Friday, April 14, 2006

Cancon: Indie Artists Have Unreasonable Expectations and Impossible Hopes

Dispute: Six Indie Labels To Leave The Canadian Recording Industry Association

The CRTC is currently reviewing its Cancon policy. The last review occurred in 1998 when the quota of required Canadian music on the airwaves jumped to 35 per cent from 30 per cent. CRIA wants the percentage to remain at 35 per cent, but has proposed a new calculating method where emerging artists would count more in the quota system than classic songs by superstar artists like Bryan Adams.

The six labels will instead look to the Canadian Independent Record Production Association to lobby the government on their behalf. That trade organization put forth a proposal to the CRTC asking that Cancon be increased to 45%.

Ouch! They have to be kidding. (and, yet I know they are not) IMHO: these folks are living in the past. Here's an opinion I agree with:
"CanCon should be applied to media where there is limited spectrum and thus the broadcasters rather than Canadian citizens are picking what is aired on that limited spectrum. When there is a (verified and protected) competitive market where consumers can make their own programming choices, as is the case for retail music (dedicated record stores, not the limited selection in
big-box stores), Satellite radio, Internet radio or Internet downloads, I do not believe CanCon should apply."

I would add terrestial radio and TV to that list, since we're going to get killed by them in the long term if new media can play the hits and we're required by law to play a certain percentage of songs our listeners don't want. Terrestial media in Canada spend millions of dollars each year in Canadian artist development and some stations are already playing 40% Cancon and there's evidence that these broadcasters are already having difficulty in competing with the rest who only play 35%. Is the role of government to mandate what citizens have to listen to because it's somehow 'good for them?' I hope not.

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