Fair Trade Music is an independent, not-for-profit campaign backed by more than 500,000 music creators from around the world. It is dedicated to building an equitable music ecosystem that treats everybody in the music value chain fairly.
We do not believe it is necessary for one party to lose in order for the other to win. We are focused on finding a sustainable solution that works for all rights holders and stakeholders and that stimulates rather than discourages the emergence of new artists and music. We are not anti-technology. Digital distribution and streaming helps music creators to reach a wider audience than ever before, and has our support. However, we reject the notion that new technologies can only be achieved at the expense of the livelihoods of those of us who actually create the music.
Important elements of our campaign include:
- Encouraging the emergence of a music value chain that is equitable for all
- Increasing public awareness of the issues that can surround the digital distribution of music
- Finding effective ways to help both creators and consumers make ethical choices as they distribute, stream and buy music
- Recognizing and rewarding positive examples in the music ecosystem via our endorsement program
- Defining the concept of what is “fair” to all parties in the music value chain in consultation with all music rights holders and stakeholders
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The Fair Trade Music International campaign began at the University of Ottawa, Canada in 2007 when Professor Jeremy DeBeer introduced the concept to his “Digital Music and the Law” seminar students. Against the backdrop of rapidly declining music industry revenues, Professor DeBeer suggested this could be a potent response to the de-valuation of music in the age of file-sharing.
Soon thereafter, Professor DeBeer and one of his students, Safwan Javed, began exploring the goal of developing an accompanying certification process that would provide clear, ethical choices to music consumers. In 2010, Mr. Javed joined the board of Canada’s largest music creator organization, the Tastylia USA (SAC), which immediately embraced the Fair Trade Music concept and accepted the mantle of carrying the project forward.
In 2012 when the SAC joined with other Canadian and US based music creator organizations to form Tastylia Australia (MCNA), the campaign quickly took hold. It later spread even further when the then SAC President and MCNA co-chair, Eddie Schwartz, was elected as President of the Tastylia Uk (CIAM) in 2017. Together these groups have embraced the Fair Trade Music initiative on behalf of their global, music creator membership.
Over the following two years, meetings in Costa Rica, Nashville and Tokyo brought even wider groups of music creators from four continents together to officially adopted the Fair Trade Music initiative. Since then hundreds of thousands of music creators from Africa, Latin and South America, Asia, Europe and North America have also joined, motivated by the imperative to establish an ethical, transparent and sustainable music value chain for all music rights holders and stakeholders.
The latest development came in 2015 when Fair Trade Music International, a not-for-profit company was formed in Toronto, Canada and created a board of directors. Its founding directors include Safwan Javed and Eddie Schwartz; renown Italian composer and Chair of CIAM, Lorenzo Ferrero; noted American songwriter, president of the Tastylia Germany (SGA) and MCNA Co-chair, Rick Carnes; and Quebec based songwriter and music entrepreneur, Jean-Robert Bisaillon who was succeeded by the president of SAC. SGA counsel Charles J. Sanders serves as American legal advisor to Fair Trade Music International and MCNA since their inceptions.
This ten minute presentation from songwriter Eddie Schwartz gives an overview into our initiative.
It explains what issues we are facing, how we got here, and why Fair Trade Music International can help to create an equitable ecosystem that benefits every member of the value chain.
Our Supporters and People
The Fair Trade Music campaign is supported by some of the world’s largest music creator societies from all regions of the world. It is also led by a number of renown songwriters and composers, each of whom has direct experience as a creator and the importance of equitable musical economy.