Each year, as part of Re:Sound’s Annual Review, we sit down with an artist to talk about what it means to be working in Canada’s music industry today. In 2017, we were honoured to have Juno Award-winning William Prince join us for our Artist in the Office series – we talked to him about his career, and how Re:Sound’s work affects artists like him every day.
Think back to your early dreams of being a career musician. What was your perception of the industry then, and how has it changed? What’s something you wish was different?
I thought you needed to be a major part of the industry to make any kind of living. I’ve met so many artists and musicians who don’t fall under that umbrella and make their own way. I admire that so much. It gave me courage to do it myself. I have faith in the grassroots people who love buying music and housing artists. The people give you a career, the industry helps put you places to reach them. I feel like I’m one of the guys smoking outside the big high school dance that is the music business. Maybe I’m allowed that luxury because I have people working really hard for me in the heart of it. I trust the people around me and so far I’ve had great experiences with the people I’ve met. Folk people are always pretty good folks.
Why is it important for music creators to be fairly compensated for their work, and how do you assess the value of what you do?
There’s so much that goes into making music. It’s really all your time if you want to be great at it. When you have a house built you don’t just pay for the materials. You’re paying for all those people who picked up hammers as kids and decided to build your house one day for a living. All those hours of training and sacrifice. I can’t install flooring or countertops, just like some can’t hold a room for two hours with their songs. It takes a lot to get to the finished song. A lot of practice, living, doubt and acceptance. You’re paying for that feeling a great performer or collective or performers places in your life. Pay for the whole house or it won’t get built.
How can (and do) organizations like Re:Sound help music creators? What is something else that could be done?
It’s nice knowing you’re collecting on our behalf. I didn’t realize my music in a club or lounge somewhere deserves compensation. That’s pretty cool and much appreciated. No complaints here.
In addition to collecting in Canada, Re:Sound has international partnerships in place that ensure that Canadian creators are compensated when their music is played around the world. Why do you think this is important?
Because the world is vast and I can barely keep my emails straight. It’s a validating feeling when your music begins to make its way to places you haven’t been yet. It didn’t get there by accident. There’s always some cost to getting it there. Receiving payment helps get more of it into the world. That’s important for art.