Update on CIMA’s US Border Initiatives: Panel at CMW & A2IM Lends its Support to Eliminating the Visa Requirement for Canadian Musicians Touring the US

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With the official launch of our US border study just a few weeks away, we wanted to give you an update on some of the exciting developments on the topic of accessing the US music market!

  • Our US border study, being conducted by the Centre for Trade Policy & Law, is in its final stages. We’ll have more details about the official launch soon, but keep your eyes on this space (social media/website/newsletter) for updates on when we’re going to release the findings. In case you need a refresher, here’s more information about our US border research project.
  • As a short preview to some of the issues we’re hoping to address, we moderated the ‘Over The Border and Into The Clubs‘ panel at Canadian Music Week as part of the Music Summit. Along with CIMA President Stuart Johnston, we were excited to be able to bring together Greg Somers (from the CTPL/Law Offices of Greg Somers), Liana White (Executive Director, Canadian Federation of Musicians), Lisa Logutenkow (Vice President, Dine Alone Records/Bedlam Management), and Rich Bengloff (President, American Association of Independent Music).
  • And finally, speaking of A2IM, our friends over at our sister organization in the United States have issued a press release in support of eliminating the visa requirement for Canadian artists touring in the US. As you might recall, the government of Canada moved to eliminate Labour Market Opinion and Visa requirements for US musicians/artists wanting to tour in Canada in 2014. CIMA, as well as several other stakeholder groups, were in support of these changes. 

Here is A2IM’s statement in full:

A2IM Supports Elimination of Visa Requirement For Canadian Artists Touring US

NEW YORK, May 8, 2015 – In the spirit of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), A2IM is voicing support for the elimination of the current Visa requirements for touring Canadian artists to enter the US. The Canadian Government eliminated both its Labor Market Opinion fees and Visa requirements in 2014, removing all barriers for American artists to tour in Canada. A2IM feels strongly that Canadian artists should be given reciprocal, preferential treatment by the U.S over performing artists from outside of North America.

Under current legislation, Canadian artists are only able to tour within the US after securing a P Visa, a practice that is mandated to be processed in two weeks but can often stretch to six months’ time. This can stall tours and result in artists, US clubs and restaurants losing revenue. Relaxing Visa requirements would allow for an open exchange of ideas and cultural reciprocity between two neighbouring countries.

A2IM’s diverse membership nationwide with Canadian artists on their roster has been impacted by this practice and support eliminating the Visa requirement. For example, labels spanning various genres, geographic locations and sizes have voices their full support including: Compass Records’ Garry West (Nashville, TN), Ghostly International’s Jeremy Peters (Ann Arbor, MI), Secretly Label Group’s Darius Van Arman (Bloomington, IN) and Razor and Tie’s Vic Zaraya (NYC, NY).

A2IM President Rich Bengloff will be speaking on this issue during Canadian Music Week in solidarity with the organization’s Canadian counterpart, the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA). Joined by industry executives, including Dine Alone Records’ Lisa Logutenkow, lawyer Greg Somers and Liana White of the Canadian Federation of Musicians, and moderated by CIMA President Stuart Johnston, the panel will focus on ease of access and reducing barriers for Canadian artists to tour within the US.

ABOUT A2IM

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, A2IM is a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade organization headquartered in New York City representing a broad coalition of over 350 Independently-owned American music label small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The organization represents Independents’ interest in the marketplace, in the media, on Capitol Hill, and as part of the global music community, as well as, supports a key segment of America’s creative class and the small business community that represents America’s cultural and musical genre diversity. Billboard Magazine, using Nielsen SoundScan data, identified the Independent music label sector as 35.1 percent of the music industry’s U.S. recorded music sales market in 2014 based on copyright ownership, making Independent labels collectively the largest music industry segment.

The organization’s board of directors are composed of the following: Razor & Tie President Craig Balsam, Concord Music Group President Glen Barros, Secretly Label Group Head of Domestic Sales & Marketing Cathy Bauer, Smithsonian Folkways Director of Marketing & Sales Richard Burgess, Epitaph/Anti- General Manager Dave Hansen, Hopeless Records Owner Louis Posen, Dualtone Music Group CEO/Co-Founder Scott Robinson, Kill Rock Stars Owner/President Portia Sabin, Glassnote Records General Manager Chris Scully, Ole SVP Digital Jim Selby and Tommy Boy Owner/CEO Thomas Silverman. A2IM’s president’s advisory committee is Loma Vista Recordings Label Manager Josh Berman, Mack Avenue Records President Denny Stilwell and Compass Records Group Co- Founder Garry West. A2IM’s Worldwide Independent Network lead representative is Wind-up Records General Manager Alan Galbraith.

For more information about A2IM, please visit: www.a2im.org. 

For more information about CIMA’s US Border initiatives, please contact Lisa Fiorilli at lisa@cimamusic.ca