Monthly Archives: February 2014

Why do we love music? For all sorts of reasons

HeadphoneGlobeByZirconicusso_CST Published 02/27/2014

By Jeff King

“What do you love about music?” “Everything.”

Thanks to Cameron Crowe for giving voices to not just the fictional characters, journalist William Miller and artist/rock god Russell Hammond, in the movie Almost Famous, but also to everyone else who loves music. Fundamentally, the ability to create music is virtually unique to humans…  with a knowing nod to whales and birds, who use musical notes to communicate.

Of course, music has an economic and commercial value. People consume vast quantities of music, in diverse experiences ranging from buying music, to listening to the radio, to watching television, to witnessing live shows, to having it background their dining and shopping activities, to looking at YouTube. All of this activity is of tremendous economic and cultural value. There’s a fundamental appeal in music being part of the fabric.

So why do we love music?

For some, it’s the emotional response it provokes. Excitement, calm, rage, serenity, hate and love are all easily aroused by the right song at the right time. Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” generates a far different response than Claude Debussy’s Clair de lune.

For others, it’s the story that’s being relayed. We wonder about the stories behind “Eleanor Rigby,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blurred Lines.” Well, at least I do.

Some love the technical precision of several instruments working in a co-ordinated manner. Others are drawn by the little treats just for them. The airplane left in at the beginning of “Black Country Woman” or the countless examples of back-masking tracks. Music had “Easter Eggs” before we even knew what they were.

Another very powerful impact of music is as a time and space machine. Whenever I hear the theme to Sesame Street, I’m instantly transported back to the fall of 1969, and sitting on my parents’ couch – which is itself transported to Sesame Street and its sunny days.

There’s definitely something to be said for the concept of music being the soundtrack of our lives. No matter what the draw is, music is unquestionably a major part of our everyday experience and our culture. When one considers a world without music, suddenly our experience is that much less joyful, enriched and fulfilling.

Of course, in order for society to enjoy an endless smorgasbord of music, there needs to be a robust eco-system that fairly balances creators and consumers of content. We support traditional and new business models that respect both the value of music and the rights of consumers.

On this front, SOCAN is committed to ensuring that membership in SOCAN is viewed as a valuable and productive relationship. Equally importantly, a SOCAN license for a user of music needs to be an enabler and a not hindrance.

After all, SOCAN loves music, too.

New SOCAN program Licensed to Play

LicensedToPlay_CST_V4 Published 02/18/2014

By Jennifer Brown

There’s no doubt that with the economy constantly waiting for corrections, and the brutally cold winter, that we could all use some fun. With that I’d like to introduce the new SOCAN Licensed to Play (L2P) program, which is a great way for businesses to show that they know music is instrumental to their success, and that they support those talented individuals who create it.

For too long, we’ve seen our music consumers and our creators as two separate entities, but both need each other, and the Licensed to Play program is a fun way to display that mutual admiration. Just like a massive “Like” button, you will know by the L2P emblem that you’re walking into an establishment owned and operated by music fans and appreciators.

Walk through any mall, club, restaurant or fitness studio and you’re likely surrounded by music. This isn’t a random or accidental occurrence. Most business owners know that they need music to help create an atmosphere in their establishment and that it enhances the customer experience – music brings people into your store, restaurant, bar, club, or similar establishment.

It’s a fact: Music adds value.

Now these business owners get to display their dedication and support for fair compensation in a fun way. The Licensed to Play program really pulls together the owners, creators and clientele as partners in making sure that creators are fairly compensated, and that songwriters, composers and music publishers can recognize the businesses that appreciate the value that they bring to their business.

The L2P program will include social media elements, with contests and incentives to SOCAN members, licensees and the general public for sharing sightings and stories when they see the L2P sticker, which not only represents an ethical and legal business decision, but provides a gateway to the world’s repertoire of music.  By becoming Licensed to Play, businesses communicate their support for music to customers, employees, partners, and the more than 120,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers that comprise SOCAN’s membership. The L2P emblem symbolizes respect for music creation, fair play and fun.

And if you happen to be a songwriter, composer or music fan, be sure to spread the word and show your support to these business owners. Share your L2P sightings on Twitter (@SOCANmusic), like us on Facebook (SOCANmusic), and make sure to use the hashtag #L2P!

President’s Message:The importance of CanCon

CanCon_CST Published 02/10/2014

By Stan Meissner

You can’t be prepared for the future without understanding the past.  With this in mind, consider the importance of Canadian content (CanCon) on our airwaves, and how it has affected our industry. I’m old enough to recall a time when the bulk of Canadian recordings on radio were merely covers of American or British songs. Local artists had to leave home to seek their fame and fortune and our airwaves were basically a mirror of the U.S., only worse.

With the establishment of the Canadian Radio-television Commission (CRTC) in 1968 (which became the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission in 1976), and the following broadcasting act, a few important things were declared regarding content and foreign ownership. The act states that broadcasters “shall make maximum use, and in no case less than predominant use, of Canadian creative and other resources.” This was actualized with the adoption of the MAPL system in 1971, defining the framework for CanCon, which then demanded a minimum of 25% Canadian content on radio, escalating to as much as 35% by 1999.

The results were nothing short of staggering.  Canadian artists and bands started to gain great success through the ‘70s. By the ‘80s, things had exploded and Canada developed an incredibly vibrant music industry. It supported an infrastructure reaching far beyond bands and artists to include every major label (back then there were many), countless successful independent labels, producers, managers, recording studios, industry organizations, video production companies, etc., all of whom could rival operations anywhere in the world.

This built a foundation that acted as a springboard for hundreds of Canadian acts that have been able to achieve massive international success.

Likewise, with CanCon requirements for television, Canada has been able to build a TV production industry that has nurtured incredible talent.  Mychael Danna’s recent Oscar and Emmy wins are a testament not only to his talent, but also to the foundation that Canada’s broadcasting regulation system has been able to offer.

Looking forward, as we face the likes of Spotify, Pandora, iTunes Radio as well as audio-visual services like Netflix, etc., can we ensure that some measure of Canadian content will be available? This may prove to be a challenge, but one that needs to be wrestled with. One example of a different type of model is Sirius/XM satellite radio.  They must provide a certain number of Canadian channels as a condition of license in Canada.  While not the CanCon percentages that we’re used to, the advantage is that these Canadian channels are available throughout the entire network, providing exposure to the U.S.

The future may look different, but we are going to have to get creative as we build upon what history has taught us about the value of CanCon to our musical economy.

To e-mail the president: president@socan.ca