On Wednesday, October 23, Music Canada hosted the 2019 Symposium. Everyone from label executives to music advocates from allied industries to up-and-coming musicians graced the event. The theme of the Symposium was “Amplifying the Music Ecosystem,” and the afternoon was peppered with positive and impactful initiatives to realize that theme.
Graham Henderson, President & CEO, Music Canada, welcomed the audience and reiterated his strong stand against the existing ‘Value Gap’ in the music ecosystem. He denounced the tech giants for continuing to use ‘safe harbours’ as an excuse not to pay the creators fairly. Henderson was optimistic that the momentum is now on the side of the creators, and they have the moral high ground. “We are not fighting the tech industry; we are fighting the rate at which policy keeps up with the tech industry because it directly impacts the livelihood of the music community,” said Henderson.
The ‘Value Gap’ is comprehensively discussed in Music Canada’s Closing the Value Gap report. Henderson announced that an Economic Impact Report is in the works as well to highlight the contributions of music in today’s society; this report is expected to come out by the end of this year. The two reports together seemed to capture the essence of this gathering, which is to bridge the gap between the power of music and it’s value in the marketplace. While the power of music is undisputed, there’s still some work to do to establish its fair value.
There was also a strong emphasis on improving mental health within the music community.
Music Canada’s VP for Strategic Initiatives, Sarah Hashem, discussed Music Canada’s partnership with Unison Benevolent Fund, the registered charity that provides counseling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community.
Gil Moore, the founding member of the band Triumph, was presented the Artist Advocate Award followed by a passionate speech. Susan Marjetti was then presented the President’s Award for her contributions as the Executive Director of CBC Radio and Audio towards nurturing the music community.
Also, Farah Mohamed, SVP, Strategic Initiatives, Policy & Public Affairs, Toronto Region Board of Trade, was appointed to the board of Artist Advocate Development Program.
Finally, to honour the legacy of former EMI Music Canada president Deane Cameron, Music Canada, in partnership with MusiCounts, announced the ‘MusiCounts Scholarship’. Reflecting his support for Indigenous communities and cultures, $15,000 has been pledged to the MusiCounts Scholarship Program for 2020.