A message from Barbara Scales
The trend to an ever-more important online presence for musicians has only been reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID's impact has been felt across the entire economy, but the impact on the music ecosystem has been particularly catastrophic. Revenues from recordings have been diminishing for years and the traditional revenue sources, based on live concerts and touring, have dried up. What could a post-pandemic future look like for the performing arts, music in particular?
A post-pandemic music ecosystem could:
be more small-scale with programming that is equally modest;
create larger audiences and wider distribution for new productions;
have a reduced ecological footprint, with costly touring limited;
be more local, using artists close to home, with greater cultural diversity and at the same time be more regional, national and international;
increase costs because musicians will have to create new high-quality digital content other than sound; and paradoxically
have lower barriers to entry thanks to the digital revolution.
This new ecosystem, this digital ecosystem, has permitted artists access to people’s homes in ways unimagined before. The public has never had such widespread contact to artists and their works and at no, or almost no, cost. This digital economy has allowed artists to create new works in new ways and to distribute existing work on a scale undreamt of just a few years ago.
But this transition is difficult. The legal, technical and financial issues that all the players of the music ecosystem need to come to grips with are immense. As an agent, I struggled with this. My artists struggled with this. And, my clients, presenters, struggled with this.
In March, 2020 I was meeting almost daily with various people, looking for answers. When the Canada Council for the Arts announced its Digital Strategies program, I applied for a grant so that we could put together some answers to these questions. When we received the grant approval in November, we started to work.
We talked to people across the country about where they felt the priorities should be. With their help, we drew up a list of questions they had or that they had been asked. With their help, we found experts who could answer these questions. Although we talked primarily to people in the music ecosystem, our goal was to make this pertinent to everyone in the performing arts. We wanted clear answers to questions in an easy-to-understand format so we opted for web capsules. And, we wanted to make access free and the information available in French and in English.
- Barbara Scales,
accelerando.media’s objectives are to:
equip Canadian musicians, agents, managers and presenters with the basic concepts about rights, platforms, distribution, metadata, monetisation so that they can ask the right questions before they decide to put music online online;
ensure that all players in the musical ecosystem share a common vocabulary and know what they should be discussing, what questions they need to ask and, critically, what are the consequences if certain conditions are not respected;
create a community of users where questions, answers and best practices can be shared; and
provide a list of resources.
We’ll be putting these web capsules online as they become available. We urge you to share them via your social media accounts, professional associations and with your colleagues. Don’t hesitate to tell us if you think we can improve on what we’re providing.
We’d like to host virtual question and answer sessions once we have a sufficient number of capsules online. These will be informal sessions where you’re invited to ask the experts about points that the capsules don’t touch on, where you can share your experiences with others, learn about best practices and network. There is a lot of information available – finding the right source or person is often the problem and this is one way to do that.
We’ve tried hard to be as accurate as possible. But circumstances change, laws are passed, technology evolves… The Canada Council grant will allow us to keep information up-to-date for a while but you should make sure that it’s still relevant when you decide to put music online.
accelerando.media may not answer all your questions but it will make you think about what you need to do before putting your music online. Even if you already have music online, accelerando.media can help you ensure that you’ve done so optimally.
What we can’t do:
Offer advice, legal or otherwise.