One hundred days after taking over the general management of the Association of Record and Show Producers of Quebec (ADISQ), Ève Paré fully understands the challenges that the music industry will have to face. Especially since his interlocutors at the Union des artistes (UDA) and at the Guild of musicians and musicians of Quebec (GMMQ) cautiously approach this next round of negotiations, scalded by recent episodes of ruptures.
At the heart of the disputes: the renewal of the Act respecting the status of the artist promised by the Legault government and the negotiation of new collective agreements binding ADISQ to UDA and GMMQ. Agreements expired for more than twenty years which, according to the director general, need to be “modernized”.
The collective working agreement between UDA and ADISQ concerning sound recording expired on November 30, 2000, while that binding the GMMQ to the producers’ association expired in 1998. Since then, several cycles negotiations were held between the different parties without ever succeeding, which exasperates the two artists’ associations.
The question surrounding the renewal of these agreements aimed at establishing a better sharing of revenues from sound recording between producers and artists resurfaced during a release, on November 25, by the singer-songwriter. Philémon Cimon, on the show Penelope on ICI Première. The musician then affirmed that the ADISQ “continues[ait] to sabotage the attempts at negotiations, until the 1is last october where [l’ADISQ] said [à l’UDA] : “Ah, finally, we no longer want to negotiate” ”.
In interview at Duty, Ève Paré wanted to “rectify the facts”: last October, she affirms, ADISQ contacted its interlocutors from the UDA and the GMMQ in order to inform them of its desire to wipe the slate clean. previous negotiations to “start over on a blank page [et en arriver à] an agreement that is modern and current rather than patching up old agreements that have expired for two decades and yet are still in force, in the absence of a new pact. A first document serving as a “negotiating framework” was then sent to the UDA and the Guild. Discussions could begin at the beginning of the year “with a very firm desire to negotiate” on the part of ADISQ, ensures Ève Paré.
The representatives of the UDA and the GMMQ confirm that a new round of negotiations is desired by ADISQ, but “we have already played in that film”, drops Sophie Prégent, president of the Union des artistes since 2013. She recalls that the previous cycle, which began in 2019, had nevertheless resulted in an agreement in principle with ADISQ, UDA and Artisti, the collective management company for performer rights created by the Union.
However, as Philémon Cimon revealed it last month, the negotiations were “broken off by ADISQ” last October, confirms Sophie Prégent. “The UDA has signed 57 collective agreements; of the number, only two have yet to be negotiated, ”both with ADISQ, she notes.
ADISQ has also tasked a new negotiating committee to find common ground with artists’ associations, on which sit two young producers, Laurence Lebel (general manager of the young record company Artifice) and Jean-François. Guindon (director of the Les Faux-Monnayeurs cooperative), a gesture she describes as an opening. “We want to change the dynamic and the tone” of the discussions, comments Ève Paré.
Since the 1990s, “there have been multiple attempts to reach an agreement, but it has always stumbled on certain points”, regrets Luc Fortin, president and general manager of the Guild of musicians and musicians of Quebec. “But since agreement renewals are not subject to arbitration, it can take a very long time.” The Guild also reached an agreement in principle with ADISQ, endorsed by its general assembly, in 2016, but it too fizzled out.
This is, moreover, one of the requests formulated by the Guild in the context of the renewal of the Status of the Artist Act: in the event of a deadlock in the negotiations, that a renewal of the collective agreement may be submitted to the ‘arbitration. “It does not exist in the Labor Code, but the difference is that the workers in a factory can call a strike,” explains Luc Fortin. We, the 2000 freelancers who work with a lot of different people, it becomes difficult to go on strike. “
The hearings concerning the overhaul of the Act respecting the status of the artist, expected next year, could also bring to light the gulf that separates ADISQ and artists. One of the questions called to be debated concerns the status of the self-producing artist, or entrepreneur artist, claimed by a growing proportion of independent musicians; defining the artist as a producer (sound recording or show) would allow him to obtain funding from the Société de développement des entreprises cultures (SODEC), until now reserved for recognized producers, the majority of which are members from ADISQ.
SODEC recently asked players in the music industry to participate in a study “on entrepreneurial dynamics and changes in contractual practices in the music sector in Quebec” – or, as Artisti puts it, “on the financing of different business models in music, as well as the place of self-production in the Quebec musical ecosystem ”.
Until the result of this study is made public, ADISQ will keep its traditional position, reiterated in its brief filed on 1is Last February, as part of the process for revising the laws on the status of the artist: “SODEC is used to support cultural enterprises”, which, in the eyes of the law, self-producing artists are not.