Golden era for music in Canada?

Sunday, February 24, 2008
Would you be willing to pay $5 a month to download all the music you wanted to, guilt free?

The Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) has come forward with a proposal that could radically change things in the files sharing industry. I gotta give them credit for creativity and boldness with their initiative.

They state:
We believe the time has come to put in place a reasonable and unobtrusive system of compensation for creators of music in regard to this popular and growing use of their work. The plan we propose would not change or interfere with the way Canadians receive their music. No one would be sued for the online sharing of songs. On the contrary, the sharing of music on Peer-to-Peer networks and similar technologies would become perfectly legal. In addition, Music Publishers and Record Labels would be fairly compensated for the crucial role they play in supporting Canadian music creators. Canada has given the world some of the greatest music ever produced. We believe that implementing a fair way of compensating Canada’s music creators for the online sharing of their music will usher in a new Golden Age of creativity.

Legalize file sharing. Hmm what a concept, to stop trying to fight it, and instead use it as an income source.

Interesting. Creative even.
We propose a licence fee of $5.00 per internet subscription, per month. Payment of this fee would remove the stigma of illegality from file sharing. In addition, it would represent excellent value to the consumer, since this fee would grant access to the majority of the world’s repertoire of music. Existing download subscription services generally charge considerably more than $5.00 per month, while offering a mere fraction of the file-sharing repertoire. In addition, this would present a major financial improvement for the music industry. Since the license fee would be paid by all internet and wireless accounts, the amount of income generated annually could adequately compensate the industry for years of declining sales and lost revenues, and would dramatically enhance current legal digital music income. Sales of physical product would continue to earn substantial amounts, albeit gradually decreasing. Masters would continue to be licensed to movies and television. Radio would continue to sell advertising and pay royalties on music. We believe strongly that by giving Canadian music Creators a solid business model for the 21st century, this endeavor would initiate a golden era for music in Canada. Ultimately, we see this model being adopted internationally, and we are working with Creators groups around the world to effect a global system of remuneration for the sharing of music files.


I think I like this idea.
Five dollars tagged onto my internet connection? For legalized music downloads? And the money to go towards the music industry? Yeah, I think I'd be interested.

That would also remove the bite of the file-sharing industry. They wouldn't be fighting each other any longer, but instead be a source of revenue for the music industry.

Wether it would work or not, this is exactly the kind of thinking that will get us past the fight, the roadblock, if you will. It's creative and could release a bunch of money into the music industry.

Back in the day, if you were a musician, you would need a benefactor, someone to keep you in pants and food, while you created music. Somewhere we shifted into this present system of purchasing recorded music for our own enjoyment and the cash went to the music industry. Perhaps we are on the verge of another monumental shift in how music is delivered to the masses. Five bucks a month seems doable.

I'm interested. Sign me up.





  1. I would be completely in favor with it as long as it wasn't restricted to the top 100 bands as some mp3 sites, was well regulated to protect from viruses or phoney files and did not have bandwidth restrictions such as a required share ratio (you give 10 MB you get 10MB).

  2. I am opposed to this idea. I have never downloaded any music, I never intend to download any music. I refuse to pay for any more things that I don't want. The satellite TV companies require that I pay for a whole slew of channel I never watch. Why should I pay for music I don't want and never use? Subscriptions services where people who want the music pay for it are the only acceptable method to me of charging for music. Let the user pay and don't charge me for your music if I don't use it.

  3. While I'd not put it quite so aggressively, I very seldom download music, and when I do, it's solely for information purposes and not for listening enjoyment (not that the use makes any difference). IIRC the last time I downloaded a song was August '07 when I needed to learn a guitar solo. And MP3=meh.

    However the idea that music should be freely available is a great one. I've come to understand that laws are often not absolute pillars of righteousness, but often just there to keep society going in the way it has chosen to go. Hence the concept of downloading music being 'theft' to some and perfectly natural to others. Germany pioneered this kind of thinking, with a tax on every blank tape sold to recompense the recording industry. It might not be a bad thing to have accounts where you purchased the right to free and unlimited music downloading. I can think of reasons why that might not work, but it's a thought.

    Out of interest, was this restricted to Canadian music only? If so, then it's not going to fly regardless.

  4. Yeah, I prefer to purchase CD's just for the sound quality alone. I'm a bit of an audio snob, well, at least as much as my $200 stereo will allow me to be. MP3's are just too compressed.

    I do like the concept that it would make music "available" to a broader audience, and I think I like the idea of a cash infusion into the industry that may allow for more music to be created. Perhaps even allow for the more fringe musical approaches to be explored.

    Canada has had those extra charges on blank cassette tapes and blank CD's for years now, and that extra cash goes to the industry. Probably also one of the reasons that downloading isn't expressly illegal here in Canada.

    From their press release they are in conversation with other countries about this idea, and they are finding some interest from them. I suppose Canada could just make it's own copyright laws, apart from the rest of the world, and watch where the money goes.

    Initially I was thinking along the same lines as Gary, because I don't use peer to peer or downloading software. But I wonder if this could be a possible good response to the worlds new day in digital recordings.

  5. Personally I would like to be able to download music without feeling that I'm cheating the artist. The issue with the status quo isn't whether downloading music is legal (clearly it is in Canada), but whether it's ethical (clearly the artists don't think so). If this scheme were in place, then I would do the P2P thing.
    On the flip side, I understand Gary's concern - why should he subsidize my music?
    So count me as ambivalent.


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