CIRPA (now CIMA) began as an informal group of independent producers and record labels, united in their concerns over the formation of broadcaster-owned production and record companies and the impact that this might have on their businesses.
A first meeting took place in 1971 and after only a couple of meetings it became obvious that a collective voice would be of tremendous value in many different areas to speak as the trade association for the growing Canadian independent sector of the music business.
This informal association continued for three years, until the group decided that a more formal organization was needed to address on an industry-wide basis the many issues of concern to the independent sector.
After taking the necessary legal steps, CIRPA was formally chartered as a non-profit trade association on the somewhat ironic date of July 4, 1975. At first there were few other activities outside of meetings, but in 1976 the combination of monies from the Ontario Arts Council and revenues from a K-Tel package allowed CIRPA to hire Earl Rosen as Executive Director on a part time basis.
Over the next eleven years Earl and the membership were heavily involved in both industry and government. Particularly valuable achievements during this period were the formation and funding of FACTOR in 1982 and the introduction of the SRDP by the federal government in 1986.
Over its history CIRPA has benefited tremendously from its leadership. After a decade of continuous effort on behalf of the Canadian recording industry, Earl Rosen resigned in order to direct his full attention to his own companies. He was replaced in September 1987 by the well-known music publisher and tireless copyright lobbyist Brian Chater who, due to a restructuring of CIRPA, later became the President and has occupied this position ever since.
The original board consisted of Terry Brown, Bernie Finkelstein, Greg Hambleton, Paul Hoffert, Jack Richardson, Mel Shaw and Tom Williams. Early Presidents included Greg Hambleton of Axe Records, Tom Williams of Attic Records as well as Bob Morten and John Watt. Since then well-respected industry figures such as Vic Wilson, Andrew Hermant, Al Mair, Ray Danniels, Bernie Finkelstein and, currently, Earl Rosen have served as President and Chair of the Board of Directors.
CIRPA’s original objectives were to promote the independent Canadian record production industry and to attain high standards of quality in record production in Canada, to provide a forum for the gathering, discussion and dissemination of information relating to independent record production in Canada and, finally, to promote the development of the recording arts and sciences in Canada and the development of indigenous Canadian recording talent.
As the organization and the industry matured, the focus shifted somewhat and for many years now CIRPA’s activities have concentrated on lobbying governments for support and recognition of the economic value to Canada of a strong record industry, lobbying for copyright reform and keeping a close watch on Cancon regulations and other broadcast regulatory matters and lobbying for changes to benefit our members wherever necessary.
As can be seen from the following sections on the history of CIRPA, the realities of operating CIRPA or running an independent company in the rapidly changing environment that everyone has faced for the past decade have necessitated ever increasing research and filing of briefs and regular ongoing contacts with a wide range of politicians and bureaucrats in both federal and provincial governments as CIRPA has worked to protect and advance the interests of its members.
With the rapid technological changes and radical business shifts that have happened and are continuing to happen in the current decade, it seems certain that the need for CIRPA will only increase as the needs, objectives and opportunities of the independent sector become ever more complex and diffused, not just in Canada but in markets around the world.
Lobbying for Copyright RevisionThe matter of copyright revision is of continuing major concern to CIRPA. The existence of a modern and effective Copyright Act is a necessity in ensuring both adequate protection of members’ rights and a decent return on their investment.
While copyright often seems an esoteric and difficult subject and the benefits of CIRPA's work in this area are not immediately obvious to members, it is critical to the future prosperity of the industry that effective legislation that allows fair and effective payment systems be put in place. Thus this issue has been and remains at the center of CIRPA's lobbying activities.
While there was an amendment to the Copyright Act in 1988 (the first change in 64 years), many issues critical to the future of CIRPA members were left for the Phase II revision which finally took place in 1997. CIRPA has been a major player in lobbying to accelerate the revision process and has been very active in helping to set up and run umbrella music industry lobbying groups such as the Music Copyright Action Group (MCAG). These activities are extremely time consuming and often frustrating but ultimately without these changes to copyright laws and a new Copyright Act that really reflects today's realities, there will be no Canadian music industry.
The second phase of copyright revision, Bill C-32, finally became a reality only in April 1997, some nine years after the passage of Phase I. Several years of sustained lobbying on the part of the music industry coalition the MCAG coupled with the commitment and tenacity of the Minister of Heritage Sheila Copps in shepherding the Act through Parliament and in convincing her cabinet colleagues of both the need and necessity for such an update to the act. This followed the recommendations of the Music Industry Task Force Report (of which CIRPA was a co-chair) published in March of 1996.
The end of a three year lobbying battle came in 1997 as Bill C-32 was proclaimed the law on April 25, 1997 and, while many gray areas were clarified, probably the key issues for CIRPA members were the re-introduction of the neighbouring right and the introduction of the home taping right.
While it was extremely gratifying to obtain these two rights, of course the second part of the matter was to get fair payment from users for these new rights. The first and most pressing issue was the need to file tariffs with the Copyright Board for the new neighbouring right given the provisions of the Act that allowed owners to file a proposed tariff for use with the Copyright Board by August 31, 1997. However, a quick calculation will tell you that this was just over 120 days from the passage of the Act.
It is to the credit of all parties involved, both artists and producer representatives, both French and English groups, that not only was the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada (NRCC) formed, but the research was conducted, a tariff was filed and, subsequent to a hearing of the Board in 1998, a tariff for commercial radio was established effective January 1, 1998 and a tariff for CBC radio, also dating from January 1, 1998, was also established.
The collective for home taping was formed in 1998 and, for administrative reasons, the first tariff request was filed in 1999. This tariff would not take effect until the calendar year 2000, even though the tariff was nominally for a two year period to the end of 2000.
The Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) consisted of more groups than the NRCC as it represents not just producers and artists but also composers, authors and music publishers. As in the case of the NRCC, the CPCC is a collective of collectives and acts as the central organizing body in collecting and distributing royalties from private copying. A hearing of the Copyright Board on the 1999/2000 tariff took place in August and September of 1999 with a decision announced in late December that took effect on December 18, 1999.
The CPCC then filed a new tariff in March 2000 for the years 2001/2002 which was heard by the board in September and October and a decision was announced in mid December that took effect on January 1, 2001. This gave the CPCC a substantial increase in the rate for CD-R’s and CD-RW’s while also increasing the rate for cassette tapes.
The board calculated that this would result in earnings in 2001 and 2002, given current sales projections, of in excess of $20 million per year.
CIRPA continues to be heavily involved in the operations and administration of both NRCC and CPCC.
However, the realities of technology and the continuing rapid changes being brought on by its advances and the need to adapt to a changing world mean that copyright revision never seems to be over and requires constant scrutiny.
In this regard the old Music Copyright Action Group has recently been re-formed as the Copyright Coalition with the objective of obtaining yet a further revision of the Copyright Act to bring it more into line with current and future realities. CIRPA is a founding member of the Coalition and continues to put forward our members’ interests in this regard.
Lobbying for Music Industry ProgramsAnother key aspect of CIRPA’s lobbying efforts is aimed at the creation of programs for the music industry. The most obvious and important result of these efforts began in the early 1980’s with CIRPA initiating discussions with broadcasters that culminated in the formation of the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent On Records (FACTOR) in 1982.
The new organization was funded by CHUM, Rogers, and Moffat and administered by CIRPA with the stated aim of using the available funds to finance and develop the Canadian independent record industry in all its facets, both in Canada and around the world.
From 1982 to 1986 CIRPA administered the FACTOR program. CIRPA also worked with MuchMusic to establish VideoFact, which it also initially administered. CIRPA was also instrumental in bringing the Standard Broadcasting-owned Canadian Talent Library (CTL) into the fold so that by the mid-eighties the organization was both expanded and renamed FACTOR/CTL.
A half-decade of lobbying by CIRPA finally produced concrete results for the independent sector with the announcement in 1986 of the Sound Recording Development Program (SRDP) which, for the first time, provided meaningful government funding to the recording industry. In a unique arrangement, the government agreed that funding should be dispensed through FACTOR and its newly formed Quebec counterpart MusicAction, rather than through government agencies as was the case with film funding. It was at this point that CIRPA bowed out as administrator, leaving the operations of FACTOR to specialists hired specifically for the tasks involved.
However, even with these objectives achieved in the eighties it was clear to CIRPA that the problems of the sector were far from being solved and, as a result, new lobbying initiatives were undertaken to increase and develop music sector support programming.
In Ontario CIRPA was heavily involved in the Advisory Committee on a Cultural Industries Sectoral Strategy (ACCISS) process that resulted in the government of the day’s announcement of the Ontario Sound Recording Investment Program (OSRIP) in the Spring of 1995. This program was subsequently cancelled following an Ontario election.
In late 1996, ongoing lobbying by CIRPA and the Association québécoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ) following the publication of the Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Music Industry recommendations resulted in the announcement by the Minister of Heritage Sheila Copps of an additional $5 million annually to FACTOR and MusicAction to fund new initiatives and programs. This was a timely and valuable initiative of great help to the sector.
As the second half of the decade continued CIRPA was actively lobbying on several points. In Ontario a campaign was undertaken to convince the government of the need for a provincial tax credit. This was successfully concluded with the announcement of the tax credit in the May 1998 budget. A year later, in September 1999, the regulations were published with the program coming into effect the following year.
In another area, following the successful CIRPA interventions and campaign at the CRTC review of radio hearings in December 1997, part of the Commission decision was to allocate funding from sales of profitable stations to a new fund administered jointly by the music and broadcasting industries – since named the Starmaker Fund (together with the equivalent Quebec fund Fonds radiostar) and to receive 3% of the sale price of all qualifying transactions.
At the same time the Commission decided that a further 2% of these transactions would go directly to FACTOR or MusicAction as appropriate, to be used as both organizations felt would be best for their clientele. The combined total of these decisions will result in an additional $5 million annually in additional funding to the English-speaking market. Both funding initiatives became effectively operational in March 2001.
With the rapidly changing nature of the music business in Canada it was clear to CIRPA that additional funding mechanisms were needed to address the major challenges occurring in the music industry on an almost daily basis and in particular the issue of funding levels of Canadian companies.
CIRPA and its Quebec counterpart ADISQ worked together to come up with a campaign to lobby the federal government for a new program. Following two years of joint lobbying and the production of three detailed consultants’ reports, CIRPA was extremely pleased that the Liberal Red Book for the 2000 election contained an announcement of substantial additional funding for the sound recording industry to enable it to make an effective transition into the new digital age.
Both CIRPA and ADISQ commended the government and the Department of Heritage on its forward thinking initiative and have worked hard with the department to bring the process to fruition and to get it up and running at the earliest opportunity.
CRTC, Cancon and Broadcasting IssuesThroughout the 1980’s CIRPA found itself increasingly involved in the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) hearings and consultations with regard to Canadian content on radio and television and it intervened on many occasions at individual licence renewals to protect the interests of our members, particularly in the area of Canadian content (Cancon).
In the early ‘90’s CIRPA’s level of involvement at the Commission increased yet again. In 1990 CIRPA conducted research and submitted a detailed intervention at hearings on the future of FM Radio. Our efforts resulted in Canadian content levels on FM radio being increased to 30% for all private radio stations. The same year we conducted research and, at our appearance at the CBC hearing, made the case for Cancon on CBC radio to increase to 50%. The Commission agreed and decided in our favour.
Needless to say, both resulted in increased performances and earnings, not just for CIRPA members but also to the benefit of the entire Canadian cultural community and Canadian entrepreneurs as a whole.
Through 1993 and 1994, after the CRTC initially approved digital cable radio channels, CIRPA was in the forefront of an industry-wide coalition which, with the unanimous support of all the national and provincial music trade associations, successfully appealed the first decision to Cabinet. CIRPA was also subsequently a key player in the effort to persuade the Commission to rescind the decision to license these services.
The saga of pay audio licensing continued for three more years as CIRPA played a lead role in industry objections to Commission decisions that resulted in a further successful appeal to Cabinet in early 1996 and a subsequent further appeal being denied in late 1996, but with considerable changes in the applications having occurred over the years from the original licence.
Following a review of Canadian Talent Development (CTD) initiatives stipulations in early 1996, the Commission announced in the fall that it would reduce the requirements for CTD contributions from $7 million to $1.8 million annually. CIRPA appealed this decision to Cabinet and in December the decision was returned to the Commission for review.
In mid 1997 the Commission held what was arguably the most important hearing of the decade – the review of radio. CIRPA conducted wide-ranging and detailed research that addressed a variety of issues and presented a major brief to the Commission. It also played a key role at the December 1998 hearings.
In April 1998 the Commission announced its decision which contained two major victories for CIRPA with the increase of Canadian content to 35% from 30% and with the obligation of stations selling under the related ownership criteria to contribute 6% of each sale for profitable stations to funding to assist the development of the Canadian music industry.
During 1998 CIRPA also researched and submitted interventions and appeared at Commission hearings on the Review of Television and Review of New Media and in 1998 and 2000 continued the policy issues interventions at the CBC licence renewal hearings, the Can West/Global and Shaw/WIC hearings in Vancouver and the Specialty Channel hearings.
Also in 2000 CIRPA intervened in the Toronto hearing on new radio licences that took place in February and, contrary to CIRPA’s usual policy of not supporting any specific format, actively supported the licensing of an urban station in the market.
Research and Education: Helping to Build an IndustryOne of CIRPA’s ongoing objectives is to provide meaningful, detailed and accurate research on and for the recording industry in Canada. One of its first efforts in this regard was the establishment of the CIRPA/ADISQ Foundation in the early 1980’s. Its aim was to establish a database of the recorded product available in Canada, to be distributed in either a print version or electronically through the Telidon program.
In 1988, with funding and the co-operation of other major industry associations, CIRPA organized the research and then wrote and produced a major study on Home Taping. The study clearly defined for the first time the home taping problem in Canada and the extent of the losses that were being sustained by the music industry.
The same year saw the publishing of the “Investor's Guide – An Overview to the Sound Recording Industry" which proved over the next few years to be of great assistance to companies looking to attract investors to the music industry.
CIRPA has continued to conduct research and compile reports. More recently, it has prepared a major study on world wide export markets for FACTOR, updated the "The Investor’s Guide to the Music Industry in Canada" again and has completed the new "Copyright Handbook.”
As well, CIRPA has organized and conducted seminars and conferences. In its early years, CIRPA participated in the 1977 Canadian Record Industry Pavilion at the CNE. This involved working exhibits on how records and tapes were manufactured, a 24-track recording studio and exhibits from, amongst others, CIRPA, the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), Sam The Record Man and the major labels of the day.
Another early seminar was a highly acclaimed symposium at Toronto’s Park Plaza in 1978, jointly organized by CIRPA and CRIA.
CIRPA has, over several years, organized many seminars, workshops and general meetings with topics ranging from export development to marketing to management. Speakers have included such industry luminaries as Robert Pittman (the founder of MTV),
Pete Waterman of Stock, Aitken, Waterman fame, Mike Shallett (co-founder of SoundScan), Barry Weiss of Jive Records and Phil Ramone, others from the US and the UK as well as many well known Canadian music business figures.
These workshops have taken place in Canadian cities from coast to coast in cooperation with provincial music industry associations and have contributed a great deal to the growth and development of professionalism in the music industry across the country.
In 1996 CIRPA launched its first web site as part of its ongoing strategy to provide information both about its members and to its members to increase their business skills and their business opportunities. The site developed over time and went through two major revamps. This is the third version of the site.
In 1997 CIRPA, in conjunction with the Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association (SRIA), designed, built and implemented the Canadian Music Training Database to provide an ongoing updated knowledge base of basic music education opportunities across the country.
In 1999 CIRPA researched and wrote a Technology Primer which is currently available on this web site. There is also an updated version completed in early 2001.
At the end of 2000 CIRPA also completed a quick guide to copyright which gives a basic overview of this difficult but vitally important subject for creators.
Promoting the Canadian Music IndustryCIRPA has also taken part in initiatives to raise the profile and increase the success of the Canadian music industry at home and abroad. Chief among its activities in this area has been the Canada Stand at MIDEM in Cannes, France, a task CIRPA commenced in 1978 and has undertaken every year since then.
In 1985, CIRPA was instrumental in helping to organize a major promotion of Canadian talent named appropriately, "The Class of '85". This promotion was a great success, displaying the talent of Canadians to a wide audience, not just in Canada but around the world.
Since the mid-nineties, to reflect the changing music industry environment, CIRPA has considerably increased its initiatives around the world on behalf of the Canadian music industry.
The first expansion was to Asia, where CIRPA organized and staffed the Canada Stand at MIDEM Asia in Hong Kong, allowing Canadian companies a base to begin to penetrate new potential markets across the far East. This activity was continued until the event was discontinued by MIDEM in the late nineties.
In 1996 CIRPA participated for the first time at Popkomm in Cologne, Germany. While this event had been taking place for some years, this was the first year that it really expanded its business focus and encouraged participation from non-Europeans. Both CIRPA and stand participants found the event very beneficial in meeting and doing business with Europeans from both Western and Eastern Europe. CIRPA has participated every year since then.
In 1997 there were two significant events. First, the formation of CIRPA Kids as a separate sub-sector representing the interests of those members (and non-members) specializing in Children’s music and this led to a CIRPA Kids presence at the major US event NAEYC in Anaheim, CA.
The second event was the participation of CIRPA’s Canada Stand at MIDEM Latin America in Miami, FL. Like Popkomm this was judged to be successful by both CIRPA and the booth participants and CIRPA’s involvement in this event continued annually until the event was cancelled by the MIDEM organization.
In 2000 CIRPA expanded its activities to include a Canada Stand at WOMEX in Berlin, Germany and at Pacific Circle Music Expo in Sydney, Australia.
Industry and Government Relations: Representing the Independent SectorCIRPA is committed to working closely with its Quebec counterparts ADISQ and with the provincial music industry associations with the objective of serving the interests of our members and to jointly lobby for changes to benefit the industry as a whole. The benefits of this co-operation have been clearly seen over the years in initiatives such as the successful Appeal to Cabinet against the CRTC’s approval of digital cable radio licences.
As technological change has increased the complexities of the entertainment business and forced change onto companies and organizations, CIRPA has by necessity become increasingly involved with government both formally and informally. It not only meets with officials and politicians on many levels, but over the past few years has become increasingly involved in the formal process of government.
Over the last decade, CIRPA has been involved with the Convergence Committee, which was set up to study the way technology would change distribution, the Human Resources study of the music industry, the Cultural Statistics Committee of Statistics Canada, the study to examine the future of radio, the ACCISS study of the cultural industries in Ontario and was a co-chair of the Federal Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Music Industry that presented its report to the Minister of Canadian Heritage in March 1996.
CIRPA has also spent a great deal of time working with ADISQ, with other music and cultural industry associations in Canada and similar associations around the world both to exchange information and also to formulate joint policies for the benefit of the Canadian music industry as a whole.
CIRPA is a founding member of two new cultural groups formed to protect and advance the interests of the cultural sector: the Coalition for Cultural Diversity (CCD), a national coalition of cultural groups whose objective is to ensure that Canada’s interests are advanced in any future trade negotiations, and the Copyright Coalition, formed to move the copyright revision agenda onto the government’s action list, something that is of vital importance to the sector.