Radio Review Sets Off Debate

by SaskMusic

August 6, 2009 in Industry Developments

One of the hottest topics in the Canadian music biz for the past few months has been the CRTC’s review of its commercial radio policy. The review includes a reassessment of Cancon regulations. Also, as a part of their license requirements, radio broadcasters are required to invest in the development of Canadian Talent, which means that they make financial contributions to FACTOR and other music industry development initiatives, and the CRTC is including a re-assessment of these investments in the review.

In the public CRTC hearing held on May 15, national associations including the American Federation of Musicians, FACTOR, SOCAN, SAC and many more filed interventions for consideration. Following are highlights of some of these arguments; full versions are available on their respective websites and/or from the CRTC site, A decision from the CRTC is not expected until fall.

Music industry associations representing Saskatchewan, the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Northern Ontario, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland/Labrador called for a Cancon increase to 40%, an increase in the amount of airtime devoted to new and emerging artists, and an increase in the number of different Canadian artists played overall. We have also supported in principle the idea that a significant percentage of Cancon should be devoted to tracks whose masters are owned by Canadian artists and labels. Finally, we have asked for an increase in the financial contributions that broadcasters make to Canadian talent development.

CIRPA (The Canadian Independent Record Production Association) requested a raise to 45% Cancon, an increase to Canadian talent development funding and merging the Radio Starmaker

Fund into FACTOR, and also that money for local initiatives be directed to the MIAs.

CIRAA (The Canadian Independent Recording Artists' Association) requested that 33.3% of all daytime Cancon be emerging artists, and the creation of a new funding body (apart from FACTOR and Radio Starmaker) focused on “grassroots” artists.

CRIA (The Canadian Recording Industry Association) wants the 35% Cancon level to remain, but proposed prioritizing emerging artists. It also suggests easing current quota restrictions on artists recording or co-writing outside Canada, and cutbacks to FACTOR in favour of Radio Starmaker.

CMPA (The Canadian Music Publishers’ Association) supports 4O% Cancon, and a bonus for playing new and emerging artists.

CAB (The Canadian Association of Broadcasters) asked that its members’ music funding flow primarily through the Radio Starmaker Fund (instead of FACTOR as it has previously). Elaboration: Last December, Canadian Heritage renewed an agreement with FACTOR, to run until 2010. It set the government's annual contribution to FACTOR at $8 million; radio broadcasters contribute an additional $4 million. Canadian Heritage has noted that it would have to re-evaluate their commitment should that broadcaster money to FACTOR become “optional” as a result of this review. CAB also suggested a “bonus system” to encourage airplay for emerging artists, and reduce Cancon to 25% for music selections released prior to 1985.

By Lorena Kelly for SaskMusic. Originally published Summer 2006.

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