Calling all Canadians: Sign this petition to support musicians

Back in June, the Canadian Musicians’ Coalition asked Member of Parliament Ron McKinnon to support the creation of a fund to support Canadian musicians struggling during COVID-19. But it wasn’t just COVID that took the wind out of their sails — and instruments.  

Created by the musicians’ community to support their fellow artists, the Canadian Musicians’ Coalition wants to make it possible for musicians to earn a living wage even during difficult times. 

“Most professional musicians can no longer earn a sustainable living wage from music creation and performances,” the organization wrote in June. “This is because of diminished royalties caused by music streaming and declining performance opportunities due to music venues’ economic struggles. Now, the COVID-19 crisis has caused so much sudden seemingly insurmountable hardship to an already struggling music community. As a result, professional musicians have lost their tours and local gigs for at least a year; many live music venue owners are on the verge of bankruptcy; and the future looks daunting for young musicians who have aspirations for a career in music.” 

The creation of a Canadian Musician Support Fund Levy would be used to help support and enrich the music community by ensuring people can live while working as musicians without having to leave the industry. 

“With a sustainable living wage, Canadian musicians will be able to create music with a high standard of excellence that will enhance our national arts culture and continue to provide Canadian citizens with the music recordings and performances that they enjoy and need in their daily lives for a balanced healthy lifestyle.” 

The good news is, McKinnon has offered to bring the request for the creation of this fund to the floor of the House of Commons in the form of an online petition. 

Fans, here’s where you come in. 

If you think this is a good idea, you’re urged to sign the petition and share it on your social media platforms. The goal is to collect as many signatures as possible by February 23, 2021. The more support McKinnon has when he brings the matter up for discussion, the greater the chances the measure will be considered and possibly adopted.

The petition has changed a bit since it was first introduced in June; it no longer requests a 5% levy on internet and mobile data subscriptions as the Liberal Government promised not to increase taxes on broadcasting services. It also makes a more general proposal for funding as it will “decrease controversy in our music community regarding whether funding should be distributed according to streaming success or by financial need,” the organization explains. Funding would instead  be distributed based on need, not by awarding higher amounts to artists with greater streaming and royalty success. 

“We believe that most Canadians enjoy music daily without paying fair value for the music they enjoy and need to live happier, healthier lives,” the organization says. “For this reason, we strongly believe Canadians must support the creation and performance of music through their general tax dollars, because music is an essential service that can no longer financially sustain itself due to extreme exploitative devaluation. Simply put, music consumers no longer pay fair value for music and this has caused the systemic financial collapse of our creative and performing musicians.” 

The Canadian Musicians’ Coalition also asks for the Broadcasting Act to be updated to “ensure fair and transparent remuneration for the use of artists’ recorded works because it is a legal right for which we must continue to fight.” In other words, use my music, pay me money. 

For more information, and to sign the petition, go here

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

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