Canadian creative works are being consumed in greater volume than ever before. They can be accessed anywhere, at any time, simply by opening an app on a phone:
- Music Streaming is the music industry’s fastest growing revenue source. Not only did the number of people subscribed to music streaming services increase from 41 to 68 million in 2015, there were nearly one billion users of ad-supported upload services like YouTube and SoundCloud.
- In 2008, e-book sales in Canada accounted for 1 percent of the market. By 2015, that number had risen to 18 percent. According to PwC research, by 2018 e-books will generate 52 percent of consumer publishing revenues, and e-books will account for 37 percent of the market share across consumer, educational, and professional segments.
Creators have led Canada in the digital shift, but struggle to earn a livelihood from it. The middle class creator is being eliminated from the Canadian economy and full-time creativity is becoming a thing of the past:
- Independent artists earned an average of $7,228 per year from music-related activities in 2011, not nearly enough to allow them to pursue a music career full-time. On average, most artists spent only 29 hours a week pursuing their music career.
- It is becoming harder and harder for Canadian writers to earn a living from writing. Taking inflation into account, writers made 27 percent less in 2015 than they did in 1998 from their writing. With average writers’ revenues that fall below the poverty line, the Writers’ Union of Canada says that writers will increasingly abandon their craft for other employment.
- The average income of a playwright in Canada, in 2004, was less than $10,000.
Creative works are increasingly used to monetize technology without adequately remunerating creators:
- While consumption of ad-supported music streaming services like YouTube and SoundCloud has grown significantly—by 63 percent in 2014, and 101 percent in 2015—revenues paid to rights holders have not kept pace. Last year, revenue from these services grew by only 31 percent (versus 101 percent growth in consumption) and accounted for only 4 percent of global revenues. This has resulted in the creation of a ‘value gap’.
- Even though e-books are cheaper to produce than their physical counterparts, the Writers’ Union of Canada has found that the 25 percent royalty rate most authors receive from digital sales is disproportionately low.