Broadcast & Satellite

Indy Canadian Acts Protest Content Rules Designed To Protect Them

Click below for an interesting letter sent out today by IndiePool and association of Canadian independent artists and labels on the effect of Canadian content radio play rules on Canadian Indy acts:

"As far as 95% of Canadian artists are concerned, CANCON is broken. CANCON’s current rules do not require radio stations to play developing artists and as a result, CANCON is only helping our international stars (Shania, Celine and the like) get twice the radio play they would usually receive in Canada. Instead of Avril getting 5 spins a day on a station, she gets 10. Sadly, that’s what CANCON accomplishes today."

They then go onto encourage the Canadian government not to impose Canadian content (which was design to require stations to play more Canadian acts) on satellite radio in Canada because:

"We are seeking new avenues for independent artists to receive airplay and since Satellite Radio in the US plays a significantly higher proportion of independent music than regular radio does, we can only go up from here. We provided them with a list of hundreds of Canadian independent artists that currently receive airplay on Satellite Radio in the US, but still don’t receive any radio play right here in Canada."

THE FULL LETTER:

Hi everyone,

I’ve received a lot questions about the Satellite Radio hearings lately, so I thought it may be time to send you an update.

In November, Indie Pool spoke on behalf of Canada’s unsigned artists at the CRTC hearings on Satellite Radio in Ottawa. Before we intervened, the argument against XM and Sirius receiving licenses to broadcast in Canada was that they wouldn’t be subjected to the same Canadian Content (CANCON) rules that force Canadian radio stations to play Canadian music. We had a large petition in hand and gave the commission some unexpected input.

In a nutshell, I told them that Canada’s indie artists have little to no hope of receiving any terrestrial (AM/FM) radio play, regardless of how talented they are. I said that as far as 95% of Canadian artists are concerned, CANCON is broken. CANCON’s current rules do not require radio stations to play developing artists and as a result, CANCON is only helping our international stars (Shania, Celine and the like) get twice the radio play they would usually receive in Canada. Instead of Avril getting 5 spins a day on a station, she gets 10. Sadly, that’s what CANCON accomplishes today.

Let me tell you, there were a lot surprised looks on a lot of faces. "Are you saying that 95% of Canadian musicians don’t care about CANCON?" was the general reaction. I told them that until CANCON rules encourage or force radio stations to play developing artists, Canadian independent artists will have no vested interest in protecting CANCON. In our view, CANCON should do more than pad the profits of multi-millionaires and US based record companies.

That’s why we support the applications for Satellite Radio service without any fear that CANCON will be hurt. We are seeking new avenues for independent artists to receive airplay and since Satellite Radio in the US plays a significantly higher proportion of independent music than regular radio does, we can only go up from here. We provided them with a list of hundreds of Canadian independent artists that currently receive airplay on Satellite Radio in the US, but still don’t receive any radio play right here in Canada. It appeared as though the CRTC had never considered this viewpoint.

The CRTC is now deliberating the issue and is expected to announce its decision in April. The case is closed and nothing more can be done at this time. Most observers say it’s a tough one to call, with about a 50-50 chance that satellite radio becomes licensed. If they do get licensed, expect them to legally broadcast in Canada in the fall. If they do not get licensed, expect to see the grey market satellite service in Canada continue to explode.

You should know that I am completely dedicated to pressing your case with the CRTC regardless of how their Satellite decision comes down. Over 20,000 Canadian independent recording artists are demanding change to a system that is clearly broken. We will be proposing modifications to CANCON rules that will encourage radio stations to play developing Canadian artists.

I will keep you up to date as things progress.

Cheers,

Gregg Terrence

President

Indie Pool Inc.

PS: I thought you should know that we try not to send you too many emails. Indie Pool’s policy is that we never send more than one email a week (it’s usually much less than that) and our privacy policy prevents us from selling our data to anyone, at any time. Sorry to everyone who got the last email on the CD manufacturing special twice, I goofed up and hit the wrong button.

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