Removing the C from CRIA

The Canadian Recording Industry Association's submission to the CRTC's Commercial Radio Review may go down as one of its biggest blunders.  Earlier coverage of its submission focused on the Pollara report (here and here) that contradicts many of CRIA's claims regarding file sharing and consumer music purchasing habits.  Earlier today, there was even more dramatic fallout.  Six major Canadian independent music labels – Anthem, Acquarius, The Children's Group, Linus Entertainment, Nettwerk, and True North Records – all pulled out of CRIA, citing differences with the CRTC submission. 

The Canadian labels do not disguise their disagreement with the association that purports to represent the Canadian music industry.  Choice quotes from the letter, which was copied to the CRTC, Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda, and senior Heritage officials, include:

"it has become increasingly clear over the past few months that CRIA's position on several important music industry issues are not aligned with our best interests as independent recording companies" and "we do not feel that we can remain members [of CRIA] given CRIA's decision to advocate solely on behalf of the four major foreign multi-national labels."

The independent labels note that if CRIA's proposals are implemented, they "would have a material negative effect on the future growth of Canadian independent music."  The short term consequence of this is that the labels want CRIA to clarify to the CRTC those artists that are produced by independent labels yet identified as CRIA artists and calculated in CRIA market share.

The longer term consequences are even more important.  CRIA is governed by a five member board consisting of President Graham Henderson and representatives from the four major foreign labels.  As CRIA increasingly battles artists and collectives on private copying as well as Canadian recording labels on approaches to promote Canadian music, it will become increasingly clear that CRIA does not speak for the Canadian music industry.  It is time for policy makers and government leaders to see CRIA for what it is – a copyright lobby group that represents the interests of foreign corporations.  The impact of the CRTC submission will linger long after the radio review hearings conclude next month.

Update:  The Children's Group, one of the six labels to resign from CRIA, provides some additional commentary from company president Michelle Henderson.


  1. miss moose says:

    great news
    That is great to see. I am glad that finally someone has called the CRIA what it is. It makes me so mad when people pretend to be ‘representing the artist’ etc. but really are just representing the big guys in the Recording Industry.
    As the Canadian music scene is florushing right now, I think the CRTC better listen to the small independent lables that are producing some dynamite stuff, instead of the Big Recording, who have been producing pre-packaged lamo music, and complaining that us Canadians just are ‘buying’ it.

  2. correction
    It’s CLEAR that you are missing a word in this sentence: “…it will become increasingly that CRIA does not speak…”

    Thanks for your work. Keep up the good fight!

  3. Dave Noisy says:

    Good Stuff
    This is such great news – will other labels be following suit?

    What alternatives are there to CRIA?

    Would you be willing to maintain a list of companies that have left CRIA?

    How about contacting other labels (or getting readers to!) to encourage their favorite labels to ‘get out’?

    A few things that popped in my mind after reading this.

    Thanks again for being a part of the good fight, you kick ass.

  4. Morley Barr says:

    As a loyal music fan, and one who pays for all downloaded music, I would like to personally thank the folks at Nettwerk, Anthem and the other labels.

    I will do my very best to support these 6 labels and their artists.

    The RIAA’s policies are misguided. Their shotgun approach to limit “illegal” copying of music only makes them appear foolish.

  5. Alternatives to CRIA
    Since Dave asked, CIRPA represents major indie labels, and CIRAA represents unsigned artists. CIRAA is pretty new, but they’re building on excellent work by Indiepool.

  6. does anyone know of a similar group in the USA against the idea by the RIAA? We need to stop these corporate barons from controlling the music. They have done it for too long, and it has wrecked the quality of music. Long live indie music of all genres.

  7. Legal status
    Hi Michael,

    Thanks for the excellent, ongoing coverage of Bev Oda and her CRIA.
    What is the legal status of Oda’s mischief? Is it a bill before the house?

    What can we do to help stop her? How can we get this story wider distibution in the Canadian medai?