Wow, Canadians Get Screwed Again

Last modified on December 14th, 2008

Just read this article which talks about how Canada has just increased the CD levy on blank media to 29 cents per disk instead of the 21 cents of the past. This increase, according to Secretary General of the Copyright Board of Canada, Claude Majeau, is due to the following:

Two main factors led the Board to raise the CD levy rate to 29ยข. First, the mechanical royalties that record labels pay to record a song onto a prerecorded CD have increased. Second, because consumers now use compression technology when they record music, the average number of music tracks copied onto a CD went from 15 to more than 18.

With regards to the second point, I call complete bullshit. Obviously because they are talking about 15 songs on a CD, they are actually talking about CD digital audio, and not MP3 CDs (which would put it at hundreds per CD). According to the Red Book audio standard, audio must be encoded on a digital CD at 44.1 kHz in 16-bit, stereo audio. At that quality, you can fit 74 minutes worth of audio on a CD. Why the board somehow thinks that compression is involved is beyond me, since it has absolutely nothing to do with Red Book audio standards.

They might have used the argument that the average track duration is decreasing, making it more likely more songs will be on a disk. At least that is somewhat plausible. But their current argument just doesn’t hold any merit in my opinion.

What’s also interesting is that I’ve never heard of any Canadian musician who has ever seen any of the money that this levy is supposedly meant to help. Which is surprising, considering that their webpage says they’ve paid out $150 million dollars to artists already.

2 responses to “Wow, Canadians Get Screwed Again”

  1. Twitchy67 says:

    Well,I think that the money goes to SOCAN, Factor and other arts distribution agencies. Because of this there is actually no way for an artist to know that money they receive is actually coming from the levy directly; when they receive a cheque from SOCAN I don’t think it breaks down how much is from radio play and how much from screwed Canadian citizens. I could be wrong, but I *think* that’s the way it goes.

    Of course having said this, you’re right…this is 100% bullshit and we are getting screwed on blank media. What’s worse about this is that if I buy blank CD’s to record my own music on, I pay the levy but don’t see the return because I don’t actually sell any music. The sad thing is, I have a problem with artists not getting paid for their craft, and think that conceptually this is the seed of a good idea. The execution tho…i’m just not sure that the government is fully assisting the artists they say they are; is there an audit trail of this money available?

  2. Duane Storey says:

    I did a bit of investigating the other night, and I think you basically have to apply for the money with the group collecting it. How much you are entitled to is based on your airplay and CD sales during a given time period. Artists are entitled to something like 60% of the pot, songwriters 15% or something, and record companies like 20% or something.

    But yah, there needs to be some transparency on this for sure.

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