Fair Trade Music Principles for a Better Future

2012 was a ground breaking year for songwriters and composers worldwide. For the first time our organizations formed alliances both in Canada and around the world.

In Canada, the S.A.C. joined with the Screen Composers Guild and SPACQ, our counterpart in Quebec to form Music Creators Canada.

Music Creators North America was formed following a meeting with the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA) and Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). We have also joined hands with our colleagues at the European Composers and Songwriters Association (ECSA), and the International Council of Authors and Composers (CIAM).

The work will continue in 2013 and beyond to strengthen these newly created relationships so that music creators around the globe can and will speak with a united and powerful voice.

But what will that unified voice say? Surely, with so many organizations from so many parts of the world involved, agreeing upon a common narrative will be difficult.

Well, we have good news on that front. Almost all of the organizations have agreed upon a set of principles: the Fair Trade Music Principles.

In the coming weeks, I will present each of the Principles and explain the thinking behind each one.

Here is the first:

We call for new (and existing) music business models built on principles of fair and sustainable compensation for music creators.

One only has to think of Apple, a company that transitioned from a niche computer manufacturer to the most highly valued company in the world. The transition was built on the incredible popularity of the iPod, which originally had one purpose: to play music. (The iPod of course led to the iPhone.)

In addition, we have Spotify, Rdio and Pandora, not to mention Google and Internet service providers, generating combined revenue streams in the billions of dollars annually.

Without music these businesses would not exist, and yet those who create the core element to this vast wealth, the music creators, are the beneficiaries of very little, if any of this massive value chain.

So we find ourselves in much the same place that Third World coffee growers were in before the Fair Trade Coffee movement, and this is a situation that music creators must and will work globally to correct.

It is time music creators were fairly included in these value chains based on our collected works. The fact that we are working together internationally to achieve this goal is a real step forward.

5 thoughts on “Fair Trade Music Principles for a Better Future

  1. I think that is a great initiative since music really is the universal language and as we all know, without language we CANNOT communicate and therefore we are dead. Thanks Eddie and the whole S.A.C crew for doing this. Looking forward to the outcome.


  2. http://fairtrademusicafm.orghttp://fairtrademusicpdx.orghttp://fairtrademusicseattle.org • fairtrademusic1000.wordpress.com

    We’ve been working on Fair Trade Music – establishing wages standards for live musicians working in clubs – for the last last five years. We have over a dozen signatory venues, seven chapters nationwide, and still growing. Glad to hear you’ll be joining the good fight.

    Sounds like this version is more geared towards recorded music. If that’s the case, I should put you in touch with the San Francisco crew that is purportedly working on that end.

    In solidarity,

    Jake Pegg
    Organizer, AFM local 99 • Portland, OR


    1. Many thanks for your comments. We have been in contact with Bruce Fife, your President. We are songwriters and composers from around the world, including Africa, Latin and South America, North America and Europe. We look forward to further communication, and working with you in order to move this vital initiative forward.


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