The Government of Canada Responds to the Review of the Canadian Music Industry

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage wrapped up its Review of the Canadian Music Industry back in May, and issued its Report in June 2014. Now, the Government of Canada has issued its response by presenting it to the House on Friday, October 10.

In case you need a quick refresher, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage moved to undertake a study of Canada’s music industry in December 2013 through Standing Order 108(2). Originally intended to hear from a variety of industry stakeholders over the course of no more than 7 meetings, it was quickly expanded to 12 meetings, allowing a wide swath of music industry players and stakeholders to provide testimony.

It’s mandate was the following:

  • inform Committee members of the details and impacts of the government support on Canadian music, as well as the creators and entrepreneurs who create and distribute music in Canada
  • determine how funding is allocated
  • and finally, establish whether the government support is meeting objectives laid out for it, and to make recommendations to the government on how it might strengthen support for Canadian music, and report its findings to the House.

CIMA’s Participation

CIMA, represented by President Stuart Johnston and Chair Shauna de Cartier, presented testimony at the March 14th meeting (transcript here). Their statements were focused around the following points:

  • Emphasized the economic impact of the independent music industry in Canada.
  • Articulated that access to capital is the number-one issue facing the small-businesses that discover and develop Canadian artists, arguing that governments are important partners in providing the necessary seed capital.
  • Discussed the need for ongoing support for marketing, production and promotion that is necessary to help the domestic, independent businesses companies with the larger multinationals.
  • Presented the argument that government needs to be a partner in enabling the independent music sector to access foreign markets, as well as to provide assistance in production and marketing
  • Shauna provided the story of Six Shooter Records as a case study in how government-funded initiatives, like FACTOR, are instrumental in creating sustainable Canadian-based infrastructure for a vibrant cultural industries sector in Canada.

The Standing Committee’s Report: Review of the Canadian Music Industry

The report focused on 5 themes: digital distribution and streaming, music education, music tourism, current funding – future investment, FACTOR/Musicaction. They issued the following 10 recommendations, which you can consult here.

The Government’s Response

The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, responded to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s report entitled “Review of the Canadian Music Industry” on Friday October 10.

While you can definitely check out her response here (it’s only 2 or so pages), we’ve summarized the main points below:

The response begins with a reiteration of the Government of Canada’s commitment to the music industry. Specifically, Minister Glover offers that “The Government is committed to supporting Canadian music artists, who are among Canada’s best cultural ambassadors abroad.” To this point, Minister Glover cited the example of the ongoing renewal of the Canada Music Fund, a decision made in the 2014 Federal Budget.  Minister Glover acknowledges the various themes brought to light during the Review, including the CRTC, copyright regulation and awareness, CCD compliance, music tourism, funding programs, and offers that the Government will “give due consideration to the Committee’s recommendations.”

After this preamble, Minister Glover addresses several of the specific recommendations:

  • Funding Programs (Recommendations #5-9): While the Government noted the various recommendations offered by the Standing Committee’s Report, it confirmed that it is committed to the CMF being the primary financial tool to support the music industry.
  • Specifically, the response mentions the key concerns of the independent music industry (access to upfront capital and financial flexibility in order to develop and promote Canadian music) as being important and already the focus of the type of funding that the CMF provides.
  • The response notes the suggestion made during the hearing and within the Report about transferring the Music Entrepreneur component of the CMF to another administrative body, but simply offers that it will be taken into consideration.
  • Within this section, Minister Glover highlights an initiative from her Department: updating the Guide on the Public Acknowledgement of Canadian Heritage Financial Assistance in order to improve the acknowledgement of funds received through these programs. These guidelines will be applicable to all CMF program recipients, as well as 3rd party administrators like FACTOR and Musicaction. The intention here is to “significantly improve the public’s recognition of federal funds being spent in support of Canadian music by all program recipients”.
     
  • Copyright Regulation and Awareness (Recommendations #1 and 3): Here, Minister Glover reiterates her Government’s commitment to the Copyright Act, in addition to the Copyright Modernization Act and the recent World Intellectual Property Organization Internet Treaties. While most of this section of the response details the actions that the Government of Canada has already taken, the response does comment on the Copyright Board of Canada.  Specifically on the issue of the slow decision-making process with regards to tariffs and royalty rates, Minister Glover reveals that the Board is “currently reviewing these procedures in an effort to streamline the royalty-setting process”, and that changes could be considered as early as Fall 2014.
     
  • Music Tourism (Recommendation #4): This section of the response mostly re-affirmed the Government of Canada’s existing focus on music tourism, particularly with regards to larger music festivals and the funding they receive through various channels (Budget 2014).
     
  • Music Education (Recommendation #2): Again, this section mostly re-affirms the existing commitments to music education for children, namely the Children Arts Tax Credit. Since education is largely within provincial jurisdiction, the Government’s efforts have mainly been around supporting festivals and events that help increase the awareness, knowledge and appreciation of Canadian music.
     
  • CRTC Regulation (Recommendation #10): In this section, Minister Glover asserts that the Government “does not believe that additional enforcement powers of general application with respect to CRTC broadcasting regulatory obligations are appropriate at this time”. They do, however, concur that these obligations should be made on time.