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Old 10-23-2003, 09:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Are there any drawbacks to the Cancon law?

I'm really spending too much time in these forums. I should really take a break, but that's beside the point...

Quite possibly, the strangest law ever enacted in Canada is the Canadian Content law. This law requires that 30% of all public broadcaster's content be Canadian.
I think we can all see what the benefits of Cancon are supposed to be but are there any dire consequences?

This came up when I discovered that my boss (I work for an American company) had never heard of the Tragically Hip. How can someone have never heard of a #1 rock band? It turns out that the Hip are not very popular outside of Canada....
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Old 10-23-2003, 09:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't really think it's all THAT strange... it's the same concept as buying American made cars.
I really can't think of any negative consequences as a result of having less crappy American TV. Maybe the only thing I can think of is that the 30% that is Canadian might be less entertaining than what would have been on instead of it. But that isn't dire at all.

I've never heard of the Tragically Hip before, I live in Northern Wisconsin too, about as close to Canada as possible. I'm gonna check them out.
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Old 10-24-2003, 06:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Not sure why you would call it the strangest law... I am sure there are far stranger laws out there...

As for CanCon laws I think they are essential. Many contries have regulations around the amount of indiginous programming that is broadcast on their media.

Given the predomeinance of American cultural product around the world (not to mention the fact that Canada is shares a very pourus border with the US) I see no problem with nations finding ways to support their local production and broadcast industries.

The problem most American policy wanks have with this is that they see the cultural industries in purely economic terms. They see it as another industry just like lumber, fisheries, manufacturing... I disagree with this take on this (as do many others).

Cultural industries are far more important to the fundamentals of what makes a Nation. Our cultures define us. Now I can see how this can seem ludicrous when you are talking about some mainstream feature film or the latest version of Joe Millionaire... But when you talk about Literature, Magazines, Music, Dance, Film, Television, etc... These are the venues in which we tell stories to about ourselves to ourselves...

Why, just because the US media giants are able to, should we not fight for diversity in our media? Yes it is (mostly) cheaper to buy US exports than to produce indigenous programming (the exports are esensially paid for by the US domesitc market so any international licenses represent profit). But I see that as no reason to roll over and except the status quo.

Regualtion and support of indiginous culture is essential.
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Old 10-24-2003, 06:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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By the way... without the 30% cancon regulation on Canadian radio you wouldn't have the Tragically Hip. For that matter a big part of the Canadian music industry wouldn't even exist.
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Old 10-24-2003, 08:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Charlatan
By the way... without the 30% cancon regulation on Canadian radio you wouldn't have the Tragically Hip. For that matter a big part of the Canadian music industry wouldn't even exist.
This may be true but the Cancon regulations are easily manipulated. I believe a certain amount of Canadian content must be played at peak periods,that being bands that are radio friendly or popular, however the rest are played in the middle of the night to meet the quotas.

Your statement about the 30% regulation and without it we wouldn't have the Tragically Hip is somewhat misleading.In one sense you are correct regarding their survival but in another sense if the Tragically Hip were dare I say, a more commercial band(more universal,less Canadian) they would have greater success out of Canada.From my recollection they are not interested in U.S popularity which is what makes them the darlings of Cancon and Socan.

One reason that Cancon is needed is the prevailing attitude of the Canadian music business as a whole to not support its talent from the get go. Canada has so much talent and is purposely being ignored by the recording industry because the word risk does not exist for them,hence the exodus of performers to the states for their shot at the brass ring.And it is a longshot but better to have a shot rather than not. Just look at the Barenaked Ladies.They sold 150,000 independant tapes before a record company would even look at them.

On a side note,and I'm not going to namedrop,I had a similar conversation about Cancon among other things music related with a good friend of mine who came over with his wife a few weeks ago for dinner.He has sold millions of records and the underlying message from him was that Cancon wasn't around when he had hit records and maybe if the talent I speak about wrote better songs,they wouldn't be needed today.So go figure.

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Last edited by OFKU0; 10-24-2003 at 09:18 AM..
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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OFKUO... I don't disagree with you. I was (clearly) generalizing with reference to the Hip.

and you are correct. The music industry, as well as many of the cultural industries don't go out of the their was to take a risk on new talent. It is much easier for them to license foriegn (read US and UK) content and distrbute it locally.

The 30% regualtion creates a demand for Canadian product that must be filled. Airplay serves as promotion that in turn can lead to record sales. When this first started there were more stinkers than hits. That has changed over time.

The fact that a band like the Tragically Hip can make a decent living while essentially ignoring the US market shows that Canada can support our artists. Something that just wouldn't have happened 20 years ago.

As for your successful musician friend. Yes strong songs will sell. But as your case with the Barenaked Ladies underscores... The industry will ignore talent as it represents risk they don't need to assume.

Additionally, your friend is from way back when radio play lists were essentially decided by the DJ or the program manager of a given station. Today, with the increased centralization of ownership, playlists are decided, by computer, at corporate head offices. Careers built or destroyed based on those playlists.

The 30% rule ensures domestic product is not passed over just because it didn't come from a US label.
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Old 10-24-2003, 10:50 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Totally agree Charlatan with all you've said.It's also a good thing fans in Canada do support the talent and that bands like the Hip can make a descent living from their creations. I've met a couple of the Hip on occasion.They've done well.
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Old 10-25-2003, 10:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Quote:
Originally posted by Neato
I don't really think it's all THAT strange... it's the same concept as buying American made cars.

...

I've never heard of the Tragically Hip before, I live in Northern Wisconsin too, about as close to Canada as possible. I'm gonna check them out.
Say, what's this about American cars? Is there some law about them I don't know about?

Well, if you're going to check out the Tragically Hip on Kazaa or some-such, here are some particular songs to check out:

Scared
Ahead by a Century
New Orleans
Poets
38 Years Old

That should be enough for you to decide if you like them or not. If you do decide that you like them, please buy the import CDs. Canada's economy could really use your help!

Good luck and have fun!

Last edited by KnifeMissile; 10-25-2003 at 10:55 AM..
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Old 10-25-2003, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Location: Waterloo, Ontario
Quote:
Originally posted by Charlatan
By the way... without the 30% cancon regulation on Canadian radio you wouldn't have the Tragically Hip. For that matter a big part of the Canadian music industry wouldn't even exist.
Yes, of course there are reasons for the CanCon laws. I think we all know what the motivations for these laws are. It's just that so many people, especially on this board, hate governmental control (of any kind) so much that I thought it might be interesting to see what they would have to say about it. Apparently, not much...
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Old 10-25-2003, 11:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Can we all agree that Bryan Adams is a drawback to the CanCon law? How bout Celine Dion?
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