Thank Goodness for CANCON

Canadian Content laws, the reason why it often seemed Canadian radio stations in the 80’s only had a box of 45’s containing Kim Mitchell, Corey Hart, Rush, Honeymoon Suite & Bryan Adams, to fill the airwaves with music. At times it seemed ludicrous, even painful, but over the years something amazing happened: Canadian music got better.

Basically, Canadian stations were told, if they wanted a license, X% of the music they played had to be Canadian acts. Also written into many of the station approvals were dollar amounts to be used to help Canadian talent (ever wondered why the stations gave away $100K’s for winners of talent contests?).

The ‘capitalists’ amoung us would decry this as socialist intervention, but it seems this is one government initiative with a happy ending.

Canada now has the pool of talent required: musicians, producers, promoters, recording studios, etc., to produce really world-class talent.

While you will undoubtedly have different taste, for me some of these include: The Arcade Fire, Metric, Matthew Good, The Hip, Sam Roberts, Rush (hey I’m a drummer) & The New Pornographers. There are also certainly some (arguably Rush, Leonard Cohen & Neil Young) that would have made it without the help.

I believe CanCon, and some great Canadian radio stations, have created an environment for Canada to develop it’s own unique cultural music heritage that all Canadians can be proud of.


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