FYI Music News recently asked Re:Sound President Ian MacKay to discuss the organisation’s accomplishments and forward-looking goals for the year ahead. Here is his contribution to their series of forecasts and reflections about the music business in Canada:
At Re:Sound, our core values of Fair, Artist and Record Company Centred, Transparent, Efficient and Dynamic informed everything that we did in 2016, and will continue to inform everything we do in 2017.
In 2016, Re:Sound took the fight over streaming rates to the Federal Court of Appeal. The Copyright Board had previously set streaming rates in Canada at a fraction of those existing in other countries. Re:Sound advocated on behalf of artists and record companies to set rates that more accurately reflect market realities and international rates. We are awaiting the decision from the Federal Court of Appeal.
A very significant project undertaken by Re:Sound in 2016 engaged all of our core values.
Re:Sound worked with its member organisation CONNECT to streamline processes and eliminate duplication of data and the distribution of royalties. Previously, Re:Sound had distributed monies to CONNECT who then sub-distributed to its members. By consolidating these databases into one and making significant data improvements, Re:Sound now pays CONNECT’s 2,700 independent and major record labels members their royalties directly. This has increased the speed of distributions and reduced costs for these rights holders by 28%. This is exactly what we always aim for – putting more of every dollar (faster) into the rights holder’s pocket.
Internationally, there were some challenges in 2016. Back on July 4, 2012, Re:Sound signed a bilateral agreement with the US organisation SoundExchange, on behalf of Re:Sound as well as Re:Sound’s member organisations (ARTISTI, ACTRA RACS, MROC, SOPROQ and CONNECT).
Since then, US royalties collected by Re:Sound have become an important revenue source for both Canadian artists and Canadian independent labels. In 2016, SoundExchange began the process of migrating to a new distribution system. We’re confident that in the long term the new system will be a big plus for everyone. However, the amount of work involved in the transition meant that SoundExchange suspended international payments under bilateral agreements (to organisations like Re:Sound and PPL) for six months, and distributions have still not fully stabilized since then. Re:Sound has been working diligently with SoundExchange to ensure that Canadian artists and labels get their royalties, and will continue to do so in 2017.
I was especially proud of the dedicated and energetic team here at Re:Sound in 2016. This year, the employee-driven fundraiser event Re:Wind raised over $24,000 for the Unison Benevolent Fund, a fantastic non-profit organisation that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. Talented Re:Sound employees were joined on stage by bands from our sister organisations, CMRRA, SOCAN and CONNECT.
Looking ahead to 2017, Re:Sound will continue to seek out partnerships with groups representing music users and with other organisations who represent rights holders in the music industry. In late 2016, we jointly announced with SOCAN that we would together be launching a music licensing portal using Core Rights. We are very excited about this co-venture, and will continue to expand these and other partnerships all aimed at making the music licensing process easier for music users and the distribution process as efficient as possible for artists and labels. We will also be actively engaged in the upcoming review of the Copyright Act, and will be advocating on behalf of artists and labels in that process.
This is an exciting and fast-moving time for the music industry. The Re:Sound team will continue to champion rights holders, and to seek out new and better ways to facilitate our work on their behalf in 2017 and beyond.
A version of this post originally appeared on FYI Music News.