more so if that has built-in support for Canadian artists and companies.

We live in a fishbowl. Fairness may be desirable now for organizations, but it is rapidly becoming necessary. Systems that are not based on fairness are doomed to fail, as they will not bear the ever-increasing scrutiny that comes with our interconnected world.

Simply put, the Copyright Board ruling is not fair. It is my hope that the artistic community will use every means at its disposal to support the many innovative new ways of delivering music that actually focus on giving artists a fair shake.

 

Greg Nisbet

Mediazoic…Radio, Evolved

gregn [at] mediazoic [dot] com

http://www.mediazoic.com

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Tariff 8 Royalty Calculator

How does Tariff 8 affect you? In the box below, enter the number of times your song has been streamed on a non-interactive or semi-interactive streaming service to learn how much the Copyright Board of Canada thinks you deserve to be paid for your music:

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Bob Ezrin: “Please don’t let this be the day the music died”

Esteemed Canadian music producer Bob Ezrin has published the following op-ed on the Copyright Board of Canada’s Tariff 8 decision in this week’s edition of The Hill Times.

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM THE HILL TIMES, SEPT. 22, 2014

Please don’t let this be the day the music died

By BOB EZRIN
Published: Monday, 09/22/2014 12:00 am EDT

TORONTOIt’s always been a mixed blessing to live next to the economic and cultural behemoth to our south. On one hand, we have access to the world’s largest market, while still enjoying the more liberal and enlightened Canadian life. On the other hand, they can easily overwhelm us with sheer bulk and easy access to our market.

One of Canada’s most valuable resources—and most profitable exports—is our culture. Per capita, we may be the world’s largest exporter of culture and talent. This has been made possible by the wise decisions of our hard-working parents and by forward-thinking government policy to support the arts in schools and in the marketplace and to provide developmental resources to Canada’s creative class.

We’ve grown successive generations of creators who are the equal to any of their global counterparts. And we have a vibrant national cultural industry.

Historically we’ve ensured that our creators are not just “sponsored” as they grow, but able to earn a sustainable livelihood. But now we face a major sea of change in the marketplace that begins with Canadian music and will ultimately swamp Canadian television, film, and even literature.

It is clear that in the future most music will be consumed through digital streaming services, offering low-cost “all you can eat” subscription plans in place of selling “à la carte” songs or albums. This will become true for television and film as well.

Streaming services want rights holders to believe that, with universal penetration, we will earn much more than we used to collect selling our creations. The reality is quite different. Historically, huge global hit songs would generate millions and fund the industry’s investment in tomorrow’s hit-makers—our R&D.  Today, in the streaming model, the return is a fraction of that.

And in Canada, we are beginning to set rates that are dramatically less than that.

Today, a massive hit streamed 100,000,000 times on  “non- or semi-interactive” services in most developed countries earns performers and their record labels between $130,000 and $220,000. Under the tariff set by our Copyright Board earlier this year, 100,000,000 listens in Canada—a near impossibility given our size—would generate a whopping $10,200. That is less than 10 per cent of what is paid in most other major markets—and roughly 10 per cent of what our industry had already negotiated in direct deals with the streaming services here! And the amount paid to Canadian songwriters and publishers is a similar pittance.

I know that the board operates with the best of intentions, but I am afraid in the case of Tariff 8 it has miscalculated what this industry needs, and Canadian music creators will suffer the consequences.

In short, if the Copyright Board’s inadvertent devaluation of our music is widely adopted and spreads to other rights, we’re dead. Our homegrown Canadian music industry cannot survive this. We will shrivel and die. And when we shrink, it will affect all the workers who support us, from graphic artists to marketing people to truck drivers to hotel workers to stagehands and software engineers—because many of us will simply no longer be able to afford to be creators and marketers of music, or to put our shows on the road.

Perhaps the worst result of the low rate is that we will be granting a 90 per cent discount to American streaming companies that covet our market and will eagerly sweep in here with powerful and well-funded systems that will wipe out any Canadian-owned competition—all at the expense of the creators Canada has historically supported with thoughtful policy.

My message to our government and the Copyright Board is simple:  Please pay attention to the marketplace, because that’s where we make our living. And please recognize that if our digital marketplace is to flourish, it will depend on the health and sustainability of our creative industries, which provide the content that fuel the digital marketplace. Please reconsider Tariff 8. And let’s sit down together to find a way to protect this most valuable of Canadian resources—our culture—in the new economy.

Please don’t let this be the day the music died.

Bob Ezrin has produced some of the world’s most important music artists, including Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel, Johnny Reid and Young Artists for Haiti. He was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2013. In 2013, he was also named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory of Music. Bob can be reached at:  bobezrin@nimbusarts.ca.

 

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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.

EzrinHenderson
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.

Graham
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.
Panel
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’.

ShawnHook

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

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Canada’s Copyright Board Tariff 8 Decision Devalues Music as a Profession, Suggests Music is Worth 900% More in the U.S.

On May 16, 2014, the Copyright Board of Canada issued its decision setting rates for Re:Sound’s Tariff 8 – Non-Interactive & Semi-Interactive Webcasts, 2009-2012.

The Tariff 8 decision is a serious insult to Canada’s musicians because it sets the world’s worst royalty rates for non-interactive (e.g. CBC Music) and semi-interactive (i.e. Songza and Pandora) music streaming.

As noted previously, the new rates certified by the Board amount to about 10% of what digital services companies have been paying in Canada and less than 10% of what those same services pay in the United States.

In The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Tariff 8 decision establishes “10% of Nothing Rates”, Music Canada President Graham Henderson poses the rhetorical question:  “Do Canadian plumbers get paid wages equivalent to 10% of American plumbers? Teachers? Auto workers? Farmers? Who? What profession receives compensation in Canada for their labour that is equal to 10% of the wages paid across the border?”

The answer, obviously, is nobody.

In fact, on closer examination, the answer is that in each of those professions, Canadians – on average – happen to earn MORE than their U.S. counterparts.

Plumbers
Median Annual Salary according to payscale.com
Canada = $57,950
U.S. = $48,632

Professors
Median Annual Salary for a “Professor, Postsecondary/Higher Education” according to payscale.com
Canada = $91,550
U.S. = $83,801

Auto Workers
Median Annual Salary of “Assembly Line Worker, Automotive” according to payscale.com
Canada = $50,565
U.S. = $32,150

Farmers
Median Annual Salary according to payscale.com
Canada = $42,000
U.S. = $32,030

Despite the absurdity of a Canadian earning less than 10% of what his or her counterpart south of the border earns for the same job, the Copyright Board of Canada has decided that professional musicians should get paid 90% less for certain types of music streaming.  Some people may argue that Tariff 8 isn’t an artist’s only source of income.  But the reality is that for these types of services (CBC Music, Stingray, Songza, etc.), Tariff 8 royalties are the only guaranteed source of income for a performer.  Artists deserve to be fairly compensated for their music.  The Tariff 8 decision sends a message that music is not valued as a profession here, and this message is completely inconsistent with Canadian values.  The Canadian government – who did not create this problem – should step in and take the necessary steps to fix Tariff 8 so Canada is not offside with royalty rates in the United States and around the world.

Send a copy of I Stand for Music’s Open Letter to Industry Minister James Moore to show your support for Canada’s music community.

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Global News Halifax: Tariff 8 cuts affect East Coast musicians

Earlier this week, East Coast Music Association Executive Director Andy McLean and artist and producer Daniel Ledwell spoke with Global Morning News Halifax about the Copyright Board of Canada’s Tariff 8 decision. The rates set by the Copyright Board are approximately 10% of the rates negotiated by Re:Sound in its direct agreements with digital services, and less than 10% of the comparable U.S. rates.

“We’re trying to get the Copyright Board to re-evaluate the decision that they made in the light of the fact that people are standing here saying, ‘this is ridiculous,'” said McLean. “It sends a really wrong message, it’s the worst possible rate in the world. There’s no other country that devalues it’s musicians like Canada does. And we have the greatest musicians in the world here.”

The full segment is now available on the Global News website, and is embedded below.

A growing coalition of artists, labels, industry associations, and music fans are speaking out against the Copyright Board decision; to learn more and to add your voice, Like and Share the I Stand For Music Facebook Page, or tweet using the hashtag #IStand4Music.

For more information on the Tariff 8 decision, see our Backgrounder.

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Music Canada’s Graham Henderson discusses Tariff 8 on Newstalk1010’s In The Studio

Last month, Music Canada President Graham Henderson joined Bob Reid and Blair Packham on Newstalk1010’s In The Studio to discuss the Copyright Board of Canada’s recent decision on Tariff 8. The rates set by the Copyright Board are approximately 10% of the rates negotiated by Re:Sound in its direct agreements with digital services, and less than 10% of the comparable U.S. rates.

“This is a problem that actually can be fixed by the Government of Canada,” said Henderson. “Because it’s Government of Canada who sets the rules by which something like the Copyright Board decides how rates will or won’t be set. And it would be very helpful, we think, if the Government of Canada could step in, take recognizance of the ludicrousness of this decision, and maybe help us try and fix it.”

The full segment is now available on Soundcloud, and is embedded below:

A growing coalition of artists, labels, industry associations, and music fans are speaking out against the Copyright Board decision; to learn more and to add your voice, Like and Share the I Stand For Music Facebook Page, or tweet using the hashtag #IStand4Music.

For more information on the Tariff 8 decision, see our Backgrounder.

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Backgrounder: The Copyright Board’s Tariff 8 Decision

On May 16, 2014, the Copyright Board of Canada issued its decision setting rates for Re:Sound’s Tariff 8 – Non-Interactive & Semi-Interactive Webcasts, 2009-2012.

What is the Copyright Board?

The Copyright Board of Canada is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish, either mandatorily or at the request of an interested party, the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society. The Board also has the right to supervise agreements between users and licensing bodies and issues licences when the copyright owner cannot be located.

What is Re:Sound?

Re:Sound is the collective that collects royalties on behalf of music companies (producers) and performers for certain rights, such as the communication right, by filing tariffs before the Canadian Copyright Board. The Board either accepts tariffs proposed by Re:Sound or modifies them. Re:Sound then distributes royalties collected under tariffs certified by the Board directly to performers and to music companies, who in turn may distribute them to artists under royalty agreements.

What is a “Non-Interactive Webcast”?

A Non-Interactive Webcast is an online music streaming service that does not allow the user to control the content or timing of the webcast e.g. no skipping or customizing the stream by genre or artist. Examples of non-interactive music streaming services include Slacker and CBC Music.

What is a “Semi-Interactive Webcast”?

A Semi-Interactive Webcast is a service that allows the user some level of control over the content or timing of the webcast such as skipping or pausing the stream or customizing the content by genre or artist. An example of a semi-interactive service is Pandora Internet Radio.


The Copyright Board’s decision follows a lengthy rate-setting process that started in 2008. Re:Sound proposed rates based on marketplace agreements negotiated directly between webcasting services operating in Canada and both Re:Sound and music companies. These proposed rates were also consistent with US rates, reflecting the marketplace acceptance of North American rates. Re:Sound spent years negotiating deals with digital service providers at market rates, which it presented in evidence to the Board. The Board rejected those agreements and set royalty rates for webcasting in Canada that do not reflect market rates and are a small fraction of the rates payable by the same services in the U.S.

The webcasting rates certified by the Board are based on the rates payable to music publishers by commercial radio stations for their over-the-air broadcasts, and as a result, are a small fraction (less than 10%) of the rates the same services pay in the United States. In the U.S., the Copyright Royalty Board is legislatively required to set webcasting rates based on market rates. In Canada, the Copyright Board sets rates that it considers to be fair as opposed to market rates.

The Re:Sound tariff in this case was for webcasting music, including non-interactive webcasting services and semi-interactive services, but not on-demand services such as Rdio (which are licensed directly by music companies).

Tariff 8 does not apply to podcasts, fully interactive services such as downloads or on-demand streaming, or simulcasts by Canadian commercial radio broadcasters, CBC, pay audio or satellite radio services. Other simulcasters, such as international radio stations streaming into Canada, are subject to the applicable webcasting royalties under Tariff 8.

Key Points

The rates set by the Copyright Board are approximately 10% of the rates negotiated by Re:Sound in its direct agreements with digital services, and less than 10% of the comparable U.S. rates.

The Board rejected Re:Sound’s market rate-based benchmarks and held that marketplace-negotiated rates and North American rates are irrelevant in Canada.

The Board instead set the rates based on the music publishers’ Commercial Radio Tariff, ignoring the key differences between webcasting and terrestrial radio, as demonstrated by Re:Sound’s evidence.

 

Resources:

On May 16, 2014, the Copyright Board of Canada issued its decision setting rates for Re:Sound’s Tariff 8 – Non-Interactive & Semi-Interactive Webcasts, 2009-2012. (Government Fact Sheet)

On June 16, 2014, Re:Sound filed an application for Judicial Review of the Board’s decision. (Re:Sound News Release)

In response, a coalition consisting of more than 70 music organizations released a joint statement in support of Re:Sound’s Application for Judicial Review of the Copyright Board’s Tariff 8 decision setting royalty rates for webcasting services in Canada. (Joint Statement)

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Tariff 8 decision establishes “10% of Nothing Rates”

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.

Six years (think about that people, SIX YEARS!) after the Copyright Board of Canada began the rate-setting process for non-interactive and semi-interactive music webcasting, they finally have released their decision, a decision with far-reaching, deleterious repercussions for the music community around the world. The Copyright Board of Canada has decided that the music produced by our marvelous creators is essentially without value.

The new music streaming rates certified by the Board amount to 10% of what digital services companies have been paying while the slow wheels of the bureaucracy turned, and less than 10% of what those same services pay in the United States. And, by the way, the rates in the United States are no great shakes either and have been the subject of intense criticism from the artistic community for years. I therefore refer to the new Canadian rates as the “10% of Nothing Rates”. The decision is unconscionable. It compounds the damage done by many of the Copyright Board’s decisions on major new tariffs, which have also been the subject of Judicial Review by the Federal Court of Appeal. It will further imperil artists’ livelihoods, and threatens to rob them of the fruits of their labour in the new digital marketplace. And it will further undermine the business environment, undercutting the ability of labels and other music companies to make future investments in Canadian talent.

Let me pose a rhetorical question that throws everything into relief: Do Canadian plumbers get paid wages equivalent to 10% of American plumbers? Teachers? Auto workers? Farmers? Who? What profession receives compensation in Canada for their labour that is equal to 10% of the wages paid across the border? I will tell you who: NOBODY. So, why does the Copyright Board of Canada think this is okay to stick musicians with rates like this? Is it because they essentially think that the creative process is valueless? That is a question which will have to be answered; it and many other hard questions.

This all could have been easily avoided. The music licensing company Re:Sound provided compelling evidence to the Board, including market-rate benchmarks based on negotiated agreements they’ve had in place with music companies for years. It’s common sense that the fairest way to compensate artists and record companies for use of their music would be to respect the agreements they’ve already made with each other. But the Board, unfathomably, ignored the evidence and assigned one of the worst royalty rates in the world to the market for streaming.

The Board’s decision comes as the result of an inherently flawed system that lacks clear criteria for rate-setting. Their mandate allows them to set royalty rates for streaming music services based on what they think is “fair and equitable.” Yet they have no statutory or regulatory obligation to take into account existing agreements that the music industry and its business partners have successfully negotiated in the marketplace. Setting the rates that digital music service providers are required to pay at 10% of what they currently pay throws those negotiated agreements and the creators along with them out the window. The result is that the new royalties are anything but fair and equitable. Millionaire and billionaire owners of intermediaries will rejoice, and creators will wince.

The newly certified rates add insult to injury for artists who rely on fair compensation for use of their music in order to make a living. A recent study commissioned by the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) found that individual artists in Canada are living well below the poverty line, with an average income of $7,228 per year.

Artists’ incomes have been eroding gradually for over a decade, and the decision to set webcasting rates at bargain basement levels will make it even more difficult to be a career musician in Canada. The Tariff 8 decision came down – ironically – just as artists were testifying before the Heritage Committee about the already bleak reality they face. There was an overwhelming consensus that it is nearly impossible to make a living today as a professional musician. When asked by a Committee member about the peaks and valleys musicians have in terms of earnings, Alan Doyle of one of Canada’s most beloved bands, Great Big Sea, responded, “When’s the peak again?” Jodie Ferneyhough, President of the Canadian Music Publishers Association, pointed out in his testimony that, “It’s hard to make a living on micro-pennies.”

Tariff 8 is a travesty, not only because it impoverishes Canadian creators, but also because it is completely offside with international standards that support the growth and development of the global music industry.  It puts a black mark on Canada, which now stands alone in its adherence to a mandatory tribunal process that allows a government-appointed board to completely set aside marketplace determined rates. Not one of our major trading partners behaves in this manner.

For those who are quick to blame the current government for this mess, stop right now. It was not the current government that created this mess; it IS however the current government that can fix it.

Not only is Canada an outlier, the new streaming rates will make Canada an international pariah as it impacts creators worldwide. Every artist in the world will be paid 10% of the U.S. rate when Canadian consumers stream their music. Digital music services, such as Pandora in the United States, will be breaking bad to use Canada as an example of why rates should be driven down and creators should be paid less in their own countries. I’ve written previously about Pandora opening up that box, when they sided with entrenched media and Internet companies to lobby the United States Congress to reduce royalty rates paid to performers. In a separate effort, Pandora launched a lawsuit against ASCAP to lower royalty rates paid to songwriters. Pandora’s part in the Internet Radio Fairness Act debacle in the U.S. backfired at Congress and caused a massive artist backlash that grew into the enormously successful “I Respect Music” worldwide grassroots movement. Started by artist and entrepreneur Blake Morgan, the “I Respect Music” campaign was a call to action for musicians and music lovers alike.  That groundswell of support and overwhelming respect for the cause, led Representative Jerry Nadler to introduce a Bill to ensure that artists would be paid for all forms of radio airplay.

We would be well advised here in Canada not to ignore the backlash that occurred south of the border when Pandora made that ludicrous play. Here, too, we are seeing rumblings beginning to reverberate throughout the music community in response to Tariff 8.

Not surprisingly, Re:Sound filed an Application for Judicial Review of the Board’s decision and, in response, more than 70 labels and other music organizations, including Music Canada, released a joint statement in support of their action.

As more and more artists, producers and businesses in the broader music community become aware of the real consequences the tariff will have on them and their ability to thrive in this industry, they are taking to social media to express their shock and outrage.

Toronto pianist, songwriter and producer Mark Masri:

London boyband Poacher:

Ottawa record store Compact Music:

As grim as it has been for artists over recent years, the Copyright Board’s decision on Tariff 8 divides us more clearly than ever before into winners and losers, with the intermediaries hitting the jackpot and the middle class of the music community going bust. We need to bring back the balance and restore order to the music ecosystem in Canada. A technoutopia may initially sound like it would be a land of happy citizens, but like all nebulous ideals, this vision has nothing to do with reality – it is an imaginary place, and literally “no place” we can all live.

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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Q107 Toronto’s John Derringer on Tariff 8

John Derringer of Q107 Toronto discussed the Copyright Board of Canada’s Tariff 8 decision on his radio show this morning, riffing on our recent blog comparing the new royalty rates for webcasting services in Canada to items mentioned in the Barenaked Ladies‘ classic song “If I Had $1000000.” The new rates are so low, it would take 9216 plays of a song to earn enough royalties to purchase a box of Kraft Dinner.

To earn $1,000,000 from streaming royalties under Tariff 8, an artist would need to have their song played 9.8 Billion times. Derringer puts that in perspective by noting that the most-streamed song in history, Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’, has been streamed 235 Million times worldwide.

The full segment is available on Soundcloud, and is embedded below:

A growing coalition of artists, labels, industry associations, and music fans are speaking out against the Copyright Board decision; to learn more and to add your voice, Like and Share the I Stand For Music Facebook Page, or tweet using the hashtag #IStand4Music.

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