Shortly after he addressed his constituency at the Canadian Independent Music Association's annual meeting yesterday, CIMA president Stuart Johnston greeted Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly's proclamation of a $125 M/five-year commitment to Canada's first Creative Export Strategy and an unspecified increase in the Canadian Music Fund as positive steps.
“It’s good news, obviously," Johnston told FYIMusicNews at Toronto's Supermarket. "This is a government that recognizes the importance of exporting and the importance of what we do domestically and around the world – and when I say we, I mean the entire industry. It’s very positive that (Minister Joly) was able to convince cabinet to extend the money beyond the two years that they had committed for this year, so that’s fantastic."
Johnston had just spent part of the previous hour describing the efforts CIMA has gone to over the past year to help influence these measures, including the arranging of “53 formal meetings with politicians and bureaucrats in Ottawa and many more informal meetings,” along with separate gatherings with provincial representatives.
“We had a really busy year at CIMA this year," Johnston told the independent music company sector. "We’ve engaged in numerous export missions around the world. We’ve programmed and supported several professional development opportunities across and outside of Canada. We’ve negotiated more savings for you when you purchase goods and services, and we’ve launched our CIMA 40 and our CIMA 20 music charts. We’ve advocated for you extensively with the federal and provincial governments."
The organization also financed or co-financed a number of reports, including Music In Motion: An Analysis of Exporting Canadian Music, the WIN Chart Global Report and A Content Of Opportunities; Canadian Independent Music In the Latin Market.
Johnston says that CIMA has also pushed for better access to the U.S. market for Canadian artists and suggested that lobbying efforts have indicated strong government support surrounding the issue during NAFTA negotiations.
“Labour mobility has been a priority for us – a very strong priority," he told CIMA. “Canada has stated labour mobility as a priority for the government, and have said that they have our backs on this issue as well as on the culture exemption protection issue. Our message of open borders and freer movement of artists is a message that does seem to resonate with our federal government, so it is not an issue we will let up on.”
Johnston also called upon the Canadian government to declare music videos to be "an eligible export expense, which would in part, at least, replace some of the dollars we’ve lost from the cancellation of MuchFact," along with The Canadian Media Fund assuming responsibility for music video funding.
The CIMA exec also acknowledges that "there are more questions than answers" involving the Feds' numerous promises, but adds that CIMA's export missions covering 18 cities, eight countries, 147 participating companies and 105 artists have done their part to convince the Liberals that investment in this field is warranted.
Reporting over CIMA's many accomplishments over the past year wasn't the only business on hand: the organization also announced its 2017-2018 Board of Directors.
Newly elected directors Tim des Islets of Noisemaker Management and The Cadence Music Group's Iain Taylor will join re-elected incumbents Chris Moncada (Last Gang Entertainment), Jake Gold (The Management Trust), Kieran Roy (Arts & Crafts Productions), Pegi Cecconi (SRO Management), Rob Lanni (Coalition Music), Sandy Pandya (Pandyamonium Artist Management), and Shauna de Cartier (Six Shooter Records.)
Also announced at the CIMA meeting: Neilsen Music Canada's partnership with Record Store Day Canada to serve as the exclusive data sponsor for RSD in Canada.
"Nielsen continues to support and grow independent retailers and our work with Record Store Day Canada will serve to benefit the entire independent music community across Canada," said Paul Shaver, head of Nielsen Canada, in a statement. "The partnership will see a combined focus on increasing the independent store reporting base which will have a direct impact on weekly chart data.”
Adds RSD Canada's Ryan Kerr: "It's a natural partnership with Nielsen's deep roots in the Canadian music industry, and vinyl's ever-popular resurgence. We will help each other to continue to grow and build our community of independent record stores and connect with independent labels and vinyl enthusiasts across the nation.”