Music Industry

Canada is top three for music exports on Spotify, but…

New data from Spotify shows that 92% of all royalties for Canadian artists come from revenues generated by listening outside the country. The total annual number is now about $400 million. This put Canada in the top three exporters on Spotify.

However, thanks to a weird quirk of our system, not all of the songs we export qualify as Canadian. Let me explain.

To be determine Canadian-ness of a song, the CRTC used the MAPL system where M equals Music, A is for Artist, P involved Production, and L is lyrics. To be Canadian, a Canadian (or naturalized citizen) must have been written the music, be the artist, and written the lyrics. The “P” is a bit weird, because it doesn’t mean (as it should) that the producer was Canadian. Insterad, it means that a recording was “a live performance recorded wholly in Canada, or performed wholly in Canada and broadcast live in Canada.” Confusing, I know.

Bottom line, though, is that a song must qualify under at least two of those criteria to qualify as officially Canadian content.

This leads to some weird things. For example, Lenny Kravtiz’s cover of “American Woman” is Canadian because the music and lyrics were written by Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings. Meanwhile, Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do I Do It For You” was initially NOT considered CanCon because of how the songwriting was divided up. Dumb, but so said the bureaucracy.

We’re still running into these issues. This new Spotify report cites Tate McCare’s “Greedy” as one of the big exports. She was born and grew up in Calgary but because of the nationalities of the people who contributed to the writing of the song, it’s on the bubble. It seems stupid that a song with 860 million streams performed by woman from Alberta shouldn’t be considered Canadian.

The Feds have asked the CRTC to fix this for the digital world. Spotify says it would appreciate some clarity.

Read more at the Globe and Mail.

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 38291 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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