Meet the Trade Associations

What member-run organizations exist to support music creators and publishers?

For music creators and publishers, trade associations provide invaluable support and resources. Usually not-for-profit, and governed by elected boards composed of their own members, they exist to advance constituents’ individual and collective interests through professional development, education, advocacy, and promotion. The primary associations for Canadian music creators are the Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC), the Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.), la Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ), and the Canadian League of Composers (CLC). Music publishers are represented by Music Publishers Canada and l’Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale (APEM).1

The Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)

  • The SCGC is “a national association of professional music composers and producers for film, television and media.”2 
  • Since 1980, it has promoted Canadian talent, composition, and recording for scoring audiovisual (AV) productions, raising awareness for, and expanding, the domestic market. 
  • It is dedicated to improving the quality, status, rights, and interests of its members, particularly through education, advocacy, professional development, and the establishment of contracting standards. 
  • It engages primarily with producers, broadcasters, government bodies, and other entities associated with screen-based media.
  • In 2003, the Guild was certified under the federal Status of the Artist Act to represent the interests of all composers in Canada working on English-language productions.
  • Its composer/producer model contract has come to be regarded as an industry standard.

The Songwriters Association of Canada (S.A.C.)

  • Founded in 1983, the S.A.C. is “one of Canada’s leading advocating bodies on behalf of Canadian music creators,” both professional and amateur, and it “provides education and community for songwriters, lyricists, beatmakers, sound designers, topliners, instrumentalists and song collaborators.” 
  • With an emphasis on program delivery, it supports the creative, business, and legal concerns of its members, and of music creators in general. 
  • It provides opportunities for networking, musical work registration, commercial and artistic development, and a collective voice to address the rights, compensation, and business and regulatory environments of its constituents.
  • The S.A.C. was the first organization to support the Fair Trade Music movement, which is “dedicated to building an ethical, sustainable and transparent music ecosystem that is equitable for everyone in the music value chain.”

La Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec (SPACQ)

  • SPACQ was established in 1981 and has grown to represent the interests of composers and songwriters in Québec and across the country. 
  • Its mission is to research, promote, protect, and develop the economic, social, and professional welfare of its members, and it achieves this through collective action and professional training, and by representing the interests of its members to different decision-making levels of government and industry.
  • SPACQ distinguishes itself in particular by the accreditations it holds federally and provincially under the two acts recognizing the status of the artist:
    • The association’s certification under Canada’s Status of the Artist Act allows it to represent all independent entrepreneurs hired as composers and songwriters for all Quebec productions, with some exceptions (e.g., productions for private national English-language broadcasters).
    • SPACQ’s provincial recognition makes it the exclusive representative of members and non-members commissioned to write musical works by producers in all fields of artistic production in Quebec.
  • These certifications allow SPACQ to negotiate—for all applicable artists, services, and productions in the province—working conditions, minimum rates of remuneration, and even the payment of social benefits to artists by producers.
  • Many of these negotiations have resulted in the establishment of collective agreements with a number of cultural organizations including Cirque du Soleil, Société Radio-Canada, l’Association québécoise de la production médiatique (AQPM), and others.

The Canadian League of Composers (CLC)

  • Founded in 1951, the CLC represents Canadian composers of “art music,” who are often commissioned by cultural organizations to write works intended for live performance and recording.
  • In addition to serving its members through professional development, advocacy, and promotion, it provides valuable resources including model contracts and suggested fees for commissions, arrangements, and orchestrations.
  • It also hosts the Canadian section of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM).
  • The CLC originally housed a library of contemporary Canadian scores but, in 1959, it established the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) to take over this responsibility. Since then, the CMC has opened regional offices, established its own score-publishing and recording services, and developed programs that contribute to the cultivation of Canadian music creation.

Music Publishers Canada

  • Established in 1949, Music Publishers Canada—formerly known as the Canadian Music Publishers Association (CMPA)—has acted as the unified voice for the diverse set of professionals and organizations based in Canada that manage publishing catalogues of musical works. 
  • The organization’s mission is to advance the business opportunities of its members and to advocate and educate around the interests and value of the music-creation industry as a whole. 
  • The understanding and advancement of copyright is a key concern, along with the cultural, legal, regulatory, economic, and export-related factors that underpin the importance of music publishers, music publishing, and music creation.

L’Association des professionnels de l’édition musicale (APEM)

  • APEM is an alliance of Quebec-based and French-speaking music publishers.
  • Founded in 2002, and similar to Music Publishers Canada, APEM responds to ongoing structural and economic issues in its sector, including the safeguarding of copyrights for musical works. 
  • The association brings together nearly all francophone music publishers in Canada to address the needs and profile of its members—both distinctly and in relation to the other components of the music, media, and arts industries.
  • APEM created and maintains, a database that “aims to allow the public to legally access lyrics of Canadian authors for personal and non-commercial uses.”

Other Canadian Music Industry Associations

Canadian Federation of Musicians (CFM): A “complementary office” of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM), the CFM “helps thousands of musicians who need assistance with any number of issues related to the recording and performing of their craft.”

La Guilde des musiciens et musiciennes du Québec (GMMQ): “Representing all artists practising the art of instrumental music in any field of artistic production on the territory of Quebec,” the GMMQ promotes “the vital contribution of professional musicians to society by…defending their artistic, social and financial interests.”

Music Canada: Advocating for “a healthy and vibrant Canadian music ecosystem, which includes labels, performing artists, publishers, songwriters, managers and others,” Music Canada represents “Canada’s major record labels: Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada” and other members.

Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA): With a membership that comprises “English-language, Canadian-owned” small businesses, CIMA exists “to develop and advocate policies and services that serve to support a strong and economically stable Canadian independent music and sound recording industry.”

Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS): The umbrella organization for The JUNO Awards and MusiCounts (“Canada’s music education charity”), “CARAS’ main focus is the exploration and development of opportunities to showcase and promote Canadian artists and music.” 

l’Association québécoise de l’industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la vidéo (ADISQ): With a mandate to promote, develop, and advocate on behalf of Quebec’s music industry, ADISQ serves companies and individuals who are professionally involved (either directly or indirectly) in the production of sound recordings, live shows, and AV content.

Orchestras Canada: Helping Canadian orchestras of all sizes to “accomplish together what they cannot do alone” is how Orchestras Canada works to fulfil its vision to see its members become “sustainable, valued, and resilient organizations that reflect and celebrate Canadian communities.”

Music Managers Forum (MMF) Canada: Acting as the “collective voice for Canadian music managers and self-managed artists,” MMF Canada offers “education, networking and advocacy on behalf of..members, their artists, and the wider Canadian music community.”

Canadian Association for the Performing Arts/l’Association canadienne des organismes artistiques (CAPACOA): Representing “for-profit and not-for-profit presenters, festivals, presenter networks, artistic companies, agents, managers and other stakeholders working across the presenting and touring sector in Canada,” CAPACOA “cultivates a vibrant, healthy and equitable performing arts ecosystem, from artists to audiences.”

Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA): “The mission of the CLMA is to entrench the economic, social and cultural value of live music—creating the conditions for concerts to thrive.” Its membership includes “concert promoters, festivals, talent agencies, venues, clubs, arenas, performing arts centres, industry associations and networks, and suppliers.” 

Provincial and Territorial Industry Associations (Music Publishers Canada website)

1 Most trade association descriptions have been taken or adapted from Digital Disruption: Modernizing the Income of Canadian Music Creators. [PDF]