Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Music As Torture- and the Bands Played On

The use of music as torture by the Americans is still going on, according to this article.

Many musicians are upset about this. Some think it's great.

I blogged about the unpaid royalties a few months ago here and here and here.

I have a new somewhat tongue in cheek suggestion. If the US really wants to ratchet up the pain level, they should try the using the new CBC Radio 2.

For those outside of Canada, that's Canada's highly subsidized once magnificent public radio network that is now being run into the ground.

I'm serious about how painful the "New 2" is to those who care about classical music, culture and professional quality broadcasting. To slightly twist a couple of CBC's undoubtedly expensive new slogans, the "New Two" might well be described as:

Everywhere Music Aches You.

A Music Mix You Won't Hear Anywhere Else - Thank God!

BTW, the estimated advertising costs alone of the launch this very unpopular purge of a noble 7o year tradition are well over $2,000,000 to date. The CBC is refusing ATIP (access to information) requests on this issue.

The additional SOCAN and NRCC royalties that will be generated by all of the additional commercial music that is now being played at the expense of public domain classical music are likely to be several million dollars a year, as I pointed out some months ago here.

Thank goodness we can turn CBC Radio 2 off, as countless hitherto long loyal listeners have done. I can't imagine being forced to listen to it for any length of time.



  1. Hi Howard,
    Please clarify that you have nothing against paying royalties to living composers. I believe you mean to say that you don't like the quality of the music by living composers (er, I mean singer-songwriters) that is being broadcast on "The New 2" and that you don't think the public is getting good content for the money being spent. Is that how I should be reading this?

  2. Dear Standonguard:

    Of course I absolutely approve of paying royalties to living composers and, indeed, to the estates of composers who died up to 50 years ago - whether for string quartets or top 40 hits. That’s how the copyright system works.

    Actually, I like some singer/songwriter stuff. The Beatles were singer/songwriters and I love their music. I even like Feist.

    It’s just that the CBC mandate and its 70 year heritage do not, in my opinion and that of hundreds of thousands of others, support current CBC management’s ill-conceived, poorly executed and utterly unnecessary attempt to promote pop or “commercial” music. Canadian commercial music already benefits from subsidies though such programs as FACTOR and, of course, the CANCON requirements. The National Gallery shouldn’t display Disney merchandise. Likewise, Radio 2 should be on the cultural high road, which some may call “elite.” There is no shortage of access to pop and commercial music. It’s not the CBC’s job to give three or four minutes of fame to every wannabe “emerging” singer/songwriter and especially not CBC’s job to be playing already successful commercial stuff.


  3. I enjoyed reading this article.
    It's funny, but it's also sad.

    --Emily Gray