Canadian Music Association Heads Summarize 2023 and Offer Perspectives on 2024
Arts funding, government policies, mental health, AI — the agendas are packed, but the forecasts are promising.
We asked a number of national music industry association chiefs to provide their own unique perspective on 2023 and the year ahead. Their willingness to collect their thoughts and respond is greatly appreciated, given the responsibilities each has at the tail end of the year. At least one took the time out from an extended holiday, and several others have been back and forth from Ottawa attending Heritage and CRTC committee hearings.
Erin Benjamin, President/CEO, Canadian Live Music Association
"Throughout 2023, the Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) continued to rapidly advance the story of its members and their economic, social, and cultural impact across Canada. Meetings, consultations, and dialogue on a wide variety of issues were led by the CLMA and held with all levels of government and other key stakeholders. Funding, new legislation, market recovery, and the development of new policies impacting the sector remain the focus of the association’s advocacy efforts. Collaboration with key adjacent industries like tourism and hospitality continues to fuel the CLMA as we work to identify and build new opportunities for our community.
”Among the great many initiatives, projects and activities currently in motion, the CLMA is keenly focused on building and delivering Canada’s first-ever economic impact assessment of the live music industry. This data will be foundational in helping us all to tell our industry’s powerful story, illustrating the quantifiable and qualitative value of live music activity to Canada, for Canadian artists, and all Canadians.
"As we ready for 2024, the CLMA is excited about upcoming Live U programming (professional development for live music workers and organizations) tightly focused on what members need to know right now. Topics include harm reduction workshops, an AI series, and sustainability. The Next Stage program (a networking event bringing together Canadian live music leaders and corporate executives) will descend on Ottawa and Vancouver early in the new year, and a new membership structure unveiled at the Fall 2023 AGM will launch in 2024, bringing enhanced benefits and opportunity to all members.
"The CLMA works to create the conditions for concerts to thrive from coast to coast to coast. For more stories, advocacy, activities, campaigns, impacts and more, visit our 2023 Year In Review here."
Amy Jeninga, President, Canadian Country Music Association
“2023 has been an exceptional year for country music. The genre continued to outpace industry growth in countries around the world, claiming a bigger piece of the cultural pie than in recent years, including here at home, where Canada saw a 32% growth in on-demand audio and video streams in Q3, outpacing the overall industry growth of 18%. This year’s Canadian Country Music Association. (CCMA) Award show and Country Music Week in Hamilton saw an increase in engagement and coverage across broadcast, editorial and social media of over 18.42%, and we continue to celebrate a growing community and fanbase set to engage and continue propelling the genre forward in 2024.
“In 2024, with an influx of new and emerging artists, we will continue to expand our horizons along with the Canadian country music landscape, remaining committed to creating lasting change and meaningful impact to ensure the future of our industry and the country music genre. The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) will continue to nurture an inclusive and equitable culture in 2024, offering education, insight, and resources to ensure a sustainable and fair pipeline of opportunity within the country's music community. We can’t wait to return to Edmonton for the first time in 10 years and look forward to celebrating the 2024 CCMA Awards and Country Music Week with everyone.”
Andrew Cash, President, Canadian Independent Music Association
“One of the big bright spots of 2023 has been the global growth of Canadian independent artists, artist entrepreneurs and Canadian-owned music companies. Hundreds of independent artists in Canada put out new music in 2023 that attracted audiences from around the world and here in Canada. According to Chartmetric data compiled by the data team at CIMA, for example, 503 Canadian indie artists with new music on Canadian-based independent labels in 2023 had over 110 million unique listeners on Spotify in the month of September. 60% of those listeners converted to followers. Canada makes great music that the world wants to hear!!
“CIMA’s new individual membership, announced in the fall is an exciting step for the organization and a reflection of the changing nature of our sector. This new membership includes a free one-year subscription to the Chartmetric artist account as well as multiple hours of free mental health counselling accessible wherever you live in the country and wherever you are touring in English and French. CIMA’s first annual Make It Music conference happened in April 2023. MIM focuses CIMA’s membership on the shifting technological foundations of the global music sector with thought leaders from around the world. See you there April 23-25!
“The passing of C-11 in 2023 represents both an accomplishment and a challenge.
“Bringing some of the largest, most powerful corporations in the history of capitalism under regulation in Canada is an important step. It has also kick-started a long overdue and much-needed conversation about Canadian content policy in the age of the internet. Even that sentence sounds dated! And it has shone a light on what worked with regard to Canadian Content regulations (a lot), what didn’t work, and who was left out— (most people who weren’t white and cis male.) It has been an incredible experience for me to work with music associations across the country as we grapple with these issues and work to find common ground and take progressive steps forward.
“2024 should answer some big questions with regards to C-11– the most pressing being: which platforms will be included in regulations currently being considered before the CRTC, how much will these platforms be required to contribute to the Canadian music sector, and where this contribution will go?
“Notwithstanding the growth of the independent sector, the debate around C-11 has also underlined the anticompetitive effects that unfettered corporate consolidation has had on the global music market.
“Speaking of which, the rapid adoption of AI technologies is a challenge — a positive one in that artists have powerful new tools to serve their creativity, leading to new ways of working and sounding. Businesses will also continue to innovate, aided by new AI technologies. That said, the unlicensed use of the internet’s repository of the world’s recorded musical output to train AI models raises huge copyright infringement questions and poses an existential threat to a functioning global music market. These issues, as well as securing the Liberal’s promised increase to the Canada Music Fund, which funds FACTOR, will be front and centre for CIMA in 2024.”
Paul Shaver, President, The Canadian Musical Reproduction Rights Agency
“CMRRA enjoyed another growth year for distributions in 2023 — currently forecast to be a 10% increase in client distributions to Publishers and Self-Published Songwriters. The hard-working teams at CMRRA and SoundExchange successfully transitioned us to an improved royalty processing system for digital collections. I am proud to say this was done with no impact on the distribution process, with all quarterly payments completed. Our licensing team continues to improve value of the licensing of musical works. This, along with long overdue DSP (Digital Service Providers) price increases, continues to benefit our clients.
“As an industry, the gaps in metadata remain a challenge. Collectively we have a responsibility to educate stakeholders to ensure they understand the importance of metadata and that they are accurately registering their musical works and sound recording data with partners around the world. This will dramatically reduce the pool of unclaimed and unmatched usage and significantly improve distribution revenue to rights owners.
“Looking ahead, we will work with the industry to seek ways to address AI in all forms, with a focus on fairly crediting and compensating creators. We also remain strong in our belief that the Private Copying Levy should become ‘technology neutral,’ and we will continue to support our clients and industry partners to ensure fair Canadian Copyright reform for creators and owners.”
Jennifer Brown, CEO, SOCAN
“In 2023, SOCAN was wholly focused on our members’ experience and their changing needs. We have reframed SOCAN’s strategy over the past 2 years, creating more opportunities for celebration and connection, offering curated education and assistance for Canada’s diverse creator community, and most recently, we began implementing new technology to better support the business needs of SOCAN members.
“We continue to see significant year-over-year increases in collections from music licenses for using the world’s music in Canada and are poised to reach a record half a billion dollars in revenue in 2023. While this is a tremendous accomplishment, we know the real work is advocating for members who aren’t seeing those revenue increases. Our work on Bill C-11, the Online Streaming Act (OSA), which amended the Broadcasting Act, was integral to recognizing that digital platforms operating in Canada must have a responsibility to support and promote the creation of Canadian music.
“As the digital age continues to advance, it’s more challenging than ever to be a songwriter, composer or music publisher, which is why we are focused on providing an organization that keeps members’ needs, royalties and careers first.
“As the Vice-Chair of the CISAC board of directors, I am actively working with international collectives to ensure we are protecting creative rights amid the proliferation of AI, and more recently, SOCAN, in partnership with other Canadian music organizations wrote to the Government of Canada concerning the impact of AI on the music industry, providing recommendations that aim to ensure AI does not replace human creativity and culture.
“As copyright legislation approaches 100 years old, SOCAN is preparing to push forth an agenda that respects the art and craft of music creation while embracing new technologies.”
Patrick Rogers, CEO, Music Canada
“In 2023, we had the opportunity to participate in a truly once-in-a-generation regulatory process.
“With the passage of Bill C-11 (the Online Streaming Act), the CRTC was tasked with modernizing the Broadcasting Act and creating new frameworks for online streaming services to contribute to Canadian and Indigenous content. Music Canada set out to be a trusted source for the CRTC on what the commercial music industry looks like today and how artists reach their fans and achieve success in a global streaming marketplace. We look forward to participating in this process throughout 2024.
“This past year also saw rapid advancements in artificial intelligence that can unlock an exciting new era for creativity and content — but which also pose a serious threat to the creative industries and artists if not regulated. It’s never been more critical that our copyright and legal frameworks remain strong in the face of bad actors who want to exploit artists’ work, voice and image without their consent, credit or compensation.
"The music industry was an early adopter of AI, and major labels are working with companies who are willing to respect the rights of artists and creators -- and they’re finding incredible ways to bring world-changing AI to consumers and new tools to help artists achieve career and creative goals. We’re excited to work with the government and our creative industry peers in 2024 to help set policies that encourage the ethical development of this exciting new marketplace.”
Margaret McGuffin, CEO, Music Publishers Canada
“The team at Music Publishers Canada is looking forward to welcoming 2024 and working with our members to CREATE, PROMOTE AND PROTECT Canadian songs and scores in Canada and around the world. Our NXTGen publishers are driving many of our 2024 activities, including networking, mentorship and export activities, and we are looking forward to welcoming our sixth cohort of our important Women in the Studio National Accelerator. Music Publishers Canada is constantly looking around to see where we can foster positive change, and we challenge all of our partners to do the same.
“I am already focused on consultations that have started in Ottawa on the subject of AI, and this is a priority for my members in 2024. MPC recognizes that artificial intelligence has the potential to be enormously beneficial when it is implemented in a responsible and ethical manner, and our members are already exploring the benefits of this new technology. However, the astonishing rate of both acquisition (or sometimes appropriation) of copyright-protected datasets and content on the input side, together with the development of generative AI models on the output side, pose serious risks for Canada’s creators and the companies that invest in them.”