Good afternoon, everyone.
Thank you for inviting us to appear before you today.
Before getting to the heart of the matter and talking about the pandemic, I'd like to take a few minutes to describe the world of music to you.
Globally, this environment is very largely dominated by three big multinational companies: Sony, Universal and Warner. Those three enterprises are present in Canada. Here, they distribute the musical content from international artists and they also develop the careers of Canadian artists they feel can be of international scope, such as Drake or The Weeknd, whom you know.
These three large corporations have virtually nothing to do with the production of Canadian francophone content or that of Quebec artists who speak other languages. Those Canadian francophone artists are almost all allied with independent enterprises that develop their careers here or internationally, in some cases. It goes without saying that the size of these independent businesses cannot compare to that of the three global enterprises.
It will be important to keep that in mind when you analyze the effects of the pandemic on our sector.
All businesses have suffered from the pandemic, of course. On the other hand, independent businesses do not have the same resources as multinationals to cope with it.
To understand our industry, the other thing to take into account is that income for the entire chain of music stakeholders comes primarily from three sources: revenues from the sale of recorded music, from the sale of concert tickets, and finally, funds and contributions from the use of music on the radio and in public places, for example.
With respect to recorded music sales, as you know, since 2005, these revenues have shrunk considerably in favour of streaming, without generating equivalent revenues, far from it. The pandemic has further accelerated this irreversible phenomenon.
The pandemic has also had a catastrophic effect on ticket sales due to the closure of venues. Under normal circumstances, revenues from this activity represent nearly 50% of total business revenues. However, the industry has been totally deprived of this for several months. This loss has had a devastating effect on the entire chain, since more than 75% of expenditures in this sector go to labour, including artists, back-up singers or choristers, musicians, technicians and designers, among others.
Finally, other revenues from music use have also suffered huge declines and will continue to do so. For example, in radio, royalties paid are calculated as a percentage of advertising revenues. As advertising revenues are declining, so are the resulting royalties for authors, performers and producers.
The portrait I'm painting for you is quite dark, I agree. However, the response of our community to the pandemic has been surprising, and even inspiring. Instead of giving up in the face of the enormity of the challenges, the music community has continued to work tirelessly to keep the link between artists and audiences alive.
Since the lockdown, in Quebec alone, several hundred albums have been released. All kinds of activities and shows have been created, such as virtual shows, shows on balconies and in drive-in theatres, and the production of music videos has continued. In short, the independent Canadian companies that accompany the artists have remained open and active.
All of this was made possible thanks to additional funding from the federal and Quebec governments. We have said it several times and we say it again today: thank you for this essential support.
These emergency payments provided our community with some predictability until March 31, 2021. Beyond that date, as it were tomorrow morning, the outlook for the future becomes blurred and uncertain. In fact, a broad consultation with our members revealed a great fear that 2021 will be worse than 2020. This is a fear to which is obviously added the exhaustion of the teams and the accumulation of losses.
Our independent companies have always been dynamic but fragile. The pandemic has made them even more fragile, and their capacity to produce, market and distribute music and shows for local artists has been reached.
In the coming months, a recovery plan must be implemented over as long a period of time as necessary, so that the Canadian and francophone music community can continue to make quality music in all its diversity accessible to Canadian audiences everywhere. To achieve this, financial investments will be necessary, of course.
In addition, the pandemic has exacerbated the urgency of revising two framework laws for our sector.
First of all, I'm talking about the revision of the Broadcasting Act. Bill C-10, currently before Parliament, establishes a framework for online businesses, often foreign, and will ultimately subject them to regulation that will enhance our content and financial contributions. This legislative review must be completed before the next election. We cannot flub this historic event.
The revision of the Copyright Act is another tool you can give the cultural community to ensure its sustainability. For example, the private copying regime, which has been successful for many years, must be reinstated.
Thank you for your attention. I'll be pleased to take your questions.