Music Canada Touts 'Another Year of Unprecedented Growth' at Playback 2018 Kickoff

Guntar Kravis
Music Canada Executive Vice President Amy TerrillĀ 

Music Canada Executive Vice President Amy Terrill recapped the trade organization's main accomplishments and initiatives of the past year on Tuesday at Toronto's The Great Hall, kicking off the non-profit's Playback 2018 annual industry dialogue and celebration.

Music Canada represents the three major labels and works with leading indie labels and distributors, studios, venues, promoters, managers and artists, claiming its work is "in the promotion and development of the music cluster." About 90 members of the music industry from those sectors and further government representatives were in attendance for the afternoon event that included a keynote from author Debora Spar, a panel on copyright reform and the value gap, fireside chat with RIAA chairman and CEO Cary Sherman, award presentations and live music by new Warner Music signing Myles Castello.

Terrill called the 15-minute recap with slide presentation "only a small snapshot of what Music Canada has achieved this year" and said the full scope will be available at musiccanada.com/playback2018 later this week.

She began with what she called one the organizations "largest initiatives," Music Canada's report on the Value Gap, released a year ago, since entered into the record for the Canadian government's five-year mandated review of the Copyright Act that began last year.

"Those solutions include removing the $1.25 million Radio Royalty Exemption, amending the definition of 'sound recording' to enable performers and rights holders to receive royalties when their recordings are used in film and television soundtracks, and establishing a Private Copying Fund," Terrill said.

In early September, Music Canada added its voice to help affect two key votes on copyright: The Music Modernization Act and the European Copyright Directive -- and "underline the need for Canada to follow through with meaningful reforms," as Terrill said.

She added that the organization was pleased to see that the 2018 Federal Budget illustrated the Government's commitment to reforming the Copyright Board of Canada.
She also reminded the audience that at the start of the year, Music Canada, music licensing company Re:Sound and Bell Media -- which owns more than 100 radio stations --  partnered on a new sound recording data system to help improve efficiencies in royalty collection.

"With the elimination of manual processes, the new reporting system has resulted in cleaner data, significantly benefitting all rights holders in the Canadian music industry including artists, background musicians, songwriters and music publishers, through organizations like SOCAN, CMRRA and SODRAC who rely on broadcast data to get royalties to rights holders," she said.

Terrill also highlighted Canada place in the IFPI's Global Music Report 2018, noting that Canada did drop down one to the world's seventh largest music market, but added "the domestic music industry can be encouraged by marked growth in subscription audio streaming, which grew in trade value from USD $95 million in 2016 to almost $170M in 2017 - an increase of over 40 percent. This trend has contributed to three consecutive years of industry revenue growth following 15 years of decline."

With a captive audience, Terrill also gave considerable time to the new non-profit Music Canada Cares, which she said "will allow us to better highlight the extraordinary benefits of music to society." The first initiative is The Three Rs Music Program, which will collect and refurbish musical instruments for schools in Ontario. She also mentioned the partnership with Polaris Music Prize for the new Polaris Community Development Program that will provide tickets to the gala awards and networking opportunities to 10 Canadian not-for-profit music organizations each year.

Terrill then hopped back to government funding and the announcement back in March by the Government of British Columbia for Amplify BC, administered through Creative BC, a fund to support for the province's music businesses and artists. "This one-year investment of $7.5 million [Canadian dollars] is the result of hard work and strong partnerships between Music Canada, Music BC, the BC Government and BC music community," she said.

She also highlighted another important report by Music Canada called Keys to a Music City: Examining the Merits of Music Offices, Boards and Night Mayors, which came out in May, ahead of the third annual Music Cities Summit at Canadian Music Week. It serves as the follow-up to its 2015 groundbreaking study, The Mastering of a Music City, published by Music Canada and IFPI, in partnership with Midem.

"Drawing from in-depth interviews with practitioners in 17 cities across the world, Keys to a Music City examines the various ways that music officers, music advisory boards, arms-length music organizations and Night Mayors are used in different jurisdictions, and offers a guide on how both city officials and community members can play an important role in building their Music City," Terrill said.

She closed out her year-in-review by talking about the gold and platinum certifications, calling 2018 "another year of unprecedented growth," citing as many album certifications by the beginning of fourth quarter as for the whole of 2017. This year also saw the first double diamond certification (1.6 million units) since Shania Twain's Up! in 2004 -- Adele's 21.

"Music Canada has also already experienced a 5 percent increase in total single award certifications, with a 25 percent increase in total Canadian single certifications," she said. Singles earning their first Canadian gold certifications, which are shared on social media using the #GoldinCanada hashtag, have increased 8 percent so far, with new gold certifications coming in daily from member and non-member labels.

"In addition to surging certification totals, the gold/platinum Canada brand continues to evolve its unique social media presence, streaming platform influence, and web portal functionality. In February, gold/platinum Canada was added an official curator to Apple Music, with the Gold in Canada playlist updated weekly on the platform. The playlist can also be found on Spotify and Google Play, and is updated with 50 of the latest Gold-certified tracks in Canada."