Music Industry

Big news: Foreign streamers music now contribute to Canadian content development

A big ripple went through all the delegates at Canadian Music Week in Toronto yesterday (June 4) when the announcement came down. Many were happy; some were not.

The gist of it is that foreign streamers operating in Canada, ranging from Netflix and Amazon to Spotify and Apple music (any streamer who makes $25 million or more in this country), will now have to contribute 5% of their Canadian revenues to support the domestic market. This means money for local news, Indigenous programming, BPOC creators, and musicians (via FACTOR). The goals is to ensure that online streaming companies contribute to Canadian culture and promote Canadian music and stories to Canadians.

CRTC chief executive and chair Vicky Eatrides offered this statement: “Today’s decision will help ensure that online streaming services make meaningful contributions to Canadian and Indigenous content.”

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge (a musician herself) told this to the Toronto Star: “This is money that will go back into Canadian creation, whether it’s music, television series or music that will likely go back on their platform…So it’s actually good not only for the cultural sector here in Canada, but it’s good for the online business.”

The new measures begin in September (the start of the 2024-25 broadcast year) and are expected to generated about $200 million annually for Canada’s audio and audiovisual broadcasting sectors.

The full text of the new government policy can be found here.

So…yay, right? Most of the people I talked to about this think so.

  • Newsrooms will get a boost via the Canadian Media Fund and the Local News Fund
  • Indigenous and BPOC creators of all sorts will get more money.
  • It’s more money for FACTOR and Musicaction (music talent development programs)
  • It’s more money for Starmaker and Fonds RadioStar (more music talent development programs)
  • The Canadian Independent Music Association loves this.

Traditional terrestrial radio is very happy because this levels the playing field with streamers. For decades, radio has had to make all kinds of contributions and commitments to the domestic music scene while streamers like Spotify have not.

So who’s not happy about this? The streamers, for one. Amazon is “concerned by the negative impact it will have on Canadian consumers.” One industry spokesman called this a “protectionist subsidy for radio,” which is utter bullsh*t. And I’ve heard rumblings that record labels are not happy because they’ve been shut out of the allocation of his $200 million. Others point out that these measures could actually cost the Canadian consumer.

Minister St-Onge posted this on X. You can see the comments for yourself.

By the way, Canada isn’t the first country to make foreign streamers pay. In 2021, France created rules that say streamers have to pay 20-25% of revenues toward the creation of French and European content. And remember the fight Spotify had with Uruguay? Spotify also pulled support from festivals in France.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38449 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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