Mr. Chair, thank you very much for inviting me to take part in this presentation to your committee today on behalf of CARAS, MusiCounts, and the Juno Awards.
The Canadian music industry is a billion dollar a year business encompassing sound recordings, songwriting, publishing, management, and live performances, and it employs thousands of Canadians.
There has been significant turmoil in the music industry over the past 10 years due to the change in how Canadians consume music. The media formats have changed from physical to digital, from radio and television to online, and in many cases from paid to free.
There has been a large decrease in revenues in the music industry due to these changes. In order to support change in this business model, one of the most important things we do is provide exposure to the incredible music talent this country has to offer through showcasing, social media, broadcasts, online streaming, and building a foundation for talent through music education in our schools.
CARAS, a non-profit organization, showcases Canadian musical talent through the Juno Awards broadcast, and year round through cultural events and partnerships with community organizations. The mandate of CARAS is to promote and celebrate Canadian music and artists. It is critical that we continue to preserve, protect, and support high-quality programming like the Juno Awards to share with Canada and the world the immense talent this country has to offer.
Over the last decade the Juno Awards have travelled across Canada. We have been engaging the entire country in Canadian music as we award 41 different Junos in all genres of music, including pop, jazz, classical, francophone, aboriginal, and country, just to name a few, which truly encompass Canada's national spectrum of culture and musical diversity.
The economic impact has been over $10 million in each city the Juno Awards has visited, providing a substantial boost to local businesses, including hotels, convention centres, restaurants, transportation, and music venues. In the past 10 years there has been over $100 million in economic impact to Canada.
However, federal funding through FACTOR, Canada's private radio broadcasters, and the Department of Canadian Heritage's Canada Music Fund for the Juno Awards has remained stagnant for the last four years. While production and operating costs for the Juno Awards continue to grow, the proportion that is funded by FACTOR has decreased. For example, over the past 10 years FACTOR funding for the Juno Awards has gone from about 10% of production and operating costs to less than 4% now.
In order to succeed, we must receive funding from the federal government that grows in proportion to the ever-increasing cost of producing the broadcast, as well as the cost of the initiatives that promote and showcase Canadian artists and their music. This need is based on several factors: the increase in costs associated with adapting to technological change and maintaining a very comprehensive and cutting-edge media strategy; the increase in travel costs for artists and talent to participate in the broadcast; the increase in broadcast production costs; the decrease in funding available from private record labels that have significantly contributed in the past but can no longer sustain the level of support due to declining revenues; and the potential decrease in broadcasters' contributions due to their business realities.
Most importantly, though, we must ensure that we continue to create musical talent in Canada to support the music industry and keep our culture of music alive within all Canadians. One of the key strategies that will foster this foundation is music education. Every artist had to start somewhere, and for many, the first opportunity was in the classroom.
MusiCounts is Canada's music education charity associated with CARAS and the Juno Awards. We believe that regardless of socio-economic circumstances or cultural background, every child deserves the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument. For the last 17 years, MusiCounts has awarded nearly $7 million in grants and scholarships right across the country to help support music education in our schools and communities.
In a perfect world we wouldn't need to exist, but unfortunately school cutbacks have put music education at risk. All too often, music and other arts programs are the first to be cut, and unfortunately, they're not seen as core curriculum. We believe this must change. Last year MusiCounts received approximately $5 million in funding requests alone to help support music education, but unfortunately, the need far outweighs what we can provide.
Many studies have shown the benefits of learning to play a musical instrument. Music education nourishes self esteem. It teaches team work and discipline. It keeps students engaged, and it helps create a respectful community.
But it's not just about nurturing the next Juno Award winners. It's about creating better citizens and a stronger workforce equipped for the digital economy.
Commander Chris Hadfield spoke at one of our events about the role music played in making him a better astronaut. President Bill Clinton was once quoted as saying that he would not have become president if he hadn't taken music classes from grade 7 to grade 12. Of course, we all know how our own Prime Minister likes to play music, as well. But perhaps the most basic reason that we believe every child must have a music education is that music is an important part of the fabric of our society. Every human culture uses music to express their ideals.
Music Canada's report on the music industry, “The Next Big Bang,” illustrates very well the numerous benefits of music education and makes a very strong case for better support from all levels of government. In this study, Music Canada cites music education as the first of five key pillars that will help reinvigorate the music industry in the digital age.
Music is a sometimes overlooked but still important foundational component both in preparing workers with the necessary skills to take part in the digital and creative economies and in attracting and retaining them in vibrant cultural scenes. The importance of music to our economy is without doubt.
Now MusiCounts has also been impacted due to changes within the music industry. The record labels, once our main contributor but still a very strong supporter, have had to cut back their annual contributions. We now have to reach far beyond the music industry for funding.
Just over a week ago at the Juno Awards in Winnipeg, I had the pleasure of taking part in the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Language's round table, where Graham Henderson of Music Canada actually introduced a very interesting concept. For years the federal government has supported the physical well-being of our nation through the ParticipAction program. What if we actually worked together to create a program that encouraged Canadians to reap the benefits of music education, a music ParticipAction program of sorts that gives people the same support, tools, and motivation as that for physical activities? For many students who may not be athletic or socially active, we like to say that music can be the great equalizer. A program like this could enlighten our nation to the benefits of music education in the same capacity that ParticipAction has.
I've spent 25 years in the music business as the head of artists and repertoire at major record companies. I was a general manager for an independent record company. I currently manage artists and producers. I've had the good fortune to sign some great artists, people like Jann Arden, Sam Roberts, and Hedley. l'm actually even married to an artist, so I know very much how music can change a life and in some cases even save a life. Now in my new role at MusiCounts, I find myself in the incredibly rewarding position of actually seeding talent by putting instruments in the hands of kids who need it most.
There's a direct line from music education to inspiration, to motivation, to choosing a career in music, to writing, composing, and recording, to achieving success and celebration, be it at the Juno Awards or international acclaim. It's a continuum of musical dedication, creation, and celebration.
I truly believe that an investment in music is an investment in the future of Canada.
Thank you very much.