Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Clipping Canadian Content

In a column in Sun media newspapers, radio talk show host Charles Adler does a magnificent job skewering one of my pet peeves: Canadian content laws.

Writes Adler:

The rogue's gallery of groups lining up to line their pockets with your money is diverse. The most shameless are those representing Canadian recording artists, and their fellow travellers, who claim to represent public broadcasting. These groups won't admit they are trying to enhance their prestige, power and portfolios. Instead, they wrap themselves in the Maple Leaf and portray themselves as fighting for Canadian culture. You are supposed to believe that the Canadian recording industry is Hans Solo, making the Canadian private broadcasting industry Darth Vader.
And Adler has more good stuff:

The so-called artists who want to get their work on the radio have zero confidence in the free market. They don't trust you to make your own buying and downloading decisions. They feel that the only way you will support their music is to be attacked with it over and over and over again for long periods of time by radio stations. They accuse the radio station ownership of putting profits before people. But the people they are talking about are not consumers.

They are the small handful of people who want their records played. Just because the consumer buys all those products advertised on the radio doesn't mean that they are entitled to have their favourite tunes played. That sense of entitlement belongs exclusively to the phoney flag wavers who call themselves artists.


That’s why it’s time we scrap these dopey Canadian content laws and let consumers rule the airwaves.

1 comment:

Miles Lunn said...

I take a more nuanced approach. I am strong supporter of the free market, but also a strong believer in maintaining Canada's culture distinctness from the United States. In 1968, there were few Canadian artists other than Paul Anka and the Guess Who so Canadian Content quotas made sense then. But since today, most of the artists played on the radio are ones who have already made it, they really aren't necessary anymore. Even if they were removed, we would see no shortage of Canadian artists played. Besides a better solution that respects both the free market principles and Canadian Content is starting at 15% for every additional percent in Canadian Content the station stays, they can write off that much on their taxes. This would act as a strong incentive to play more Canadian content will still allow those that insist on not playing Canadian Content to do so without risk being fined.