Recap: Eddie Schwartz, Fair Trade Music

| September 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

On September 29th, 2015 the Copyright Society of the South welcomed Eddie Schwartz, president of the Songwriters Association of Canada, co-chair of Music Creators of North America, and representative at the International Council of Music Authors. Schwartz presented Fair Trade Music, an initiative designed to transform music in much the same way “fair trade” has transformed the value chain for agricultural products such as coffee.

Pictured from left: Karl Braun (Hall, Booth, Smith), John Barker (ClearBox Rights), Eddie Schwartz, Kele Currier (ASCAP), Ted Goldthorpe (Sony/ATV)

Pictured from left: Karl Braun (Hall, Booth, Smith), John Barker (ClearBox Rights), Eddie Schwartz, Kele Currier (ASCAP), Ted Goldthorpe (Sony/ATV)

Fair Trade Music was developed in the fall of 2007 by Professor Jeremy DeBeer in his University of Ottawa Digital Music and the Law seminar classroom as a response to the devaluation of music in the digital age. The Songwriters Association of Canada took the leadership role in the Fair Trade Music initiative in 2010. In 2012, the Songwriters Association of Canada and other Canadian and U.S. organizations formed Music Creators of North America with Schwartz as the co-chair. That same year, Schwartz joined the Executive Committee of the International Council of Music Authors, and Fair Trade Music gained broad international support. To date, over 25,000 individual music creators from around the world, both in developed and developing nations, and a number of international organizations have endorsed Fair Trade Music.

In 2014 Fair Trade Music completed “The Study Concerning Fair Compensation for Music Creators in the Digital Age”. The study used financial and economic data to explore the current structure of the digital streaming market for music. The study concluded that digital streaming services depend on exploitative business models, undervalue music, and give major labels preferential treatment at the expense of individual creators and performers.

In 2015, Fair Trade Music hopes to establish a Fair Trade Music Certification Body, which will “certify” that digital services are “fair trade” music, in a similar way that coffee brands are certified “fair trade” coffee. Schwartz explained that the certification would create an ethical decision at the point of purchase for the consumer and could guarantee that the money paid is “flowing back through the value chain to the people that made the fundamental product.” As with coffee, Fair Trade Music will provide consumers with the information they need to make “fair” choices in deciding which music providers and services to use in order to access and enjoy music.

Scwartz is best known for writing such classic hit songs as “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” recorded by Pat Benetar, “Don’t Shed A Tear” by Paul Carrack, and “The Doctor” by the Doobie Brothers, as well as some two hundred songs recorded and performed by artists such as Joe Cocker, Carly Simon, Peter Frampton, Robert Palmer, Jeffrey Osborne, Donna Summer, Rita Coolidge, Rascal Flatts and Mountain among others. As a record producer, he has enjoyed success with numerous projects, including the Doobie Brothers’ “Cycles” album, Paul Carrack’s “Groove Approved”, Rita Coolidge’s “Fire Me Back”, as well as his own recordings as an artist, which have achieved notable success in Canada, the US and around the world. His global sales as a writer, producer and artist are currently in excess of 65 million. A native of Toronto, Eddie has won numerous music industry awards including multiple JUNO, BMI, and SOCAN awards, and SOCAN’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement award. In addition, he has served for many years on the boards of the Songwriters Association of Canada, SOCAN, CARAS and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and more recently as Co-Chair of Music Creators North America and the CIAM (CISAC’s international authors’ council) Executive Committee. Eddie is also is a graduate of the renown Leadership Music program in Nashville, where he has lived since 1997.

In recent years he has been asked to speak on copyright and other issues affecting music creators in universities and conferences in Europe, Asia and across Canada and the US. In late 2012 Eddie was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.

To get involved in Fair Trade Music, Schwartz recommended signing up for the mailing list at

Other resources:

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