About The Canadian Musicians' Coalition
Keep Music Alive in Canada
The Canadian Musicians' Coalition was created by music community leaders to strongly advocate for long overdue reform of how professional musicians are financially supported for their creative works and performances.
Most professional musicians can no longer earn a sustainable living wage from music creation and performances. This is because of diminished royalties and music demonetization caused by music streaming, as well as declining performance opportunities due to music venues’ economic struggles. Due to the COVID-19 crisis much sudden seemingly insurmountable hardships have been added to an already struggling music scene. Many live music venue owners are on the verge of bankruptcy and continue to struggle more than two years after the pandemic began.
The most significant financial challenge for music artists stems from the extreme devaluation of recorded music due to the fact that digital music streaming has gutted recorded music revenue sources for recording artists. Music streaming corporations have also created a societal mindset that music is now a free or inexpensive commodity. As a result, it is now extremely difficult for professional musicians and artists to earn a sustainable living from their music. The future looks daunting for young musicians who have aspirations for a career in music. The music industry's road to recovery from the pandemic will be very long and perhaps will never fully recover. The current financial supports such as federal and provincial grants are inadequate in providing the necessary supports required for the majority of music artists to earn an annual living wage.
The Canadian Musicians' Coalition is committed to advocating that our government implement a Canadian Musicians' Support Fund Levy that will be used to stimulate and develop our music economy to create a sustainable living wage for Canadian professional musicians from the the essential music that they create and perform. With a sustainable living wage, Canadian musicians will be able to create music with a high standard of excellence that will enhance our national arts culture and continue to provide Canadian citizens with the music recordings and performances that they enjoy and need in their daily lives for a balanced healthy lifestyle.
On February 23rd, 2021, The Canadian Musicians' Coalition with the sponsorship of MP Ron McKinnon, tabled in the House of Commons Petition e-2995 to create an ongoing Canadian Musicians’ Support Fund. On April 12th, 2021, the Minister of Canadian Heritage tabled the government's official response to our petition.
Petition e-2995 did not include our Canadian Musicians' Support Fund Levy (CMSFL) proposal because it was deemed that the Federal Government would not support a model that introduced a levy or tax for online music streaming. We believe the CMSFL is the most effective and fair manner with which to ensure that all professional musicians can earn a living wage from their music despite the extreme exploitative devaluation of the essential music service they provide to all Canadians. The CMSFL would generate an annual 2.1-billion-dollar Canadian Musicians' Support Fund that would be created directly from online music consumers. Currently, most music consumers do not pay fair value for the streamed music they enjoy daily. This seemingly permanent societal notion that music should be inexpensive or free to enjoy prevents most professional musicians from being able to earn a sustainable living wage from their music despite it being regarded an essential necessity in our society.
Although our CMSFL proposal is still described in detail on this website, we agreed to remove the levy proposal from our petition to the House of Commons. Instead, we requested the Federal Government create a Canadian Musicians' Support Fund from the annual federal budget. This support fund would be distributed to professional musicians in need to top up their income to a living wage of $30,000 per year. This Basic Income Guarantee is necessary to compensate professional musicians for the exploitative manner in which they are remunerated for the essential service they provide to all Canadians through the creation and performance of music.
Even though the official response from the Minister of Canadian Heritage did not commit to implementing the reforms requested in our petition, our advocacy did contribute to the creation of other professional musician support initiatives such as Bill C-11 which, at the time of this webpage update, was being debated during its second reading in the House of Commons. The Government of Canada also launched a program to provide additional support for Cultural Workers in the Live Performing Arts Sector.
Unfortunately, all these reforms fall well short of providing the financial support needed to assist Canadian professional musicians to earn a sustainable living wage from their music during these challenging pandemic times and beyond. Despite the fact that recorded music is being consumed at historic record rates through digital streaming, music streaming platforms pay music artists exploitatively unfair low royalty rates. Streaming platforms have also almost entirely replaced the physical sales of recorded music, and as a result, music artists are compelled to accept the exploitative low royalty rates offered by streaming platforms, or risk not having their music effectively distributed to their audience. Also, without successful music streaming statistics, an artist cannot successfully qualify for grant funding or be nominated for an award. Without effective music distribution, a music artist's career cannot survive. As a result, music artists are essentially forced to sign agreements with exploitative terms for digital distribution of their recorded music.
Although most musicians enjoy easier access to an international audience through music streaming, most music artists can't sustain their recording careers while earning streaming royalties that only pay fractions of a penny per listen. "The number of artists that generated more than $1,000 was 184,500" — but since there are more than eleven-million artist profiles on Spotify, that means that more than 98 percent of artists failed to "generate" this insignificant level of revenue from music streaming. Because most artists split the income they generate from music royalties with co-writers and record companies, these artists most likely earned much less net streaming income than Spotify reports they "generated".
As a result of the extreme devaluation of recorded music, significantly fewer good paying performance opportunities, and increased performance challenges due to the pandemic, approximately 96% of music artists struggle to earn a living wage from their music. In contrast to the current inadequate government support funding being offered to musicians and live music venues through various limited grant applications, the CMSFL proposal put forward by the Canadian Musicians' Coalition would have generated approximately 2.1-billion-dollars annually to provide ongoing financial support for professional musicians, recording artists, and live music venues. Please take the time to thoroughly read the CMSFL proposal and Petition e-2995.
If you support either or both of these funding initiatives, please email your MP and the Minister of Canadian Heritage stating that you support Petition e-2995 to financially support Canadian Musicians as was tabled in the House of Commons on behalf of the Canadian Musicians' Coalition.
Thank you for supporting the Canadian Musicians' Coalition!
The CMC Team
Steve Sainas: Executive Director & IT
Cherelle Jardine: Publicity Director
Marc Gladstone: Director - W. Canada & Editor
Robert Campbell: Director - E. Canada & IT
Ted Tosoff: Assistant Director
Doug Cox: Assistant Director
Derek Bird: Assistant Director
Mark Greenhalgh: Assistant Director
Valdemar Horsdal: Assistant Director
Michael Hwang: Legal Advisor