Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Face of BC Arts Cuts « The Art of the Business

The Face of BC Arts Cuts « The Art of the Business


Recently, the City of Vancouver decided to close the Blodel Conservatory and the petting zoo at Stanley Park. It is my belief that this is because the Olympics are causing huge cost overruns, and the City has to figure out some way to make up that deficit. The Blodel Conservatory costs only about $400,000 to keep open. And closing the Blodel will have an effect on another young company that I work with: ITSAZOO Productions. Their biggest show of the year for the past two years is an annual, outdoor, promenade-style show that regularly sells out because it’s fun and takes advantage of a beautiful park setting in the middle of the summer.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

Canadian Conference of the Arts - Musical Diversity Funding: a pre-Holiday Discordant Report

CCA Bulletin 30/09
All issues available on the CCA web site.
Disponible en français au site web du CCA.

December 14, 2009

Musical Diversity Funding: a pre-Holiday Discordant Report
Just the facts

On December 9, the Standing Committee on Heritage presented its report on the three hearings on the abolition of the Musical Diversity Programs ($ 1.3m) administered by the Canada  Council of the Arts on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

The programs abolished targeted the recording and distribution of so-called “specialized” music, i.e. “music whose intent or content is not shaped by the desire for wide market appeal – instead, it places creativity, self-expression or experimentation above the demands and format expectations of the mainstream recording industry. Specialized music has significance beyond being just entertainment.” (Report, p.2) Funding will be transferred to FACTOR/MusicAction to support digital market development and international market development.

The Report calls for a return of these funds to the Canada Council for the Arts, for distribution to the sector. The three specific recommendations include:

Recommendation 1

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage commends the work of FACTOR, MusicAction, the Canada Music Fund and the Canada Council of the Arts for promoting and developing Canadian talent.

Recommendation 2

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage recommends that the Department of Canadian Heritage restore, in its entirety, the Canadian Musical Diversity Component within the Canada Music Fund. In addition, the committee recommends that additional funding be allocated to the Canada Council for the Arts to further support the grants program for recording and distributing specialized music.

Recommendation 3

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage did not hear evidence from the witnesses or from the Evaluation of 2007 that justified the cuts to the Canadian Musical Diversity Component.  (Report, p.8)

This set of hearings was imposed by Opposition members of the Committee and the resulting report is illustrative of the atmosphere that reigned throughout the proceedings. Despite the attempt of several witnesses to portray a clear vision of the system without a political agenda, it was clear from the beginning that Committee members were set on staging the cuts in a political light.

One of the regrettable side-effects of this process is that it pitted FACTOR/MusicAction and the Canada Council for the Arts against each other. The result was that the issue at hand became muddled, digressing from the importance of funding experimentation and exploration from a non-commercial perspective in art and culture in general and in music in particular, just as in other sectors of activity.

This was the point made in the Canadian Conference of the Arts’ presentation to the Standing Committee which the Report summarizes this way:

“The Canadian Conference of the Arts was very pleased that the Canada Music Fund had been renewed for five years, but did not want this funding to come at the expense of other sectors of the music industry. Alain Pineau, the organization’s Director General, said he is very concerned about the elimination of the musical diversity component. Moreover, he stated that asking the Canada Council to use its own annual budget to compensate for the elimination of the program would ?in fact amount to some kind of cut.” (p.5)

It is worth nothing that FACTOR/MusicAction representatives have stated that they actually attach great importance to emerging artists and organizations that support their development - an assertion which apparently does not reassure a number of stakeholders. Time will tell.

Tell me more

On July 31, 2009, the Department of Canadian Heritage announced that the number of CMF components would be reduced from seven to five, with current support for the Canadian Musical Diversity Component and the Support to Sector Associations Component reallocated to the five remaining components. According to the Department’s news release, “this will result in the elimination of overlap in program delivery, a reduction of the administrative burden currently placed on a number of applicants, and better targeting of public funds to emerging priority activities.” The two emerging activities are digital market development and international market development.

One of purposes of the Committee’s study was to “determine how and why the Department of Canadian Heritage decided to make these cuts.” During the hearing, the NDP seriously challenged the value of the 2007 evaluation, which was put forward by Heritage officials to justify the decision.

This approach was taken also by the Bloc Québécois, both during the hearings and in the Bloc’s Complementary Opinion, where it accuses government officials of misreperesenting the evaluation report to cover what it calls an ideological decision by the government:

“Feeling the need to justify an unjustifiable decision after the fact, the Department quoted sentences from the 2007 report out of context and, when it could not find what it needed, it changed words and thereby the meaning and even contradicted statements in the report to justify the decision it had already made.” (p. 13)

The Bloc concludes its Opinion by asking once again that “negotiations be undertaken with the Government of Quebec towards an administrative agreement in order to transfer as soon as possible jurisdiction for the arts, culture and communications to the Government of Quebec, with the associated budgets.”

The government side of the Standing Committee voiced their stance by upholding the cuts. They say that they cannot agree that the summary of evidence presented in the Report provides a full enough picture of what was presented during the study, nor do they agree with the recommendations made in the Standing Committee report. They reiterate that the changes made to the Canada Music Fund were the results of a thorough and widespread consultation, contrary to what the report states.

The Dissenting Opinion repeats what had been a mantra throughout the hearings, namely a recitation of the actions taken by the government in renewing the Canada Music Fund, peppered with a series of selected quotes. One of those was from the CCA:

 “The CCA has publicly rejoiced in the fact that the government has committed to a five-year renewal of the Canada Music Fund. We welcome the fact that the Minister of Canadian Heritage has recognized the need to increase the money available for digital and international market development. Those two sectors of activity will certainly benefit from the increased money they will receive through FACTOR and MUSICACTION.” (p. 16)

While this absolutely exact, it overlooks the CCA’s stance that the most welcomed increases to support the excellent work of FACTOR/MusicAction should not have been made at the expense of investing in musical diversity in a non-commercial context.

The government members conclude with assurance that: “Our Conservative Government understands the value of arts and culture to our communities, our identity, and our economy. That is why we have made unparalleled investments in this sector – investing more dollars in arts and culture than any Government in history.”

Sunday, December 13, 2009


DECEMBER 9, 2009


Evidence clearly showed the program’s value to the Canadian music scene: Angus
OTTAWA – Government cuts to the Canada Council should not only be reversed but the council should receive a funding increase, says a report by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage tabled yesterday in the House of Commons.

The cuts to the Canada Council's Grants for Specialized Music Sound Recording and Grants for Specialized Music Distribution had been previously announced by the Government.

The Committee heard in-person testimony from a wide range of witnesses, including representatives from the Heritage department; Canada Council for the Arts; FACTOR; Musicaction; Le Conseil québécois de la musique; and a host of independent musicians, producers and other stakeholders from a variety of disciplines.  The committee also received dozens of written submissions from those who weren’t able to appear in person during the committee’s brief study.

New Democrat critic for Heritage and Culture Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay) said that the testimony heard by the committee clearly showed the need to reverse the damaging cuts.

“For whatever reason, the Conservatives made an awful decision here, and this committee’s report outlines, in detail, why the government should reverse these cuts,” said Angus. “The evidence we heard overwhelmingly illustrated how important these grants were, how little consultation there was with those who knew the most about the grants and how a relatively small amount of funding goes a long way with the Canada Council grants.”

The report reflects the testimony of the overwhelming majority of witnesses, who signalled their support for the Musical Diversity Program.  Angus said that the report gives the Conservatives an open field to make up for their reckless decision to axe the grants.

“The Committee went step-by-step through the benefits, costs, and impact of the Musical Diversity Program, and came to the conclusion that any reasonable person would: that this program is important to the future of Canadian music,” he said.  “The only reasonable explanation for inaction from the government at this point would be political considerations; it’s clear what the practical policy decision should be.”

The report also praised the work of FACTOR, Musicaction and the Canada Music Fund, and pointed out that there was no compelling justification found for the cuts to the diversity program in the first place.


For more information, please contact: Jeremy Huws – Office of Charlie Angus, 613-992-3165 or

Friday, December 11, 2009

Liberal-arts cuts are bad for B.C.’s economy -Peter Ladner - At Large: Peter Ladner


The arts are the infrastructure for a creative economy. Why would we be lowering taxes to attract new businesses and mobile employees, especially in the burgeoning new- media industries, while we undermine the performing artists and organizations that feed those industries and pull creative people into this province?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Flickr: ArtsCutsMemo

Flickr: ArtsCutsMemo

Get creative about your anger over the arts cuts! Create a work of art that includes sticky notes. Anyone can do it. Click on the title above!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Recommendation from the Finance Committee to Restore Arts Funding! « Stop the BC Arts Cuts

Recommendation from the Finance Committee to Restore Arts Funding! « Stop the BC Arts Cuts


· Restore the budgets of both the BC Arts Council and the arts and cultural community component of the Community Gaming Grants Program to at least the level of 2008/09 to allow the arts community to begin to build upon the legacy of the 2010 Olympics. The 2010 Olympics provide our province with such a wonderful “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to showcase not only the athletes, but the breadth and depth of arts and cultural activities that make British Columbia such a great place to live, work and visit. Without at least the level of funding provided in 2008/09 it will be next to impossible for the arts and cultural community to seize the opportunities presented by the 2010 Olympics.

· Develop and announce a long term strategy to strengthen the support for the arts and cultural community of British Columbia as the province works it way out of the current fiscal difficulties. The BC150 Cultural Fund has provided a valuable foundation, and we are very grateful for this long term support, even as present rates of return have diminished the current impact of this source. At the same time many private donors have
reduced their support for all not-for-profit organizations, only compounding the financial issues facing most arts organizations. The arts community is looking for a more positive attitude and increased visible support from government.” (Jane Danzo, B.C. Arts Council, Written submission 670)

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Miners, farmers, forestry workers oppose cuts to arts and culture in BC

I've discovered this great web site that features

fantastic images of workers in the sectors of Mining, Farming, Forestry, Pulp, and Small town businesses protesting cuts to arts and culture in BC
• downloadable stickers protesting the cuts

Check it out!

Friday, November 6, 2009

ArtStarts in Schools showcase sidelined

ArtStarts in Schools has announced it’s cancelling next year’s spring showcase as a result of uncertainty regarding provincial arts funding.

View Original Article

Heart of the City Festival braces for cuts

Vancouver Moving Theatre, which produces the Heart of the City Festival, received approximately $45,000 in Direct Access money toward this year’s production; next year, that figure will be slashed to zero.

View Original Article

Arts Minister Kevin Krueger talks about Bible, not cutbacks | Vancouver, Canada |

Arts Minister Kevin Krueger talks about Bible, not cutbacks | Vancouver, Canada |

Monday, November 2, 2009

Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians letter to Minister Kruger

The Honourable Kevin J. Krueger Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts Room 124 Parliament Buildings British Columbia V8V 1X4

Dear Minister Krueger,

We represent 20 Canadian professional orchestras with over 1,100 members. We are writing to express our grave concern about the proposed cuts to the BC Arts Council.

Considering how the arts are a growing industry and provide major economic benefits throughout the province, it seems short-sighted to reduce government support in this sector. These cuts will result in further shrinkage of the BC economy and lost tax revenues for the BC government.

There are 80,000 people employed in the arts sector in BC and it is estimated that artistic activities generate $5.2 billion annually. It is bigger than the forestry and fishing industries combined. According to your own government statistics, for every dollar invested in the arts, the province gets back $1.38 in taxes.

We wll know that the social benefits that the arts provide to our society are immeasurable. All communities are enriched by a vibrant cultural presence.

The provinces of Ontario and Alberta have chosen to increase funding to the arts during this economic downturn in recognition of the importance that a stable long-term investment will provide to its citizens.

As Minister of Culture, you have the ability to defend and promote stable and consistent funding to ensure that this most important industry can remain strong and healthy in the future.

We urge you and your fellow elected representatives to reconsider this decision and fully restore the BC Arts Council budget.

Sincerely, Francine Schutzman, President Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians

YouTube - Restore Arts Funding Now

YouTube - Restore Arts Funding Now

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Metro Vancouver board calls on Premier Gordon Campbell to rescind arts cuts | Vancouver, Canada |

Metro Vancouver board calls on Premier Gordon Campbell to rescind arts cuts | Vancouver, Canada |


At the board meeting today (October 30), Broughton told her fellow regional district directors that the arts have been proven to be an effective tool for steering people, particularly youth, away from anti-social behaviour.

Broughton also pointed out that children who are exposed to arts have shown “less inclination” to engage in “scurrilous activity” as adults.

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B.C. Arts Council boosts advocacy | Vancouver, Canada |

B.C. Arts Council boosts advocacy | Vancouver, Canada |

Amir Ali Alibhai, executive director of the Alliance for Arts and Culture, said he applauds the council’s augmented advocacy but he questions just how far the organization can go, given its financial reliance on the government.

“It’s welcome for the B.C. Arts Council to take a stronger leadership role in advocacy,” Alibhai told the Straight by phone. “I’d be concerned that staff would be in an awkward position if they’re criticizing and suggesting different actions than those taken by the government.”

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Metro Vancouver awards $100,000 in grants to 16 arts groups | Vancouver, Canada |

Metro Vancouver awards $100,000 in grants to 16 arts groups | Vancouver, Canada |

Metro Vancouver’s board of directors has approved the awarding of $100,000 in grants to the Arts Club Theatre Company, Vancouver Symphony Society, and other arts and culture organizations in the region. 

Thank goodness we have a Vancouver city council that understands the value of the arts.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

El Sistema - a film by Paul Smaczny & Maria Stodtmeier

El Sistema - a film by Paul Smaczny & Maria Stodtmeier

Trailer from the film about this year's winner of the Glenn Gould Prize, Antonio Abreu, founder of EL SISTEMA. We need this kind of inspiration in Canada, not only to give a prize, but to implement this kind of dedication to culture. Let's not let this moment pass. There is an obvious contradiction between C...anada giving a Canadian Prize for such an initiative for obvious social and cultural good while our government continues to cut at the root of the tree that Mr. Abreu has built. Thanks to the Glenn Gould Foundation for making this clear statement about the essential value of art and music!

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Farmers say Restore Arts Funding!

Farmers say Restore Arts Funding!


Boal says the government ought to be ashamed of devoting the lowest percentage of all provinces of its operating budget to culture in spite of having the largest percentage of its labour force in arts occupations. “We’re investing less than half the national average,” he says. “Québec invests nearly four times what we do. We need to narrow this gap, not make it worse.”
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Gustavo Dudamel and his friends are in complete harmony - The Globe and Mail

Gustavo Dudamel and his friends are in complete harmony - The Globe and Mail

In Canada, we give the Glenn Gould Prize to a man who embraces classical music for the good of society and the poor, while we support governments at all levels that are closing down orchestras, closing down music programs in schools, closing theatres with the capacity to present orchestras. The Third World is racing to make a better society; meanwhile Canada appears to be stumbling to the bottom.
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B.C. arts groups plan day-long ‘grey relay' in Vancouver - The Globe and Mail

B.C. arts groups plan day-long ‘grey relay' in Vancouver - The Globe and Mail
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Direct Access gaming grant funding cuts leave Vancouver dancers reeling | Vancouver, Canada |

Direct Access gaming grant funding cuts leave Vancouver dancers reeling | Vancouver, Canada |
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Vancouver Foundation report finds arts groups hit hardest | Vancouver, Canada |

Vancouver Foundation report finds arts groups hit hardest | Vancouver, Canada |
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Campbell commits cultural genocide | Culture

Campbell commits cultural genocide | Culture


“It’s really not clear as to what’s going on yet—the government is in absolute chaos over this issue,” said Watson. “People say the Arts Council might get an arts cut of as much as 80 per cent. That’s a catastrophic cut…you’re talking about eliminating programs and institutions and support.”

The effects have already begun. The proposed closures of the Massey Theatre, the recent cancelation of the Lantern Festival and the Parade of Lost Souls and numerous other performance cancelations and museum closures have already happened in the last six weeks.

But what has surprised members of the artistic community most isn’t the apathy on the part of the Liberal government, but rather the complete elimination of funding from the BC Gaming Commission—an organization that funds not only arts endeavours, but sports and social groups.

“The gaming money that used to be available to cultural organizations and amateur sports is simply no longer available to them,” explained Watson, “the whole fabric of what communities do to nourish their creative and physical selves is being liquidated.”
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Musiques spécialisées - Des programmes bien cotés, mais abolis

Musiques spécialisées - Des programmes bien cotés, mais abolis

Published on October 22 by Montreal's Le Devoir newspaper, this article begins:

Of all the programs funded by the Canada Music Fund, the Specialized Music program was the most efficient, a Ministry reports claims. Yet that's the one that was cut this past summer. [translation mine]
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Les fiertés d'une ville, d'une région, voire d'un pay - Jean-François Denis

 Les fiertés d'une ville, d'une région, voire d'un pays, que sont ses orchestres symphoniques et ses maisons d'opéras -- deux des institutions les plus connues de musiques dites «spécialisées» -- ne peuvent répondre, par leur forme propre,  aux mêmes lois de marché que le spectacle de variétés ou la comédie musicale.

Il en va de même pour les autres formes de musiques spécialisées que sont les musiques électroacoustique, actuelle, expérimentale et contemporaine.


Même si pour certains la musique semble être une entité homogène -- après tout toutes les musiques demandent des créateurs et des interprètes; on en fait l'expérience directement en salle ou via les médiums que sont le disque et la radio; on s'informe à son sujet via les journaux et revues musicales, etc -- la pratique des différents genres musicaux est bienŠ différente.

Et cette différence de pratique a stimulé le développement de chaînes de transmission -- de production, de promotion, de distribution -- adaptées.

À musique spécialisée, moyens spécialisés.

Grâce à ses solides structures industrielles la musique de variété est devenue omniprésente dans notre société. À plusieurs égards cette industrie peut servir de modèle.

À l'instar de la chanson, la chaîne liant le créateur de musique spécialisée au mélomane s'est aussi développée, à sa façon, avec magazines et revues «spécialisées», organismes de concerts et festivals, ensembles et interprètes, créateurs et compositeurs, maisons de disques, éditeurs, émissions de radioŠ

Tout comme son pendant industriel où chaque maillon, chaque métier, complète les autres et est potentiellement aidé par divers programmes de subvention, le vaste secteur des musiques spécialisées possède aussi ses maillons dont l'existence de chacun est tout autant capital pour les autres de la chaîne.


C'est pourquoi subitement retirer l'appui aux deux maillons de production d'enregistrement sonore et de distribution à un secteur ne peut qu'être déstabilisant sinon catastrophique. Tout comme demander à un secteur d'appliquer les modes de fonctionnement d'un autre secteur.

Et les effets à court, moyen et long termes sont énormes non seulement sur l'accès aux oeuvres -- il y aura beaucoup moins d'enregistrements sonores --, sur la notoriété de nos musiciens chez nous et à l'international et sur l'entièreté de la discipline qu'est la musique.

En effet, la plupart des musiques dites «spécialisées» sont enseignées de l'école primaire à l'université. Pour d'abord favoriser l'appréciation musicale et façonner de futurs auditeurs, pour comprendre ses fonctionnements par l'étude, la recherche et l'analyse et, bien sûr, pour former les musiciens, créateurs et interprètes de demain.

Et c'est par l'audition d'enregistrement sonore que la musique s'apprends et se développe. D'autant plus que certaines formes de musiques spécialisées n'existe que par l'enregistrement sonore.

L'existence de ces enregistrements, de ces disques, joue donc plusieurs rôles dont ceux de donner l'accès aux oeuvres; de permettre l'éducation et le développement des pratiques; de constituer un patrimoine national, des traces audibles de la créativité de nos musiciens, ce, à travers le monde.


En janvier 2010 ma maison de disques empreintes DIGITALes -- -- célébrera 20 ans d'édition discographique. Plus de 110 titres -- un compositeur par disque -- ont été produits et rendus disponibles auprès des publics d'ici et, surtout, d'ailleurs.

Aujourd'hui, j'ai produit 84 disques de 50 compositeurs canadiens -- dont Francis Dhomont, Robert Normandeau, Paul Dolden et Gilles Gobeil -- et 32 de compositeurs étrangers (originaires de France, de Belgique, du Royaume-Uni, d'Allemagne, de Grèce, de Suède, d'ArgentineŠ).

Des 84 disques canadiens, 63 ont reçu une aide -- souvent modeste -- du programme de production géré depuis plus de 20 ans par le Conseil des Arts du Canada.

Cette aide nous «aide» justement à accomplir la mission de ma maison de disques qui est de rendre disponibles ces musiques uniques.


Combien de ces 63 disques n'aurait pas vu le jour sans cette aide qu'est le programme d'enregistrement sonore du Conseil des Arts du Canada? Peut-être aucun en fait car en août 1989 l'aventure de fonder une maison de disques qui, rétrospectivement, fera rayonner la créativité canadienne comme empreintes DIGITALes le fait encore aujourd'huiŠ cette aventure, donc, aurait été absolument irréaliste alors.

Avec le retrait du volet de la diversité musicale, avec la coupure des programmes d'aide à la production et d'aide à la distribution, dans notre pays de demain, combien de musiciens en germe et combien de nouveaux éditeurs discographiques potentiels ne verront pas le jour?

Combien d'auditeurs, de mélomane seront privés d'accès aux oeuvres?

À quel point notre culture en devenir en ce nouveau millénaire ne sera plus aussi vaste, riche et diversifiée que celle dont nous, ici réuni aujourd'hui, avons hérité?

Ce patrimoine auquel nous avons tous pu, jusqu'à aujourd'hui du moins, contribuer de façon si créative, si imaginée, si étonnanteŠ



Jean-François Denis

Éditeur musicale
Éditeur discographique
Distributeur spécialisé

Rédigé pour le Comité permanent du Patrimoine canadien
Ottawa, 22 octobre 2009

Specialized Recordings Meeting - House of Commons Committees - CHPC (40-2) - Minutes of Proceedings - Number 031 (Official Version)

House of Commons Committees - CHPC (40-2) - Minutes of Proceedings - Number 031 (Official Version)

Click on the link above to see the minutes of the meeting of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage that considers submissions by Canadians on the cut of the Specialized Music Recording Program.

Witnesses (speakers): Witnesses: Conseil québécois de la musique: Sylvie Gamache, Director General; Jean-François Denis, Director, DIFFUSION i MéDIA; Christophe Papadimitriou, President, L'OFF Festival de jazz de Montréal. Effendi Records Inc.: Carole Therrien, Vice-President. Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec: Luc Fortin, President, Local 406 of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. Music BC Industry Association: Bob D'Eith, Executive Director. Canadian Conference of the Arts : Alain Pineau, National Director.

Here is a direct link to the page where you can listen to the audio of the meeting.
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In 1992 I created a record label, Songlines, and have been producing and releasing innovative jazz and world music from Canada, the US and Europe. I have received support from the Canada Council but not FACTOR. Specifically, I’ve received grants to do recordings with jazz pianists Andy Milne, Paul Plimley and Chris Gestrin, guitarists Gordon Grdina and Ron Samworth, Indian percussionist Trichy Sankaran, Persian singer-instrumentalist Amir Koushkani, and the world music group Safa (Amir Koushkani, François Houle and Sal Ferreras). A few musicians such as saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff and composer-bagpiper Michael O’Neill also received CCA funding for their recordings on Songlines.

My comments reflect a knowledge of the jazz and creative music scene in Vancouver, across Canada and internationally, but I’m also interested in and familiar with other genres – many kinds of world music, folk/singer-songwriter, folk, classical and contemporary classical, post-rock and experimental, etc. I am also a musician, having been a member of Vancouver’s Javanese gamelan group Gamelan Madu Sari since 1987 and touring with the group across Canada and to Indonesia, as well as being president or treasurer over many years of the Vancouver Community Gamelan Society.

As well as making the general argument that culture matters and that the Canadian Musical Diversity program has been essential support for the cutting edge of musical creativity in Canada, I think it’s important to look at the financial facts of the matter. After learning about the cuts I felt the need to educate myself about FACTOR and the Canada Music Fund. I have studied attempted to analyze publicly available information about the Council’s Specialized Music Sound Recording program and about FACTOR’s loan and grant programs, information I’ve taken or extrapolated from FACTOR’s 2008-2009 annual report, which can be downloaded at their website. (By the way, no such information is available on the Musicaction website.) I have also read relevant sections of a lengthy study prepared by consultants for Canadian Heritage called Summative Evaluation of the Canada Music Fund. I have talked informally with colleagues in the music business and with an officer of the Canada Council, and have read and listened to the Minister’s interviews, trying to piece together a picture of how things work and why these cuts were made, I may have made errors in my interpretation of the available information, particularly regarding FACTOR, but I have done my best to weed out any gross misconceptions. I hope the Committee will find my comments useful and will dig deeper in their questions to get some answers.


The total amount of Canada Council grants to individual artists/applicants in all disciplines in 2007-2008 was $23.4 million (2,369 grants), which is about 15% of the total CCA funding, the other 85% went to organizations. The total funding for music (to individual applicants and organizations) was $34 million – I do not have a figure for funding just to individuals, but 15% of that would be $5.1 million. As the result of the spring and fall 2008 competitions, $1.045 million (103 grants) was disbursed by the Sound Recording program, so it is obviously a significant program, apparently accounting for about 20% of all direct funding to individuals (musicians, producers, labels).

When James Moore talks about the independent producers who are supporting his decision to cut this program, he’s talking mainly I imagine about the rock, pop, alternative, roots and urban music world, because that’s where most of the government funding to FACTOR goes. (FACTOR does have a program called Cultural Diversity, which funds genres such as urban, jazz, world music, classical and aboriginal, but its budget only accounts for 19% of total funding offered, and urban accounts for 38% of that 19%.) This is a very contentious, potentially divisive decision, because it is causing resentment among musicians working at the creative edge, pitting their interests and indeed their livelihood against those of musicians and their representatives (labels, managers etc.) who are working in more commercial styles and in a more industry-connected way. This is not to say of course that there is no artistic merit in the popular music world. However, it is very unbalanced and irresponsible of PCH to prioritize commercial viability in this way at the expense of innovation and long-term cultural development.

And I think we should also ask (and try to gets answers for) this question: how commercially viable is the music that FACTOR supports – the music that will mainly benefit, it seems, from the new programs that are being set up with that $1.35 million taken away from the Council? And what kind of bang for their buck are taxpayers getting for the money that government provides FACTOR? Where does the money go?

Here are some relevant facts about FACTOR, as far as I have been able to determine them from their annual report.

FACTOR received $18,107,000 in income in the 2008-2009 fiscal year, of which $8,466,000 came from Canadian Heritage through the Canada Music Fund; $6,968,000 of that was for the New Musical Works program, i.e. went to supporting recording, promotion/marketing and touring through loans and grants to musicians, labels, producers and managers. FACTOR’s breakdown of their distribution of funds for these programs is: recording loans, $4,668,000; video grants, $462,000; marketing/promotion loans, $3,931,000; touring and showcasing grants, $2,467,000, for a total of $11,528,000. It seems therefore that 60% of FACTOR’s funding for these programs in 2008-2009 came from the government; another approximately 36% would in that case come from the radio industry, mainly pursuant to CanCon regulations and a recent CRTC decision allowing ownership of more than one station in a single market. Less than 4% ($434,000) came from repayment of FACTOR recording and marketing loans.

This last figure is interesting because, using it and the statement that FACTOR-supported recordings sold “in excess of” 1,000,000 units in fiscal year 2008-2009, as well as the number of FACTOR-supported applications in the 2007-2008 fiscal year (1327), we might infer a very rough average sales figure per record of just 1500 units in the first two years of release, the period during which loans are normally to be repaid (at $.50/unit sold). However, this would be quite incorrect. Elsewhere the annual report clarifies that only 170 “sound recordings for commercial release” were actually funded in 2007-2008 (another 149 artist demo projects received funding). In that case, the average sales figure could be somewhere around 12,000 units in the first two years. (It would be useful to get detailed figures from FACTOR, including the actual total sales figure, since “in excess of” 1,000,000 is vague). However, FACTOR also offers marketing loans to recordings that did not receive production funding. The annual report states that 137 “marketing for audio recording” loans were made in 2007-2008: since it appears that this is at least partially in addition to the 170 that received production funding, that would reduce the average sales figure. (Of course, their most popular recordings sell 50,000 or more, so some certainly sell much fewer than the average, whatever it is.)

One can also divide the government’s $6,968,000 contribution in 2008-2009 to New Musical Works by 1534, the total number of applications offered support, for an average of about $4,542/application Or, looked at in terms of a subsidy to the music business per unit sold, if you divide 1,000,000 by the previous year’s New Music Works funding of $6,367,000, you get $6.36. As that $6.367 million actually represents 73% of the total funds FACTOR offered to New Music Works applicants in 2007-2008, the total FACTOR subsidy per unit sold would be around $8.50. That is approximately equal to the price a distributor normally pays a producer per CD sold, and considerably more than the producer would receive for an album download from iTunes for example (probably around $6-$7) – in other words, we’re talking about a 50% + industry subsidy, of which 60-70% is generally provided by government. (On top of that, government provided another $1.5 million to FACTOR in 2008-2009 for industry programs not tied to specific artists or recording projects.)

Some more figures from the 2008-2009 annual report, showing support for particular genres:

Of total grants/loans of $14,985,000 offered in all genres, $245,000 went to classical (17 out of 37 applications), $664,000 to jazz (54 out of 154), $396,000 to world music (34 out of 104), for a total of $1,305,000. As mentioned, there were 1534 successful applications in all genres (out of 3648 submitted).

Note however that only 77% of this $14.985,000 ($11,528,000) actually went to directly support sound recording, videos, promotion/marketing, and touring/showcasing. The other 23% went to industry support through the Label, Manager and Distributor Business Development program, the Domestic & International Business Development program (travel support), and Collective Initiatives, which supports music business and non-profit organizations. So one can conclude that the total amount of support for jazz, classical and world music recording, marketing and touring was probably around $1,000,000 for these 105 applications, or under 9% of the total. And of that amount, about half ($512,000) was awarded to 34 of 151 applicants (23% success rate) in the sound recording loan programs – an average award of $15,000, about one and a half times the average Canada Council award (this average presumably does not include any marketing loans that these recordings might subsequently have received.)

As mentioned, the Council awarded $1,045,000 in 2008 to 103 projects (an average of $10,100/grant) in its recording program – which of course only covers recording and marketing, not touring (touring funding comes from the Council’s core funding, not through the Canadian Musical Diversity program). Comparing these figures shows how significant, indeed devastating, the elimination of this program will be in these genres (jazz in particular has been receiving a very large number of applications) as well as for some aboriginal music, avant-rock, folk/singer-songwriter, and other non market-driven types of projects supported by the Council.

There are no sales figures available for Canada Council supported recordings, but if the average were 1,000 units over the life of the record (a not unreasonable assumption), that would be a subsidy of about $10/unit sold ¬– not much more than the average FACTOR support for records that, for the most part after all, are considered to be more commercially oriented and more capable of generating sales. (To be fair, this comparison doesn’t take into account the additional CCA touring funding that a CCA recording recipient might also receive.)

It also seems clear that a larger number of applicants to FACTOR are funded than are funded by the Council’s sound recording program. Leaving aside touring grants, in 2008-2009, 229 out of 1031 applicants for FACTOR sound recording loans were successful, about 22%. However, 217 out of 389 applicants for marketing loans were successful. Again, it’s not clear how many of these are for recordings that did not receive recording, but if it was a significant number it would bring the average up. Compare this to 1 in 5 or 6 applicants for the CCA sound recording program (as stated by the officer in charge of the program), i.e. around 20% or less.

Adding up the FACTOR figures above for just jazz, classical and world music applications in 2008-2009, we see that 105 out of 295 were successful, or 36%. However, as mentioned, if we only include recording loans (not marketing loans and touring grants, etc.), the figures are 34 out of 151 (23%). (The overlap between these different FACTOR programs is not known, although no doubt this information could be provided. And overlap is a major issue – see below.)

Another relevant fact: Council has typically not been able to fund all applicants “highly recommended” for support by its juries in thir program, even by making across-the-board reductions in the amounts actually awarded, as usually happens. If such reductions were not made, the officer estimates that the number of successful applicants would be more like 1 in 8 or 10. FACTOR on the other hand does not reduce funding requests in this way – if funding is offered, the full amount requested is normally provided.

In short, we must conclude that, almost every way you look at it, the recording industry has been supporting itself, largely through government funding, far more generously than the Council has been able to support deserving artists with the funding government has provided it. But this FACTOR money is not spread around evenly – as we’ll see later, the more successful you are, the more support you get.

In any case, this separation of art and commerce in favour of commerce at the expense of art is contentious. It implies (as the Minister recently asserted to the media) that artists/Canada Council recipients are not business people and are not doing their best to market their music just like everyone else. This is unfair and in general I think quite unjustified, even if their commercial prospects may be much lower than the average FACTOR recipient.

It is also worth comparing the process involved in awarding CCA grants and FACTOR funding.Both do support music based on artistic merit, as they judge it (despite James Moore’s comment in his September 24th Q interview with Jian Ghomeshi that “it’s not my job as a minister to make judgments about what is artistic merit or not, nor is it yours, nor is it anybody’s”). At least, artistic merit is a major consideration for FACTOR juried loans (Direct Board Access decision-making is opaque). One difference is that Council juries are small (3 people) and consist of peers, usually musicians. FACTOR’s lengthy and presumably expensive three-stage process of two regional juries and a national “superjury” for each intake involves, I believe, juries of up to 10 industry “experts” (some musicians, many probably not). Whereas CCA jurors’ names are available for each jury, FACTOR jurors’ names are not associated with a particular jury, so there is less transparency or accountability. Nevertheless, someone is deciding whether your music has merit, as well as how strong your marketing plan is and what kind of track record you have. The Council selects jurors based on the applications actually received, trying to choose people who are qualified to judge the range of music presented. I don’t know who selects FACTOR jurors, but I’ve heard that sometimes one or two strong supporters of an application can convince a jury. This could sometimes be an advantage for some less commercial, more unconventional projects. But in any case the final decision is made by a national “superjury” which examines from scratch each applicant that has made it through the two regional juries; there’s no prior ranking system of applicants to influence the superjury, and superjuries do not look at any comments the regional juries may have made. They decide how the available money available. If, for example, there were three similar applicants from different parts of the country, the superjury might choose one, they would not try to spread the money around. So it all really depends on the value judgments and biases of those jurors. It is difficult to imagine how such a process could readily be adapted to make fair and balanced judgments about art music.

By the way, in 2008-2009 the total amount of funding that FACTOR juries awarded for commercial sound recording was only $1,182,000. The rest, $4,377,000, was decided by the Board through its Direct Board Access and Emerging Artists programs. Another $3,931,000 was awarded for marketing/promotion, but I don’t know what percentage of that was juried – probably less than 25%.

Direct Board Approval funding can’t be entirely value-free either, though presumably artistic merit is not a major consideration. It’s predicated on supporting and furthering proven commercial success: to qualify for DBA funding, applicants must have sold at least 5,000 units of their previous recording (2,500 for classical). Obviously that effectively eliminates support to less established artists and more innovative/less popular types of music. Only 179 of 895 DBA applications were funded in 2008-2009; however, if we look only at sound recording loans, 103 out of 120 were approved! Extrapolating from figures in the 2008-2009 annual report, government would appear to have provided about $1,800,000 of the total DBA funding. But only the people inside the system would know exactly what the considerations leading to success were. Some artists continue to get funding year after year, in one case at least (Metric) purportedly receiving everything they’ve asked for. Here are the top 10 earners since 2005 (this analysis was provided by a small indie-rock label owner and I have not verified it, but it is available on the FACTOR website:

Metric - $377,207 - Last Gang/Universal
Trews - $309,193 - Bumstead/Universal
Midway State - $249,865 - Interscope/Universal
Young Galaxy - $215,508 - Arts & Crafts
Sophie Milman - $214,431 - Linus/Universal
Most Serene Republic - $212,807 - Arts & Crafts
Justin Hines - $209,486 - Orange Lounge/Universal
Aaron Pritchett - $192,636 - 604/Universal
Stills - $191,491 - Arts & Crafts
Dears - $188,071 - Arts & Crafts

(A musician colleague of mine who also knows the indie-rock world commented: “Look how many artists were on Arts and Crafts, which could bankroll their entire roster with revenues generated by Feist alone, I suspect.”)

Although this level of funding is of course far beyond the amounts available from the Council (the maximum grant is $20,000, the average, as we’ve seen, $10,000), for our selected “culturally diverse” genres (jazz, world and classical) I would guess DBA funding is probably very limited, as few projects would have the required sales to apply. Although no breakdown by genre is provided, for all genres combined the breakdown of funding for recording loans in 2008-2009 was:

DBA: $1,841,000 for 103 successful applicants out of 120 ($18,000 average loan)

Emerging Artists: $1,355,000 for 50 applicants out of 136 ($27,000 average)
Note: this is a recently introduced Board approval program which is entirely funded by private radio broadcasters, not by government, and which has lower minimum sales requirements for one’s previous release – 1,500 for jazz, classical or worldbeat; nevertheless, there were only 3 successful jazz applicants, 1 worldbeat, and no classical.

Factor Loan and Independent Loan (juried) funding combined: $1,182,000 for 76 applicants out 775 ($15,500 average). Note the low success rate of these two juried programs.


There’s another justification, apart from the bias in favour of “independent entrepreneurs” rather than artists, that I understand has been used by Canadian Heritage to justify “streamlining” support to recordings through FACTOR and eliminating the Canadian Musical Diversity program. PCH apparently claims that 60% of Council recipients have also received FACTOR funding. This appears to be quite unbelievable on the face of it, even if Heritage is tallying not recipients not only of specialized sound recording grants but also of CCA touring and showcase funding, and correlating that total with any FACTOR recipients of funding for recording/marketing, marketing alone, video grants and/or touring. One would very much like to see this list – if PCH can’t or won’t provide it, I believe that the Council should be able to provide their own analysis. It has been suggested to me that the overlap, at least if touring is not included, would be 15% or less.

In Heritage’s own commissioned study, Summative Evaluation of the Canada Music Fund (October 2007), its consultants write that Canadian Heritage “stated that few applicants apply to both programs.” (section 5.3.2, Overlap and Duplications). This study can be found here:

or can be downloaded as a pdf:

Of course we could all make up our own lists by searching on recipients’ names at the FACTOR and CCA websites, and decide for ourselves whether FACTOR has offered much support to the innovative, visionary cutting edge of Canada’s music culture.

In any case, from the figures I’ve presented I think it’s clear that without very significant additional funding for FACTOR’s Cultural Diversity program – about half of whose support goes to jazz, world, classical and aboriginal recordings – there’s no way that FACTOR could even pretend to replace the Canadian Musical Diversity program. (As we’ve seen, in 2008-2009 Cultural Diversity accounted for 19% or $2,863,000 of total FACTOR support, but only an estimated $1,000,000 would have actually gone to recording/marketing/touring for jazz, world and classical, and only $512,000 in recording loans.) And as far as I know there is no additional funding being allocated to this program.


What are we going to get for that $1,350,000 the government is redirecting to the new programs? $500,000 is going to international market development and showcases – which used to be funded I believe by programs such as Trade Winds and PromArt that the government eliminated in the last couple of years. $900,000 is going to music entrepreneurs and businesses for digital market development ¬– it remains to be seen what form this will take. But anyone who can get their record to CD Baby can also thereby get it on iTunes, and a small label like Songlines (with some 55 releases at the time) had no trouble getting international digital distribution through an aggregator such as IODA back in 2004.

What’s really needed are new ways of promoting Canadian music on the internet and getting it noticed ¬– and not just the industry’s music, all of it. I could see the value for example of a centralized Canada Music website and clearing house for information, with interesting features and links to labels, artists, videos, etc., but something like that could be designed and maintained by one person working for Canadian Heritage, and it certainly wouldn’t cost $900,000 a year.

The Summative Evaluation is probably the source of the idea to increase support for digital market development. In Section 5.3.5, Alternatives, it states:

“Several key informants stated that the CMF should add a new component that helps smaller record labels to successfully make the transformation from a world that relied on the distribution of physical CDs to the online environment. Smaller record labels recognize that they must increase their new media capabilities as they continue the transformation to digital distribution (e.g., to sign business deals with aggregators and on-line music stores), but lack the resources and expertise to do so. Record labels are already in discussions with telecommunication companies (e.g., cable companies, internet providers), and must develop new competencies to market music within a digital environment. The sorts of expertise identified as lacking including [sic] both technical and business skills (information technology, digital rights management, negotiation of business deals, etc.).

“One key informant stated that most of the smaller labels had not been able to upload their catalogue to on-line music stores, as much of their music has not yet been digitally encoded. This could be addressed by PCH if it were to contract with an IT company to digitally encode the catalogues of record labels. Another option would be to provide funding via NMW.

“Some key informants suggested that the federal government should offer a labour support program, whereby record companies could access a subsidy to help pay the salary of new media personnel.”

I seriously question whether time and necessity haven’t overtaken these views (which are based on research conducted in 2006-2007) and rendered most of them outdated. What record labels have not digitized their catalogue by now? Digital recording has been with us since the 1980s, and every CD of course is already a digital master. Aggregators like IODA rip files for their client labels from CDs and prepare them in any format (CD quality, MP3 etc.) that their customers such as iTunes want, normally at no cost to the label – all the labels have to do is provide the metadata. And every label that is paying someone to promote their releases, whether an in-house publicist or an outside contractor, is already reaching bloggers and podcasters and probably Twitter and Facebook too, because professional publicists must have these skills and contacts these days to be hirable. Every artist that used to maintain a website (some still do) have a MySpace page to promote themselves, and many are uploading concert videos shot by their friends to YouTube. It would be helpful to have a little extra money to be able to pay people something for this work, and sometimes it’s really necessary to do so, but it’s a DIY ethic out there, and many musicians, especially the young, have the skills to do it themselves.

I myself, a sole proprietor with no business training, as well as lots of musicians who have to manage their own careers, could always use some updating of business skills, but I am sure that the real record industry, the one that FACTOR primarily funds, has already addressed these issues and does not really need new funding to manage digital rights and negotiate business deals in the internet age. Either they’ve learned how to do it themselves or, as in the past, they hire professionals (lawyers, bookkeepers) who know how to do it. No, the main problem I see is invisibility: we’re constantly inundated with music and information about music, and the good gets lost in a sea of mediocrity. The Summative Evaluation notes in Section 5.1.1, Does the CMF meet a persistent need:

“Regarding the question of the types of support required, support for marketing and promotion was a constant theme. One expert panel member summed up the situation:

“The name of the game today is getting exposure and creating effective promotion amid the “fire hose” of music being produced. Getting known, as always, is crucial to success. However, there is so much more music being made and consumed today, so that the challenges of promotion and exposure have become more difficult, by orders of magnitude, compared to just ten years ago. The game has fundamentally changed and the new game is not quite clear.

“The expert panel recommended that the CMF funding should continue, but that it should be re-directed to the pressure points of today’s challenges, rather than continuing with the business models of the past. Recording is not the challenge anymore; getting heard is.”

I agree, and thus my suggestion of a central site of information that would, for example, come up at or near the top of Google searches on “Canadian music” or “Canadian jazz” or any number of relevant keywords. Such a collaborative effort, in my opinion, would be money much better spent than providing additional money to industry players to try and out-promote each other. They are already doing that anyway with FACTOR marketing loans and video grants, and the more visibility they already have, the less they need additional support. The people who could most benefit are the ones who are most invisible. But, as I think I’ve shown (and as everybody knows anyway), with FACTOR the priority is the other way around.

Where I disagree with the Summative Evaluation is on the question of reducing funding for the recording process. One of its recommendations (6.2.1, PCH should re-design the Canada Music Fund and consult with the music industry as part of the re-design process) is this:

“Shift resources from production to online distribution and marketing. The costs of production are declining due to technology. However, it is one thing to make Canadian music available on-line; it is quite another to get noticed in the digital world.”

My response: before any digital market development can take place the music still has to be recorded. The Summative Evaluation also concluded that 42% of Canadian Musical Diversity (CCA) funded recordings “would not have gone ahead without this funding, and another 34 % would have gone ahead but significantly reduced in scope.” (5.2.1, New Music is produced, marketed, distributed). And it would is a gross exaggeration to suggest that current digital technology has reduce recording costs to relative insignificance. But, if one does accept this view, and also believes that the cutting-edge of our music culture is largely irrelevant to Canadians, and that the Council’s sound recording program is lavishing support self-indulgently on the recording of non-commercial music which is either unmarketable or not properly marketed (since most of the funding is spent on production as well as paying the musicians for their work), well, one might conclude that its program is expendable. Note however that neither the Summative Evaluation in its recommendations, nor any of the experts and informants they include in the study, suggest reducing it, much less eliminating it.

It’s true that almost anyone can throw up a few mics in their living room or at a live gig and get sound files into their computer, but we’re talking about art, and the art of music is sound itself. To represent the music properly, especially the acoustic and amplified instruments and vocals of classical, jazz, world, folk etc., recordings still need to be made in the right space (studio or hall), with high-quality equipment (mics, pre-amps, converters etc.) that is beyond the means of most musicians, and by engineers who really know what they’re doing. Like other label owners who are in it for the love of music rather than making a profit, when I produce a recording I’m not mainly thinking about when or if I’m going to recoup my investment (although of coure that has to be a consideration), I’m thinking of how to make it the best recording I possibly can for now and for posterity without wasting money on extravagances. Studio time is typically two days, and another two days to mix, one day to master. Sometimes it takes longer to get things right. This costs money, and professional musicians also need to be paid something for their time and their art.

When the music industry as such needs massive subsidies to survive, how are music artists going to pursue their vision without adequate support? In his Q interview the Minister said:

“There are still other funding envelopes available, the Canada Council amends and adjusts its funding envelopes all the time to reflect where they think the other government programs have altered and changed and where they might want to fill gaps and fill holes, there’s existing funding at the Canada Council for this kind of thing.”

That’s easy for him to say, but the reality is that the money would have to be taken away from other music programs, none of which I think are exactly over-funded. I hope the Council itself will make this point forcefully.

Other witnesses will certainly make the point that a recording is not only a work of art and artistry in itself but a key, essential element of a musician’s livelihood, greatly affecting their touring possibilities and ability to promote themselves. Unless the Council gets its program back – hopefully better funded than it has been, and preferably, in my opinion, as part of their core funding, without the need to account directly to the Canada Music Fund for their priorities and way of doing things – I’m certain that many exciting, innovative projects that might have been just won’t happen, and others will not thrive and won’t be preserved for posterity in the form they deserve.

Tony Reif
Songlines Recordings

October 22, 2009

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Facebook | Royal Conservatory of Music Faculty Association / OSSTF

Facebook | Royal Conservatory of Music Faculty Association / OSSTF

The teachers at the Royal Conservatory of Music have been working without a contract for over two years. Management has been increasing fees for students, leading to the observation "The administration’s current focus on exciting and trendy new ventures has been at the expense of lost studio spaces, a lapsed collective agreement and faculty resignations. Furthermore, the skyrocketing fees have turned the school from one for the musically talented to the financially elite."

From their October newsletter (Vol. 1, Issue 2):

The Bargaining Unit Table Team met with management on Sept. 16 and 24. A few items were agreed to; however, substantial items remain for further discussion (membership, seniority, teaching and examining entitlement) while other critical ones (working condi- tions, benefits, compensation) have yet not been bargained.

Music lessons should be accessible to all! Fees should be low, and teachers should receive proper compensation for their contribution to the health and well-being of our citizens and future musicians. Again, from the newsletter:

For some years now we have striven to attract promising young professionals to the Glenn Gould School. Almost all of them will do some, even a great deal, of teaching in their careers. If this treatment is what they and future generations have to expect, there will be even less reason to enter the profession!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brace yourself: Sometimes I feel sorry for the CBC - The Globe and Mail

on the day when CBC News is busy unveiling itself, there's an e-mail doing the rounds which casts light on the kindergarten atmosphere of spite, complaining and backstabbing that infects CBC on a perpetual basis.The e-mail has been floating online for a few days and yesterday made its way to this paper's Ottawa bureau, whence it came to me. It is a masterpiece of whine. It is anonymous but purports to come from “Concerned Staff” and is addressed to CBC President Hubert Lacroix. It opens: “Dear Mr. President, A concerned group of staff are writing to inform you that CBC English Radio and Television are in a state of crisis and desperately require intervention.”
Brace yourself: Sometimes I feel sorry for the CBC - The Globe and Mail
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Cashbox Magazine Canada article

For those who haven't heard of El Sistema, please read this article about how a youth orchestra has transformed the barios of Venezuela. A perfect example of "social profit" - benefits to the people!
Facebook | Inbox - Cashbox Magazine Canada article
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Compressions au programme Subventions à l’enregistrement sonore de musique spécialisée

*LCC / RCMN / JFC Communiqué de presse conjoint : Compressions au programme Subventions à l’enregistrement sonore de musique spécialisée*

Le 20 octobre 2009

*Le comité permanent du patrimoine canadien tient des séances au sujet des coupures au programme de diversité de la musique canadienne : La LCC, le RCMN, et JFC demandent à Patrimoine Canada de suivre ses propres recommandations!*

La Ligue canadienne des compositeurs (LCC), le Réseau canadien pour les musiques nouvelles (RCMN) et Jazz Festivals Canada (JFC) sont unis dans leur opposition au retrait par Patrimoine Canada de financement du Fonds de musique du Canada destiné au programme du Conseil des Arts du Canada Subventions à l'enregistrement sonore de musique spécialisée.

Pendant vingt ans, ce programme a fourni un soutien essentiel à la musique canadienne non commerciale. Il a également donné un bon coup de pouce à une riche brochette de musiciens talentueux - des artistes tels que Diana Krall, ou encore des genres musicaux tels que la musique celtique, pour n'en nommer que quelques-uns. Il s'agit de musiques qui touchent les Canadiens et qui accentuent la présence de la musique canadienne partout dans le monde. Il joue également un rôle essentiel dans la santé de l'écosystème musical du Canada. Les mêmes artistes qui génèrent la musique commerciale dont le Canada est si fier à juste titre s'appuient aussi sur la diversité de la musique non commerciale pour alimenter leur talents créateurs, en s'en servant comme un laboratoire, un incubateur d'expression et d'idées artistiques originales.

Pour cette raison, cesser de soutenir les enregistrements non commerciaux fait du tort non seulement à des genres tels que le classique, le contemporain, la musique actuelle, le jazz, l'improvisation, la musique du monde, la musique folk et la musique roots. Cela nuit également au secteur commercial. Les deux sont inséparables. La création musicale - dans tous les genres - ne sort pas de la salle du conseil des grandes entreprises du monde de la musique. Cette décision à courte terme nuira, à long terme, à tout le secteur de la musique canadienne.

La création musicale va au-delà des ventes de disques ou des téléchargements. Le secteur de la musique comprend cela. L'Académie canadienne des arts et des sciences de l'enregistrement (qui gère les prix JUNO) possède un programme d'éducation musicale très actif (MusiCompte), tout comme l'Association canadienne des industries de la musique et la société de droits d'exécution SOCAN, par le biais de la Fondation SOCAN. Ces groupes sont financés par le secteur de la musique commerciale, et ils se rendent compte que promouvoir une vaste gamme d'activités musicales est bon pour les affaires et bon pour les arts.

Cette décision a suivi un rapport de l'Industrie de l'enregistrement sonore commandé par Patrimoine Canada (« Évaluation sommative du Fonds de la musique du Canada »). Pourtant, la décision contredit plusieurs des résultats importants de l'étude : en premier lieu, à l'effet que les projets qui se recoupent sont très rares, autrement dit FACTOR et MUSICACTION ne font pas double emploi avec le programme Subventions à l'enregistrement sonore de musique spécialisée ; deuxièmement, à l'effet que le financement des enregistrements spécialisés devraient être inclus dans le budget de fonctionnement régulier du Conseil des Arts du Canada (la section 5.3.2 du rapport - « suggère que les sommes consacrées au Volet diversité de la musique canadienne soient simplement transférées à la base-A du Conseil des Arts du Canada »).

Le rapport souligne également : « Un des trois éléments du Fonds de la musique du Canada couverts par l'enquête sur les récipiendaires, le Volet diversité de la musique canadienne (Subvention pour la réalisation d'enregistrements de musique spécialisée) a eu *l'impact le plus important sur l'augmentation* de la production d'enregistrements sonores » (section 6.1.3). Il semble donc que c'est le volet dont on a démontré l'efficacité supérieure qui a été éliminé.

Le rapport suggère aussi : « Patrimoine Canada devrait revoir le fonctionnement du Fonds de la musique du Canada et consulter tout le secteur de la musique dans le cadre de ce processus de restructuration. » Ce processus devrait inclure *l'ensemble de l'industrie*, y compris les artistes non commerciaux et leurs maisons d'enregistrement qui, admet le rapport, sont une partie intégrante et importante du système musical canadien. (section 6.2.1)

Tout ce que nous demandons est que le gouvernement suive son propre rapport complet, détaillé et très fouillé! Le rapport ne suggère pas de retirer ce financement, mais envisage de le transférer au Conseil des Arts du Canada. Patrimoine Canada prétend que le financement continuera à soutenir les genres non commerciaux en étant transféré à FACTOR et à MUSICACTION. Il s'agit là de voeux pieux. Bien que ces deux agences jouent un rôle essentiel et efficace dans le soutien de la musique commerciale, elles dépendent des diffuseurs commerciaux pour leur financement, et elles mesurent le succès d'après les ventes. Elles n'ont ni la motivation ni l'expérience pour servir la musique non commerciale.

Finalement, éliminer cette source de financement crée un précédent troublant juste au moment où le Conseil des Arts du Canada procède actuellement à une révision stratégique. Il est inefficace, non profitable et incompréhensible que le gouvernement choisisse de retirer les fonds à un programme (Enregistrements spécialisés) administré par une agence qui a constamment reçu des éloges du Vérificateur général. Une telle décision punitive soulève des interrogations quant à l'engagement du gouvernement actuel à l'égard du principe chéri et chèrement acquis de l'indépendance des agences de financement des arts au Canada.

Si le Canada continue à offrir une grande diversité de musiques à son public et si la créativité et l'imagination reçoivent autant d'attention que les considérations commerciales, alors nous aurons un environnement musical fort et en santé, ce qui aidera tous les artistes, tous les mélomanes et tout le secteur de la musique. Il s'agit d'un écosystème interrelié qui a besoin de chaque genre de musique pour continuer à être disponible pour le public canadien. Nous pressons le gouvernement de reconsidérer cette décision, et de faire ce qui est souhaitable pour la musique canadienne - pour toute la musique canadienne.

Contacts pour les relations publiques : Ligue canadienne des compositeus (LCC): James Rolfe, président;; 416-767-3952

Réseau canadien pour les musiques nouvelles (RCMN): Tim Brady, président;; 514-931-9747

Jazz Festivals Canada (JFC): Rainbow Robert, directeur général ;; 604-872-5200

CLC / CNMN / JFC Joint Press Release: Specialized Music Recording Cuts

(français ensuite)

*CLC / CNMN / JFC Joint Press Release: Specialized Music Recording Cuts*

20 October 2009

*Parliamentary Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage Holds Hearings on Cuts to Musical Diversity Program: CLC, CNMN, and JFC Ask Heritage Canada to Follow Its Own Recommendations!*

The Canadian League of Composers (CLC), Canadian New Music Network (CNMN), and Jazz Festivals Canada (JFC) are united in their opposition to Heritage Canada's withdrawal of Canada Music Fund money from The Canada Council for the Arts' Specialized Music Recording Program.

For twenty years, this program has delivered essential support to non-commercial Canadian music. It has also given a head start to a rich diversity of talented musicians - artists such as Diana Krall, and entire genres such as Celtic music, to name but a few. This is music which speaks to Canadians, and raises the profile of Canadian music around the world. It also plays an essential role in the health of Canada's musical ecosystem. The same artists who produce the commercial music of which Canada is so justly proud also rely on a diversity of non-commercial music to maintain their creative powers, using it as a laboratory, an incubator of fresh artistic ideas and expression.

For this reason, taking away support for non-commercial recording harms not only whole genres such as classical, contemporary, musique actuelle, jazz, improv, world music, folk, and roots music. It hurts the commercial industry as well. The two are not separate. Creative music making - in any genre - does not come out of the board rooms of music corporations. This short-term decision will, in the longer term, damage the entire Canadian music industry.

Music making is not just about record sales or downloads. The music industry understands this. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (who run the Juno awards) has a very active music education program (MusiCounts), as does the Music Industry Association of Canada and the SOCAN performing rights organization, through the SOCAN Foundation. These groups are funded by the commercial music industry, and they realize that promoting a wide range of musical activities is both good for business and good for art.

This decision followed a report of the Sound Recording Industry commissioned by Heritage Canada ("Summative Evaluation of the Canada Music Fund"). Yet the decision contradicts several of the study's key findings: first, that very few projects are "double dipping", that is, FACTOR and MUSICACTION are not duplicating the Specialized Music Recording program; second, that the funding for Specialized Recording should become part of The Canada Council's regular operating budget (section 5.3.2 of the report - " suggested monies devoted to the CMD component simply should be transferred to the A-base of the Canada Council.").

The report also points out: "Of the three CMF components covered by the survey of recipients, the CMD component (Grants for Specialized Music Recording Production) had the *largest incremental impact* on the production of sound recordings." (section 6.1.3). So it appears the demonstrably most effective part of the program has been cut.

The report also suggests: "PCH should re-design the Canada Music Fund and consult with the music industry as part of the re-design process".  This would have to include the *entire* industry, including non-commercial artists and their labels, who the report agrees are an integral and important part of the Canadian music system. (section 6.2.1)

All we are asking is that the government follows its own exhaustive, comprehensive and very well-researched report!  The report does not suggest withdrawing this funding, but considers adding it to The Canada Council. Heritage Canada claims that the funding will continue to support non-commercial genres by being transferred to FACTOR and MUSICACTION. This is wishful thinking. Although both agencies play a vital and efficient role in supporting commercial music, they depend on commercial broadcasters for funding, and measure success by sales. They have neither the incentive nor the experience to serve non-commercial music.

Finally, it sets a disturbing precedent to cut this funding just at the time The Canada Council is undergoing a strategic review.  It is ineffective, inefficient and incomprehensible that the government would chose to withdraw funding from a program (Specialized Recording) administered by an agency that has consistently received excellent reviews from the Auditor General. Such a punitive decision raises questions about the current government's commitment to the cherished and hard-won principle of arm's-length arts funding in Canada.

If Canada continues to offer a broad diversity of music to its public and if creativity and imagination are given equal place along with commercial considerations, then we will have a strong and healthy environment for music, which helps all artists, all music lovers, and the music industry. It is an interconnected ecosystem that needs every form of music to continue to be available to the Canadian public. We urge the government to reconsider this decision, and to do what is right for Canadian music - for all Canadian music.

Notes: Report: Summative Evaluation of Canada Music Fund CMF - Canada Music Fund CMD - Canada Music Diversity Fund

PR contacts: Canadian League of Composers (CLC): James Rolfe, President;; 416-767-3952

Canadian New Music Network (CNMN): Tim Brady, President;; 514-931-9747

Jazz Festivals Canada (JFC): Rainbow Robert, Exec. Director;; 604-872-5200


Monday, October 19, 2009

Fight grey in BC!

I've been thinking about the grey idea: the idea that we artists should wear grey in our public protests to show what the world would be like without the arts. The problem is that grey is what we are fighting against! I think the "wear grey" idea is too boring! We are not exciting the public imagination with this grey campaign are we? The PSA with dancer and cello with very colourful background is what we are about! (See And the grey man with the umbrella is what we are fighting! Wouldn't our message be much clearer if our public messaging through public actions was in line with this great PSA?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lives Were Around Me hikes ticket prices to cover costs

Battery opera’s artistic producer David McIntosh hopes that a 10-fold increase in ticket prices for an upcoming theatrical production will help foster a dialogue around the real costs of the B.C. Liberals’ funding cuts to the arts.

View Original Article

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Vancouver artists go grey for a day

Local artists and arts supporters plan to take to Vancouver streets on October 28 in a silent protest against the B.C. Liberals’ arts funding cuts.

View Original Article

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Parade of Lost Souls cancelled due to arts funding cuts

The B.C. Liberals’ direct access funding cuts for the arts have claimed one more victim: Public Dreams Society’s Parade of Lost Souls.

View Original Article

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Facebook opposition to BC arts cuts is building - activities October 20th, 23rd, 28th

Opposition to BC arts cuts is building, not going away. Here are a few things you can do:

• Participate in the rally at the legislature in Victoria, on Tuesday October 20th. Details are at this link:

• Make a submission to the formal consultation process for next year's provincial budget, by e-mail, in writing, or by video or audio. Submissions close at the end of the day on Friday, October 23rd. Details are here:

• Participate in the Grey Relay in Vancouver on Wednesday October 28th. This is a day-long awareness and advocacy event, taking place all over downtown. To sign up for one or more hours as a participant, please send an e-mail to . More details about the event are here:

More to come. Watch your event invitations, and watch the Organizing against cuts group page for more information:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rally to Save BC Arts Funding - Victoria October 20

Rally for the Arts
Save BC Arts Funding

Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Time: 11AM - noon
Location: BC Legislative Buildings
Street: 501 Belleville Street
City/Town: Victoria, BC


The BC Liberal government has proposed cuts to funding for the arts, in the order of 50% this coming year, 90% in 2011, and 91%-94% the following year.

We believe that arts and culture are an essential part of our society and are therefore rallying to show our opposition to these cuts.

So... artists of all shapes and sizes, please join us on the steps of the BC legislature! Bring an instrument, a work of art, or a sign!

Let your voice be heard. It's only an hour out of your day to show your concern for the rest of your (or your friends) careers.

And invite everybody you know!!! We need at least 200 people for this to be noticeable.

A good website? Check out

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Petition to restore funding for Specialized Music

Le français suit

I urge everyone to sign this petition to the Government of Canada to restore funding to the Specialized Music sound recordings program. The original is in French, and is reprinted below the English. Here is my rough translation.

Whereas last July 31, the Department of Canadian Heritage announced the withdrawal of two programs from the Canadian Music Fund that were dedicated to support the diversity of Canadian music: Grants for Specialized Sound Recording and specialty Distribution Assistance specialized music.

Whereas the Canada Council for the Arts managed successfully these programs which supported hundreds of artists, groups, labels and distributors in numerous recordings of import to the artistic and cultural sphere.

Whereas, for the time being, no other Canadian institution can accommodate the clients hit hard by these program cuts according to their own eligibility criteria.

We urge our Canadian government to recognize the importance of music created, performed and broadcast by our musicians and the essential role these artists play in Canadian culture. Accordingly, we ask them to provide support for artists and record companies with programs tailored to the specific environment of creative music and properly funded to meet the needs of this sector.

October 2009

When you arrive at the end, you will see two lines about how to download the text and add your name to the petition. Here is the translation. I have included the links to that you can sign the petition from here.

You can download our declaration (pdf) and read it to your audiences at your events!

You can also add your name to the list below by clicking HERE and sending your name and your professional title.

Here is the original French text.

[If you feel more comfortable signing an English petition, there is another petition available here.]

Attendu que le 31 juillet dernier, le ministère du Patrimoine canadien annonçait le retrait de deux volets du Fonds de la musique du Canada dont le volet de la diversité de la musique canadienne: Subventions à l'enregistrement sonore de musique spécialisée et Aide à la distribution de la musique spécialisée.

Attendu que le Conseil des Arts du Canada gérait avec succès ces programmes qui ont servi à soutenir des centaines d'artistes, ensembles, étiquettes et distributeurs de nombreux enregistrements d'importance sur le plan artistique et cuturel.

Attendu que pour l'instant aucune autre instance canadienne peut accueillir la clientèle durement touchée par ces coupures de programmes dans le cadre de leurs propres critères d'admissibilité.

Nous appelons notre gouvernement canadien à reconnaître l'importance de la musique créée, interprétée et diffusée par nos musiciens et du rôle essentiel de ces créateurs dans le paysage culturel canadien. En conséquence, nous lui demandons d'assurer le soutien aux créateurs et aux maisons d'enregistrement sonores par des programmes adaptés aux réalités spécifiques du milieu des musiques de création et financés à la hauteur des besoins de ce secteur.

October 2009

Signez ICI
To sign, click HERE

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Colin Miles urges audience to write to BC government

Colin Miles, regional director of the Canadian Music Centre (CMC), gave a marvelous speech at the Turning Point Ensemble concert at Ryerson United Church in Vancouver on Sunday night, giving a history of the CMC's creation in 1959 and its rapid expansion over the past two decades, which saw a 10-fold increase in the number of active composers living and working in British Columbia.

Then he informed the audience that this wonderful ensemble's funding for next year has not been renewed and asked audience members to stand if they would agree to write a letter to the BC government demanding that the funding be restored. Though the audience was clearly taken by surprise by such a "stand-up-and-be-counted" request, more than 3/4 of the audience rose to their feet.

I urge everyone reading this blog to talk to anyone and everyone you know about the theft by the provincial government of the gaming money that was specifically set aside to benefit charities and non-profits, including all sorts of social services, amateur sports, and arts and culture organisations. Read this article for a backgrounder on why we say the government has "stolen" the money.

John Oliver on music composition and performance Headline Animator