This week in RCS Music News Weekly: Royal City Studios remains open, the MPTF announces $2.2 million to fund free live concerts in the U.S. and Canada, Trubify lets musicians earn their two cents, and Apple TV releases 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything on May 21st. But first…
Music Streaming Dials CanCon Back to the 1960s, According to SOCAN
In a May 11th release, SOCAN Interim CEO Jennifer Brown said, “The consumption of streamed Canadian music by Canadians has fallen off a cliff.” Why is this so alarming to the Canadian music rights management organization?
Streaming Has Essentially Wound the CanCon Clock Back to the Bad Old Days
Back in the 1960s, Canadian artists couldn’t get domestic radio airplay because they were considered inferior to the American and British artists that dominated the airwaves. The situation was so bad that Winnipeg’s Chad Allen and the Expressions could only get airplay by changing their name to The Guess Who.
To break open the doors of Canadian radio for Canadian artists, strong-willed Canadian music entrepreneurs, journalists, and artists stood up to demand the government mandate fair airplay of Canadian artists.
It wasn’t an easy fight. There was strong opposition and doubt that Canada even had a music culture. According to SOCAN, one foreign record industry spokesperson reportedly said, “A single container of yogurt has more culture than the entire country of Canada.”
Thankfully, Canada’s coalition of music champions ignored such dismissive comments and continued pressing the government until June 1970, when the CRTC declared a new regulation (CanCon) requiring radio stations to devote at least 30% of playlists to Canadian content.
Music streaming Has Undone Much of That Work
The Canadian music discoverability advantages that CanCon brought have not carried over to music streaming platforms, where any listener can tune to any song from any artist anywhere. Moreover, networks that have disproportionate control of the content introduced to their customers have little motivation to introduce regional creators to their customers. So, as SOCAN points out, “many Canadian artists are faced with bypassing their home country to have their work heard.”
“It’s clear that we need the music industry to unite once again to fight for the future of Canadian music,” says Jennifer Brown. What that fight looks like remains uncertain. Yet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau understands the importance of Canadian music representation.
In 1970, the Canadian government (led by Justin’s late father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau) implemented the Canadian content rules proposed by broadcast champion Pierre Juneau (namesake of the Juno Awards). Pierre Trudeau also encouraged funding of the Genie Awards for Canadian films.
“I learned the importance of promoting and supporting Canadian content in large part from my father,” says Justin Trudeau in SOCAN’s video announcement for the 2021 SOCAN Awards. “My dad always knew that broadcasting Canadian content was important to maintaining and promoting our country’s unique culture and heritage.” Justin Trudeau further said that the government is seeking real solutions to protect Canadian art and content in the digital age.
MPTF Announces $2.2 Million to Fund Free Live Concerts
To help live concerts rebound when COVID starts to subside, the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) recently announced $2.2 million in available grants to communities in the U.S. and Canada to fund admission-free live music performances. “We are eager to bring back free, live music,” said Dan Beck, MPTF Trustee, who believes the pandemic has helped people and communities develop “a greater appreciation of what these events mean to our local traditions and cultures,” and hopes businesses, arts organizations, and municipal governments will take advantage of available funding to “bring energy and life back to their towns and cities.”
Apple TV Releases 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything on May 21st
On May 21st, Apple TV will release the eight-part docuseries 1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything. Against a turbulent backdrop of political unrest, cultural shifts, and Vietnam War protests, the series chronicles the emergence of iconic artists and songs that remain ingrained in the cultural fabric after 50 years.
Includes never-before-seen footage of The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, and The Who, whose classic “Won’t Get Fooled Again” was written by Pete Townshend as a criticism of revolution and power—subjects that have certainly stood resonant, loud, and relevant during the pandemic.
Trivia: 1971 was the year…
- Intel released the world’s first single chip microprocessor, ushering in the age of home computers.
- Led Zeppelin played “Stairway to Heaven” live for the first time at Ulster Hall in Belfast.
- The Apollo 15 crew took a moon buggy ride on the moon.
- John Lennon released “Imagine.”
- The Montreux Casino burned down during a concert by The Mothers of Invention, inspiring Deep Purple to write the rock classic “Smoke on the Water.”
Trubify Lets Musicians Earn Their Two Cents
Two cents may not sound like significant revenue for musicians, but according to the newly launched live-music-streaming app Trubify, two cents is a “music revolution.”
Here’s why they’re saying this:
- According to iGroove, one million Spotify streams (on average) pays $3,222 USD in 18 music markets.
- Trubify gives musicians a platform where they can earn two cents per unique livestream viewer. (Musicians can also earn one cent per unique viewer for archived content.) So, for one million views, a Trubifier (if that’s a word) would gross $20,000.
Does the chance to make more money count as a “music revolution”?
RCS Music News Weekly thinks Trubify’s application of the phrase is a big grandiose, but considering COVID’s financial jackhammering of the music industry, RCS Music News Weekly certainly isn’t going to call out Trubify’s copywriters on marketing word choice.
Win $10,000 in SoundCloud’s Smell Ready for Anything Contest!
SoundCloud recently partnered with Old Spice to create the Smell Ready for Anything Contest. Open to Canadian and U.S. residents, the contest (according to SoundCloud) is “made for artists who have the confidence to make music that smells as good as it sounds.”
Simply send an all-original track to SoundCloud by May 22nd, 2021, that uses the Old Spice stems pack (beats you can use, plus required use of the Old Spice “whistle”) and one lucky person will be selected to win $10,000, a virtual session with music producer/hip hop artist Andy Mineo, and song promotion on SoundCloud.
You can submit as many tracks as you like.
>> Visit SoundCloud’s contest page for more details.
Royal City Studios Remains Open for Rehearsals and Recording
In case you missed the May 12th social post, Royal City Studios is open again for rehearsals and audio recording under provincial allowances for Media Industries.
The Ford government’s recent announcement does not impact this. Though Ontario’s stay-at-home order has now been extended to June 2nd, rehearsal studios and the recording studio remain open.
Naturally, your health is top priority at Royal City Studios, which is following all COVID-19 safety protocols as outlined by Health Canada to ensure your experience at RCS is safe. Safety measures include sanitizing all common touchpoints inside and outside studios and circulating fresh air continuously. (Click here for Status and Handling of COVID at RCS.)
If don’t feel comfortable coming out to jam, rehearse, or record until the province decides whether to extend stay-at-home restrictions past June 2nd, that’s completely understandable. If you do feel comfortable, here are a few things to know:
- Small and medium rehearsal studios – 1 person
- Large rehearsal studio and Live Room – Up to 3 people
- Music Hall (for rehearsals or recording) – Up to 10 people.
- Masks must be worn in public spaces.
- Barriers are required between singers/horn players and other musicians. (RCS has these.)
Book a studio or book a recording session online, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (226) 314-2177, or send a DM on social.
There’s no up-front payment required and no charge for cancellation. So, you can book something and change your mind without cost.
If you have any questions at all about Royal City Studios’ safety protocols, please don’t hesitate to ask.
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As always, we hope you’re staying well. Until next time, stay awesome.