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Canadian Content Under Attack


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This editorial is pretty interesting and in my opinion right in saying that the future of sattelite based entertainment should be debated in the house and not by the CRTC. If only to make the rules that much stronger.

Canadian content's shakey future.

Mind you they only playing f'ng BTO, Guess Who and Steppenwolf despite the fact that these bands are for all intents and purposes dead. Radio is about as useful as TV (Weather and Public Access).

Support College and University radio!

Should Candian culture be protected as it was in the 60s. Yer damn right it should before it slips away completely.

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There was a media event in Toronto on aug 31 about this.

Heres what I posted from the email I recieved (minus the last part,which is now over):

our help is needed - Satellite Radio in jeopardy

I have some disturbing news to report to you on the Satellite Radio front.

As you know, independent artists won a huge CRTC victory when Satellite

radio was approved for licensing in Canada about two months ago. We were

thrilled that there was an indie-friendly radio alternative coming to

Canada. The CRTC broke new ground with the following requirements:

* At least 8 original channels must be produced in Canada (on each satellite service)

* There must be 85% Canadian Content on each of those 8 channels

* At least 25% of CANCON music must be new Canadian musical selections

* A further 25% of the CANCON music must be by emerging Canadian artists!!!

* 5% of their GROSS revenues to initiatives for the development of Canadian talent

Many groups that could be considered part of Canada's music industry

establishment appealed the decision. These groups include CIRPA, CRIA,

SOCAN, AFM and others that have a vested interest in maintaining the status

quo. Indie Pool has stood behind Satellite Radio because independent

artists have communicated clearly with us that they do not benefit from the

status quo and receive much more airplay on Satellite.

Unfortunately, it appears that our Federal politicians are strongly

considering reversing this decision. Apparently, they are poised to reject

the CRTC's unanimous decision and drive the Satellite radio industry into

the grey market. With that decision, none of the concessions listed above

will be received. The satellite signals will still be received in Canada

(as they are currently), but none of the benefits will be received. Now

that politics are now the driving force behind this decision, independent

artists are being put on the back burner.


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Thanks Esau.

Sorry I missed the original post on the topic.

Those requirements set down by the CRTC seem pretty progressive for nurturing Canadian talent while providing them with access to this powerful new medium.

Can someone explain why SOCAN would like things to remain as they are?

I'm a little ignorant to what they do and why they do it.

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Okay Deeps - the CanCon issue is a bit tricky because in theory it's amazing but really misses the mark.

yes i believe that canadian content should be pushed and supported - but if you have to regulate it, give it its 'time' then you're going to get all the most popular, watered down schlock on the air: Look at the constant playing of rush and kim mitchell and april wine on the radio since they were popular for being new and cool( and not because they're still adding anything to the landscape of candian music))...run on sentences suck i know.

forcing cancon into seperate channels with regulated percentages is really unnatural. how come the programmers don't just happen to play canadian music? hmm??? we're putting this wholly on the programmers and listeners to gravitate towards the tracks themselves...

y'know what this really is?

it's a real problem.

how come the killer acts and sick cuts aren't being recognized by canadian society??

well here are a few directions towards an answer.

1. the industry plays poor/is poor

the record companies don't make enough money to push every little gem...sorry...the record companies haven't figure out how to make enough money to afford paying salaries AND get the job done right. They don't get a cut of merch or tour support or licensing. they lend money to acts for recording an album and publicity and then hope for it to magically return when they know the act's going to go nowhere special without an added push that only a record company is able to give.

if the industry was more consolidated or interconnected there'd be more money floating around to be spent.

i like artistic freedom, but financial freedom is more pressing for most musicians. so with this mismanagement of revenues(sure the formula works...) er mismanagement of potential profit comes unrealized goals. bands that have to quit to start a family, artists that become plumbers and electricians...travel salesmen...and only do it as a hobby...so the artists can't push themselves into an amazing performance because part of their person is caught up in their assumed humanity. i've heard a lot of great canadian music but we're still for the most part restrained by SOMETHING. so our little gems aretucked away - the real personalities are freely speaking in their little groups and dinner parties and the ones that are up on the soapbox are often tied to it.

2. the media doens't live up to its potential and turns away interested parties leaving the uninterested and uninteresting

radio stations are extremely lazy for the most part when it comes down to making a difference rather than making a profit. people still like april wine and kim mitchell and rush and feel there's no need to cut down the amount of zeppelin and beatles and stones to make way for new artists that might drive gutless radio listeners away. if you want to add a new song, you have to play an old song less. the old songs are guaranteed because over time they've proven to not make listeners change the station. keep em there and you won't lost potential profits...change and they'll go the the static competition.

3. new cels versus old community

there's currently no real seriously rooted publicity for live and recorded music in canada. it's incredibly splintered and genrified. if it's online then it's targeted and focused. people tend to like categorization. it's easier for some people to figure out who they want to talk to based on fashion and common interests isn't it? well record companies push their own product and hate competition. there's very little togetherness and community on the outside. the industry's pretty small and you can meet people that know people you know quite easily. the people in the know understand but the average joe can be easily overwhelmed so why even bother?

Look back to the key creative scenes and eras in music and you'll see community. seattle grunge, NYC CBGBs, late 60's/early 70's toronto and montreal...most rock musicians knew each other and collaborated or contributed to the scene.

there's not so much of that now. it seems as though much collaboration is for publicity or for credit.

4. conspiracy theories...ties into broadcasting and recording industries' commitment to the status quo and profits

there's also the thought that if the masses actually get these ideas into their heads then something could change in society - so the only people that make the effort are the only ones that care and understand how much of a difference music can make on people rather than being interested in profits and keeping the industry the way it is. there's the fact that mob rule these days is really unimaginative and lacks understanding...the whole 'this television show makes me think too much' situation.

it's defintely a sellers market. people are fairly predictable so when something new comes in it's hard to gauge and predict sales or social outcomes.


I think that CanCon shouldn't be regulated, as it's watered down out musical landscape. it's also kept a lot of great american music off the airwaves in canada. why play a great artist like ray charles on pop radio when you could fit in ANOTHER gordon lightfoot song?? (yeah it's also the white/black music argument but that's one of the reasons...i didn't grow up being able to hear much other than white pop, rock, country, and easy listening on commercial radio)

i think CanCon is important but it clearly misses the mark. it was a great idea and necessary when it was devised but it's unnecessary now. there should be more push to bring out new artists and drive pop culture rather than mirror it. song numbers are not the way to go.

CanCon is one of the things that helped Nickelback get so Popular and rooted in the industry.

it doesn't help us get bubblegum pop out there (sugar jones was a shoe in i thought) but nelly furtado, the swollen members, sum41, and avril lavigne really profited from the whole ordeal. so did jann arden, david usher/moist, celine dion, and a whole whack of country acts. these are all acts that are good at what they do but i'm sure that there are other acts that are at least as deserving to succeed as these guys.

i mean look at the arts and crafts crew.

for crissakes, the rheostatics deserve more support than all of those acts and where did the radio get them? nowhere. playing and recording got them where they are.

there are a few gems that get support from the canadian broadcasting industry, but most of our talented and highly creative artists are not easily marketable and if it's not over the top and huge then it's 'just another canadian'...

we've made some of the coolest music in the world and the way things are going, it seems as though most average canadians would get freaked out, frustrated, scared, or confused by the sounds that come out of most of our stereos. Our artists are critically acclaimed across the world but at home we don't care to make a fuss.

maybe it's just a misconception. i'd hope it would be.

i understand i have had a conventional broadcasting/recording industry reaction to a thread about satellite broadcasting. How come galaxie haven't broken the car market? they're all canadian (not all CanCon).

just remember...if you have to regulate a satellite feed and allot 8 channels to mostly canadian acts, we'll be left to the mercy of those programmers. generally speaking, most satellite feeds with 'canadian' content really pull out a lot of crappy canadian content. so my prediction will be that those 8 channels will mostly blow...maybe even suck too. that'll confuse enough people into thinking 'these crappy canadian channels are no good and i will not listen to them unless there's nothing better on'

and in that situation will prove to broadcasters everywhere (that follow data and reports more than popularity, personal tastes, and music news) that canadian music is lacklustre even to canadians and that will ruin the canadian recording industry even further.

i've said it before and i'll continue to say it: the canadian recording and broadcasting industries need to wake up and commit to serious assessment and change because without it we're going nowhere fast. not even to the record store.

Edited by Guest
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I wonder if it's silly to believe that babying the canadian music industry only keeps songwriters from working really hard.

How can an industry or music scene possibly evolve if it imposes rules on how much Canadian content is played? I don't think it can, or ever will.

The more choices listeners have will offer more stations, and eventually more canadian dedicated content based on what listeners want. With digital media, it's much easier to track what people are listening to, especially by tracking BitTorrent downloads.

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This article does it for me:

Scrapping radio ruling a big risk

Sep 08, The Ottawa Citizen

Page: A15

Section: News

Edition: Final

Byline: Gregg Terrence

Today is likely the day that the federal cabinet decides if it will overturn the Canadian Radio-television and

Telecommunications Commission's decision to license satellite radio

services in Canada. This, after the CRTC held public hearings, heard

hundreds of expert witnesses and spent six months deliberating,

would be a blow to the regulator and its independence.

A decision to uphold the ruling would have the opposite effect and

empower the CRTC to bravely chart a course through the technological

minefields at its doorstep. The arm's-length relationship and

political cover, enjoyed by both the CRTC and cabinet, could be

jeopardized today.

After an extensive review, the CRTC unanimously decided the best

way to protect Canadian culture was through licensing and

regulating, not by promoting the "grey market." It decided Canadians

should supervise decency on our airwaves; benefit from taxation and

investment; and secure substantial funds for the development of

Canadian talent. It concluded that the export of Canadian content to

the world's largest consumer market was part of our cultural


The alternative was risky and potentially ugly, and is now being

considered by cabinet after it was wholly rejected by the CRTC. In

this nightmare scenario of lawlessness on our airwaves, satellite

radio continues its staggering U.S. growth, which drives up Canadian

demand; the number of Canadian grey market subscribers reaches

moderate levels, but which are high enough for the U.S. satellite

radio companies to decide that the cost of legitimacy in Canada is

too high; the lure of Canadian subscriber revenues, without any

incremental costs, will be seen as icing on the proverbial profit

cake. Even a mere 200,000 Canadian subscribers could potentially be

enough to drive satellite radio permanently underground.

Once that tipping point is reached -- and it does appear to be

when, not if -- all bets will be off. Vendors will begin openly

selling subscriptions with "convenient" billing systems for

Canadians. Many Canadians will subscribe just because they are not

supposed to. Canadian car companies could start installing

"satellite ready" stereos, and letting its customers figure out what

to do from there.

In this world cabinet is now considering, there are no Canadian

channels, there is no control over decency and programming, there

are no tax revenues for the government and there are tens of

millions of dollars for artists left on the table. The

protectionists and idealists will have won the argument, but lost

the war.

The game, of course, is all about timing and risk vs. return. The

appellants, two Canadian media companies, believe the risk of a

two-year delay in licensing is minor. But let's consider this: What

is the very most to be gained from yet another satellite radio

hearing? An optimist would suggest that maybe another three or four

channels could be pried out of the applicants with perhaps an

additional one or two per cent of gross revenues going to the arts.

This would come after another two years of divisiveness, debate and

another cabinet appeal, which would presumably be rejected.

So, is it worth risking so much to achieve so little? If this

question could have been asked of the NHL Players' Association

before things went nuclear with the league, would it have chosen

such a costly and destructive option? We understand that unions are

programmed to say "no" and that, usually, they receive more as a

result. In the case of the NHLPA, and in this case for the

appellants, "always say 'no game'" is a dangerous strategy that

could backfire on all of us.

Let's hope cabinet sees the wisdom of the CRTC's decision. If it

doesn't, hold tight, Canadians' resolve will be tested, putting

Canada's music and radio industries at risk.

Gregg Terrence is president of Indie Pool, Canada's largest independent music services provider.

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eugh, fuckin give me my satelite radio already. it's bad enough i'm going to have to go without stern for awhile, but 2 years? give me a break.

maybe someone will know the answer to this question. i know satelite radio isn't regulated for decency (as stated above) but will the crtc also not have any regulations on programing? i sure hope not. that's the whole point.

radio is a valid medium and i think that there should be an option out there for people who do not choose to censor themselves from all the dirty words that are out there.

as for this whole CANCON debate....i sit on the fence really. from the artists point of view, it's cool, it gives you a garunteed chance to be played, simply because you're canadian. but on the other hand, i see it as an affirmativee acction kind of deal for canadian music. i truely wonder if given the chance to play whatever radio staitosn wanted to play whether they would still meet their cancon percentages. i think a song should be chosen for it's merit rather than where it originated from.

and in that huge diatribe (whoa there robby) cannedbeats does make a point. i'm tired of hearing BS cancon filler. i do like the "required new canadian artists" part of the deal though. i really don't know where i am here. if it weren't for cancon i might not have been exposed to bands like the trews, metric, bss, arcade fire and the stars. or maybe i would have? who knows? i think without cancon we'd make a huge swing towards american content on the radio and then swing back when we got sick of it and realized that canada does have a distinct culture that is seperate from the americans. but right now, without the choice, we just don't really know where we stand.

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