From CRIA to RIA

18 Apr ’06

Michael posts on the withdrawal of six major Canadian independent music labels – Anthem, Acquarius, The Children’s Group, Linus Entertainment, Nettwerk, and True North Records – from CRIA, the most recent sign of dissension since Nettwerk’s very public disagreement with the strategy of suing file sharers. Gist:

The Canadian labels do not disguise their disagreement with the association that purports to represent the Canadian music industry. Choice quotes from the letter, which was copied to the CRTC, Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda, and senior Heritage officials, include:

“it has become increasingly clear over the past few months that CRIA’s position on several important music industry issues are not aligned with our best interests as independent recording companies” and “we do not feel that we can remain members [of CRIA] given CRIA’s decision to advocate solely on behalf of the four major foreign multi-national labels.”

The independent labels note that if CRIA’s proposals are implemented, they “would have a material negative effect on the future growth of Canadian independent music.” The short term consequence of this is that the labels want CRIA to clarify to the CRTC those artists that are produced by independent labels yet identified as CRIA artists and calculated in CRIA market share.

One other observation strikes me. Michael has – for ages now – been making the point that CRIA is essentially a Canadian front for foreign record labels. There is a certain amount of closure now to seeing the conflict between the interests of independent Canadian labels and the CRIA agenda – the conflict that Michael has for so long been commenting on and drawing attention to – finally break out into the policy arena, and to see it happen almost ostentatiously. It’s simply satisfying to see reality escape from the bubble of public relations, managed “news” and contrived CRIA surveys, and splash itself across the media. And of course, this news is a timely reminder, as the Government prepares new copyright legislation, of the importance of a made-in-Canada copyright law (another point that Michael has been persistently making for ages).

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