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CBC: Indie labels break with CRIA over commercial radio proposal


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Indie labels break with CRIA over commercial radio proposal

Last Updated Thu, 13 Apr 2006 15:25:05 EDT

CBC Arts

Six leading indie record labels have split from the Canadian Recording Industry Association over the group's recent proposal to the CRTC that includes changes to how Canadian music is defined.

"It has become increasingly clear over the past few months that CRIA's position on several important music industry issues are not aligned with our best interests as independent recording companies," the six labels wrote in a letter to CRIA president Graham Henderson, copying others, including federal Culture Minister Bev Oda.

"We do not feel that we can remain members given CRIA's decision to advocate solely on behalf of the four major foreign multi-national labels," the letter said.

Nettwerk Records, True North Records, Aquarius Records, the Children's Group, Anthem Records and Linus Entertainment want greater support for both emerging and independent Canadian artists. They have accused the CRIA of looking out for the best interests of multinational music companies rather than Canadian acts.

The CRIA is a non-profit trade organization and lobby group representing the Canadian recording industry. Its membership includes the Canadian arms of major international companies EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner.

CRTC reviewing commercial radio policy

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the country's broadcast regulator, is currently reviewing its commercial radio policy and has requested proposals from the public.

It last looked at the policy in 1998 and one of the amendments introduced then was increasing the quota of Canadian content on commercial radio to 35 per cent (from 30 per cent).

This time around, the CRIA is instead suggesting changes to the MAPL system, which is used to define a song's "Canadian-ness." The system grants points based on whether a song was composed, its lyrics written or the music performed by a domestic artist. Also, points are granted if the song was recorded wholly or performed live in Canada.

To qualify as Canadian, the song must fulfill two of the requirements.

The system has courted controversy, however, including in 1992, when the hit Bryan Adams song (Everything I Do) I Do It For You was deemed not Canadian content because he had collaborated with foreign producers.

CRIA cites more international collaboration

The CRIA is proposing that to reflect today's climate of international collaboration between singers, musicians and producers, less weight be given to where a song is produced and more on whether the performer himself is a Canadian citizen.

The association feels this will support Canadian artists such as Michael Bublé and Nelly Furtado, who often collaborate and record with producers in the U.S.

The CRIA is also proposing that playing the music of up-and-coming Canadian artists during primetime be worth more Cancon "credit" to radio stations and that funding earmarked to support new artists be concentrated in the hands of talent development organizations.

However, the six indie record labels charge that "if implemented [these proposals] would have a material negative effect on the future growth of Canadian independent music."

According to the Canadian Press, the indie labels will now look to the Canadian Independent Record Production Association to be their industry representative. In its proposals to the CRTC, this group has asked that the Cancon quota be increased to 45 per cent.

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