Digital Disruption:
Modernizing the Income of
Canadian Music Creators

This study identifies how digital platforms are increasingly shaping how creative content is created, distributed, and consumed. This resulting shift away from the traditional media sources for content consumption is, in turn, impacting the way in which many in the creative industries earn a living. In particular, the music sector is experiencing a substantial impact.

In Canada (and globally) digital sales have surpassed physical sales of music. Within the digital distribution, streaming has replaced digital downloads as the primary source of music distribution. Similarly, digital streaming of audio-visual content is moving fast to grab a large market share of traditional TV broadcasting. The shift towards digital platforms in music and television have fundamentally changed how – and how much – revenue flows to music creators for the use of their work.

Two specific groups of music creators that are being affected by the rise of digital streaming are (i) songwriters and (ii) screen composers. Both groups rely heavily on royalty payments from the licensing and use of their copyrighted works, as this revenue constitutes an important part of their income. Collection societies such as SOCAN (which collects performance rights royalties in Canada for Canadian and foreign rights holders) are experiencing increases in the total amount of royalties they are collecting from internet-based services. However, different practices have evolved for this digital streaming segment vs. the traditional broadcasting sources, and they are limiting the share of these internet-based royalties making their way to Canadian creators.

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Digital Disruption – Modernizing the Income of Canadian Music Creators – Executive Summary

Digital Disruption – Modernizing the Income of Canadian Music Creators (2)