Thank you, Annie.
My name is Sophie Milman. l'm a jazz singer, and l'd like to share with you what the levy means to Canada's artists. It helps us fund our recordings, music videos, and tours and to pay our musicians, tour managers, recording engineers, webmasters, make-up artists, and photographers. The levy helps us support countless Canadian suppliers.
The days of big spending record labels are over, but a good quality album still costs more than $100,000, before marketing and promotion. So we've had to become entrepreneurs, making very tough investment decisions every single day.
The levy also helps us pay for basics, such as gas, groceries, and rent, and it helps us support our families. Did you know that most musicians in Canada live on less than $30,000 a year? Without the levy, many of us would have to choose between having careers and surviving.
We need you to realize that copies made of our works have intrinsic value. How much time do you think people spend listening to empty iPods? The levy is value paid for value received, a perfect market solution that ensures that artists are paid for creating value. But it's dwindling to nothing as blank CDs become obsolete.
It is frustrating for us to hear references to the so-called iPod tax. The levy is not a tax. Taxes go to government. The levy goes to the people who make the music. And we're not proposing an extravagant sum. Even a decent set of ear buds costs more than the likely levy. Music is being consumed and enjoyed now more than ever, but artists are being compensated less and less. It's just unfair.
Culture is this country's greatest and most recognizable export. When I immigrated here at the age of 16, all I cared about was that this was the birthplace of Leonard Cohen and Oscar Peterson.
Canada's music community must be supported if we want our country to maintain a worldwide reputation of excellence in the arts.
We're not asking for charity. We don't want access to our music to be restricted. We only want to be compensated for copies of our music made to devices specifically designed for that purpose. Everybody else who makes and sells an iPod or other MP3 player gets paid. Only artists are being told that they have to work for free. You would not ask any other group in this country to forego a legitimate source of income.
We ask that you please save the levy.