Canada's independent artists have won the first round in bringing satellite radio to Canada. The CRTC announced the approval of all three subscription radio licenses. Canadian Satellite Radio (XM), Sirius Canada and CHUM/Astral have all received conditional approval to begin broadcasting in Canada.

In short, Canada's unsigned artists received everything we asked for and more. We asked the CRTC to extract as much as possible from the applicants (Canadian Content, artist development dollars, etc...), but without setting conditions so high that they drive the satellite radio providers into the grey market. The CRTC has impressively walked this tightrope and delivered the best possible result for independent musicians:

The CRTC has required:
* At least 8 original channels must be produced in Canada (on each satellite service)
* There must be 85% Canadian Content on each of those 8 channels

The CRTC then delighted us by adding the following conditions:
* At least 25% of CANCON music must be new Canadian musical selections
* A further 25% of the CANCON music must be by emerging Canadian artists!!!

We were left speechless! The CRTC wisely recognized the need to make Canadian Content requirements progressive and smarter. As you know, we have been advocating the need for progressive CANCON for some time now. We published www.letsfixcancon.ca earlier this year and brought the subject to the forefront. We did not expect the satellite radio decision to offer insight into CANCON PRO, but we believe it shows the CRTC is listening to Canada's unsigned artists and are eager to assist their development. You have been heard!

In another victory, the licensees must also contribute an astounding 5% of their GROSS revenue to initiatives for the development of Canadian talent. Using conservative estimates, this should make satellite radio the single largest contributor to Canadian Talent Development.

The bad news is, there are some groups appealing the decision to federal cabinet. We are confident that cabinet will uphold this ground-breaking CRTC decision but are remaining vigilant in our lobbying efforts.

As you know, before we started speaking up on these political issues, other groups took advantage of our disunity and drove their agendas without regard for unsigned artists. Now that we have become more united and vocal, we are already seeing the benefits of being heard in the halls of power. Your input and support have been crucial. Please stay involved and stay tuned, we have more battles to come.


Gregg Terrence
Indie Pool

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