A condensed version of this interview appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Canadian Musician magazine.
By Michael Raine
On May 24, 2017, independent musician, label owner, and festival organizer Miranda Mulholland became the first musician ever to deliver a keynote speech to the Economic Club of Canada. Her speech, entitled “Redefining Success in a Digital Marketplace,” sought to educate the business and policy sector on the myriad of challenges and obstacles present-day artists face, many of which have served to undermine their ability to make a living. Canadian Musician spoke with Mulholland to dig deeper into her message.
To watch or read a transcript of Mulholland’s speech, go to MirandaMulholland.ca/advocacy.
Canadian Musician: To start off with the inspiration for the speech, how did you first become an advocate and be the person selected to introduce Graham Henderson’s Economic Club speech last year?
Miranda Mulholland: I’ve been working with Music Canada for a number of years now and just in their advocacy department. It was really because a few years ago I applied and was interviewed for being on the Toronto Music Advisory Council, which was sort of the first public thing where I made a step towards advocacy work. Being in this culture and this career, you find at a certain point you’re asking, “Why is this not working and is it me?” And when you go back at the core of it, it’s like, “Oh no, it’s not me, I’m doing all this stuff and I work eight hours a day.”
So anyway, I applied to be on that council and it was our very first meeting and everybody was, you know, hopeful that there could be some change brought about. This was about three years ago, I believe, when this all first came about and Graham got up and made a speech. To be totally frank, I had no idea who he was and I knew some of the stakeholders around the table and I was not aware of Music Canada. He made this speech about making [Toronto] a music city. I waited and I put my hand up and stood up after him and said, “You know, with all due respect, a music city is excellent but a lot of these initiatives you’re talking about do not equal a musician-friendly city, which is a really different thing.”
Graham came over right away after the meeting and said, “Hey, thank you. I hadn’t thought about that and let’s chat some more.” From there, I think I’ve just been dipping my toe in with those guys and there were a lot of things that they didn’t actually realize or, if they had, they knew the philosophy or the overriding ideas behind why something is not working but to have somebody at such a granular level experience it on a day-to-day basis really pulls it into focus.
So it’s been really interesting for me, obviously, to realize because up until maybe three years ago, I really did think, “I’m just not working hard enough.” I wanted to convey that to my other friends who are experiencing really similar things with their economic state.
CM: Obviously the speech focuses on the digital realm and a little on film and TV and the issues around copyrights and royalties. For you personally, when did you realize the current system is not working for artists? That you could put in all the work in the world and it’s still very hard to make a living, even if you’re known and appear to be “successful” from the outside?
MM: I think it was tied in with all of this and figuring it out with Music Canada and finding out how it used to be. You know, I really came into my career in about 1999, so perfectly on the downturn of everything [laughs]. But a lot of my heroes and my friends early on were bands like Blue Rodeo, who were some of the first people I met, and I was in a band, still am, called The Mahones, which are a Celtic punk band, and I met a lot of people through that.
Blue Rodeo is an interesting pick because, well, Jim [Cuddy] works with a violin player named Anne Lindsay. She’s sort of been someone I’ve looked up to all this time and I remember when I first moved Toronto, Bob Egan said, “Well, what do you want to be?” and I said, “I want to be the next Anne Lindsay.” It’s interesting because I have done that, you know, and there’s been a lot of things. Actually, when Anne doesn’t play, I play in Jim Cuddy’s band and I am ostensibly the next Anne Lindsay, but my financial situation just is not comparable in this modern [industry]. Seeing that juxtaposition puts it in a different light.
CM: You’ve talked about what artists can do advocacy-wise, how fans can best support their favourite artists, and what labels can do. But a lot of the change is going to have to come from what governments do. You said you spoke with Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly twice and both times she said the same thing, which is artists need to speak up and get their voices heard and that will make it easier for her in government to do what’s right for them. That was fine to hear the first time, but before you met a second time, Focus on Creators was formed and you and others had begun to advocate and speak up for your interests. So when she just said the same thing during your second meeting, what were your thoughts?
MM: Frankly, it was a little frustrating. Also, because of the scenario we were in, it was a meeting with several of the heads of the major labels and myself and there are a lot of good things that are happening with streaming. I mean, the big point that is made is, “Well, it’s not free,” which is fine. I mean, that’s a good thing and I think there is that discovery and we’ve all tasted the Kool-Aid. But the problem is for smaller artists. My speech was actually so much longer that it was. It was actually about 35 to 40 minutes and then we cut it down for the Economic Club.
So in my speech I go into great detail about “niche,” because I really believe strongly that niche genres and that level of the ecosystem is really important to creatively move ahead. So in a way, just as an aside, but if you limit someone’s vocabulary, then you’re actually limiting thought. I thought that one thing that streaming services do is they really go heavy on the sort of middle-of-the-road stuff and the more you get played, the more likely you are to get played. So niche really falls to the side and it’s a little frightening. As a result, because it’s market share, your income is even diminished. Because you’re not played very much, then you only get this smaller percent of your market share per stream.
So, anyway, I brought this up at this meeting with the heavyweights and myself and just said, “It’s a little scary, honestly, to speak up and to keep speaking up against this thing that is way bigger,” and she said again, “Well, you have to.” At a certain point, it just felt like, “Who are we protecting now if we need to take a quick look at the companies that we’re dealing with?” I think one of the best ways to do that is to look at other countries and what they’re doing and see what their stances are on these issues.
CM: Which countries can we learn from, and what can we learn from them?
MM: Well the European Commission identified the “value gap” as an actual thing and they’ve acknowledged it and they’re trying to work to correct it. And it’s not just musicians; it’s about artistic work. That’s one thing I think we need to be acknowledge rather than, “Keep talking, we want to hear you,” as something that could happen.
Another thing is that France and Germany have taken a very strong approach with Spotify and with streaming services. You know, rather than sort of having conversations, they’re having confrontations. I know Canadians as a rule are not a confrontational culture and I understand that, but when I look around at my friends who I’ve now grown up with in this business and there is just so much frustration and sorrow. It’s really rife.
The reaction to the speech I was not prepared for, but I had so many friends and colleagues and people I don’t know reaching out to say “me too” and “I thought it was just because I wasn’t good enough.” You know, when you put that kind of doubt in your creators, that’s philosophically quite worrying.
CM: When I spoke with Graham Henderson on this topic, it was focused around the idea that the middle class of creators had disappeared. The digital age, rather than create a more even distribution of wealth and opportunity, it actually created a more concentrated “superstar economy.” You’re the type of artist who, in a previous era, would’ve been part of that middle class of creators. You know, not super rich, but certainly making a comfortable living from your work. What has the disappearance of that middle class meant in real world terms for you and your friends in the industry?
MM: I think a lot of people have had to branch out and do so many things that they are perhaps not best suited for or try to find other means. I made reference to a friend of mine who I tried to book for my festival and he thought I was booking his Airbnb. This is a JUNO-winning artist! That’s heartbreaking to me that, because of his frustration, he had to put that aside and sort of stop identifying as an artist. That’s frankly frightening.
For me, one of the hardest parts is I want to keep building things and I really love being a connector and it’s something I think is really important and it’s something that I strive to do as much as I can. So I started the label and the label has sort of become a manifestation of my thoughts on collaboration and that sort of thing and has now become a music festival. I want to grow and I want to do these things and take these steps, but I find it very difficult because it’s hard to finance everything. I don’t get a lot of grants, I don’t apply for a lot of grants, and there are a lot of things I’m not eligible for because my label just turned three [years old], so it’s pretty young. So in order to try and grow, and I find this with a lot of people, either they have to completely finance it themselves, which is fine, but there just isn’t that cash flow in order to take chances.
Over the past year, I’ve hired a music supervisor out of L.A. to try to pitch my catalogue to film and television in Los Angeles and it’s an expensive business to hire a good person to get your stuff heard and that’s an outlay that I almost can’t afford to take but can’t afford not to take either. So I feel as though a lot of my friends are choosing between doing something that they can’t really afford not to take, but can’t afford to take, or just getting another job and moving out of the sector.
CM: You also made the point that one of the promises of the digital age was that the middlemen would be cut out and artists could interact with and sell directly to their fans and it would create more revenue for them. You say there are actually now more middlemen than ever. How is that?
MM: I think it was a naïve promise back in the day because if you look at human nature, people sort of want to get involved in things where they can take a percentage or… I don’t know why that wasn’t brought at that time, but anyway. Then again, we didn’t have Facebook and things and that wasn’t anticipated, so I understand.
But I mean, if you add up all of the time, I’m time-poor as it is, so updating all of these different platforms we’re meant to be using and then all of the ones we have to pay for. Like, I pay to stream music, so I want to make sure I am up-to-date to have subscriptions and also I pay for my Dropbox and I pay for my Soundcloud and I pay for Atvenue, which is a thing that you have to subscribe to in order to submit your sales for SoundScan. I mean, either time poor and also just expensive at the end of the month. I pay so much more per month than I get from any streaming services in order to satisfy these middlemen. It’s quite frustrating.
CM: You also make the interesting point regarding YouTube. That it’s not the passive platform that it claims to be when it argues it shouldn’t be held accountable for the copyright infringement it enables, but which it is not held liable because of safe harbour provisions. You point out Lyor Cohen at YouTube recently bragged that 80 per cent of all watch time is recommended by YouTube itself. Why is this important?
MM: It comes back to accountability, which is my favourite word. [They say] they’re not liable for the content and then to have the hubris to brag that they are the people who are sending those taste recommendations and things down this pipeline. Well you can’t have it both ways. For YouTube, it was a very unfortunate comment that was publicly made.
It was interesting because I had somebody bring up a post after my speech. I had a gentleman message me on Twitter and say “I wrote a thing about your speech.” He had some arguments, although they were interesting, some of them not quite factually-based, but he pointed out one thing and he said, “Well Ms. Mulholland’s YouTube views are not very high, so she wouldn’t really be making any money anyway.” I thought, “Well that’s interesting” because, you know, that’s fine, but I am talking on a larger scale about my colleagues. Although, he did make an interesting point that he wasn’t trying to make, which is I’ve spent 17 years playing in other bands and contributing my talent to make the sum of a part greater than it is and contributing my violin lines and my voice and much of the work I have performed on is on YouTube and has millions of views for some of the larger bands I’ve been. [As a performer with no writing credit] there is absolutely no remuneration for me for that. On top of that, there are no neighbouring rights. There is some trickling down of some neighbouring rights in other methods of dissemination. So he sort of made a point for my argument without trying to.
But it is interesting. When I think about some of these songs that I played on or developed a line for or wrote the parts for in Great Lake Swimmers that have millions and millions of views, but there is nothing coming down the line to me or any of my colleagues who don’t have any official writing credits for various reasons, politically, in that band. But anyway, that was an interesting sidebar.
CM: Related to the lack of remuneration for performing artists, for film and TV score music, aside for the one-time union rate for the recording session, you get no royalties for the use of that music in a show or film. Every time the show or film is aired, the writers and publishers get paid through their SOCAN royalties, but performing artists don’t. Is that the norm in the world, or is that unique to Canada?
MM: There are 44 countries around the world, including France and Great Britain, which do acknowledge performers. We and the United States are two very large examples of non-compliance with that and that has to do with wording in the Copyright Act. It’s funny because my mother went to see the movie Maudie, which is about Maud Lewis, the folk artist, and she said, “Oh, the violin was so nice. You could’ve done that!” I said, “Oh, well I did do that actually. That was me.” In this day and age, there are no credits for who performed what or anything. So she had no way of knowing and I will not be remunerated for that at all, except for my one-time fee because it is soundtrack.
Michael Timmins emailed me and there was some talk early on about it being made into a soundtrack or perhaps being released. You know, I contributed a lot to that music, but that won’t be [remunerated], unless it’s a physical soundtrack that’s sold and who buys a soundtrack anymore [laughs]? Sorry for my cynicism, but I won’t be paid for that.
CM: And to clarify, that is specifically the case for score music, but not for a song that gets synced?
MM: Sync is a different thing, although the performers still aren’t paid. For example, Celine Dion, whenever *Titanic *is shown, Celine Dion will not get paid for “My Heart Will Go On” but James Horner will, or whoever wrote that song. It’s similar, because sync has the two, the publishing aspect and also the writing aspect. So that’s the same statute.
CM: And the performer will have just gotten their portion of the sync fee that was paid for the song, which is split between the label and artists…
MM: Right, it has to do with who owns the masters and who owns the publishing.
CM: To get back to the government side of it, Minister Joly held her consultations last year, but there is always the risk of stagnation through conversation. We can keep talking and pointing out the problems, but at some point something actually needs to be done. How optimistic are you that the federal government will act in artists’ best interests when it amends the Copyright Act? And what do you want to see done and what do you think is a realistic expectation?
MM: I’m optimistic. She’s been very lovely and I have enjoyed our conversations. I do feel that, yeah, there’s a little bit of stagnation in terms of these conversations and the politeness of the conversations. She’s done some great work and she has traveled extensively having these conversations. She’s in different countries and the G7 she was at for the culture meetings. Obviously, it’s very important to get other countries policies and hear their take on it, as well.
It certainly would be nice to have some indication that there is something happening because I do feel as though a lot of us are waiting in anticipation and we had such high hopes at the beginning of this term. So to see some sort of acknowledgment rather than just, “yes, we’re listening and talking.”
And there are some really small things that can be done. The radio royalty exemption is one. [Under the Copyright Act, commercial radio stations can shelter their first $1.25 million in advertising revenue from the royalties they pay to music performers and record companies.] The $1.25 million is something that can be looked at, and obviously the wording [in the definition] of “sound recording” in the Copyright Act.
The other thing that I am hoping will happen is that at least the conversation is going forward from “we can’t turn the clock back,” which is what I keep hearing at any of these meetings. I’ve been to Ottawa now a number of times and spoken with a lot of politicians and policy makers. A lot of the policy makers… I’m saying these things and they’re saying, “Well we can’t do that” and it’s almost like “we can’t do that, so never mind.” I say, “We should end these cross-subsidies,” and they say, “Well we can’t do that.” Well OK, then let’s look at what we can do.
The radio royalties thing is an interesting case because when it was developed, it was to support a lot of sort of mom-and-pop radio stations across the country and bolster them. Now a lot of them have been bought up by conglomerates and, in effect, we’re supporting the conglomerates with this exemption instead of supporting the artists who are creating and are the bottom part of the ecosystem.
So now the landscape has changed, and so I said, “Well, we should pull this lever and allow this to flow again,” [and they say,] “Oh, well, some of them are still mom and pop.” OK, well then let’s look at it again and try to refine it for this time because I just feel as though it’s been 20 years and there are some things to look at. So, rather than just throwing the baby out with the bathwater with “well we can’t do that,” go back in and take a tool kit and just tinker around there.
CM: For the minority of stations that are independent, sure, if you want to leave the exemption in there as part of their CRTC licence, fine. But it’s not like a station gets a CRTC licence and it’s good for life. It needs to be renewed and they are often amended over time. There seems to be no reason that a station that gets bought by, say, Bell or Rogers, that their exemption can’t be revoked. It seems like it shouldn’t be that hard of a fix.
MM: Absolutely, to me that seems like absolute common sense. And it’s interesting if you look one step further. Graham and I were talking about this before my speech and I love the granting system in Canada, I think it’s amazing and we’re so lucky. Some are flawed and some are amazing. The Toronto Arts Council is fantastic. I was on a jury and it was a really amazing process. It was actually life changing being on that jury. But there are a lot of problems with the grant system.
One of the things we keep hearing is, “Well, we don’t want to charge the consumer more,” and this is the other argument. But, the fact is that when you don’t charge the consumer more, and you’re taxing the artists, then they are going to the grant system and they’re depleting that, which the taxpayers are paying for anyway. So it’s really the same thing, it’s just about where are we getting this money from? Is it coming via some way that can actually make our artists feel valued?
Talking to some my friends, the way that people feel, the discouragement I guess, because it’s so frustrating to look at your statement and see you made not enough for a tank of gas in a six-month period. And this isn’t me; these are more successful artists than me. It’s so frustrating because the message is that “what you do is not worth it.” But yet, you hear your music everywhere and people keep talking about “music city” and all these things and it’s just, frankly, there is this big bewildering question mark. So yeah, having a fair market is what we want to aim for.
CM: One of the promises of the digital age is that where there is revenue lost in recorded music, artists can make it up by touring. Maybe there is a view that touring is something all artists can do and it’s equally lucrative or burdensome for everybody. You make the point that touring is much more difficult on some groups over others and it’s not an equal opportunity.
MM: Yeah, I think it’s across the board. Even the largest artists, their margins are just so different but there is still the effect. Everyone feels it to whatever degree. But even if you look at some of the legacy artists that we have in this country who can sell out a big soft-seater or something, even they are clearly feeling the crunch. A lot of them aren’t even taking an opening act and that is harmful for the ecosystem, too, because it just means you’re not paying back into the system that helped you and fostered you.
I look at some friends and by the time you’ve paid the promoter, you’ve paid for your hotels rooms and the gas, and you’ve paid all the members of your band – because a lot of people see a “band” and a lot of times it isn’t a band where it’s like “let’s go home and divide these pennies,” usually it’s someone is paying these people and because of the market, it’s usually quite low, but at the same time the margins are so low. And then you go, “Well we’ll sell merch.” Well everyone comes up to you at the merch table and says, “I listen to you on Spotify!” and then they walk away or they get something signed, like a poster that they took off the wall. So it just isn’t that viable.
And then you look at some of the people that it’s also not viable for. I was talking to Tona, who I think I mentioned in my speech and he was in the Toronto Arts Council with me and he’s amazing – he’s worked with Drake and all these people. You know, touring a hip-hop act in this country is impossible. The infrastructure is just not there.
I know, personally, being a woman on the road, it’s difficult and I don‘t even have children. My bandmate, Andrew [Penner], has three children and we just got back. We were down in the North Carolina over the weekend and then we played at The Birchmere in Arlington, VA on Sunday. It’s a beautiful room and you see on the walls the calendars and a lot of our friends have been down there for 20 years, which is really heartening to see that but then you also think, “Good god, in 20 years am I still going to be dragging my, you know, around the country?” It’s awesome and that is what I want to do, perform live, but it is a little bit tiring to think about, “I am going to have to keep doing this at that level” and it’s pretty gruelling. We drove back nine hours yesterday and he’s got three children and his wife at home waiting. So that obviously affects our tour and what we say “yes” to.
**CM: There is another phrase from your speech I want touch on. In reference to the streaming services, you said, “It is increasingly difficult for independent artists to land their songs on their ‘curated playlists’ in what is emerging as a 21st century version of payola,” which of course refers to the illegal practice of pay-for-play on radio… **
MM: You’re right, that was inflammatory.
CM: I haven’t seen or heard any allegations of pay-for-play, but there is certainly a system in which larger artists and labels have greater influence on or access to those playlists makers and are more able to get their songs on them.
MM: A lot of the major labels obviously have the ability to have that sort of chat with Spotify and at least present their artists as they would in any meeting. If you go to the CBC, they have a meeting where they say, “These are the new artists I’m excited about and this is the new track that’s coming out.” When you have a voice like the majors, you have a voice that’s quite louder.
In fact, I attempted to make some connection with Spotify because I wanted to get in the game and at least start a conversation. I just said, “I’d love to come in and take a look at your office and just chat.” I know that when Blue Rodeo’s record came out, and I’m on the same management roster, they’d gone in and done the whole thing and I just said, “I just want to know what’s happening.” I was just referred back to, “Well this is our list of best practices and this is what you should try to do,” which is just a lot of work, honestly, for me. And as a label owner, sure, I’ll do it, but as an independent artist, it’s so tiring to keep being told that we need to keep advertising for them, you know?
But obviously playlists are good when you can get on one. Harrow Fair got on one early on when our record came out and obviously the number of streams went way up on the one track that had been on there, but what I found interesting was that there was no discovery. It’s not like people had gone to one track and said, “Oh, who’s that?” and then gone to our record and streamed that. There was no change in the number [of streams for the album] even though there had been around 20,000 plays on this one song. There was no change on the number of streams on the other songs [on the record.] So I feel it’s a very passive listening thing, as well.
But the numbers are so crazy. I mean, for that one – I am looking at my income sheet here – for December, with that song when it was on a playlist, there were almost 6,000 streams on ad-supported Spotify, which equalled $12.15. That averages out to 0.002 cents per stream. On the same month on the paid subscriber version [of Spotify], it was around 7,400 streams and that gave us $48. That’s 0.006 cents per stream.
So even when you’re on a playlist and you’re getting streaming from [paid] subscribers, which you get more, sure, but it’s not a hugely significant number. That is the number for someone who you would actually look at and think, “Well they must be doing OK,” that’s what that band is getting.
CM: What culpability do you think the major labels have? As I’ve written about, record music revenues have been going up steadily for the last fewer years, almost entirely due to streaming. Yet, the services are still losing money and royalties are by far their biggest cost, and the major labels are seeing their revenue increase. I know you work closely with Graham Henderson and Music Canada, which represents the major labels, so I understand that this is a sensitive or difficult thing to ask you comment on. But do you think the labels, particularly the major labels, have a responsibility to be fairer with artists?
MM: It’s interesting because I’m on the board of CIMA – the Canadian Independent Music Association – and so you would think that obviously what I am doing with Music Canada is a little at cross-purposes. But I feel as though what Graham is trying to do to is he is more of an advocate for music. I know that officially, of course, it’s the majors, but I think the ecosystem has to be healthy on both sides; independent and major. The thing that the major labels have in their favour is that they are just giant amplifiers. They have an infrastructure in place so that when an artist comes along, they have the money to develop and make sure that they come along a certain path and then are blasted out their mainstream amplifier. So, of course, because it is mainstream and they have all that support, then they can make the money back with streaming because they actually do have millions and millions and millions of plays.
When I sat next to somebody from one of the majors who works in the finance department, he said, “Oh, streaming is going really well!” I said, “No,” and I tried to explain that, “Well, not for some people.” He kind of just said, “Well I’ve never heard of you.” It’s like, “OK, well, that’s fine but that’s not an argument and this is my career.”
But I think that they obviously have the advantage just from sheer numbers. What they can do, I mean, it’s difficult to say. I don’t know, frankly. There is some sort of chatter about, I was talking with Justin West [founder of Secret City Records] about this – and he’s on the CIMA board I should point out – and he has some really interesting ideas about more direct relationships for independents rather than having distributors. So if you’re a label, rather going through Fontana North as a distributor, you go directly to iTunes. So cutting out another middleman I guess is the thing, which would sort of make the pipeline easier for those independents.
I do feel like it has to be both sides. I do think they can exist in harmony. I don’t know enough about their practices to know if there is anything they could do to help ameliorate anything. But I do feel as though one thing I do see and appreciate about the majors that what they’re doing is being incubators. There is this sort of myth about “Oh, we’re going to look at who the indie labels have and then we’re going to pluck them when they’re ready.” Rather than doing that, they’re using their resources to start from the beginning and identify talented artists and start building them early and develop them. You know, take responsibility for the whole career arch, I guess, rather than just sort of pluck them from an indie label when they’re ready, which I think is just the right thing to do, but it’s not always the way that it goes.
CM: So what’s you departing message for the artists themselves?
MM: Especially for emerging artists, the most important thing is to always identify as an artist. I know it’s so hard and especially now when people have to work another job because rents are high and it’s difficult. But to just keep remembering that that is what you are, which sounds ridiculous to say even, but actually it is really difficult to hold on to. I know a lot of people who became servers or do others things and they kind of go, “Well, you know, I’m a server but I’m also a musician.” Be proud of it and be one!
Keep going out and meeting people and talking to people on a very micro level. The micro stuff is actually what matters. Chasing that big dream at the end is important and keeping that in focus, but it’s actually the little connections that you make on a day-to-day basis that you never know will help you. It’s always like you can connect the dots looking backwards but you never can going forwards, so just keep making those connections.
Also, I think really being consistent with pricing yourself. I had this problem and I’ve certainly suffered for it because I never really valued what I did in a way I should’ve early on. I was like, “Yeah I’ll play on your thing!” or “Sure I’ll do it for this much!” Just set a standard and say, “You know what, I won’t actually. I am worth this to do that.” There is always going to be someone trying to undercut you, but if you’ve got quality and you’re excellent at what you do, it will come through. And be consistent with messaging when you’re asked to play free. Ask, “Are you paying the caterer? If you want this, there has to be something, even if it’s an honorarium.”
I think being honest is very important and it’s difficult because you don’t want to say, “Look at this Super 8 motel I stayed at last night with three people in a room!” But, you know, I think letting people know that it isn’t bling and tour buses all the time. Even tour buses can be pretty dire.
I think, also, protecting your intellectual property. That’s another thing I also didn’t do as well I should have, which is contributing to works. I get very excited about being a contributor and helping make something great and then I don’t get to own part of it. So it goes out into the world and I never hear from it again.
CM: Lastly, would you bet money on the safe harbour being eliminated when the federal government does amend the Copyright Act?
MM: Well I am an optimist! I feel that there will be some lever pulled. I’m not sure how thorough it will be, but to be honest, it’s a pretty easy move. I know it would not go over well with the big conglomerates, obviously, but it doesn’t seem like the government is – and I’m just speculating – but it doesn’t seem like this government wouldn’t be too uncomfortable with doing that because I also think it would be a very good PR move to do something. It’s sort of almost like getting free money because you’re not taxing people. So I am going to go with “yes” at 75 per cent.
Michael Raine is the Senior Editor of Canadian Musician.