Canada Streaming Royalties

Canada’s online streaming royalties are the worst in the world

We're number one!

- Jul 11, 2014

On Wednesday Music Canada released a condemnation of the Copyright Board of Canada's Tariff 8. The measures shrink the rate of artist compensation for online streaming to 90% below the rest of the world. The not-for-profit puts it in perspective via Canadiana: it would take 9.8 billion streams in Canada before Barenaked Ladies made a million dollars from their song "If I Had A Million Dollars." Or just 9,216 streams for enough to buy a box of Kraft Dinner. 36,864 plays and every band member gets one. 46,080 plays, and Steven Page gets a box.

Last year streaming revenue jumped 50%, while the rate of compensation for artists remains controversial globally. The Tariff's guidelines, which came into effect in May and can be read in full here, effectively makes Canada the lousiest turd in a despised bowl.

Internationally, Spotify pays artists $0.007 per song stream. But if the company launches in this country, its rate could drop drastically to match Canadian "commercial webcasters," who now pay out $0.0001 per play. That's ten cents for every 10,000 streams. It is lower than the CBC, which according to the Vancouver Sun pays 13.1 cents per 1,000 streams. That translates into a $36,000 pot split up annually between every single artist they play over the span of a year. It's an amount so low, the word "royalties" feels misleading because it sounds a little too regal.

Pandora has already issued a vaguely libertarian statement celebrating the ruling. Though it may be premature: Music licensing company Re:Sound has applied for a judicial review of the Tariff, and Music Canada says a movement is growing: "More than seventy Canadian record labels and associations have signed their support..." Instead of driving yourself insane listening to "Pinch Me" billions of times, join up.

Barenaked Ladies - Pinch Me (Video Version)

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