The Glenn Gould Foundation has launched Instrumental: Music and Mental Health, an online initiative for youth and teens to raise awareness and promote the value of music as a powerful aid to mental health, and to help them cope with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Instrumental was inspired by British pianist and best-selling author James Rhodes, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, who has documented his use of music as a path toward mental health. The Foundation presented his first Canadian appearances in early 2020.

Mental health professionals, music therapists, and educators provided feedback on the content to maximize its usefulness. Instrumental’s content-rich website is easily accessible and user-friendly. It articulates the importance of music and the arts as a significant supplement to other forms of care for youth and teens. The interactive site includes self-care strategies, user-generated content, videos, lively illustrations and graphics, and a full suite of social media platforms.

Current sponsors and supporters include Heritage Canada – Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music, The Canada Council for the Arts, Power Corporation of Canada, The Jackman Foundation, and Donald K. Johnson, O.C.

The Glenn Gould Foundation is partnering and working with schools, the Canadian Association for Mental Health, the Canadian Association of Music Therapists, and various other groups. It’s also partnering with a variety of brand ambassadors and other supporters, including Luna Li, to help publicize Instrumental. Watch our trailer here.

“Music has, quite literally, saved my life and, I believe, the lives of countless others. It provides company when there is none, understanding where there is confusion, comfort where there is distress, and sheer, unpolluted energy where there is a hollow shell of brokenness and fatigue,” says James Rhodes, in his book Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music.

“Singing and playing instruments has always been a refuge for me,” says Luna Li. “Whatever I’m feeling, I know that music is there. You don’t have to play onstage or go on tour to find that. Now, there’s an online community to help teens find the mental health benefits that music offers. Whether it’s listening, jamming, or just taking a second to breathe, Music helps us connect.”

SOCAN is putting #ComposersWhoScore first as the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards approach, in April 4-10: SOCAN has determined that background music used in digital audiovisual (AV) productions (for Netflix, Crave, Illico etc) should be paid at the same rate as theme/feature music.

Prior to the change, background music was paid at 60 percent of theme/feature music, suggesting that background music was less valuable in a production than theme or feature music, and therefore paid a lower rate. The distribution rule change to 100% should be a welcome and positive development for screen composers. This change further underscores the value that background music brings to the viewing experience.

Background music is delivered by a music source that is off-camera. It’s music that’s heard by the viewers as an accompaniment to the scene portrayed, but which is not performed by, nor represented on, the screen as being heard by the characters, and where the music is not essential to give meaning to the actions of the actors.

Feature music is performed by, or represented on screen as, being heard by the characters in the scene being portrayed. It’s can also be music performed in video clips, or music performed in association with choreographed dance sequences.

The change will be applied to the May 2022 distribution for performances from April 2021 forward. Members can find background digital AV royalties in the Internet Audiovisual section of their statements.

The rule change doesn’t apply to broadcast and cable, but SOCAN is currently reviewing several distribution rules associated with TV and cable usage,  which may include background music.

For more information about digital audiovisual royalties, have a look at our explainer video.

And congratulations to all of our SOCAN member nominees for the Canadian Screen Awards!

The Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) has presented the results of a national study, Closing the Gap: Impact and Representation of Indigenous, Black and People of Colour (IBPOC) Live Music Workers in Canada. Conducted over a period of 18 months, the study provides critical data, and better informs CLMA and its partners of the challenges and barriers that impede IBPOC workers in the Canadian live music industry. The findings also highlight the most pressing issues and obstacles and emphasize the urgent need to better serve IBPOC live music workers across Canada.

The national study validates the urgent need to advocate for racialized individuals working in the sector. IBPOC workers make up 16% of the total number of live music industry workers in Canada and on average make $11,700 less per year than white industry workers. The survey demonstrates that if IBPOC workers and artists earned the same as their white counterparts, they would add $202.2 million to the industry’s annual contribution to GDP. In total the absent GDP contribution of missing IBPOC workers and lost wages is an estimated $273.5 million.

Additional key findings include a need to immediately address gatekeeping. The top four reported employment positions among white live music industry workers are gatekeeping positions: venue owners, promoters, live event producers and festival programmers. IBPOC workers are significantly under-represented in certain live music workplaces with 61% of white entrepreneurs and owners reporting that IBPOC workers make up a minority of their workplaces. These results in addition to 82% of IBPOC respondents reporting that increased access to gatekeepers including producers, executives, bookers/promoters, and agents would be one of the most useful resources to advancing their careers, strongly indicates the need for increased IBPOC representation in gatekeeping positions to amplify diversity in the live music industry.

Sources of inequality include lack of representation, the highest reported barrier to IBPOC respondents’ sense of belonging in the live music industry, along with tokenization, which is cited as another major barrier. The scarcity of advancement opportunities and employment-related obstacles including hiring processes, nepotism, and high turnover rates were also widely identified by IBPOC respondents, while Black participants specifically mentioned a lack of supportive leadership as a major hurdle. Indigenous respondents most frequently reported fear of losing control and ownership over their stories, artistic projects and/or decision making, while mental/physical well-being (i.e., lack of health or other insurance benefits, little to no work/life balance), was reported as a significant impediment to career progression by all survey respondents.

The results of the study also emphasize concerns with genre categorization where terms such as “Indigenous Music” and “World Music” were highlighted by respondents as both providing a source of community and belonging, while also creating feelings of marginalization and tokenization. Intersecting inequalities: in particular, the confidence gap among women of colour was also identified in addition to complicated relationships to whiteness where only 42% of IBPOC respondents established that there are people in the Canadian live music industry holding leadership/executive-level positions from their communities, compared to 78% of white respondents.

Within the national survey there are several key recommendations presented to the Canadian live music industry (i.e., venue owners, promoters, agents, managers, festival organizers and more), government and funding bodies, IBPOC workers and calls-to-action for presenters. Among them, promoting industry shifts by including eligibility guidelines and assessment criteria that stipulate white-led organizations must include significant IBPOC representation in decision-making positions, along with increasing access and inspiring trust.

“The Canadian Live Music Association is proud to have championed and led this report, and we’re so grateful to our industry partners and funders for helping to make it happen. We’re neither shocked nor surprised at the findings,” said Erin Benjamin, President & CEO of the Canadian Live Music Association. “But now, with this report in hand, we can – all of us – accelerate and make every effort to rid systemic inequities from our industry, prioritize and fight for the change that the report calls for, that we know we need, that we know is right. This is our community, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that IBPOC live music workers have every opportunity to succeed. Today marks the end of creating the report and the beginning of closing the gap in Canada’s live music industry.”

The report was supported by FACTOR and the Government of Canada, Creative BC and the Province of BC, Ontario Creates, and SOCAN. For more information, visit the Closing the Gap website.