Fair Trade Music International is an independent not-for-profit organization launched by thousands of music creators from around the world. We have developed Fair Trade Music Certification in order to draw attention to and reward equitable music business practices and help bring about an ethical, sustainable and transparent music economy.
In addition to being fair for all parties from creators to consumers, FTM encourages a music ecosystem that gives artists, songwriters and composers the chance to make a living, so they can dedicate their lives to making great new music for all to enjoy. Our key objects are:
- Recognize and reward “fair” behaviour in the music ecosystem by means of an independent, music creator guided certification process
- Increase public awareness of who pays and who plays “fair”, and which music distributors and companies are working with music creators to establish an equitable music value chain for all.
- Define the concept of what is “fair” to all parties in the music value chain in consultation with all music rights holders and stakeholders.
We do not believe it is necessary for one party to lose in order for the other to win. In each case 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.
You can find the latest updates from our campaign in our news archive. If you are an accredited journalist and would like to request an interview with somebody from our organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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.
History of the Fair Trade Music Campaign
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 Songwriters Association of Canada (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 Music Creators North America (MCNA), the campaign quickly took hold. It spread even further when SAC president and MCNA co-chair, Eddie Schwartz was appointed to the executive committee of the Paris based International Council of Music Creators (CIAM). 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 and Nashville 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. Its directors include Safwan Javed and Eddie Schwartz; renown Italian composer and Chair of CIAM, Lorenzo Ferrero; noted American songwriter, president of the Songwriters Guild of America (SGA) and MCNA Co-chair, Rick Carnes; and Quebec based songwriter and music entrepreneur, Jean-Robert Bisaillon. Isabel Crack serves as Executive Director, and SGA counsel Charles J. Sanders has continued to serve as American legal advisor to Fair Trade Music International and MCNA since their inceptions.
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.