Delegates from a joint Canada-Frace forum heard a passionate plea from Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada on Friday at a forum on digital content. Music Canada is a trade organization that represents Canada’s top labels.
“We’ve kind of drifted to this point. The industry’s drifted, the government’s drifted,” he said. “We’re dealing with industrial strategies that were put in place 20 years ago.”
Grahamsaid new copyright laws are helping shore up an industry battered by the shift in the way fans purchase, pirate and consume music — but there’s still work to do.
“Legislation in and of itself doesn’t change markets. People change markets, business changes markets,” he said.
According to figures from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, over 50% of Canadians streamed audio online last year.
In Canada in 2011, the purchase of digital music generated $129.9 million in sales while hard copies generated $197.5 million. Henderson noted this year, for the first time ever, digital revenues are expected to overtake those from the sale of CDs and vinyl records.
Some of Graham’s suggestions included increasing the financial support of music education, improving the tax credit structure, focusing on promoting Canadian talent worldwide and championing Canada as a music tourist destination as possible planks in the new strategy.
He also suggested that advertisers should pull advertising from pirate sites, “If we can find a way to get legitimate advertising off illegitimate sites, it will change the ecosystem overnight.”
Over 60 industry leaders, academics and policy-makers gathered in Ottawa for the two-day forum, a number of idea for new business models to leverage opportunities for film, TV and music in the new media realm were also suggested over the course of the forum.
A final policy paper will be produced at the end of the summit and presented to the Canadian and French governments.