CIMA and MusicOntario at Canadian Music Week 2016!

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Congratulations to Neill Dixon and his team for another outstanding edition of Canadian Music Week 2016. As a chance for independent music creators to strengthen their footing in the music industry, CIMA and its members are always glad to participate in the activities surrounding CMW. This year was no exception, as CIMA and MusicOntario participated in a number of panel discussions and events during the five-day industry conference at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, May 2-8.

On Friday, May 6, CIMA President Stuart Johnston chaired a panel on the changing relationship between artists and labels, “Majors, Indies and DIY – Oh My!”. The discussion explored ways that musicians and labels can continue working together (through do-it-yourself strategies and new approaches to artist representation) to adapt to an increasingly global, digital music industry.

The panel represented diverse industry viewpoints – including companies like CD Baby that help artists to distribute music on their own, a UK independent label, and three CIMA Board of Directors members from Dine Alone/Bedlam, Cadence Music Group and Last Gang Records. They expressed a range of perspectives about the current state of the music industry, which sometimes aligned and sometimes differed.

Doing It Yourself

Enthusiasm was expressed about artists at the beginning of their careers being able to afford (and control) many aspects of releasing new music by doing it entirely themselves. At the same time, Martin Goldschmidt from Cooking Vinyl Ltd. cautioned that musicians starting out in the business may not want to handle too many projects entirely alone, due to the risk of spending too much money, overall.

Follow the Money

Lisa Logutenkow from Dine Alone Records observed that one of the most helpful functions a label currently provides is helping artists track down and collect the “little money” from sources such as overseas mechanical rights (which can add up to significant revenue for middle-class working musicians). This view was balanced by other panellists’ opinions that the most important function of a label is still selling large quantities of records and building artists’ profiles around the world.

Go Against the Stream?

There was considerable agreement on other topics, such as the rise of digital streaming as the dominant (and possibly the “last”) platform for delivering music. A confrontation with YouTube was predicted to be the next major turning point for the music industry, in Canada and around the world.

The speakers who participated in CIMA’s panel were Chris Moncada (Last Gang Records), Lisa Logutenkow (Dine Alone Records/Bedlam Music), Martin Goldschmidt (Cooking Vinyl Ltd., UK), Rob Filomena (CD Baby, USA) and Tony Tarleton (Cadence Music/Fontana North).

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On Saturday, May 7, Stuart Johnston represented CIMA at Re:Sound’s “Are You Getting All Of Your Sound Recording Royalties?” industry panel. The conversation addressed how music creators can be compensated when their songs are played on different media platforms – primarily in the US, Canada and the UK. Industry representatives who took part were Blake Morgan (ECR Music Group, USA), Ian MacKay (Re:Sound Music Licensing), Keith Harris (Phonographic Performance Ltd., UK) and Stuart Johnston (CIMA).

Canada

CIMA and Re:Sound discussed problems associated with Canadian IP laws that impact music royalties from digital streaming services. They noted that Ottawa has set the lowest royalty rates in the world for this type of media. Lack of compensation for performers whose music is played on Canadian radio (due to a $1.2 million exemption for licensed broadcasters) was also addressed by the panel.

United States

In comparison to Canada, Blake Morgan from ECR pointed out that the United States does not have any legislation requiring music performers to be paid when their works are played on AM/FM radio. Morgan described advocacy projects that are consequently under way to reform American copyright law, such as the #IRespectMusic campaign and the proposed Fair Play Fair Pay Act legislation of 2015.

Europe

Keith Harris from PPL explained how Canadian and American artists can use copyright strategies to recover certain performance royalties from collectives in the UK, Germany, Spain and Brazil. He also stressed the importance of registering and assigning metadata to every recording a musician produces, as this is the primary basis on which artists can now be compensated for uses of their music.

CIMA, Re:Sound, ECR and PPL agreed on the need to establish a more efficient, comprehensive regulatory system to properly compensate performing artists – whose music generates tremendous value for industries like radio, which generated $18 billion in American advertising revenue last year year alone.

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CIMA was additionally represented at Music Week when members eOne and Dine Alone Records were honoured by the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards – receiving “Independent Distributor of the Year” and “Best Canadian Independent Label”, respectively.

On Wednesday and Saturday night, MusicOntario organized popular showcase and music community events that added significantly to Canadian Music Week’s spirit of enthusiasm and togetherness. Their May 4 Town Hall, “Opportunities Ontario”, was a forum for discussing common concerns in the music industry, brainstorming about solutions and connecting the greater Ontario music community.

Chaired by Brian Hetherman, other participants included FACTOR (Duncan McKie), the Ontario Music Fund (Marina Adam), Music Canada Live (Erin Benjamin), the Country Music Association of Ontario (Bruce Good), Kelt Music (John Bartlett), and representatives from the Ontario Arts Council, ACTRA, Folk Music Ontario, Work In Culture, the Toronto Public Library, and the municipal music sectors in Toronto, London, Hamilton and Ottawa.

MusicOntario’s May 7 VIP Networking Reception, meanwhile, was held at Supermarket in Kensington Market in Toronto, and featured appropriately lively performances from Canvas, Sumo Cyco, Tia Brazda, Weird Neighbours and XPRIME.

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Over the course of Music Week, CIMA was also active in organizing the International Marketplace, headquartered at the Sheraton Centre Hotel. Under the banner of “Focus on Ireland” and “Spotlight on the UK”, the marketplace facilitated B2B meetings and networking talks between Canadian conference-goers and international delegates from Ireland and the UK. Details were additionally provided on upcoming CIMA tradeshows at Reeperbahn and the MIDEM festival in Cannes, France.

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Check out the following links for additional FYI News press coverage of CMW activities by CIMA and MusicOntario.