Good morning, everyone.
Madam Chair, thank you for inviting me to appear before the committee.
I am very pleased to represent the francophone music sector, which at times is overlooked in discussions concerning the Broadcasting Act.
The Association des professionnels de l'édition musicale, or APEM, represents the Quebec and francophone music publishers of Canada. Music publishers, partnering with author-composers, support the creation of musical works and promote and administer them. Music is published wherever there are music, online and concert music services and audiovisual productions.
The music sector needs the continuity that the Canadian broadcasting system affords.
There is much talk of the potential negative effects of the bill and the potentially twisted way in which the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the CRTC, may interpret it. The CRTC currently has more power than what it would be granted under Bill C‑11, and the work it has done over the past 50 years hasn't troubled a single citizen. CRTC regulations are of critical importance to the francophone music sector.
I will therefore begin by discussing the very real effects of the lack of a regulatory framework that applies to online undertakings. It's quite simple: the further the online transition progresses, the more the Canadian music sector shrinks and strains to reach its audience.
The revenues that the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada, or SOCAN, has paid to Quebec music publishers have fallen by 24% since 2016. Revenues from conventional sources such as radio and television are declining, and we have been unable to obtain a substantial share of revenues from online undertaking, which are growing.
According to SOCAN, the royalties distributed to Canadian authors and composers from digital distributors are 69% lower than those from traditional broadcasters. Only 10% of royalties from digital media are distributed to SOCAN members compared to 34% for conventional media.
Growth in the online music sector mainly benefits the platforms and a very limited number of international artists. It has not helped local music or niche music artists, minority artists or those who speak languages other than English.
Quebec music struggles to reach its audience online. According to statistics obtained by the Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo, or ADISQ, our market share in Quebec is only 8% for online music services compared to 50% for record sales. Our francophone music is in even greater trouble as it represents only 6% of total streams. The situation is dire.
In the music business, if no one listens, you don't get paid. If your music doesn't reach an audience, that has a spillover effect that affects concert ticket sales, the uptake of songs by performers, the incorporation of music in audiovisual productions and the entire value chain. Apart from financial aspects, this concerns our culture. Our cultural sovereignty is in question.
Online undertaking have no financial interest in promoting, recommending or supporting a diversity of cultural expression. For them, cultural standardization is less complex and more profitable.
This is nothing new. We have been protecting our diversity of cultural expression with statutes and regulations for decades, and we must continue to do the same. The CRTC's regulation operates in the traditional environment, and it is high time it was adapted to the digital environment.
Bill C‑11 is a good piece of legislation and should be promptly adopted.
The web giants and opponents of the Broadcasting Act are exercising enormous pressure to create flaws in the bill. We must not yield to the platforms' lobbyists, who use misinformation and try to mislead.
The portions of Bill C‑11 concerning social media broadcasting activities should not be amended further. As you know, the text of Bill C‑10 was adopted by the House of Commons, but contained no social media exception in clause 4. The criticisms were heard and Bill C‑11 featured the return of that exception, but in a way that remains acceptable to us.
Any further change to the text of clause 4 could create a loophole for social media that will be felt by all broadcasting undertakings. It must be understood that TikTok competes with YouTube, which competes with Spotify, which competes with radio. The act must apply fairly to all undertakings or else it may be obsolete as soon as it is passed.
Some say the text lacks clarity, but the bill's opponents are focusing their attention on a single pixel to distract us from the big picture. The text of the bill is not limited to clause 4. The Broadcasting Act sets forth clear objectives and provides many guardrails. Any attempt to revise too many elements in the bill would stiffen the Canadian broadcasting system and rob it of the flexibility it needs to adapt to the rapid changes in our sector. The CRTC must be given the means to exercise adequate regulation over the web giants' broadcasting activities.
However, we are in favour of moderate amendments to Bill C‑11. We support the amendments proposed by the Coalition for the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, particularly so that the use of Canadian talent is equivalent for Canadian and foreign undertakings solely under paragraph 3(1)(f) and so that the CRTC's orders are subject to appeal to the Governor in Council.
We are also in favour of a public hearings process for the making of orders so that the CRTC is required to demonstrate that Canadian broadcasting policy objectives have been achieved. The maximum amount of potential penalties must be increased in the administration of administrative monetary sanctions in the event the act is contravened. It would also be desirable that the CRTC demonstrate transparency as a general rule.
Bill C‑11 should be quickly passed. The process has been dragging a very long time.
I will be pleased to answer your questions.