Music availability study
for
campus radio

Study prepared by

Emmanuel Madan
January 4, 1999


Table of Contents

1 Introduction

1.1 Goals of the study
1.2 Definition of terms
1.3 Basis of this study and specific focus areas
1.4 Methodology
1.4.1 Music industry representatives
1.4.2 Broadcasters
1.4.3 Documentation
1.4.4 Bias problems encountered during research

2 Availability of Canadian music in genres appropriate for air play on campus stations

2.1 Data gathered from music industry associations
2.2 Data obtained from campus stations
2.3 Discussion of low-availability genres
2.3.1 Urban music
         Definition, Urban music produced in Canada, Canadian urban music and campus radio
2.3.2 Electronica
         Definition, Electronica produced in Canada, Canadian electronica and campus radio
2.3.3 International music
         Definition, International music produced in Canada, Canadian intl. music and campus radio
2.3.4 Other low-availability genres
          Classical music, Contemporary classical music, Music by First Nations peoples in Canada, Jazz,
             Subcategories of rock, Historical genres of music

2.4 Distribution issues
2.5 Communication issues
2.6 Issues specific to small market stations
2.7 Issues specific to francophone stations
2.8 Comparison with other broadcasting sectors
2.9 Summary

3 Sources of Canadian music played by campus stations

3.1 Independent labels and artists
3.2 Role of individual programmers in sourcing Canadian material
3.3 Programming devoted to demo-type recordings
3.4 Music created by programmers
3.4.1 Turntablism
3.4.2 DJ Mixing
3.4.3 Comparison between Turntablism and DJ Mixing
3.4.4 Radio art
3.4.5 Turntablism, DJ Mixing, and Radio Art on campus radio stations
3.5 Summary

4 Access to campus stations by Canadian musicians

4.1 General comments
4.2 Comments by "underground" artists
4.3 Comments from local musicians
4.4 Comments from musicians on tour
4.5 Comments regarding favouritism on the part of campus broadcasters
4.5.1 Non-Canadian vs. Canadian
4.5.2 "Clique" programming
4.5.3 Name recognition
4.6 Comments regarding station staff
4.6.1 Developing relationships with station staff
4.6.2 Music director bias
4.6.3 High turnover as a hindrance to access
4.6.4 Loss of recordings
4.7 Limited "spins"
4.8 Summary

5 Conclusions

6 Appendices

6.1 Table 6.1: Canadian recordings in specialty genres, 1995-1998
      (Source: Canadian Music Industry Database)
6.2 Table 6.2: Comparative analysis of funding applications, by music genre
      (Source: FACTOR)
6.3 Table 6.3: Comparative analysis of funding applications, by music genre
      (Source: Musicaction)
6.4 Table 6.4: Amount of programming and amount of Canadian recordings received
      by campus stations, by music genre
6.4.1 Notes to tables 6.2, 6.3, 6.4
6.5 Access Magazine November 1998, "What is urban?"
6.6 Exclaim Magazine, May 1998, "Rap, Renaissance, Racism"
6.7 Excerpt from the website www.turntablism.com
6.8 Breakdown of sources consulted during this study


Music availability study for campus radio

1 Introduction

1.1 Goals of the study

The goal of this study is to assess the availability of Canadian music in the various musical genres presented on campus radio stations.

Specifically, the goal of the study is to determine the answers to the following three questions:

1.2 Definition of terms

"Appropriate for airplay"

This term is defined based on the primary purpose of campus stations, as set out in CRTC Public Notice 1992-38: "To provide alternative programming such as music not generally heard on commercial stations or the CBC." Campus radio meets this goal by focusing on more marginal musical genres and artists which are not well represented in other media. It would not be accurate to say that because commercial stations play predominantly pop, rock, and dance, that campus stations do not play these types of music (in fact, much of what the campus sector presents is indeed defined by the Commission as Category 21 music, "Pop/Rock/Dance"). Rather, campus stations choose to focus on types of pop, rock, dance which are generally unavailable through other media. This philosophy of programming gave rise to the term "alternative rock", i.e. music in a rock idiom which nevertheless has certain characteristics differentiating it from the types of rock which are produced by the mainstream record industry and broadcast by the commercial sector. The alternative rock sound was first championed by the campus sector ten to fifteen years ago. Since then it has achieved considerable success within the mainstream and can now be heard on commercial radio. As a result, representatives of the campus sector report that they now tend to present less of this material. The result has been a diversification of the styles which can be heard on many campus stations throughout the country, both within Category 21 (for example hiphop and electronica) and into other musical categories.

Unlike commercial radio, the vast majority of campus stations are not playlisted, that is, it is individual programmers, and not the program director or music director, who determine which selections will receive airplay. This is increasingly the case as the content of campus radio’s programming becomes more diversified and eclectic. This implies that the decision of what is appropriate for airplay on campus stations is heavily dependent on questions of individual taste, as determined by a large number of programmers.

Availability

Throughout the study, availability was defined as being sufficient with respect to the existing Canadian content regulations of 30% for Category 2 and 10% for Category 3. These two categories, as well as their eight sub-categories, are defined in Public Notice CRTC 1991-19, "Implementation of The FM Policy", 14 February 1991.

It should be noted that availability must be gauged with respect to the varying degrees of need for Canadian material in various genres. In general, the need for material is extremely high. Whereas commercial radios may add approximately five new tracks to their playlist per week, campus stations typically expose upwards of twenty pieces of new material by Canadian artists in any given week, according to estimates by campus music directors. The rate of turnover is substantially higher for campus radio than for commercial radio, resulting in a commensurately higher need for Canadian product. Later in the report, high turnover will be discussed as an issue of particular importance to specific genres of music.

1.3 Basis of this study and specific focus areas

In the course of consultations with the campus radio sector, many concerns were expressed about the difficulty in finding Canadian content in genres and styles suitable for airplay on campus radio stations, particularly in new and emerging musical genres where the Canadian music industry may not yet be well-developed. The present study was initiated in response to these concerns. In this report, particular emphasis will be placed on three genres of music which were most frequently cited by the majority of campus stations as suffering from a lack of Canadian material: urban music, electronica, and international music.

1.4 Methodology

The data examined during the course of the study was gathered from a wide variety of experts representing the various sectors of the Canadian music industry. One component of the study presents empirical data, including numbers of releases in the genres campus radio plays. However, as will be discussed below, statistical data is often incomplete and misleading due to the marginal nature of many of the music genres associated with the campus sector. With this in mind, a number of individuals from the Canadian music industry were selected in order to balance the quantitative data with qualitative impressions, experiences, and analyses. While the number of sources consulted is comparatively small, they were carefully selected based on their areas of expertise, specifically as they relate to the scope of this study. The anecdotal information and case studies gathered through these interviews present a qualitative portrait of the state of the Canadian music industry in musical genres which campus radio presents.

A detailed listing of the sources contacted during the research process is found in Appendix 6.8, including breakdown by sector of the industry, number of respondents polled per sector, and where relevant, the region of the country and the genre of music which those respondents represented. The respondents can be separated into two major sectors: music industry representatives and broadcasters.

1.4.1 Music industry representatives

The first portion of the study gathered data from representatives of all sectors of the Canadian music industry, beginning with the musicians themselves. Record labels and record distributors were then contacted, ranging from Canadian subsidiaries of multinational record companies to very small labels with only a handful of releases in their catalogue. Information was also requested from national organizations representing independent record labels and artists, including CIRPA and various funding organizations. The study also included artist promoters, concert promoters, record store owners, and representatives of music festivals. The last group of respondents was formed of publishers, editors, and journalists from several Canadian music publications.

In all cases, respondents were selected in order to best reflect the variety of musical genres presented on campus radio, as well as regional and linguistic diversity.

1.4.2 Broadcasters

The second phase of the study involved gathering data from administrative staff and volunteer programmers from 17 campus radio stations from all parts of the country, including both instructional and campus/community stations. Particular emphasis was placed on the following seven focus stations, which were retained for more in-depth study:

CHSR Fredericton
CFOU Trois-Rivières
CISM Montréal
CFRC Kingston
CIOI Hamilton
CJSW Calgary
CFUV Victoria

These stations were selected in such a way as to reflect as accurately as possible the diversity in market size, region, and language of broadcast which characterizes the campus radio sector in general.

The study also includes consultations with representatives from other broadcasting sectors, in order to compare their experience with that of the campus sector with respect to the sourcing of Canadian recordings in various genres. In order to facilitate comparison, representatives of non-campus broadcasting sectors were chosen based on their familiarity with the genres of music which campus radio plays.

1.4.3 Documentation

In addition to the interview process, information was gathered from trade publications, CRTC documents, music magazines, books, and websites offering information about specific musical genres.

1.4.4 Bias problems encountered during the research

Given the very subjective nature of the questions which this study aims to answer, it was recognized as an important priority to avoid bias in respondents wherever possible. Therefore, every effort was made to ensure that the respondents invited to evaluate campus radio’s performance in supporting Canadian artists were not themselves affiliated with campus radio. In smaller markets, however, this often proved difficult as there exists only a small number of potential respondents, a very large proportion of whom are themselves affiliated with the campus station.


2 Availability of Canadian music for campus radio

The first question posed by the study concerns the degree of availability of Canadian music in genres appropriate for campus airplay. Research for this question was broken down into two parts: the music industry and the campus stations themselves.

2.1 Data gathered from music industry associations

The first stage of research was to determine how much music is being produced for each of the major genres which campus radio plays, and especially for the three genres cited by the campus sector as having a low availability rate (urban music, electronica, international music). Findings obtained from the Canadian Independent Music Database, (CIMD) are outlined in Table 6.1. Information gathered from the two funding organizations, FACTOR and Musicaction, appear in Tables 6.2 and 6.3 respectively. ADISQ was unfortunately unable to provide breakdowns of francophone releases.

The data from the Canadian Independent Music Database must be assumed to be incomplete. This is because a significant number of labels releasing material relevant to the campus sector are too small or too new to submit information to the CIDM, or to be members of CIRPA or ADISQ. The largest electronica label in Québec stated that they have not been members of ADISQ in the past because techno music was not among that association’s musical categories until this year (1998).

The data from the funding bodies, FACTOR and Musicaction, show that the bulk of funding is distributed to artists in the rock and pop genres. The main focus genres of this study, urban, electronica, and international music, are not yet well-reflected in the data provided by funding bodies.

2.2 Data obtained from campus stations

After establishing the amount of Canadian material produced in each genre, the next step was to determine how much of this material campus stations are actually receiving. Music directors of ten campus stations were contacted and asked, for each of 11 key musical genres and sub-genres, how much programming their station devoted to each genre per broadcast week, how much Canadian material they received per month in each genre, and whether current supply of Canadian titles in each genre were sufficient to comfortably meet existing Canadian content regulations (30% for Category 2 and 10% for Category 3). The results of this survey appear in Table 6.4.

From an analysis of Table 6.4, one can draw several conclusions. While all stations reported varying degrees of availability for different genres, there were some genres which were cited almost without exception as high availability, and some genres which were nearly always cited as low availability. The former group includes indie pop, alternative rock, and folk/acoustic. The latter comprises the urban, international, and electronica genres. Availability of other genres varied from station to station.

The reported numbers of Canadian releases received are average numbers in all cases. The actual number of releases received by a campus station in any given month varies widely, implying a sporadic supply of Canadian music in specialty genres. In fact, stations reported that in some specialty genres, extended periods may pass during which very few or even no new releases are available. This poses more problems for genres such as urban and dance-oriented electronica, which are extremely time-sensitive.

2.3 Discussion of low-availability genres

Campus radio’s programming is not dictated by the popularity of various genres of music, i.e. it aims to present new musical genres even before they become popular. When a new musical genre emerges, campus radio will begin devoting airtime to this genre as quickly as possible, first in the form of occasional airplay and, as soon as becomes feasible, by devoting entire specialty shows to the genre in question. Although typically this musical trend will originate outside of Canada, campus stations indicated that they prefer not to allow this to deter them from presenting this style of music, even if Canadian selections in the genre are not immediately available. As the new genre becomes more familiar to Canadian audiences (thanks in part to alternative media outlets such as campus radio), a domestic music scene focusing on the genre of music in question may begin to develop. Music producers, who may perhaps hear this style of music for the first time on campus radio, may eventually become active in the genre and begin to produce recordings of their own. Campus radio’s mandate, however, is such that it cannot afford to wait until Canadian producers become active in a scene. In fact, were they to wait, that domestic scene would likely develop more slowly.

The lack of Canadian material in emerging genres of music is a problem which affects different stations in different ways, depending for the most part on the size of market. For stations in some small markets, the lack of Canadian material in an emerging genre like electronica does not present a problem because these stations were not yet programming much electronica. In large markets, there are usually a number of musicians already producing material in these genres and supplying it to the stations, especially to well-established stations with strong links to the local music scene. Large-market stations are therefore better off than small-market ones, although even the former seem to have difficulty obtaining material from artists in other cities. The stations most negatively affected seem to be those in middle-size markets, as well as any small-market stations which do program music in emerging genres. These stations devote considerable programming to these genres but they cannot obtain Canadian material because of poor distribution networks and the lack of locally-produced material.

What follows is a discussion of the three genres of music which were most frequently cited by campus stations as suffering from low availability: urban music, electronica, and world music.

2.3.1 Urban music

Definition

"Urban music" is a term which has come into usage in the record industry in the past few years. In its most common application, it denotes two contemporary musical idioms: hiphop (or rap music), in which lyrics are spoken over beats in a style known as rapping, and R&B, in which lyrics are sung. When applied to the Canadian situation, there seems to be a desire to expand the definition beyond hiphop and R&B, at the very least to include popular music styles from the Caribbean such as reggae and soca, and possibly even further to include all popular styles which draw inspiration both from non-Western traditions and the North American inner-city experience. This is due to the different demographic makeup of artists involved in the urban music scene in Canada: there is a very significant presence of artists with backgrounds from the Caribbean and elsewhere.1
_______________________
1While use of the term "urban" has become quite widespread, it is nevertheless regarded as contentious by many. See Appendix 6.3, Access Magazine, November 1998, and Appendix 6.4, Exclaim Magazines, May 1998, for discussions and critiques of the term "urban music".

For the purposes of this survey, urban music will include the following styles of music: hiphop (rap music), R&B, reggae, and soca.

Urban music produced in Canada

The urban music record industry in Canada is still in its embryonic stages: only five Canadian artists are currently signed to large Canadian or multinational labels. This means that nearly all Canadian urban acts are independent artists. There is currently only one nationally distributed label dedicated exclusively to Canadian urban music: the Toronto-based Beat Factory, affiliated with EMI, whose 23 artists are featured on four compilation CDs as well as on CD and vinyl singles. According to estimates by Canadian urban music experts, the rest of the industry consists of approximately 20 small labels based mostly in Toronto and Montréal, and to a lesser extent in Vancouver and Halifax. The CIMD database showed a total of 66 urban music releases in 1998. Experts estimated that the figures five years ago, were six labels with ten releases.

Although recording activity of Canadian urban music is not well-developed at this time, urban music from the US is faring extremely well with Canadian audiences. By the second quarter of 1998, SoundScan reported that nearly 11% of album sales in Canada were urban releases. An analyst from the Canadian urban music industry asserted that over the last five years in North America, urban music was the only sector of the music industry to show consistent growth in sales, with no sign of peaking in the near future.

The Canadian music market is so closely tied to trends in the U.S. that it is safe to assume that as long as urban music continues to do well south of the border, the Canadian market will follow suit. . With the introduction of specialty television broadcasters such as BET Black Entertainment Television), Canadian audiences’ exposure to U.S. urban music is increasing. This will cause Canadian television broadcasters like MuchMusic to become more proactive in order to remain competitive in the urban market.

The implication for Canadian urban artists is that if the necessary structures were to be put in place, their genre of music could access a potentially vast market. According to experts in the urban music community, Canadian urban music audiences come from different backgrounds and experiences than the American artists to whom they’ve been listening to date. If there were well-developed domestic artists representing a home-grown variety of hiphop, respondents had little doubt that such artists would enjoy success in Canada. Representatives of Canada’s urban music scene expressed the conviction that many Canadian artists enjoy success on the scale of Alanis Morrissette or Shania Twain, and have been poised on the brink of such success for many years. However, they feel that success has been stalled by a lack of activity on the part of large Canadian record labels, who have so far failed to invest the necessary time and money into these acts. In the last ten years, most of the few Canadian urban artists who have begun to enjoy modest success, have done so outside of Canada.

Respondents ascribed the reticence of major labels to invest in Canadian urban music to the fact that urban acts are new to the Canadian musical landscape and have few means of reaching Canadian audiences (such as commercial radio). They therefore require a development time well in excess of their counterparts in rock and pop. For example, Cash Crop, an album released on BMG Music Canada by Vancouver-based hiphop act The Rascalz, required two years to go gold. For a label to spend such a long time pushing an act would be unthinkable in the case of rock. Respondents from the urban music community commended BMG Music Canada for its long-term support of the Rascalz, describing it as a testament to the label’s commitment to urban music in Canada. However, the respondents acknowledged that this level of support would remain a rare occurrence.

A representative of a small urban record label stated that he failed repeatedly in his attempts to obtain a Canadian distribution deal, even with an independent distributor. He found distribution to be much easier to obtain in the US. His label has therefore ceased to pursue Canadian distribution for his project, simply because the US and Europe provide so much better return on his investment. In the respondent’s view, this is true for a number of other Canadian urban acts and labels, resulting in a state of affairs where Canadian urban acts have better distribution in the US and Europe than in Canada, and their recordings are more difficult to buy domestically than overseas.

In all of these styles (hiphop, R&B, reggae, and soca), it seems clear that urban music production in Canada is on the increase. Most respondents felt fairly confident that the scene seems poised for a major breakthrough over the next few years. The size and timing of that breakthrough, however, is difficult to predict. Respondents had no doubt, however, that even if Canadian urban music were to attain major success, it would continue to be under constant threat from the vastly larger marketing machine south of the border.

Urban music and campus radio

Given that the Canadian urban music industry is composed almost exclusively of independent artists who typically have insufficient access to nation-wide distribution networks, it is not surprising that the availability of Canadian urban music varies widely between markets. Campus programmers and music directors in Toronto and Montreal reported that it is entirely possible to program a hiphop show with 100% Canadian content: in fact many programs in those markets regularly do so. In smaller markets, however, programmers frequently only have access to the handful of recordings which enjoy national distribution. Several urban music programmers from markets outside of Toronto and Montréal complained that the only way they could meet a 30% Canadian content regulation was by repeating a very small number of selections every week. One music director stated that this gives Canadian urban artists a much better chance of receiving airplay, and most programmers admitted that they were more likely to broadcast slightly lower-quality material if it were Canadian.

The program director of a campus station in Toronto noted that he didn’t need to cajole or pressure his station’s programmers to play Canadian urban artists. In his assessment, all new Canadian urban release received at the station are met with a reasonable amount of support from programmers, because they are Canadian. Any Canadian release considered to be equal in quality to an American one would invariably receive far more a airplay and support than the American track.

For a hiphop programmer in a medium-sized market, recording format was cited as an obstacle to accessibility. Like many hiphop programmers, the respondent’s show consists exclusively of vinyl. Material on CD or cassette is very difficult to incorporate because of the DJ-based nature of the program. The programmer claimed that he is willing to drop his standards of quality somewhat for Canadian material, in order to give a chance to artists with potential for improvement. However, he requires that recordings supplied to him be in the vinyl format. As it is much more involved to produce a twelve inch vinyl record than a cassette or even a CD, this is an obstacle for many artists who are just beginning their career.

The most frequent comment among urban programmers was that the extent of repetition necessitated by Canadian content requirements was unacceptable given the existing supply of material and the mandate of urban music shows, which stress high turnover and rapidly evolving trends.

2.3.2 Electronica

Definition

"Electronica" refers to a wide grouping of musical genres in which a large emphasis is placed on electronic instruments and specialized techniques of the recording studio. Electronica is often, although not exclusively, instrumental in nature. It includes forms of music associated with dance clubs and played by DJs (e.g. house, techno, underground techno, drum & bass, jungle, triphop, breakbeat, bigbeat) and non-dance-oriented forms which are produced either wholly or in part using electronic means (e.g. ambient, illbient, instrumental hiphop, experimental hiphop).

While electronica is generally a popular music form (or at least derived from popular music), a significant portion of the genre crosses over into material which bears a degree of resemblance either to the music of contemporary composers writing in the concert music tradition (Category 31) or to music by avant-garde/contemporary jazz performers (Category 33).

Campus programmers indicated that since electronica is a very broad term, it includes some styles, such as commercial dance music, which are not suitable for campus airplay.

Since electronica is a relatively recent term, it would be foolish to attempt a closed and authoritative definition of this category. It is a style of music characterized by rapidly evolving trends. It includes a number of sub-genres which were relatively widespread in the past (e.g. triphop) but have given way to newer sub-genres. For the purposes of this study, "electronica" will denote the following genres of music: house, techno (or underground techno), drum and bass, jungle, triphop, breakbeat, trance, ambient, instrumental hiphop, experimental hiphop, instrumental dub, and any other similar genres.

Electronica produced in Canada

The genres of music included in electronica are defined to a great extent by the geographic locations in which they originate. Every major centre producing electronic dance music tends to develop its own unique style or "school" of music which forms around a nucleus of influential DJs and producers, and in relation to a particular club scene. Some of these styles gain enough celebrity to be exported to other centres and eventually become known throughout the world: thus one speaks of the Detroit sound, the Chicago sound, the Bristol and the Goa sound.

Canada’s production in the field of electronica is still very sparse. The CIMD lists 86 Canadian electronica recordings for 1998; however, this figure includes dance titles, many of which campus sector considers too commercial for airplay on their stations. One record industry representative estimated that approximately twenty Canadian labels are currently releasing dance-oriented electronica of the type suitable for campus airplay. Such estimates are not extremely reliable, however, because many electronica labels are extremely small, pressing only 100 copies of a release or even less. It is entirely possible that many labels of this size would not be known even to a well-informed expert in the electronica genre. Even more so than for urban music, the electronica genre is a purely independent phenomenon: at this time, no major labels have released any Canadian electronica suitable for campus radio airplay. Although the number of recordings released by independent artists and small labels has increased over the last few years, there is no indication of an imminent groundswell of activity of the sort anticipated in urban music.

On the other hand, the market for this type of music in Canada is not to be underestimated. Raves, once an underground phenomenon, have evolved into mainstream events attracting audiences in excess of 10,000 in centres across Canada.

In the absence of any domestic outlets for their music, such as established record labels or national distributors, many producers of electronica find themselves gravitating towards the genre’s major centres in Europe. The research phase of this study uncovered many cases of DJ’s from Ontario or BC who are well-known all over Europe but virtually unknown in their home towns.

Electronica and campus radio

Campus radio has manifested enormous interest in the various types of electronica. Stations in small markets reported a weekly average of six hours devoted to the genres, while large market stations reported twice or even three times that number. The proliferation of genres within the field of electronica is reflected in a host of eclectic electronica programming on program grids across the country. Both English-language music publications, Chart Magazine and the earshot! supplement in Exclaim magazine, have added electronica specialty categories to their monthly Top 10 charts.

The fact that production of these styles of music continues to be centred outside Canada poses a large problem for campus broadcasters. It is evident, for example, that a program devoted to Detroit-style techno and Chicago-style house will feature artists who are predominantly from the Detroit and Chicago areas. There are artists from other parts of the world, including Canadian artists, who are now producing music in these styles. However, even if there were enough Canadian material to meet a 30% requirement in this or any other sub-genres of electronica, campus radio stations have expressed that to do so would mean jeopardizing the mandate of these programs, which is to expose a new and little-known genre of music to a Canadian audience. Programmers felt that conforming to this mandate was essential in order to maintain credibility with their Canadian listenership.

Programmers indicated that as recently as 1996, the total number of Canadian artists producing high-quality material which fit the format of electronica programs on campus radio numbered less than ten. However, in the intervening time, programmers of electronica have witnessed a substantial increase in the availability of Canadian artists, both independently and via a growing number of small labels.

Nevertheless, the supply of Canadian material still falls far short of the demand from campus radio programmers. For example, the most prolific electronica label in Québec has released only eight records over a period of the last two years. And with very few exceptions, labels and independent artists releasing electronica remain regional phenomena, with insufficient budget to distribute promotional copies to campus stations across the country.

In such a climate, it is necessary for stations to be extremely attentive and proactive in order to ensure adequate servicing from labels and artists. As with urban music, stations in larger markets are favoured by labels and distributors, as are programmers known outside of their own market as well-established DJs. Even DJs who do have relatively well-established contacts observed that finding Canadian product is often a game of chance, dependent on reading the right magazine at the right time or looking in the right place on the internet.

When music by Canadian electronica artists does reach campus radio stations, it receives very favourable response from programmers. One campus radio music director asserted that the recent release by Canadian group Legion of Green Men went straight to number one of their top 40 chart. She speculated that although the quality of the album would have ensured it a place on the chart regardless of its country of origin, the rarity of Canadian material in this genre was also a factor in this release’s success.

Programmers commented that the origin of recordings in the electronica genres is frequently unclear, often making it impossible to identify whether a given artist is Canadian. This is due to the fact that much of the material is released on non-Canadian labels, on compilations where Canadian and non-Canadian selections are mixed together, or independently by artists who do not follow conventions of labelling established by the mainstream Canadian record industry.

Faced with such an extreme shortage of Canadian material, electronica programmers are obliged to make what they view as compromises in their programming in order to meet the 30% Canadian content regulations. As one programmer described, a show devoted to electronic dance music places heavy emphasis on the flow between musical selections and the overall progression of the show as a single continuous entity. While sometimes this DJ is able to fit Canadian material into this flow, often he finds himself playing a Canadian tracks just to conform to the rules. He feels that the quality of his program suffers as a result. As well, this DJ is typical of many campus electronica shows in that he often invites guest DJs to program a portion of his show. He explained that since he does not ask guests to play Canadian content, he often finds himself having to make up for it in the remainder of the program.

By far the most common complaint raised by electronica programmers at campus stations involved what they saw as excessive amounts of repetition of Canadian material. One DJ explained that every week he is able to present his audience with a completely new selection of material from the US, the UK, and Germany. However, when it comes time to play Canadian material, he has no choice but to present the same material week after week. This situation may be seen as positive for Canadian artists, in that they receive more airplay for each piece of material and, therefore, more exposure on Canadian electronica programs. However, it is frustrating for programmers in that it is contrary to the mandate of these shows, which generally strive to maintain a low repeat factor and a very high turnover rate in the music they present.

A majority of respondents felt that since electronica is still, for the most part, little-known to Canadian audiences, the goal of campus radio programmers is to expose as much new innovative and high-quality material as possible. In the assessment of most electronica programmers , some of the available Canadian material does not meet these standards - proportionally, no more or no less than non-Canadian electronica. But given that there is so little Canadian product to begin with, once the low-quality product is filtered out there is very little left.

2.3.3 International music

Definition

The classification "International music" refers to the traditional, classical, and popular musics of non-Western European cultures. It includes traditional and popular music of Latin America, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Pacific, and all cultures of Europe other than English or French.

International music has experienced unprecedented commercial interest in the West since the mid-1980ís. A large number of labels devoted to world music have been formed over this period, some of which are affiliated with the main multinational record companies.

International music produced in Canada

International musicians based in Canada are in a singular position: by definition, they are working outside of the places of origin of their music. Despite the lack of opportunity for professional recording, marketing, and distribution of the music, there exists a wealth of Canadian talent and activity in this genre.

An expert in the field of international music in Canada estimated that there are currently hundreds of world music acts based in Canada. Further, he estimated that despite the difficulties, Canadian international music recordings nevertheless also number in the hundreds.

However, in the assessment of a large company which distributes a large number of independent Canadian titles in international music, the most significant failing of international music artists in Canada is in the field of promotion. Of the international recordings in his catalogue, he felt that only 10% enjoyed adequate promotion. He defined "adequate promotion" as requiring a significant time investment and a budget of thousands of dollars. For obvious reasons, small independent artists are rarely in a position to make such an investment. The respondent indicated that the international artists in his catalogue who have enjoyed significant success, both with campus airplay and sales, were those with adequate promotional budgets. For the rest of the artists in the catalogue, promotion budgets are far too small to allow even a mailing of product to campus stations.

Decidedly, Canadian artists in international music face huge challenges. Unless the financial resources available to these artists increase dramatically, the lack of adequate promotion will prevent them from improving their visibility. It is the hope of all members of the international music community in Canada that this sector will someday come into its own, as it forms an essential aspect of the growth in Canadian cultural diversity.

International music and campus radio

International music produced by Canadian-based musicians was frequently identified by campus stations as the type of music most difficult to find.

Campus stations reported that since many of these artists do not have sufficient budget for a promotional mail-out, the only way that they would obtain a copy for airplay would be if the group comes to town on tour. For the most part, the acts in question are frequently large ensembles for whom touring is a major undertaking. Consequently, very few groups tour across the country, and hardly any play in smaller cities.

Stations with an insufficient supply of international Canadian content commented that they are forced to meet regulations by playing non-international selections. This solution was described as unsatisfactory in that it detracts from the coherence of the show.

2.3.4 Other low availability genres

In addition to urban, electronica, and world music, the following genres of music, to varying degrees, were cited as being problematic with regard to the supply of Canadian material.

Classical music

Canadian classical music was frequently, but not altogether unanimously, identified as being difficult to obtain by campus stations. Campus music directors felt that this was due not to a shortage in production, but rather a perception on the part of classical music labels that campus stations do not constitute an important outlet for classical music.

Contemporary classical music

Contemporary classical music refers to music in the concert music tradition composed in the twentieth century, and includes atonal music, experimental music, electroacoustic music, and other related genres. This genre was mentioned as a problem for all but one station. Most stations devote too little programming time to this genre for low availability to be a major issue.

Music by First Nations peoples in Canada

Most stations devote little time to programming by and for Canada’s First peoples. However, nearly all station which do offer such programming indicated that Canadian Native music was difficult to find in sufficient quantities.

Jazz

Most stations claimed that Canadian jazz was insufficiently available; while some stations, particularly well-established ones in larger markets, reported no problems in obtaining jazz by Canadian artists. All stations agreed that for older forms of jazz (such as traditional jazz and bebop) Canadian material was less available. (See below, "Historical genres of music").

Subcategories of rock

There are some specialty forms under the general umbrella of "rock" for which low availability was cited: Canadian industrial music was mentioned reasonably often as having low availability. One industrial programmer said that while Canadian musicians have produced some outstanding industrial music in the past, the scene remains very small and includes a number of small independent artists whom he described as very difficult to track down.

The availability of Canadian metal was assessed differently by different broadcasters; some stations had supply problems, while others report no problems. This seemed to depend on how extensive the station’s contacts were with artists and labels in the metal genre.

Ska was occasionally mentioned, however most stations do not carry enough ska programming for this to pose a serious problem.

Historical genres of music

Campus radio stations devote a varying proportion of programming to a number of historical genres of music: programming which presents popular forms of music from the earlier parts of the twentieth century. These genres are not included in Tables 6.1 or 6.2 simply because no new releases are ever produced or received.

The repertoire to which these programs have access remains fixed over time. Programmers cannot hope for an eventual growth of the amount of Canadian material in the genres because no new material is being produced, either in Canada or elsewhere. Some of these genres afford a sizeable amount of Canadian material (for example the "garage" music of the 1960s, a significant portion of which was produced in Québec). In other cases, however, these are genres which ran their course without ever taking hold among Canadian musicians. In spite of this, programmers and campus radio staff recognize the need to continue to devote airtime to these genres, seeing it as an integral part of their mandate. Indeed, many of these types of music are very rarely heard in other broadcasting sectors.

A few examples of genres of this type include: traditional jazz (pre-WW II), bebop (1950s-1960s), traditional blues (pre-WW II), garage (1960s), surf (1960ís-70s), gothic (1980s), old school hiphop (1970s and 1980s) all of which find airplay on campus radio, usually in the form of dedicated specialty shows.

2.4 Distribution issues

Independent artists in all genres are constrained by very limited budgets for promotion of their products. Although they recognize that they stand a fair chance of obtaining airplay at every campus and community station in the country, they rarely have enough promotional copies of a recording for each of these stations.

Large national distributors of independent and small-label artists claimed that they were often faced with a shortage of promotional copies to cover the campus sector. One major distributor explained that the record labels he distributes typically send him only 20 promotional copies of a release. Some of these copies must be allocated to print media and the CBC, leaving only 10 or 12 copies for campus and community radio. Faced with these restrictions, the respondent said that he accords priority to larger markets in which the releases are commercially available. Another label prioritized promotional copies according to cities where the artist had upcoming tour dates. A respondent from a Québec-based label admitted that she cannot afford promotional mailings outside of Québec.

On the other hand, distributors and labels with the means to provide full servicing to the campus sector always do so. One large independent distributor affirmed that, given lack of sufficient outlets for his product, he can’t afford not to send material to stations, no matter how small those stations may be and how limited their listenership.

2.5 Communication issues

Stations identified an acute lack of information about Canadian artists in the less established specialty genres. This communication gap exists between artists and stations in their own markets, but is especially wide between campus stations and artists in different markets. Hiphop programmers in Ontario said they knew nothing at all of the hiphop scene in Halifax; Atlantic electronica programmers have little or no information from the West coast; an industrial/gothic programmer in Calgary is convinced that there must be many independent bands in Ontario and Québec but has no way of finding them, and so on. The vast majority of programmers said that as volunteers, they have very limited time to research and contact independent artists across the country. Of the programmers and music directors polled on this question, nearly all felt that they had insufficient information about the music scenes in other parts of Canada (and in some cases, even in their own market); this was even the case for a programmer who had been doing his show for ten years, had contacts all over the country, and was receiving 3 or 4 independent recordings per week. Lack of knowledge about Canadian artists was the most frequently cited reason for not playing more Canadian material.

Station staff identified publications such as Chart or Exclaim Magazine as the best existing information resources. Some also identified publications dealing with specialty genres such as Offbeat or Musicworks magazine. However, most agreed that no existing publication is complete enough or published frequently enough to supply the information which campus music departments require about Canadian independent artists. Many music directors alluded to the American publication CMJ (College Music Journal), as an example of a much more complete and comprehensive information resource.

In the absence of such an information resource, most music directors stated that they have no option but to wait for independent artists to contact them. A few of the more well-connected music directors and programmers affirmed that they do receive a considerable number of independent releases on a weekly basis, even in certain low-availability genres such as hiphop and contemporary classical music. This suggests that in some genres, the problem may lie partly with poor communication and distribution rather than in an actual lack of artists and recordings.

2.6 Issues specific to small market stations

The low supply of Canadian music from other markets is a problem which seems to affect stations in small markets and less well-established stations the most. Labels, distributors, and artists acknowledged that if they have insufficient resources to service all stations in the campus sector, they will give precedence to markets where the artist’s recordings are commercially available or where the artist plans to tour. Information gathered shows Canadian labels to be much less generous with their promotional product than their US counterparts. Where US labels would typically be willing to send promotional product regardless of station profile, servicing from Canadian labels often depended on criteria such as station size, market size, and the existence of other campus or community stations in the same market.

Specialty music programmers based outside of major centres claimed to have very little access to the kinds of resources available to specialty programmers in major urban centres (local publications dedicated to their genre of music, regular live performances by musicians on tour, a community of local artists playing music in their genre, and in some cases an annual festival devoted to the genre).

In general, it was found that programmers in small markets tend to have less extensive contacts with record label representatives and artists in other cities.

2.7 Issues specific to francophone stations

The Commission has stated in Public Notice CRTC 1998-41 that French-language commercial radio stations generally provide levels of Canadian music well in excess of 35%. The information gathered suggests that francophone stations in the campus sector have a great deal of difficulty accessing sufficient Canadian content material.

Respondents from francophone stations reported low availability in all the same genres as anglophone stations. In addition, francophone stations claimed that even in genres such as rock and pop, francophone material is in short supply; far fewer francophone than anglophone titles are received.

Further, some of the francophone rock material received consists of CD-singles by commercial artists which are sent to campus stations by the major Québec distributors. Since these distributors also send copies of the same singles to commercial stations, campus stations state that this material does not fit their mandate.

Once the commercial releases have been filtered out, stations reported that very few Canadian francophone titles remain which are appropriate for airplay. Since francophone stations are required to meet a 65% requirement for francophone material, the result is a high repetition of an extremely limited repertoire of material, effectively defeating the campus station mandate of diversity. This situation was found to be especially true in smaller francophone markets, where stations suffer from all the disadvantages discussed in the section on small markets.

Respondents from the francophone campus sector attributed their lack of access to suitable Canadian francophone material to a combination of supply and distribution problems; that is, not enough material exists, and much of the appropriate material which does exist is not adequately distributed to campus stations.

In general, program directors from francophone stations affirmed that they were open to programming more Canadian material, and that the only obstacle to this was the lack of access to this material.

2.8 Comparison with other broadcasting sectors

Some of the musical genres appropriate for airplay on campus radio also find some airplay in other sectors of broadcasting such as MuchMusic, MusiquePlus, and the English and French radio networks of the CBC. Representatives of these broadcasters were consulted on the availability of specialty music genres. Their responses were then compared with those of the campus radio sector.

The information gathered indicates that the experience of the campus sector and other broadcasting sectors are similar. On MuchMusic for example, which is recognized as being very supportive of hiphop, they concur that there is not much Canadian hiphop to choose from. They are obviously further limited by the availability of music videos. Their two programs focusing on urban music are only able to achieve about 15% Canadian content per show.

Due to an even greater penury of music video material in Canadian electronica, this genre fares even worse. MuchMusic’s monthly one-hour program on electronic dance music will usually include a maximum of only one Canadian selection.

Staff at the CBC responsible for similar programming to that offered by campus radio agreed in that genres such as electronica and international music, it is difficult to find enough suitable Canadian content to meet requirements.

2.9 Summary

In certain specialty genres of music, especially urban music, electronica, and international music, Canadian material was found to be difficult to access by campus stations. This is partly due to because of the small amount of Canadian material being produced in these genres but also because of the inadequate mechanisms of communication and distribution between the music industry and the campus radio sector.


3 Sources of Canadian music played by campus stations

The second question which the report sets out to answer concerns campus stations’ sources of Canadian music for different genres. This section will first discuss independent labels and artists, followed by a description of the role which individual programmers play in sourcing material. The section concludes with two special cases of Canadian music sources: demo recordings, and music produced by programmers themselves.

3.1 Independent labels and artists

Campus radio’s most important sources of Canadian material are small labels and independent artists from all over the country. As there exists no repertory listing for these artists and labels, campus stations are obliged to seek them out individually. To do this, music directors access a variety of information resources such as print media, word of mouth, and increasingly, the internet. Some written publicity is also received from certain small labels. Obviously, once contact with labels and artists is established, it is relatively easy to maintain. Campus stations indicate that they have built up informal networks over the years, through which they keep in touch with an ever-growing number of established labels.

The majority of music directors polled asserted that they could not afford the time to seek out and contact new labels and artists. A minority reported having time to investigate new independent artists and labels, using resources such as the internet, often with the help of specialty programmers. However, in the majority of cases, the first contact between labels or artists and campus stations is made by the label or artist, not by the stations.

While all of the artists, artist promoters, and record labels contacted were aware that the onus lay with them to inform campus stations of their existence, the smaller labels and independent artists we polled claimed that it is often too difficult or too costly to contact stations and send promotional copies of product. Labels tend to favour stations known to be very strong supporters of the kind of music with which they are involved. Outside of this, however, a communication gap exists which neither party currently has the resources to bridge.

Although servicing from small labels and independent artists does not afford anywhere near complete coverage of the campus sector, it nevertheless remains an important source of Canadian product. One small-market station assessed the proportion of unsolicited material received directly from artists at approximately one third of the total product received.

In general, however, stations agreed that they need to be receiving much more material from independent artists, especially in genres other than rock and folk, and especially from other regions of the country. This was said to be due to insufficient information from Canadian musicians in other cities, as has been discussed in section 2.5.

3.2 Role of individual programmers in sourcing Canadian material

The campus/community sector is unique in that it operates according to a decentralized model of music acquisition. Research and solicitation is not the sole responsibility of music directors, rather, it is also carried out by volunteer programmers who may be more in touch with music sources in specific genres. The degree to which this is the case varies widely according to station, genre, and programmer. In general, direct servicing of programmers by artists was found to be more frequent for local, independent artists. Instances are also more common in under-represented genres such as reggae and electronica, especially when programmers in these genres have better connections within that music scene than do station staff.

Programmers who obtain their own recordings do so in one of two ways: either by buying records at their own expense or by receiving free promotional copies from labels, distributors, or artists. The first method is employed by programmers not fortunate enough to have well-established links with the music industry; one programmer even reported having to travel to larger cities in order to buy specialty recordings.

Invariably in the case of records bought by programmers, and frequently in the case of programmers serviced with promotional copy, it is the programmer, not the radio station, who retains the product. This implies that such recordings are unavailable to other programmers at the station, and that when the programmer who owns the product leaves his or her show, the station no longer has access to those recordings.

This method of obtaining product is obviously highly dependent on personal acquaintance. A reggae programmer in Toronto who receives all of his Canadian material directly from independent artists estimated that he has access only to about 50% of the reggae being produced in Toronto, simply because he has not developed contacts with the rest of this community. Direct servicing to programmers is most effective in the programmer’s own market: the same Toronto-based reggae programmer, for example, reported that he does not receive any material from Montreal.

Some programmers are also artists in their own right, and are acquainted with other musicians in their market who produce similar music. This obviously facilitates the acquisition of promotional copies.

Direct servicing of programmers by independent artists is less common in smaller markets, as was discussed in the section on small market stations.

3.3 Programming devoted to demo-type recordings

Many campus stations, faced with an insufficient supply of recordings by Canadian artists, have implemented a variety of strategies to increase the amount of material available to them by Canadian artists, particularly independent artists. One such strategy is to initiate shows devoted to cassette-only releases, showcasing demo-type recordings solicited by the station and mailed in by independent unsigned artists. One station describe an initiative in which demo cassettes were transferred to CD using recordable CD technology available to the station. The station found this to be an extremely successful strategy: once the material was transferred to compact disc, programmers found it easier and more convenient to play demo material which previously had only been available on cassette. the project was so successful that the CD, which was originally intended only for internal use, went on to be released and distributed commercially by the station.

3.4 Music created by programmers

There is a special case of Canadian music sources in which music, rather than being "obtained" by the station or programmers, is created directly by programmers, either prior to the time of broadcast or live in the broadcast studio. The simplest of these instances involves programmers who are themselves musicians and present musical selections which they have composed themselves.

There are, however, two more complex cases of music created directly by programmers: turntablism and radio art.

3.4.1 Turntablism

Definition

The term "Turntablism" was first coined in 1995 by Christo Macias (DJ Babu) of the Beat Junkies to describe a form of advanced turntable music stemming from hiphop DJing. In 1996, Macias offered the following definition for the form:

My definition of a Turntablist is a person who uses the turntables not to play music, but to manipulate sound and create music.2

The International Turntablism Federation (ITF), the organization which organizes yearly turntablist tournaments, offered a similar description in the same year:

Turntablist: One who uses the phonograph turntable as a component to make music as well as an instrument to literally play music.3

_______________________
2 Interview with Christo Macias, Palo Alto, CA, May 1996, quoted on www.turntablism.com
3 ITF Newsletter, 1996. Quoted on www.turntablism.com

Turntablists perform live on the air as well as in clubs and concert halls. As with other forms of musical expression, turntablism has its own celebrities and top acts who draw large audiences. Turntablism contests and championships are held across the country and around the world. There exists a growing repertoire of commercially available recordings featuring material where the only musicians recorded are turntablists. Contemporary live and recording bands in dance-related genres also sometimes include turntablists alongside traditional musicians like drummers and guitarists.

(See Appendix 6.5 for an article from the website www.turntablism.com describing the history of turntablism and detailing performance techniques used by turntablists.)

3.4.2 DJ Mixing

A definition of DJ mixing as distinct from turntablism is provided here to identify a middle point between turntablism (defined above) and the regular mixing of one track after another for broadcast, such as is heard constantly on all radio stations, campus and otherwise. There are many similarities in tools, techniques, and cultural context between DJ mixing and turntablism, in fact, turntablism as a practice grew out of DJ mixing in the hiphop community. The two techniques should therefore be understood as points along a continuum. It is noted that different programmers situate themselves at different points along this continuum, and that occasionally programmers may integrate elements of both DJ mixing and turntablism in their shows.

Definition

DJ mixing is the presentation of existing recorded material in a creative and musically sensitive way. The techniques used in DJ mixing are not as extreme as turntablists techniques. Some of the more common techniques used in DJ mixing are :

(1) "Beatmixing", that is, synchronizing consecutive tracks rhythmically so that one track passes into the next without disturbing the pulse;

(2) In presenting music to an audience, DJs conceive of a complete "set" of continuous music, having an extended duration of up to an hour or even longer;

(3) In certain types of DJ mixing, the delineation between selections is blurred, using techniques such as beatmixing and very gradual crossfades, such that a listener who had not heard the source material as isolated tracks might not be able to determine where one selection ended and another began;

(4) In some cases, recorded selections as they appear on the original recordings are not used in their entirety; instead, portions of tracks of varying lengths are incorporated into the set based on what is appropriate to the set’s overall flow.

3.4.3 Comparison between Turntablism and DJ Mixing

Whereas turntablism is a form which is most often associated with hiphop culture, DJ mixing is used in a larger range of styles both in electronica (house, techno, electro, trance, etc) and urban music (hiphop, R&B, dancehall reggae). Whereas turntablism modifies existing vinyl recordings sufficiently to be able to speak of the creation of new works of music, DJ mixing is the presentation of existing recorded material in a creative and musically sensitive way. Contrary to turntablists, DJs who practise DJ mixing cannot be said to be composing music or performing material of their own composition.

3.4.4 Radio art

Definition

Radio art is the use of broadcasting technology in a creative or artistic way, as distinct from conventional broadcasting, in which broadcast equipment is used transparently simply as a tool. Typically, radio art pieces arrange fragments of recorded noise, speech, music, and "found sounds" in original or unusual ways. Radio art is a well-established and highly-developed form in many parts of the world. Originating in Germany and France in the nineteen-twenties and thirties, it developed out of radio drama and retained links with that form for many years, eventually leaving behind the narrative element and developing into a purely abstract, sound-based art form. Canada has contributed many pioneers to the form, including such notable artists as Glenn Gould, Hildegard Westerkamp, and R. Murray Schafer.

According to an expert in the Canadian radio art field, the essential premise of radio art is to question the basic assumptions upon which radio broadcasting is formed. The respondent, a producer at the CBC, identified Canadian community and campus stations as a major site of development of the form, particularly since the 1980s.

The definition of radio art poses two concerns. Firstly, since the tools of radio art and regular broadcasting are the same, it is difficult to demarcate where one ends and the other begins. As in the case of turntablism and DJ-mixing, there is no clear-cut line of distinction: rather, various cases of programming are situated at different points along a continuum. The second concern is that radio art pieces cannot always be considered to be musical selections. This is not surprising considering the experimental nature of radio art form.

3.4.5 Turntablism, DJ Mixing, and Radio Art on campus radio stations

Ten campus stations were polled on whether their programming currently includes turntablism, DJ mixing, or radio art.

Two of these stations broadcast programs which regularly feature live turntablism, while one occasionally hosts guest turntablists and another has a turntablist in training. DJ mixing, however, was found to be much more widespread: almost all the stations polled reported programmers who practise DJ mixing regularly on their shows.

Of the ten stations polled, three reported carrying radio art programming on a weekly basis, while two others indicated having had such programming in the past. Another two stations featured radio art on an occasional basis, either involving occasional invitations of guest artists or in the context of special programming projects.

3.5 Summary

Independent labels and artists were found to be the principal source of Canadian music for the campus sector. In addition, it was found that this sector uses several unique methods of obtaining Canadian material not in use by the other sectors of broadcasting, including decentralized structures of music research, and programming devoted to demo recordings, turntablism, and radio art.


4 Access to campus stations by Canadian musicians

The final section of the study examines the question of whether Canadian musicians and artists who produce music appropriate for campus radio stations feel they have reasonable access to campus radio stations. This section consists of a series of comments from a sample of representatives of the music industry, including artists, artist promoters, record labels and distributors, concert promoters, music festival organizers, music associations, and music publications. The respondents polled represent markets from across the country, and reflect all of the major genres which campus radio plays. A detailed breakdown of sources consulted in all sections of the study is found in Appendix 6.8.

As noted above, artists who were themselves associated with campus stations were disqualified from responding to this question, however, in smaller markets, the small size of specialty music scenes often meant that all the artists found had some involvement with the local campus station.

4.1 General comments

Most respondents felt that campus radio offers more than reasonable access to musicians. All of the artists, labels, and distributors contacted, indicated at least some level of support from campus radio. This applies to all genres of music played by the campus sector, both those styles with which it has long been associated (such as alternative rock, folk, jazz, and blues) and those which have emerged within the lifespan of community radio (for example hiphop and electronica).

Some respondents considered the campus sector as the primary radio outlet for genres such as electronica, jazz, alternative rock, and metal. Other respondents placed campus radio’s contribution on an equal footing with the CBC, especially for international music, jazz, contemporary classical, and folk/acoustic music. Several representatives of emerging Canadian industries such as urban and electronica cited the support of campus radio (along with that of MuchMusic in the case of urban) as essential to the development of that genre in Canada.

Without exception, small record labels and distributors with diverse catalogues were impressed by the degree of flexibility offered by the campus radio format. Respondents reported that each of their artists can depend on support from at least one programmer at each campus station. Labels, distributors and independent artists who are likely to receive airplay from both campus radio and the CBC commented that they appreciate the flexibility of campus radio’s format, enabling promotion of their material in a greater variety of ways than with the CBC.

4.2 Comments from "underground" artists

The less commercially viable the music, the more important an outlet campus radio represents. An electronica artist stated that while commercial radio has begun playing some electronica and urban music in some markets, the material still considered to be "underground" continues to have no other outlet than campus and community radio and, very occasionally, the CBC.

Within every musical genre, there exists a population of musicians who entertain no hopes of major commercial success. These artists gravitate naturally towards campus radio because of the freedom it offers from questions of commercial viability.

4.3 Comments from local musicians

Independent artists asked to evaluate their access to campus stations in their home market answered that the most enthusiastic support generally came from campus stations in their home market. The contribution of many campus stations in presenting or co-presenting local music events such as concerts, festivals, and conferences was cited as valuable. Regarding stations in other markets, artists complained that it was often difficult to determine whether or not their releases had been played, however for stations in the local market, the evaluation was extremely positive.

4.4 Comments from musicians on tour

Four artists who have repeatedly toured across Canada considered campus stations an extremely valuable media resource, having always encountered very positive responses at all of the campus stations they visited on the road. This was especially the case for musical genres other than alternative rock and pop. Two artists in genres other than rock/pop stated that every station they’d ever visited was "literally hungry" for their material. Their assessment was that while campus radio stations receive plenty of alternative rock, there is a shortage of supply in many other genres, especially from other parts of the country. In general, any lack of exposure for Canadian product was ascribed to the difficulties artists or labels experienced in distributing their product to other regions, rather than an unwillingness on the part of stations in those other regions to play the product when it was received.

4.5 Comments regarding favouritism on the part of campus broadcasters

Respondents were asked whether favouristism played a large role in campus programming. They were asked to comment on whether non-Canadian musicians were favoured over Canadian ones, whether friends and acquaintances were favoured over artists not known to programmers, and whether name recognition was a factor in programming.

4.5.1 Non-Canadian vs. Canadian

Most respondents did not feel that Canadian artists were unfairly disadvantaged by campus programmers. Where preference was given to non-Canadian artists, most respondents acknowledged that this was due to superior quality of music and not to prejudice against "home-grown" talent.

Two respondents disagreed with this view: one who detected a certain measure of unfair prejudice against Canadian artists in the field of international music (the respondent’s area of expertise) and another who felt very strongly that campus radio’s lack of support for the reggae scene in his market was very damaging, causing artists to move away or to stop making music altogether. He cited several cases of musicians leaving the city and establishing themselves successfully outside of Canada. He also stated that once these artists had become successful away from home, campus radio did start taking notice of them and presenting their music. The musician went on to say, however, that over the last year or two the situation has improved considerably, to the point that local artists are now routinely heard on campus radio in his market. However he still felt that those who are presenting music in certain specialty genres are not sufficiently knowledgeable about the music.

4.5.2 "Clique" programming

Respondents were asked whether certain local musicians ever get shut out of campus radio airwaves due to a "clique" mentality, whereby where programmers give preference to material produced by friends and acquaintances. Only one individual from the hiphop scene agreed that this was ever the case: in his assessment, approximately 20% of the time. The rest of the time, artists’ material was not aired for justifiable reasons of quality of music. Although these are admittedly matters of some subjectivity, the respondent felt that in the genre for which he was speaking (hiphop), programmer tastes were reasonably representative of listener tastes.

4.5.3 Name recognition

A sizeable number of respondents felt that campus broadcasters have a tendency to attach too much importance to name recognition, i.e. certain artists and certain labels whose names are well-established in the campus radio milieu are essentially guaranteed airplay for any new material they release. Of the thirteen labels questioned, five mentioned this phenomenon.

4.6 Comments regarding station staff

Respondents had a number of things to say about their communication with station staff. These involved communication with station staff, music director biases, high staff turnover at campus stations, and loss of recorded material from station libraries.

4.6.1 Developing relationships with station staff

It was agreed that for station staff to actively solicit material from new artists was the exception rather than the rule, especially for independent artists who are often hard to track down. The onus is on these artists to ensure that product makes it to the stations.

Artists and labels recognized that to simply send a promotional product to a campus station will not guarantee it airplay. They stated that for stations that are almost exclusively non-playlisted, the decision as to whether or not material will be given airplay comes down to individual programmers. Questions of taste are bound to influence programming, but this was understood as unavoidable and "the luck of the draw".

Artists, artist promoters and record labels recognized that in order to obtain strong support for their product, they needed to develop relationships with station staff and especially with individual programmers, as ultimately it is they who determine what music will be aired. Some of those contacted expressed that it was well worth investing this time in order to obtain better cooperation from the stations, while others questioned the worth of such an endeavour given campus radio’s often limited listenership. In addition, it was indicated that campus radio was far and away the most open sector of media for Canadian musicians, particularly new and emerging ones. One artist, who also operates a small record label, assessed that any Canadian band which promotes its material intelligently will receive considerable airplay, and that even groups which do not promote their product will get played a few times, simply by virtue of campus radio’s commitment to exposing emerging Canadian artists.

4.6.2 Music director bias

In the view of two respondents from record distribution companies, the top 40 charts (which are compiled on a weekly basis by music directors) are often not reflective of airplay. Both respondents agreed that many charts are biased towards alternative music or occasionally urban music, even at stations which devote significant airtime to other genres. The respondents alleged that some music directors, rather than compile charts which are purely reflective of airplay, skew them in favour of alternative rock or urban music, at the expense of other genres (including international music, folk/acoustic, and country music) which are not considered a priority. Another factor contributing to inaccurate top 40 charts might be that international music is programmed not from the station’s library but from the programmers’ personal collection. Music directors often do not consider programmer-owned product when compiling the charts.

4.6.3 High turnover as a hindrance to access

Another complaint was the high turnover rate of music directors, making it difficult for labels, distributors and promoters to establish long-term links with stations. One of the artist promoters contacted, as well as two of the record labels, stated that they prefer to liaise with specialty programmers, who tend to remain at stations for periods of years, rather than music directors whose tenures are relatively short.

4.6.4 Loss of recordings

This was a very common complaint, mentioned by several respondents. They indicated that recordings frequently go missing from campus stations’ record libraries, either because of theft of material or poor organization on the part of station administration. This was cited as a significant obstacle for artists who cannot afford to supply duplicate promo copies. Some distributors have now taken the step of ceasing to service the music directors or librarians at some stations, sending copies to individual programmers instead.

4.7 Limited "spins"

Some artists were frustrated by the fact that the amount of airplay which one can receive on campus radio is very low in comparison to commercial radio, which routinely plays material on a daily basis for a period of weeks. Two respondents commented on the eclectic and spread-out nature of campus programming, as well as its very low repeat factor. They concluded from this that campus radio does not have the capacity of breaking an individual artist into the mainstream. Most respondents, however, recognized that the eclectic nature of campus reflects the fragmented nature of the record business in the post-grunge era, and that breaking artists is not part of campus radio’s mandate; that it instead attempts to introduce listeners to new musical styles, in effect breaking genres rather than individual artists.

4.8 Summary

In general, it was found that the campus radio sector currently fulfils its mandate of offering access to airwaves for small independent artists. However, several areas were identified as needing some improvement.


5 Conclusions

The findings of the study indicate several obstacles to the availability of Canadian music in genres which campus radio plays. The sector’s mandate to play music not heard in the mainstream dictates that it devote programming to musical genres which are still new and rare to Canadian audiences and producers. Stations were found to have difficulty in finding material in a number of genres, particularly urban, electronica, and international music.

Stations rely predominantly on small, marginal music sources which have insufficient promotional resources to cover the entire campus sector. These shortcomings tend to affect small market stations the most. Francophone campus stations suffer from even greater restrictions because of their additional 65% requirement for francophone content and the low availability of non-mainstream francophone material.

It was determined that the low availability of specialty genres was due to two major factors: a lack of material being produced in specialty genres, and insufficient channels of communication and distribution engendering a lack of knowledge about Canadian releases on the part of many campus stations. Faced with these difficulties in obtaining sufficient Canadian material, campus stations are obliged to repeat Canadian selections at rates inconsistent with the rest of their programming, rates considered to be too high by campus programmers and staff.

Radio stations are currently attempting to surmount problems of inadequate supply by developing alternative means of accessing material, in particular by decentralizing the task from music directors towards volunteers with greater expertise in the specialty genres of Canada’s increasingly diverse music industry. In addition, stations are starting to look to their long-standing radio art programming and more recent turntablist shows as offering ways of meeting Canadian content regulations. Upon examination, these two types of programming were found to be by no means negligible elements of the Canadian campus radio landscape.

The opinion given by artists and other members of the music industry show that campus radio is dedicated to supporting Canadian artists. Musicians do encounter certain obstacles to access, largely related to the structure and functioning of campus stations. However, the consensus among artists and other respondents was that they generally enjoy reasonable access to the campus sector.

Based on these findings, one may conclude that once the availability and distribution problems in specialty genres improve, the sector will be open to programming more Canadian material in all genres.

 


Table 6.1

Canadian product counts, 1995-1998, by genre

1995

1996

1997

1998

Pop/Rock

342

332

320

Country/Folk

152

152

136

Blues

20

25

36

Classical

74

52

30

Jazz

54

73

49

Traditional/Celtic

21

24

41

World music

25

30

33

Urban music

  a) R&B/Soul

23

16

25

35

  b) Rap/Hiphop

13

9

22

20

  c) Reggae/Ska

11

11

18

11

Total - urban music

47

36

65

66

Electronica

  Dance

71

65

101

61

  Electronic

27

24

39

25

Total - electronica

98

89

140

86

Source: Canadian Music Industry Database

 


Table 6.2

 

FACTOR:
Comparative analysis of funding applications
submitted and approved
by genre


Year ending March 31, 1997

Genre

Projects submitted

Projects approved

#

000 $

%

#

000 $

%

alternative

199

1,031

14.9%

50

421

18.8%

children's

14

145

2.1%

6

63

2.8%

classical

28

230

3.3%

11

85

3.8%

country

114

663

9.6%

32

211

9.4%

dance

86

367

5.3%

23

67

3.0%

easy listening

92

499

7.2%

22

170

7.6%

jazz

58

400

5.8%

13

64

2.9%

pop

295

1,646

23.8%

84

524

23.4%

reggae

15

81

1.2%

7

38

1.7%

rock

85

360

5.2%

13

45

2.0%

roots

135

1,132

16.4%

46

439

19.6%

worldbeat

39

353

5.1%

13

116

5.2%

other

1

8

0.1%

0

0

0.0%

Total

1161

6,915

100.0%

320

2,243

100.0%


Year ending March 31, 1998

Genre

Projects submitted

Projects approved

#

000 $

%

#

000 $

%

alternative

223

1,284

11.8%

47

278

8.3%

children's

25

182

1.7%

6

39

1.2%

classical

84

498

4.6%

24

118

3.5%

country

122

990

9.1%

41

392

11.6%

dance

107

1,014

9.3%

33

198

5.9%

easy listening

102

763

7.0%

24

264

7.8%

jazz

90

755

6.9%

29

248

7.4%

pop

414

2,374

21.8%

108

645

19.2%

reggae

33

285

2.6%

15

100

3.0%

rock

116

695

6.4%

27

154

4.6%

roots

215

1,584

14.5%

67

649

19.3%

worldbeat

50

479

4.4%

25

281

8.3%

Total

1581

10,903

100.0%

446

3,366

100.0%

Source: FACTOR

Notes to Table 6.2

The figures shown are aggregates obtained from the following 5 FACTOR programmes:

 


Table 6.3

 

Musicaction:

Comparative analysis of funding applications
submitted and approved
by genre

Genre

Year ending March 31, 1996

Year ending March 31, 1997

 

Submitted

Approved

Submitted

Approved

rock-pop

256

54.2%

93

49.7%

263

52.1%

113

57.7%

adulte contemporain

79

16.7%

31

16.6%

100

19.8%

44

22.4%

rock alternatif

26

5.5%

4

2.1%

36

7.1%

10

5.1%

classique

24

5.1%

18

9.6%

32

6.3%

7

3.6%

instrumentale

11

2.3%

1

0.5%

3

0.6%

1

0.5%

folklore

4

0.8%

1

0.5%

14

2.8%

12

6.1%

jazz

12

2.5%

8

4.3%

11

2.2%

3

1.5%

musique du monde

9

1.9%

1

0.5%

11

2.2%

1

0.5%

country

33

7.0%

20

10.7%

10

2.0%

0

0.0%

rap

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

1

0.2%

1

0.5%

nouvel-‰ge

2

0.4%

0

0.0%

8

1.6%

2

1.0%

enfants

11

2.3%

9

4.8%

3

0.6%

2

1.0%

autres

5

1.1%

1

0.5%

13

2.6%

0

0.0%

Total

472

 

187

 

505

 

196

 
Source: Musicaction

Notes to Table 6.3

The figures shown are aggregates obtained from the following 5 Musicaction programmes:

 


Appendix 6.8

Breakdown of sources consulted

Artists

By genre:

1 experimental noise

1 reggae

2 electronica

2 rock

1 folk

1 hiphop

By city:

2 Halifax

1 Québec City

2 Montréal

1 Ottawa

2 Toronto

Total artists:

8

Artist promoters

1 rock/pop

1 international

1 urban

Total artist promoters:

3

Concert promoters and festival organizers

3 Toronto

1 Ottawa

1 International

2 Jazz

1 Urban

Total concert promoters and festival organizers:

4

Record labels

1 electronica, Québec

1 alternative rock/metal, Ontario

1 multinational label, Toronto

1 international, B.C.

1 experimental/audio art, Québec

2 hiphop, Ontario

1 jazz, Québec

1 hiphop, Halifax

1 electronica, Ontario

1 hiphop/pop, Québec

1 rock, Montréal

Total record labels:

12

Record distributors

1 electronica, Québec

1 world/, BC

1 , Québec

1 ,Québec

1 ,Ontario

Total record distributors:

5

Independent associations of musicians or labels

ADISQ

CIRPA

SOPREF

Total associations:

3

Funding organizations

Canada council, sound recording program

FACTOR

Musicaction

Total funding organizations:

3

Record stores

1 independent record store, urban/electronica, Toronto

1 independent record store, electronica/alternative, Ottawa

Total record stores:

2

Publications and journalists

1 Electronica

1 General

1 Contemporary classical/radio art

1 Jazz

1 Urban

Total publications and journalists:

5

Campus programmers

By genre:

1 Blues

2 Reggae

1 Country

4 Hiphop

2 Jazz

3 Electronica

1 Metal

1 Industrial/gothic

1 Garage

By city:

2 Victoria

1 Toronto

2 Fredericton

2 Ottawa

2 Halifax

4 Hamilton

2 Calgary

2 Montréal

Total campus programmers:

17

Campus Music directors

1 Kingston

1 St. John's

1 Toronto

2 Ottawa

1 Charlottetown

1 Hamilton

2 Montréal

1 Vancouver

1 Fredericton

1 Edmonton

1 Calgary

1 Halifax

1 Trois-Rivières

Total campus music directors:

15

Campus Program directors

1 Victoria

1 Sackville

1 Toronto

1 Fredericton

2 Ottawa

1 Hamilton

2 Montréal

1 Edmonton

1 Calgary

1 Trois-Rivières

Total campus program directors:

12

Campus Station managers

1 Victoria

1 Sackville

1 St. John's

1 Fredericton

1 Hamilton

1 Calgary

1 Montréal

Total campus station managers:

7

Representatives of other broadcasting sectors

4 CBC (electronica, alternative, world, contemporary classical)

1 MuchMusic

Total, other broadcasters:

5

Total number of sources contacted:

101