The Fair Trade Music story
Fair Trade Music International (FTMI) is the independent, not-for-profit organization behind the Fair Trade Music movement.
FTMI 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, explored developing an accompanying certification process that would provide clear, ethical choices to music consumers. In 2010, Safwan Javed joined the board of Canada’s largest music creator organization, the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC). SAC immediately embraced Fair Trade Music and accepted 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 initiative quickly took hold.
Fair Trade Music International was incorporated in Toronto, Canada. The board of directors was created in 2015. Its founding directors include Safwan Javed and Eddie Schwartz; renown Italian composer and CIAM Chair, Lorenzo Ferrero; noted American songwriter, Songwriters Guild of America (SGA) President 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 for Fair Trade Music International.
By 2016, the Fair Trade Music initiative was officially adopted as a main campaign of the International Council of Music Creators (CIAM).
Following incorporation, meetings in Costa Rica, Nashville, Tokyo and Toronto brought even wider groups of music creators from four continents together to officially adopt the Fair Trade Music initiative. Together these groups embraced Fair Trade Music on behalf of their music creator membership.
Since then hundreds of thousands of music creators from Africa, Latin and South America, Asia, Europe and North America have joined, motivated by establishing an ethical, transparent and sustainable music value chain for all music rights holders and stakeholders.
Executive and advisory boards
Fair Trade Music International is led by a board comprised of renown songwriters and composers, each of whom has direct experience as a creator and understands the importance of equitable musical economy. In addition, FTMI has a number of expert advisors and support staff that help the organization to defy its modest size and continually push the movement forward.