But new research finds Canadian artists earn just $16,500 a year from
music; most see unauthorized file sharing as a threat
TORONTO, June 6 /CNW/ - Canada's music industry has a wide-ranging
economic impact that extends far beyond the recorded music sales traditionally
used to evaluate its size and strength, according to a new study by Rotman
School of Management Professor Douglas Hyatt.
But in parallel with rapidly declining CD sales, new POLLARA research
commissioned for the study revealed that Canadian artists struggle to earn a
living from music, taking home just $16,500 a year on average from their
craft, after expenses. At the same time, the survey found that strong
majorities of artists see unauthorized file sharing as a threat to the music
industry and want copyright owners to have control over the use of artistic
The POLLARA poll, based on a national online survey of 700 musicians,
songwriters and vocalists, is believed to be the first systematic research
into Canadian artists' financial performance and their views on issues
affecting the music industry.
Music's Far-Reaching Economic Scope
The independent national study, "An Overview of the Financial Impact of
the Canadian Music Industry," explores for the first time the full economic
scope of music in Canada. In addition to the production and sales of recorded
music such as CDs and digital songs, the report covers music publishing, live
performances, the use of music in radio broadcasting, and musical instruments
The study found that major record label sales of $538 million in 2006
represent only a portion of Canada's music economy. Over and above this, gross
revenues from live musical performances were estimated at $752.8 million in
2005; retail sales of musical instruments and recording and live performance
equipment exceeded $900 million in the same year; and earnings by Canadian
music publishers totaled $103 million in 2004. Citing the "considerable use of
music" in broadcasting, particularly radio, the report also noted that
commercial radio stations in Canada posted $1.3 billion in revenues during
In addition, the report found that 15 percent of Canadians purchased
music or singing lessons for themselves or for someone in their family. Those
who purchased lessons for themselves spent an average of $578 in the last
year, while similar purchases for other family members averaged $439.
Additional expenditures were made for sheet music and other support materials.
"This study is a first step in building a comprehensive economic picture
of music in Ontario and across Canada," said Karen Thorne-Stone, President and
Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), an
agency of the Ontario Ministry of Culture. "Going forward, the report will
serve as a baseline for the sector's financial performance, and as a tool both
to assess the success of our current programs and guide future investments."
Tough Times for Recorded Music, Tough Times for Artists
Alongside the sharp decline in recording industry sales, the study
separately found that Canadian artists earn a relatively meagre income from
music that averages just under $25,000. After subtracting expenses of more
than $8,300, musicians take home a "margin" of about $16,500 a year, according
to the POLLARA survey cited in the report.
Almost two-thirds of the survey respondents indicated that they also work
at one or more extra jobs other than songwriting and/or performing, earning
just under $21,000 on average from supplementary employment. Forty-four
percent of this group reported that "they have become more reliant over the
past three years on income from sources other than music to support
themselves," the report found.
"This report by my Rotman School colleague, Doug Hyatt, paints a clearer
picture of the challenges facing one of the most important and influential of
all creative industries - music," said Richard Florida, Professor of Business
and Creativity and Director, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of
Management. "A thriving Canadian music scene is key to our prosperity,
creative energy and quality of life in the 21st century."
Canadian Artists Concerned About Internet Downloading and Unauthorized
Use of Their Work
Most Canadian artists are concerned about the impact of file sharing and
strongly oppose the unauthorized use of their music, according to POLLARA's
survey of musicians.
As reported in Hyatt's study, the survey found that:
- About 71 percent of the musicians surveyed view unauthorized file
sharing as either a major threat (38 percent) or a minor threat (33
percent) to the music industry, while 15 percent do not view it as a
- Almost 38 percent of musicians agree that unauthorized file sharing
is bad for artists compared with 14 percent who agree it isn't bad
for artists. Another 34 percent view unauthorized file sharing as
both good and bad for artists.
- The vast majority of musicians believe that owners of copyrighted
artistic works should have either complete control (67 percent) or
some control (27 percent) over its use. About 1 percent said they
should have very little control.
"For the first time, we know definitively that most artists - the people
on the front lines of the music industry - view file sharing as a threat,"
said Duncan McKie, President and CEO of the Canadian Independent Record
Production Association. "This, along with their strongly expressed wish for
control over the use of copyrighted works, is not surprising given the
financial challenges they face."
Artists Must Tour to Make Ends Meet
According to survey findings reported in the study, Canadian musicians
depend on live performances for almost half of their music-derived earnings.
Many noted that live performances are becoming an increasingly important part
of the mix.
Paul Sharpe, Director, Freelance Services Division, American Federation
of Musicians (Canada), pointed to the strong links between widespread
unauthorized music downloading in Canada, the precipitous decline in recorded
music sales, and the increasing time spent by artists on the road.
"File-sharing has made it impossible for most Canadian artists to earn an
adequate living from recorded music today," Sharpe said. "That has forced many
of them not only to get a second job, but also to spend more grueling days and
nights on tour to make ends meet."
Data on musicians were collected during December 2006 and January 2007
using a web-based survey conducted by POLLARA, with the cooperation of the
Canadian arm of the AFM. In total, 684 musicians, songwriters and vocalists
responded to the survey. The musicians who responded to the survey were
primarily AFM members, all of them in Canada.
Research underlying the study was conducted independently by POLLARA with
cooperation and/or financial assistance from OMDC in association with Canadian
music industry organizations including CIRPA, AFM, the Canadian Music
Publishers Association, the Canadian Recording Industry Association and the
Music Managers Forum.
"I would like to express my gratitude to OMDC and Canada's music industry
for providing much of the data used in this study, and to the many individuals
who provided important insights into how the industry works," said Hyatt, a
Business Economics Professor at Rotman. "Their cooperation formed a key part
of the project's foundation while respecting the need for independence and
academic integrity in my work."
Web Access to the Music Study
The full report can be found at www.omdc.on.ca.
About the American Federation of Musicians of United States and Canada
The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM
Canada) is the largest organization in the world representing the interests of
professional musicians, with approximately 15,000 members in Canada. AFM
Canada is committed to raising industry standards and placing the professional
musician in the foreground of the cultural landscape.
About the Canadian Independent Record Production Association
The Canadian Independent Record Production Association (CIRPA) is the
trade organization representing the independent sector of the Canadian music
and sound recording industry. For 30 years CIRPA has been the collective voice
of independent music in English-speaking Canada.
About the Canadian Music Publishers Association
Since 1949 the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA) has ensured
the views of music publishers working in Canada and its members are heard. It
is our mission to promote the interests of music publishers and their
songwriting partners through advocacy, communication, and education.
About the Canadian Recording Industry Association
The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) promotes the interests
of Canadian record companies.
About Music Managers Forum Canada
The Music Managers Forum (MMF) is an international not-for-profit
association that was founded in 1992 in the U.K. Its formation was intended to
give managers an opportunity to discuss, educate each other and create a
much-needed voice within the industry. Inspired by the UK example, the MMF
Canada was launched as an ad-hoc organization in 1994, and was federally
incorporated as a not-for-profit association in 2000.
About Ontario Media Development Corporation
Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) is an agency of the Ontario
Ministry of Culture that facilitates economic development opportunities for
Ontario's cultural media industries including book publishing, film and
television, interactive digital media, magazine publishing, and music
For further information:
For further information: Paul Sharpe, AFM Canada, (416) 391-5161,
firstname.lastname@example.org; Catharine Saxberg, CMPA, (416) 926-7952,
email@example.com; Brian Hetherman, Music Managers Forum, (416)
596-6793, firstname.lastname@example.org; Prof. Doug Hyatt, Rotman School of
Management, (416) 946-0737, Hyatt@Rotman.Utoronto.Ca; Duncan McKie, CIRPA,
(416) 485-3152 x232, email@example.com; Don Hogarth (for CRIA), (416) 967-7272,
firstname.lastname@example.org; George McNeillie, Ontario Media Development Corporation,
(416) 642-6619, email@example.com