Good morning, bonjour, and thank you for inviting us to speak to the standing committee today. And thank you for all of the support that the government of Canada has made over the years in fostering, developing, and sharing Canadian music.
I applaud you for wanting to learn more, and for asking the question regarding whether or not the current strategies and investments are working as well as they can, and if they're not, what can be done to adjust, alter, or reinvent them. Regardless, the government of Canada's role at the table is fundamental, as music is a vehicle by which we communicate our values, our identity, and our nationhood.
The facts speak for themselves. Today, we are already an arts nation, a country where ordinary Canadians spend more than twice as much each year attending the arts—of which music is a major component—than all sports in Canada put together. In short, Canada cares about music.
It's no secret that the changes in technology over the past 10 to 15 years have impacted all of us, between the launch of Napster in 2000 and the iPhone in 2007. It is also no secret that these technologies, as well as others, have profoundly affected the music industry, both positively and negatively. Although the impact of these new technologies on the development of music and the music industry is nothing new—it's been happening for centuries, often in transformative ways—its net impact over this period has fundamentally altered the commercial system of the music industry that has been in place for well over 100 years, and much more quickly and adversely than originally anticipated.
I'll describe some of these changes. While digital revenues for music have increased, they have not replaced what has been lost due to the disappearance of physical sales. Revenues paid to creators for the intellectual property created has decreased significantly, forcing musicians to find other ways to earn a livelihood. The public has devalued the economic value of an artistic work. The traditional role of a major record label has been redirected from marketer and incubator mainly to distributor. The presentation of live music is becoming more important for artists to generate revenue than ever in the past.
Despite these changes, we have not seen an erosion of music, but rather quite the contrary, in fact. Music is more ubiquitous and varied than ever, offering more choice for the listener and, I would argue, more opportunities for the musician and the creator to draw upon to expand the creative process. There is an opportunity that we must recognize and celebrate with these changes in technology.
As the seventh largest music market in the world, Canadians have demonstrated their support for music, and we need to continue to build on those successes, but be more innovative in how we continue to nurture our uniquely Canadian voice for the future. It is in this context that I will be making the following recommendations to this committee.
Number one, invest in awareness that celebrates and educates. We believe there needs to be more focus on recognizing and celebrating the contributions that Canadians have made in music, and celebrate it not only nationally within Canada but globally as well. In short, invest a portion of the existing allocation to a national awareness program that educates and celebrates the stories of performers, songwriters, producers, and composers of our country through a myriad of media platforms. The stories of these individuals are often inspirational tales of unique talent, drive, hard work, and competitiveness.
The contribution that Canada has made to music is staggering when you consider our relatively small population and the size of our economy, the 14th largest in the world. For example, since the 1950s we have given the world such artists as Glenn Gould, Oscar Peterson, The Band, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, The Guess Who, Offenbach, Harmonium, Céline Dion, Arcade Fire, and untold others. These stories are untapped treasures, and my own experience at the National Music Centre has elevated my own awareness that many people don't realize that these artists are, in fact, Canadian.
Number two, brand Canada as a music country, and launch this national awareness strategy to further communicate the impact that the creative industries, and music in particular, have on strengthening Canada's economic position in the world as a place that attracts the brightest and most creative talent to live here and work here. It's taking the success of music tourism and expanding it further as an economic pillar. In the process, this is one way we can continue to develop and celebrate our uniquely Canadian diversity and voice.
Number three, expand hall of fame celebrations in Canada beyond a segment of an annual awards show to an outreach opportunity that tells a broader narrative relating to the inductees' success and what impact they are having on younger artists emerging today. Think of it as successful artists giving back to their community. Celebrating recognition will amplify existing support for production, marketing, and touring opportunities to completely new levels.
Number four, celebrate diversity and broaden support to include the unique multicultural tapestry of Canadian identity. By this, I mean be inclusive. In addition to our aboriginal peoples and our founding peoples from Europe, consider the broader ethnic voices that are a significant part of Canada's population.
Number five, as part of the National Music Centre's offering, our intention is to represent our geographical regions by amplifying their unique stories, not only through the assembling of collections but also by supporting and incubating the unique voices that come from each of these regions.
In the area of incubation and professional development, we offer the following recommendations: Canada's musicians need a hub that is available 365 days a year. Musicians today need to have a holistic understanding of the environment they're working in, from the creative process to the marketing process, and everything in-between.
We need to ask where our professional knowledge is and if we are creating an environment that fosters meaningful collaboration and mentorship. The National Music Centre can potentially help with this. It would not surprise me if many of you had never heard of the National Music Centre prior to this presentation, what our purpose is and why we matter to Canadians, regardless of where they live in Canada.
We're headquartered in Calgary, Alberta. We're a non-profit charitable organization. Our vision is to harness the power of music and use it as a way to catalyze innovation, discovery, and renewal of things that matter to Canadians.
Our mission is to build a home for music in Canada that champions our stories, as a country, through a wide range of programs, including exhibitions that celebrate our history in music, our contributions, our voice, and our identity; education programs for elementary schools that extend beyond traditional music education, that connects core curriculum subjects, including math, science, language arts, social studies, to examples from music. This very successful practice is particularly important for those who might never be exposed to traditional music education; supporting performances of touring Canadian artists across the musical spectrum through live shows that foster, at various stages of an artist's development, their own professional abilities. Finally, inviting an artist...in resident incubation programs that nurture the development of new Canadian music for recording artists, composers, as well as performers.
In essence, the National Music Centre is a hybrid organization and has derived its influence from a variety of influences--music, technology, and museums. On an annual basis, today we serve about 75,000 people, mostly in Calgary, and we're now in the process of building a new National Music Centre building, that is currently under construction in Calgary, for which we have already raised $103 million. We're scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2016.
As a nationally focused organization, we have several partnerships, with the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, Junos, CARAS, the Canadian Country Music Association, CKUA radio network, Library and Archives Canada, as well as several others.
I've worked and volunteered in many aspects of the music industry over the past 25 years—as a musician, an academic, a promoter, and a broadcaster. I was the first employee at the National Music Centre 16 years ago. I've been fortunate enough to be in a position to shape an entirely new organization for Canada that supports and celebrates our country's national music story through education, as well as serving as a hub for creating, supporting, and celebrating Canadian music.
I think we've been fortunate enough to be in a position to fill a void in Canada at a time when the music industry, as well as museums in general, have undergone a radical shift as a result of the rapidly changing technologies—