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2014 Canadian Country Music Association Awards Nominees Announced

Congratulations to the 2014 Canadian Country Music Association Award nominees, which were announced today by the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA).

Flat Lake, Alberta’s Brett Kissel leads the nominations with eight, including Single of the Year, Album of the Year, and Male Artist of the Year. Dean Brody and Gord Bamford also received several nominations, with six and five nominations each, respectively, while Tim Hicks and Deric Ruttan follow closely behind with four nominations each. The full list of nominees is now available on the CCMA website.

CCMA and broadcast partners CBC and CMT also announced that Juno-Award winner singer-songwriter Jann Arden and CBC-TV’s Gemini-Award winning host and comedian, Rick Mercer, will host the 2014 CCMA Awards Show. The show will be broadcast on Sunday, September 7 on CBC-TV at 8:00 p.m. local time (8:30 NT) with an encore airing on CMT (Canada) at 10:00 p.m.

Music Canada is proud to sponsor the CCMA Record Company of the Year Award. Nominees in that category include:

  • MDM Recordings Inc.
  • Open Road Recordings Inc.
  • Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc.
  • Universal Music Canada
  • Warner Music Canada

In total, 41 CCMA Awards will be given out over four award ceremonies during Country Music Week in Edmonton, Alberta, September 4 – 7. Eight awards will be given out on the 2014 CCMA Awards Show, taking place at Edmonton’s Rexall Place on September 7th.


2014 Polaris Prize Short List Announced

Jay Baruchel announcing the Polaris Prize short list

The short list for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize was announced today at The Carlu in Toronto, ON. The Polaris Music Prize is an annual event that honours the works of Canadian artists over the past year regardless of genre, sales or record label. The Polaris Prize awards gala will take place at The Carlu on September 22 and will be hosted by Canadian actor, writer and producer Jay Baruchel, who was on hand Tuesday to reveal the 10 short list nominees. The gala will be televised and webcasted by AUX, but those wishing to attend will have the chance to purchase tickets in the coming weeks.

Each year, the prize is awarded to one artist voted upon by a panel of selected music critics. After revealing the 2014 long list earlier this June, jurors then resubmitted their top 5 picks, narrowing down the nominees to only 10. In 2006, the first Polaris Music Prize was awarded to Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy for the album He Poos Clouds. Pallett, who has since dropped the Final Fantasy moniker, is nominated once again this year for his album In Conflict. Montreal’s Arcade Fire, who also won the prize in 2011 for The Suburbs, are nominated once again for Reflektor.

The full list of finalists for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize are:

Arcade Fire Reflektor

Basia Bulat Tall Tall Shadow

Drake Nothing Was The Same

Jessy Lanza Pull My Hair Back

Mac Demarco Salad Days

Owen Pallett In Conflict

Shad Flying Colours

Tanya Tagaq Animism

Timber Timbre Hot Dreams



Backgrounder: The Copyright Board’s Tariff 8 Decision

On May 16, 2014, the Copyright Board of Canada issued its decision setting rates for Re:Sound’s Tariff 8 – Non-Interactive & Semi-Interactive Webcasts, 2009-2012.

What is the Copyright Board?

The Copyright Board of Canada is an economic regulatory body empowered to establish, either mandatorily or at the request of an interested party, the royalties to be paid for the use of copyrighted works, when the administration of such copyright is entrusted to a collective-administration society. The Board also has the right to supervise agreements between users and licensing bodies and issues licences when the copyright owner cannot be located.

What is Re:Sound?

Re:Sound is the collective that collects royalties on behalf of music companies (producers) and performers for certain rights, such as the communication right, by filing tariffs before the Canadian Copyright Board. The Board either accepts tariffs proposed by Re:Sound or modifies them. Re:Sound then distributes royalties collected under tariffs certified by the Board directly to performers and to music companies, who in turn may distribute them to artists under royalty agreements.

What is a “Non-Interactive Webcast”?

A Non-Interactive Webcast is an online music streaming service that does not allow the user to control the content or timing of the webcast e.g. no skipping or customizing the stream by genre or artist. Examples of non-interactive music streaming services include Slacker and CBC Music.

What is a “Semi-Interactive Webcast”?

A Semi-Interactive Webcast is a service that allows the user some level of control over the content or timing of the webcast such as skipping or pausing the stream or customizing the content by genre or artist. An example of a semi-interactive service is Pandora Internet Radio.

The Copyright Board’s decision follows a lengthy rate-setting process that started in 2008. Re:Sound proposed rates based on marketplace agreements negotiated directly between webcasting services operating in Canada and both Re:Sound and music companies. These proposed rates were also consistent with US rates, reflecting the marketplace acceptance of North American rates. Re:Sound spent years negotiating deals with digital service providers at market rates, which it presented in evidence to the Board. The Board rejected those agreements and set royalty rates for webcasting in Canada that do not reflect market rates and are a small fraction of the rates payable by the same services in the U.S.

The webcasting rates certified by the Board are based on the rates payable to music publishers by commercial radio stations for their over-the-air broadcasts, and as a result, are a small fraction (less than 10%) of the rates the same services pay in the United States. In the U.S., the Copyright Royalty Board is legislatively required to set webcasting rates based on market rates. In Canada, the Copyright Board sets rates that it considers to be fair as opposed to market rates.

The Re:Sound tariff in this case was for webcasting music, including non-interactive webcasting services and semi-interactive services, but not on-demand services such as Rdio (which are licensed directly by music companies).

Tariff 8 does not apply to podcasts, fully interactive services such as downloads or on-demand streaming, or simulcasts by Canadian commercial radio broadcasters, CBC, pay audio or satellite radio services. Other simulcasters, such as international radio stations streaming into Canada, are subject to the applicable webcasting royalties under Tariff 8.

Key Points

The rates set by the Copyright Board are approximately 10% of the rates negotiated by Re:Sound in its direct agreements with digital services, and less than 10% of the comparable U.S. rates.

The Board rejected Re:Sound’s market rate-based benchmarks and held that marketplace-negotiated rates and North American rates are irrelevant in Canada.

The Board instead set the rates based on the music publishers’ Commercial Radio Tariff, ignoring the key differences between webcasting and terrestrial radio, as demonstrated by Re:Sound’s evidence.



On May 16, 2014, the Copyright Board of Canada issued its decision setting rates for Re:Sound’s Tariff 8 – Non-Interactive & Semi-Interactive Webcasts, 2009-2012. (Government Fact Sheet)

On June 16, 2014, Re:Sound filed an application for Judicial Review of the Board’s decision. (Re:Sound News Release)

In response, a coalition consisting of more than 70 music organizations released a joint statement in support of Re:Sound’s Application for Judicial Review of the Copyright Board’s Tariff 8 decision setting royalty rates for webcasting services in Canada. (Joint Statement)


Deane Cameron to receive the 2014 Hank Smith Award of Excellence at Country Music Week

The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) has announced that Deane Cameron will be honoured with the 2014 Hank Smith Award of Excellence, which recognizes an individual who has gone above and beyond their job in contributing his or her time and talents for the advancement of Canadian country music nationally.

“Deane Cameron has left an indelible impact on the Canadian country music industry. His tenacity for finding and mentoring great talent, and ability to stay humble amid successful results speaks to his strengths over a storied career,” said Ron Kitchener, Chair of the CCMA Board of Directors.

As stated in the release, Cameron has played a significant role in the careers of such Canadian artists as Susan Aglukark, Terri Clark, Tom Cochrane, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Rita MacNeil, John McDermott, Anne Murray, The Rankin Family, Johnny Reid, Serena Ryder, Buffy Sainte-Marie and more. Cameron worked his way up through the ranks of the music industry, eventually making history when he became the youngest Canadian President of a major music label in 1988.

“As Canadians, we proudly hold our place as the second most significant supporters and contributors to the global country music business. Past, present and future, the Canadian country music industry is a hotbed of talent,” said Deane Cameron. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many extraordinary artists thus far, and look forward to more exciting things to come. I’m honoured, humbled, and THRILLED to be the recipient of the Hank Smith Award of Excellence.”

Cameron will receive the honour during a private industry event held during Country Music Week, which takes place September 4 – 7 in Edmonton, Alberta.


Congratulations, Deane!


The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Tariff 8 decision establishes “10% of Nothing Rates”

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

Six years (think about that people, SIX YEARS!) after the Copyright Board of Canada began the rate-setting process for non-interactive and semi-interactive music webcasting, they finally have released their decision, a decision with far-reaching, deleterious repercussions for the music community around the world. The Copyright Board of Canada has decided that the music produced by our marvelous creators is essentially without value.

The new music streaming rates certified by the Board amount to 10% of what digital services companies have been paying while the slow wheels of the bureaucracy turned, and less than 10% of what those same services pay in the United States. And, by the way, the rates in the United States are no great shakes either and have been the subject of intense criticism from the artistic community for years. I therefore refer to the new Canadian rates as the “10% of Nothing Rates”. The decision is unconscionable. It compounds the damage done by many of the Copyright Board’s decisions on major new tariffs, which have also been the subject of Judicial Review by the Federal Court of Appeal. It will further imperil artists’ livelihoods, and threatens to rob them of the fruits of their labour in the new digital marketplace. And it will further undermine the business environment, undercutting the ability of labels and other music companies to make future investments in Canadian talent.

Let me pose a rhetorical question that throws everything into relief: Do Canadian plumbers get paid wages equivalent to 10% of American plumbers? Teachers? Auto workers? Farmers? Who? What profession receives compensation in Canada for their labour that is equal to 10% of the wages paid across the border? I will tell you who: NOBODY. So, why does the Copyright Board of Canada think this is okay to stick musicians with rates like this? Is it because they essentially think that the creative process is valueless? That is a question which will have to be answered; it and many other hard questions.

This all could have been easily avoided. The music licensing company Re:Sound provided compelling evidence to the Board, including market-rate benchmarks based on negotiated agreements they’ve had in place with music companies for years. It’s common sense that the fairest way to compensate artists and record companies for use of their music would be to respect the agreements they’ve already made with each other. But the Board, unfathomably, ignored the evidence and assigned one of the worst royalty rates in the world to the market for streaming.

The Board’s decision comes as the result of an inherently flawed system that lacks clear criteria for rate-setting. Their mandate allows them to set royalty rates for streaming music services based on what they think is “fair and equitable.” Yet they have no statutory or regulatory obligation to take into account existing agreements that the music industry and its business partners have successfully negotiated in the marketplace. Setting the rates that digital music service providers are required to pay at 10% of what they currently pay throws those negotiated agreements and the creators along with them out the window. The result is that the new royalties are anything but fair and equitable. Millionaire and billionaire owners of intermediaries will rejoice, and creators will wince.

The newly certified rates add insult to injury for artists who rely on fair compensation for use of their music in order to make a living. A recent study commissioned by the Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) found that individual artists in Canada are living well below the poverty line, with an average income of $7,228 per year.

Artists’ incomes have been eroding gradually for over a decade, and the decision to set webcasting rates at bargain basement levels will make it even more difficult to be a career musician in Canada. The Tariff 8 decision came down – ironically – just as artists were testifying before the Heritage Committee about the already bleak reality they face. There was an overwhelming consensus that it is nearly impossible to make a living today as a professional musician. When asked by a Committee member about the peaks and valleys musicians have in terms of earnings, Alan Doyle of one of Canada’s most beloved bands, Great Big Sea, responded, “When’s the peak again?” Jodie Ferneyhough, President of the Canadian Music Publishers Association, pointed out in his testimony that, “It’s hard to make a living on micro-pennies.”

Tariff 8 is a travesty, not only because it impoverishes Canadian creators, but also because it is completely offside with international standards that support the growth and development of the global music industry.  It puts a black mark on Canada, which now stands alone in its adherence to a mandatory tribunal process that allows a government-appointed board to completely set aside marketplace determined rates. Not one of our major trading partners behaves in this manner.

For those who are quick to blame the current government for this mess, stop right now. It was not the current government that created this mess; it IS however the current government that can fix it.

Not only is Canada an outlier, the new streaming rates will make Canada an international pariah as it impacts creators worldwide. Every artist in the world will be paid 10% of the U.S. rate when Canadian consumers stream their music. Digital music services, such as Pandora in the United States, will be breaking bad to use Canada as an example of why rates should be driven down and creators should be paid less in their own countries. I’ve written previously about Pandora opening up that box, when they sided with entrenched media and Internet companies to lobby the United States Congress to reduce royalty rates paid to performers. In a separate effort, Pandora launched a lawsuit against ASCAP to lower royalty rates paid to songwriters. Pandora’s part in the Internet Radio Fairness Act debacle in the U.S. backfired at Congress and caused a massive artist backlash that grew into the enormously successful “I Respect Music” worldwide grassroots movement. Started by artist and entrepreneur Blake Morgan, the “I Respect Music” campaign was a call to action for musicians and music lovers alike.  That groundswell of support and overwhelming respect for the cause, led Representative Jerry Nadler to introduce a Bill to ensure that artists would be paid for all forms of radio airplay.

We would be well advised here in Canada not to ignore the backlash that occurred south of the border when Pandora made that ludicrous play. Here, too, we are seeing rumblings beginning to reverberate throughout the music community in response to Tariff 8.

Not surprisingly, Re:Sound filed an Application for Judicial Review of the Board’s decision and, in response, more than 70 labels and other music organizations, including Music Canada, released a joint statement in support of their action.

As more and more artists, producers and businesses in the broader music community become aware of the real consequences the tariff will have on them and their ability to thrive in this industry, they are taking to social media to express their shock and outrage.

Toronto pianist, songwriter and producer Mark Masri:

London boyband Poacher:

Ottawa record store Compact Music:

As grim as it has been for artists over recent years, the Copyright Board’s decision on Tariff 8 divides us more clearly than ever before into winners and losers, with the intermediaries hitting the jackpot and the middle class of the music community going bust. We need to bring back the balance and restore order to the music ecosystem in Canada. A technoutopia may initially sound like it would be a land of happy citizens, but like all nebulous ideals, this vision has nothing to do with reality – it is an imaginary place, and literally “no place” we can all live.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at


Q107 Toronto’s John Derringer on Tariff 8

John Derringer of Q107 Toronto discussed the Copyright Board of Canada’s Tariff 8 decision on his radio show this morning, riffing on our recent blog comparing the new royalty rates for webcasting services in Canada to items mentioned in the Barenaked Ladies‘ classic song “If I Had $1000000.” The new rates are so low, it would take 9216 plays of a song to earn enough royalties to purchase a box of Kraft Dinner.

To earn $1,000,000 from streaming royalties under Tariff 8, an artist would need to have their song played 9.8 Billion times. Derringer puts that in perspective by noting that the most-streamed song in history, Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’, has been streamed 235 Million times worldwide.

The full segment is available on Soundcloud, and is embedded below:

A growing coalition of artists, labels, industry associations, and music fans are speaking out against the Copyright Board decision; to learn more and to add your voice, Like and Share the I Stand For Music Facebook Page, or tweet using the hashtag #IStand4Music.


Under Tariff 8, Barenaked Ladies would need 9,216 plays of “If I Had $1,000,000” to earn enough royalties to buy one box of Kraft Dinner

The Copyright Board of Canada has recently set one of the worst royalty rates in the world to music streaming. It’s called Tariff 8. And it means that musicians around the world will be paid 90% less when their music is streamed by Canadian consumers.

How bad is it? Under the new rates, The Barenaked Ladies would need 9216 plays of their classic song, ‘If I Had $1,000,000’ to earn enough royalties to buy one box of Kraft Dinner, not including the ‘dijon ketchup’ they sing about in the song.

Here’s how many plays an artist would need to buy some of the other items mentioned in the song:

“If I had a million dollars… ” / 1 million dollars = 9.8 billion plays

I’d buy you a house…” / Average price of a single home in Canada: $413,215 = More than 4 billion plays

I’d buy you furniture for your house, (Maybe a nice chesterfield or an ottoman)” / Nice sofa = 16 million plays, matching ottoman = almost 5 million plays

I’d buy you a fur coat (but not a real fur coat that’s cruel)” / Faux Fur Coat = 17 million plays

“I’d buy you an exotic pet (Like a llama or an emu)” / Llama = almost 3 million plays

“We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner. (But we would eat Kraft Dinner. Of course we would, we’d just eat more.)” / Kraft Dinner = 9216 plays for a box of KD

“I’d buy you a green dress (but not a real green dress, that’s cruel)” / A real green dress (that’s cruel!) = almost 16 million plays

I’d buy you some art (a Picasso or a Garfunkel)” / Picasso recently sold at Sotheby’s for $6.5 million CAD = almost 64 billion plays

 “I’d buy you a monkey (haven’t you always wanted a monkey?)” / (It is illegal to own a monkey in Toronto.)

 “I’d be rich.” / With royalties from the Tariff 8 decision, you would not be rich.


More than seventy Canadian record labels and associations have signed their support for Re:Sound’s Application for Judicial Review of the Copyright Board’s Tariff 8 decision. A growing coalition of artists, labels, industry associations, and music fans are speaking out against the Copyright Board decision; to learn more and to add your voice, Like and Share the I Stand For Music Facebook Page, or tweet using the hashtag #IStand4Music.


Fitz And The Tantrums Presented With Gold Plaques For “The Walker”

On Sunday (July 6, 2014), LA soul revivalists Fitz & The Tantrums were presented with official Music Canada Gold Digital Download award plaques by Warner Music Canada for their song “The Walker”. The track comes off their 2013 album More Than Just A Dream, released in 2013.

The band was presented with their awards before their headlining show at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, ON.

Watch the video for “The Walker” below:


The Sheepdogs Presented With Gold Plaques In Toronto

sheepdogsgoldCongratulations to Saskatchewan’s The Sheepdogs, who were presented with their Gold Digital Download plaques for the rock hit “Feeling Good” before their Canada Day show at Toronto’s Echo Beach. The track comes off their 2013 Gold album The Sheepdogs released by Warner Music Canada. The plaques feature custom action figurines of the band members which were designed by Toronto artist Kira Shaimanova and featured in the “Feeling Good” music video.




Canada Day 2014: Free Concerts Across The Country

Happy Canada Day! From coast to coast, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest free Canada Day concerts suitable for the whole family. Regardless of where you’re celebrating, don’t forget to bring water, a hat and sunscreen.


Thousands will join together on Parliament Hill to mark Canada’s 147th birthday. This year’s show will feature performances from national favourites like Serena Ryder, Marianas Trench, Whitehorse, French pop sensations Nadja and Daniel Lavoie, singer/impersonator Véronic DiCaire and Brett Kissel, who played the Minister’s Music Night in Ottawa 2013.

Canada Day in the Capital will be televised on CBC at 9 PM ET. The concert will be broadcast in its entirety live on CBC Radio 2 with host Tom Power (Radio 2 Morning) beginning at 8 PM ET. will also stream the concert live starting at 8 PM ET.

Canada Day in the Capital will highlight the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War, the end of the mission in Afghanistan and the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Québec Conferences, as well as our Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes.


Barenaked Ladies, Tegan & Sara will headline a jam-packed day of family-friendly activities at the new Charlottetown Event Grounds. All 10,000 advance free access passes for the PEI 2014 Canada Day Concert have been reserved, but an additional 5,000 free passes will be available on a first-come first-served basis Tuesday at the entrance gates.


From Noon to 6 PM, George St will host a family-friendly Rock & Soul Party, with face painting and balloon making for the kids. The schedule for music is Clean Sheets 1 PM, Chris Kirby & the Marquee AND Billy and the Bruisers 2pm, and The Rogues at 4pm.


Sam Roberts Band will headline a free annual concert at Alderney Landing with July Talk, The Belle Game and local favourite Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers. The day of activities begins with pancake breakfasts at Grand Parade and Alderney Landing, and the singing of the national anthem from Citadel Hill. There will also be a Tattoo Parade through downtown Halifax, the Maple Lodge Farms Family Fun-Fest on the Halifax Common, and a fireworks show on the harbour at 10 PM.


Bring your family down to Montreal’s Old Port for activity tents, an inflatable village and ceremonial 21-cannon salute. There will also be a concert beginning at 8:30 PM featuring Pascale Picard, Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli and many more.


Beginning at 5 PM, Mel Lastman Square in North York will host a fun-filled evening of live music and performances. Toronto alt-country singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge will take to the stage at 8 PM to play his Juno award winning catalogue and pay tribute to Canadian legends The Tragically Hip, playing songs off his latest cover album Daredevil. At 9 PM, roots rockers NQ Arbuckle will be performing music from their latest release The Future Happens Anyway with special guests.


Taking Place at The Forks, Winnipeg will have a free Canada Day event featuring 3 stages of Manitoba artists beginning at 1 PM. There are also tons of free activities for the whole family including a museum, obstacle courses and a photo booth.


Labelled “Canadayyc”, Calgary will host a huge all-ages Canada Day bash including live music from Mother Mother and Michael Bernard Fitzgerald on Riverfront stage, First Nations Powwow on Prince’s Island, Living Flag activity, Food Truck Roundup and BassBus at Festival Market, and an amazing Fireworks display presented by Hudson’s Bay. Download the app to make sure you catch everything!


Due to significant rainfall in the month of June, the city of Regina decided to scale back the festivities this year, which unfortunately meant cancelling headliners Big Sugar and Wide Mouth Mason. However, the show will go on, featuring DJ The Beat Attic with Shawn Jobin. An official statement from the Regina Canada Day Committee (RCDC) can be read here.


British Columbia’s largest Canada Day party will be taking place in Surrey with a free all-ages event headlined by Matthew Good. Highlights of the event include a half a million square feet of site area, an expanded Kids Play area, over 100 exhibitors, shooting Star Amusements with superior midway games and rides, and a spectacular fireworks for the grand finale. Gates open at 10 AM and music will be going on all day.


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