Nouvelles / News

Back to school for Artisti!

For many people, summer means vacation time and taking life at a slower pace. It’s well known, however, that this doesn’t apply to the music industry. Many of us have been out on the road performing while others have been busy getting their latest album ready for a fall launch. In the middle of this maelstrom of activity, some performing artists have found the time to look after their business affairs by joining Artisti. I would like to offer a warm welcome to all this summer’s new members. Please keep spreading the word: the more members we have, the greater our impact!

And now I have to tip my hat (an essential accoutrement under the hot sun—especially for me!) to the Artisti team, who have worked diligently all summer long to distribute royalties from foreign sources (including SoundExchange), as well as earnings generated within Canada. Ah, the joy of receiving an envelope from Artisti—many of you have spoken of this!

It’s a fact that royalties are an important part of an artist’s earnings, even if one has the impression that the cheques have been getting smaller lately. Many members have noticed this, and for me, as President of Artisti, the situation is raising more and more questions.

For example, I am wondering how you see the role of our collective society, especially in the digital streaming age. How do you suppose royalties will be collected in the future?

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? I have to admit to being discouraged when I see the tariff set by the Copyright Board for webcasting (see Annie Morin’s article in this issue)! At 10¢ for 1,000 streams, have you tried to calculate the number of streams it would take to pay for a pint of milk? Don’t bother—it will only bring you to tears!

I understand that our sector is facing a difficult period : in technical jargon, the recording industry is going through one hell of a morphing. But does that mean we should always be the last ones to get paid? That’s the real question I’ve been asking myself.

OK, I get it: online revenues don’t yet make up for the decline in CD sales.

And webcasting models are still being worked out as everyone tries to get a piece of the action – I get that too.

But what will the next great innovation bring? And most importantly, how long will it take before it generates income for us, the performing artists?

Remember where we were just four short years ago, back in 2010, when we were being told that the future of music lay in streaming. What a future! Take a look at the royalty statements you receive for online sales and webcasting (streaming) of your music: do you really believe that the future looks rosy? How many online sales and streams will it take to cover production costs so you can actually start putting royalties in your pocket?

The industry is changing quickly, and it seems that the economic models are having a hard time keeping up. And so one question keeps coming back to me: What if collective societies were to ensure the future survival of income for performing artists as they do for authors and composers? What if we dared to make this a reality? And what will happen if we don’t accept the challenge?

If you are asking yourself the same questions and especially if you feel like sharing your thoughts with me, please write, call or stop by to see me at Artisti : rpetit@artisti.ca or 514-288-6682.