Music Publishers Canada/Editeurs de Musique au Canada held its AGM virtually during Canadian Music Week at which CEO Margaret McGuffin laid out the association’s strategic priorities, touted the launch of its songwriting and music publishing awards with Music Canada, and introduced its newly elected board and current MPC team.
In her opening remarks, McGuffin pointed out that most of the time and resources at MPC are spent on advocacy which includes close ties with Compass Rose, the government relations and public affairs firm, that help to run the association’s advocacy campaign. McGuffin was in Ottawa on May 30 to appear before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to make MPC’s voice heard as part of the review of the online streaming act (Bill C-11).
“One of the things we are seeing, according to data from SOCAN, is that 34 percent of the money for radio and television stays in Canada,” McGuffin revealed. “For songwriters, only 10 percent remains here on the digital platforms. We need to do something about that. We need to help Canadians find Canadian songs, not in a way that will hurt anyone who is looking at a global audience, but there are certain regional songwriters and companies who need a place they can feel at home in this digital world.”
MPC has become much more active in the world of litigation at both the Supreme Court and Federal Court levels working closely with their legal team at Cassels. On that front, MPC is closely watching several cases in the courts including “Scope of Making Available Right: Entertainment Software Association v. SOCAN” and “Fair Dealing and the Nature of Certified Tariffs: York University v. Access Copyright,” both before the Supreme Court, and “Copyright Site-Blocking Injunctions: Teksavvy Solutions v. Bell Media,” at the Federal Court.
Out-going MPC Board Chair Vince Degiorgio, President of Cymba Music Publishing, was praised by McGuffin for his leadership during his 6-year term before introducing surprise guest, singer/songwriter, Reeny Smith, a grad of the MPC Women in the Studio initiative, who performed her song Dream in his honour.
Degiorgio remains on the newly-elected MPC Board and is joined by Vivian Barclay (Warner/Chappell Music Canada), Stephen Dallas (Universal Music Publishing), Amy Eligh (Arts & Crafts Music Inc.), Jodie Ferneyhough (CCS Rights Management), Gary Furniss (Sony/ATV Music Publishing), Chris Giansante (Just For You Music), Mark Jowett (Nettwerk Music Group), Rell Lafargue (Reservoir Media Management), Daniel Lafrance (Editorial Avenue), Jennifer Mitchell (Casablanca Media Publishing/Red Brick Songs), Diane Pinet (Bloc-Notes Music Publishing) and Neville Quinlan (peermusic Canada). The Chair position will be filled shortly.
Current MPC staff includes Kim Temple, Senior Manager, Programming and Industry Outreach; Laura Holtebrinck, Manager, Communications; Miya Strauss, Membership Coordinator; and Lori Williams, Summer Consultant (Canada Summer Jobs), who will help launch the MPC member portal.
Other MPC initiatives include the recently launched Songwriting and Music Publishing Award, in association with Music Canada, which for the first time celebrates songwriters and music publishers’ contributions to officially certified Canadian gold and platinum recordings. The first recipients were Serena Ryder (ArtHaus Music) and Soran (Editorial Avenue).
There will be an update of the statistical study on the industry in 2023 and MPC has received new funding from Ontario Creates to look at the future of work in music publishing in the form of $5000 grants for ten Ontario companies to hire a new employee looking at either diversity or skills enhancement or both. Ontario Creates has also shown interest in further exploring how the industry can move closer to the gaming and interactive community to promote the use of more Ontario or Canadian songs. The Indigenous Protocol Report, which MPC worked on with Marcia Nickerson, a leader in the field of indigenous governance, and the Indigenous Music Alliance, was finalized.
New membership categories have been created including NXTGen, created to foster the next generation of music publishing leaders across the country with a mentorship program set to launch this fall. National Bank is coming in as a sponsor and the first member in the corporate category.
“In terms of professional development, our jewel in the crown is Women in the Studio and I really want to thank Kim Temple for her leadership on this and especially our lead mentors, Mishelle Pack, Cheryl Link and Vivian Barclay,” says McGuffin, who will be taking fourteen publishers and four producers to New York next week. “We will be bringing in our Women in the Studio producers for training for three days in September.”
“We’re looking at being more involved with TIFF, Real World, ImagineNATIVE and Hot Docs and are really happy to be working with SOCAN and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. We are partnering with the Indigenous Music Summit and looking forward to travelling to Nashville for a B2B mission and a song camp in January and to sending a delegation to Berlin once again for the European Film Market for which we have funding from Global Affairs.”
On-going, McGuffin says she sees educational opportunities in universities with business programs where the business of songwriting and publishing is not taught. MacEwan University in Edmonton is offering a songwriting minor for the first time and McGuffin says they really want to talk about the business of music publishing and songwriting. Along with the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC), she’ll be travelling to Edmonton in September as their guest to see how MPC can partner with them.
The AGM closed with an insightful interview by Washington, D.C.-based journalist, consultant, and editor (Creative Industries Newsletter) Emmanuel Legrand with Joe Conyers III, the former Chief Strategy Officer at Downtown Music Holdings, where he co-founded Songtrust, a global music royalty collection and publishing administration company based in the U.S., who left to move into the brave new world of crypto and NFTs as EVP, Global Head of NFTs at Hong Kong-headquartered Crypto.com. As Legrand noted, Conyers is fluent in both publishing-speak and crypto-speak, so is the perfect person to help us navigate through this world that begs a lot of questions regarding the legal aspect of NFTs, the price, the longevity and what impact they can have in the world of music publishing and songwriting.