Pay attention, Canadians. If you organize a parade, run a karaoke bar, want background music in your restaurant or other establishment, plan a public event of any kind (including weddings), play recorded music at a festival or fair or exhibition, or crank up the tunes at an outside event in a park or any public area, add one more cost to the list: music. With a new ruling that is retroactive to 2008, the music licensing picture just got even more complicated.
Anyone who uses recorded music publicly already pays (or is supposed to) licensing fees to SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada). Artists license their works through SOCAN and then receive royalties based on fees collected by the copyright collective.
Now music users will have to pony up a second set of fees and send them off to Re:Sound. That is the non-profit given the task of collecting and policing the new fees. Well, after all, the extra money tacked onto the purchase of blank CDs and DVDs has to be distributed. You may remember that money is being collected to compensate all the victims of music pirating.
Individual charges are not high. A bar with karaoke three days a week will pay $86.06 annually. An exhibition that draws up to 25,000 people will pay only $8.39. A wedding with up to 100 guests will pay $9.25, unless the guests dance, in which case they will pay $18.51.
Realistically, for all but a handful of successful musicians, money and music are pretty much strangers. So on the face of things, for the Copyright Board of Canada to add another point of payment for struggling artists is a reasonable idea. After all, the sound guy who runs the music through the system gets paid. So should the artist.
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