UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The music industry and Canadian national identity Duffett, Mark 1993

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_1993_fall_duffett_mark.pdf [ 10.47MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0302127.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0302127-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0302127-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0302127-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0302127-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0302127-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0302127-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND CANADIAN NATIONAL IDENTITYbyMARK DUFFETTB.A., Oxford University, 1991A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Geography)We accept this thesis as conformingTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIASeptember 1993© Mark Duffett, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature) Department of  GeographyThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate^25 September 1993DE-6 (2/88)Abstract The links between national identity and the music industryin Canada are too diverse to be understood with anysimplistic model of the nation. In early twentieth centuryItaly Ahtonio Gramsci examined the consumption of serializedstories written by foreigners. He developed an view ofpopular culture which focussed upon the role of the State inmaintaining national unity. Since the federal State inCanada has intervened in the country's music business inrecent years, Gramsci's schema provides us with a usefulframework for that case. Moreover, his work avoids anorchestrated view of the nation or a narrow specification ofthe contents of culture. It allows us to take a view thatCanadian culture is whatever Canadian's choose to write.Due -to its inductive beginnings and theoreticalshortcomings, the schema is not applied rigidly to musicmade by Canadians. Rather it has been kept on the sidelinesto explore representations of Canadian music, thebroadcasting, sound recording and concert promotionindustries, and finally the future of music made in Canada.Gramsci's schema is one way to distinguish between thecause and uses of the nation in particular arguments. Hisideas also explain why popular culture matters, withoutspecifying its content or giving it artificial coherence. Aframework is provided which admits that, in a society basedupon exchange, the nation is fully implicated within a widersocial fabric, so frequently cultural differences cannot besimplistically aligned with national borders. It allows usto reject essentialist nationalism and therefore thepossibility of using the nation as a reason to suggestCanadian musicians are falling short, by not doing somethingdifferent from their foreign counterparts. In its place theschema enables us to celebrate Canadian artists for whatthey have done in contributing to a wider sphere, and allowsus to praise environments in which Canadian talent can berecognized and allowed to grow, whatever forms it takes.Table of Contents AbstractTable of Contents^ ivList of TablesList of Figures^ viAcknowledgments viiChapter One^Introduction^ 1Chapter Two^Sounds Canadian 39Chapter Three^Cancon: Doing It For You?^83Chapter Four^Playing The Game^ 121Chapter Five^Going Down Like A Song^ 163Chapter Six^Conclusion^ 211Glossary 235Bibliography^ 238Appendix 1^Quebec As A Strong Region?^ 246Appendix 2^Changes In CRTC Radio Regulations.^253Appendix 3^CPI, Molsons and Labatts in the 1980s.^254Appendix 4^The History Of Awards In Canada.^256ivList of Tables TABLE TITLE PAGE1. Early artists on CBC-TV shows 572. Some differences between Canadian Hoser rockbands 713. The popularity of different radio formats inCanada 954. Comparisons between Bryan Adams and other acts 1045. The success of FACTOR applicants in differentprojects 1526. The differences between FACTOR and VideoFACT 1587. Junos are chosen by different groups 200List of Figures FIGURE^TITLE^ PAGE1. The National Popular within cultural hegemony^162. The relationship between the State, broadcastingand sound recording industries in Canada^1473. A poster advertisement for the Great CanadianParty^ 185viAcknowledgments I would like to thank the following people for givingrecorded interviews, many of which lasted over an hour. Mostof them made it clear that they were giving personalperspectives rather than acting as representatives of theirorganizations and enterprises (which are listed in thebibliography); so I would like all readers to bear this inmind. They made doing this work both possible and enjoyable:Susan Alexander, Jeff Bateman, Dale Buote, Lynn Burshtein,Bruce Fairbairn, Warren Gill, Jim "JJ" Johnston, SharonKelly, Martin Laba, Ben Mink, Terry David Mulligan, IanNobel, Ellie O'Day, Don Osborn, Brad Phillips, JulieThorburn, Jamie Ufton, Alfie Williams.The following people were kind enough to render variousservices: Joanne Faloona (Warner Music Canada), WalterHardwick (Dept. of Geography, UBC), Catherine McLaren(Nettwerk Records), Barry McPherson (Molsons), Stacy Warren(Dept. of Geography EWU).Also I would like to thank the following for giving mehelpful written information: Marni D'Attanasio, Daisy Falle,Rhian Gittins, Elliot Lefko, Nony Raskin.Finally I would like to especially thank my supervisor DanHiebert, David Ley and other committee members at UBC, myfamily in England, Colin Hunt and Kelly Johnson. ObviouslyI'm thinking about you.VIIChapter One Introduction "Hip hop, Doo wop, got to rock this difference in." - 54.401At first sight the sheer availability of popular musicsuggests that, due to its ubiquitous presence and universalaudience, rock is a form of culture alienated from anygeographical context.2 Musical styles, such as reggae, whichhave traditionally been associated with people of particularplaces and cultures now appear in record shops virtuallyanywhere in the world. This suggests that popular music is arootless global commodity and so it becomes relevant to askwhether there is anything about the music which cancontribute to particular place-bound cultures. As music alsoexists in a wide system of exchange, we can also askwhether, and in what senses, it is reasonable to considerrock music as an agent of cultural imperialism.It could be contended that arguments claiming the ubiquityof rock fail to consider that popular music arrives from aspecific geography of production and contributes to anotherspecific geography of exchange and consumption. In fact ifwe choose to consider music industries at the national1 From the song 'Nice To Luv You' on their album 'Dear,Dear' (Sony Music Canada 1992).2 I am using the term rock here, like Grossberg (1992) toapply to any type of popular music, although I realize thatmusically it means something more specific. Also the wordsact, artist and sometimes band have been usedinterchangeably for variety.1scale, we find that countries are in various predicaments.The political economy emerging from Canada's geographicconfiguration is a key reason that the country's musicindustry, like many other cultural industries, suffers frombeing both regionally fragmented and globally marginal.Given that current industrial predicament, the potential forCanada's music industry in helping to build a nationalculture is questionable. The central goal of this work is toconsider what has been done in spite of the country'sdifficulties. Thus an outline of the environment for makingmusic in Canada and the attempts of the federal State toinfluence it form the first parts of the introduction. Theway in which other people have studied the situation isaccordingly explained and finally a new theoreticallyinformed approach, based upon one aspect of the writings ofthe Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, is suggested.Although this work primarily focuses upon the nationalpredicament of music made and heard by Canadians, it isworth introducing the question of regional cultures brieflyto consider how much they detract from the possibility ofCanadian citizens forming a sense of identity with musicbased at a larger scale. The existence of regional cultureswithin capitalism societies means that questions concerninghow they affect national unity, culture, and resourceallocation in the music industry become important. Keyissues include how much of the State is organized on a2regional level, the size of imbalances between differentregions, and what the federal State is doing for the regionswhich could upset its wider project of national unity. Musicplayed and heard in Canada arrives from a specific geographyof production which is unevenly developed. Consequentlyquestions of cultural homogeneity and the openness ofparticular regions, and the spatial distribution ofresources in entertainment industries, are worth raising inany study of the nation's popular culture. The country'ssmall, scattered population and vast, regionally entrenchedgeography matters not just as an obstacle to touring bands.The bulk of the music industry is located in and aroundToronto. The city not only receives many of the resourcesallocated• for the music industry, and arts funding ingeneral in Canada, but it also puts particular slants uponthe way Canadian music is recognized and interpreted.Furthermore the strong lobbying power of Quebec allows thatprovince to be recognized as a separate society in federalarts policies, which results in special treatment. So whenwe discuss 'national' policies, resources, talent pools oranything similar, where the main beneficiaries reside andother such facts of location must be taken intoconsideration.While discordant regions may be an internal threat toCanada's unity, because the country's music industry issituated within a wider fabric of global exchange, the3consequent predicament of Canadian musicians is an equallysignificant cause for concern. Specifically the productionof music exists in nothing approaching a free market: thepower of foreign record labels run as branches of largercorporations (and called majors), State intervention, andthe underwriting of concerts by large corporations are someof the. factors which make this term inapplicable. Oneexample relates to serving of the consumer market forrecordings in Canada. Canadian independent record companieshave much smaller promotional budgets than majors basedoutside the country. While the domination of the Canadianrecord buying market by external majors (and their artists)may be a consequence of consumer preferences, the market isuneven because the majors are in a position to dominate andthey help construct those preferences in the first place. Tocomplicate matters further both Canadian artists and labelsare facilitated by the major labels.After the Dutch, Canadians are the second highest recordbuyers per head of population in the world (Can. Composerno.229, 1988, p.20). Yet, with a population of around 27million, they form only 3% of the global market for popularmusic (D. Osborn, pers. comm.). South of the 49th parallelthe USA has a population ten times bigger, one which speaksthe same language and forms the world's largest nationalmarket for popular music. By 1987 record sales in the USAtotalled over $8 billion in comparison to around $1 billion4in Canada (Can. Business v.60/10, 1987, p.32). Inevitably, amuch larger recording and broadcasting industry hasdeveloped to serve the US market.If we choose to see culture in national terms, then oneavenue is to consider different frameworks for appraisingthe relationships between national cultures. Structuralimperialism is the idea that one country's culture canpenetrate another territory solely because the invadingcountry controls a larger, more capitalized machinery ofmedia and cultural production. The idea specifies thatculture is materially transmitted but ignores its content.However, the empirical circumstances outlined above (afragmented, small domestic market) mean that for Canadianartists to release records and promote them abroad is morethan a temptation; it is an economic necessity. SinceCanadian musicians and other cultural producers see the USAas a target market, they may have to tailor their work tothe tastes of foreign listeners. Furthermore the US marketnot only affects the production of Canadian music itself,but also the consumption of such music within Canada.Concerns about national identity have prompted the Canadianfederal State to address structural weaknesses in itscountry's cultural industries. One seminal body furtheringthis process was the Massey Commission, which reported on5the basis of^a series of surveys, hearings and briefsbetween 1949 and 1951.3According to Litt (1991, p.380) not only were theCommission's hearings dominated by "intellectuals, culturalbureaucrats, artists and voluntary associations" but "thecommissioners themselves were drawn exclusively from whatcould be called Canada's cultural elite". To reinforce theirparticular view of what the nation should support in Canada,the notion of popular culture as being an American cancerwas taken up from the USA. The main thrust came from theAmerican middle class Left studying their nation's popularculture, whose discourse became an export commodity, takenup by Canadians, then the British a little later.4 At MasseyCommission hearings, organizations representing Canada'scultural community blamed America for a lack of identityNorth of the US border, as both countries shared a continentand language, but the USA had economies of scale. It wasargued that having a large national market meant USprogrammers could specialize in techniques to increaseratings. The fact that niche markets could also be targetedwas ignored in attempts to portray US popular culture asmonolithic. High culture was conflated with Canadian3 Information on the Massey Commission used here is drawnfrom Litt (1991).4 One classic text from Britain based on these ideas wasRichard Hoggart's The Uses of Literacy (1957; see Hebdidge,1988, p.50).6culture, so to be recognized as Canadian culture anyactivity had to be highbrow. Litt (1991, p.381) hassuggested "Cultural elitism buttressed nationalism byproviding it with a distinct• identity and a conviction ofmoral superiority. For the cultural elite, on the otherhand, nationalism offered the popular appeal necessary toovercome public suspicions of elite culture. It was a potentideological brew."The Massey Commission's report assumed that Canada couldset an example to the USA and that cultural elitism was aworthy way to build a nation. The first paradox created wasthat ideologically the elite of America were more associatedwith the particular way in which Canadian nationalismdeveloped than working class Canadians were, while thesecond was that average citizens appeared to have acontradictory response since they were both nationalist andfervent consumers of American popular culture. Elites inCanada walked a fine line between blaming the masses forbetrayal and co-opting the cause of the nation for their ownchosen projects. However, if the Massey Commission playedupon a kind of hiatus in national identity, within thecountry Canadians had always had some of their own popularpleasures. One crucial example has been Hockey Night InCanada, a weekly institution (dating back over thirtyyears) and traditionally the most popular television programin the country (Woods, 1983, p.299).7Some of the cultural policies formed in recognition of theMassey Commission's findings were unusual in that theyactively set up (rather than passively preserved) culturalinstitutions in the face of perceived US penetration. TheMassey Commission persuaded the government to subsidizeCanadian arts at a time of prevalent post war growth andwith an ethic of Keynesianism. The Commission wantedagencies at arm's length from the state to encourage andbuild but not direct and specify Canadian culture.Additional federal funding for the country's universities,the Canada Council and extended public broadcasting wereamongst the results. Thus early cultural policies bothconserved some institutions and actively constructed others.The actions of the Massey Commission may have facilitatededucation and television broadcasting, and promoted minorityand high cultures, but they avoided pop music. If thosecitizens influencing the Massey Commission saw high cultureas the only form of Canadian cultural expression worthy ofsupport, then their policy implied that anything perceivedas both foreign and a form of popular culture, such as rock,was an unsuitable way to build the nation.Difficulties latent in this way of thinking werehighlighted when commercial television became regulated toincrease Canadian content following the 1958 BroadcastingAct. Cheap Canadian quiz shows were generally popular and8increased audience ratings (Maclean's v.75/3, 1962, p.54).Yet, although the shows had been made in Canada and becamepopular, they were frowned upon since their contents did notassociate Canada with high quality programming (Maclean'sv.83/4, 1970, p.111). Consequently the Fowler Commission wasestablished to investigate Canadian broadcasting. In 1965that Commission argued that Canada's public broadcaster, theCBC, had to shoulder too much of the weight of the nation byitself, especially in the context of competition from anarray of private broadcasters.5 Designating the airwaves aspublic property and the broadcasting system as a unifiedfield could balance competition between the CBC and otherstations (Russell, 1966, p.261). In a climate of centennialnationalism, discussions peaked and in 1968 the newBroadcasting Act was established. As a result it allowed anew arms-length state body, the Canadian Radio-Televisionand Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to be created. In1971 the CRTC began a radio regulation which specified thata proportion of selections played on air had to be Canadianin content. It became popularly known as 'Cancon'.While the CRTC's radio regulations were for any kind ofmusic (classical, traditional or popular) on radio, they defacto marked the first step towards supporting aspecifically Canadian popular culture in relation to music.5 CBC stands for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.9They formed a way to encourage the replacement of importswith home product, and could potentially allow Canadian rockin general to improve upon its marginal predicament. Perhapsmore importantly, they were also a recognition of thelobbying power of an embryonic music industry at the time(Yorke, 1971). If the Canadian music industry has becomeimplicated within a national project, especially since theend of the 1960s, it is important to explore therelationship between music and the nation.This thesis aims to explore the social relations aroundmusic production and consumption in a context ofnationalism. It looks at how facts of mattering have begunto alter matters of fact. As such, it is more selectivethan anything claiming to be an objective report on themusic industry in Canada. Concern here focuses on disputesover how Canadians are represented, who claims the right tospeak for the nation, who qualifies who as 'Canadian' and towhat that gives them access. A grounding consideration istherefore to clarify who is influencing whom by using thename of the nation and what reasons exist for them to do so.Each chapter highlights a different industry integral to theproduction and consumption of music in Canada and its exportabroad. These industries form the grounds for debatebecause they are terrains of struggle over which the contentand use of national identity are negotiated.1 0Academic sources in this particular area are relativelyscarce. Outside the country, Canadian music or the industrybehind it has rarely been examined, except by a smallhandful of researchers specifically looking at nations onthe margin of large markets (Wallace and Maim, 1984).However, since it is an area of concern in Canada, theempirical predicament of national culture in general hasbeen studied widely. Yet it is only recently that academicshave paid serious attention to the music industry, ratherthan other media such as television and film. So far thework produced (Grant, 1986; Wright, 1988; and severalarticles in Cultural Studies v.3/5, 1991) has beenexploratory and, with a few exceptions (Gill, 1993;Shepherd, 1993) lacking theoretical foundations. In factsome of it has been distinctly essentialist in tone, meaningthat it expressed the idea that Canadian music has anessence which determines that it should be a particular way.Such studies assume that Canadian music has a unifyingquality and search for that sound, only to encounterdefinitional difficulties. For example ex-video jockeyLaurie Brown wrote an essentialist piece about Canadianmusic for the journal Cultural Studies. She argued "country-flavoured pop is essentially Canadian pop music" (1991,p.351). Brown then had to extend the definition musically1 1and exclude certain acts.6 Consequently the work insultedcertain musicians by making a particular (re)definition ofCanadian identity and assuming the US owns all popularformulas. Brown went on to say about Quebec,"disappointingly, much of their own pop music is in English"(p.352). This phrase acted to restrict what some people inQuebec could feel comfortable doing because it imposed theauthor's own disappointments on to fellow citizens. In suchways material for academic audiences based upon an ethos ofuncritical nationalism often contain the biases of popularwriting, and they are often less informed and more obviouslyproject orientated than popular sources. The aim of thisthesis is not to place Canadian bands uncritically uponessentialist scales which rate them as more or lessCanadian, since the whole point is to demystify that way ofthinking as supporting a narrow and unfair project ofnational identification. Seeking out the betrayers anddefenders of national identity is also a flawed exercisebecause it could be argued that the notion of nationalidentity is itself a fluid one.Even the more heartening and well informed academic workon the Canadian music industry comes to an impasse becauseit cannot justify supporting Canadian culture. For example6 "The Band took the music of the folk scene and soaked itin Arkansas rock ... [other] people [Loverboy, The Spoons,Honeymoon Suite] had no Canadian voice at all; they weremade to fit the US formula" (Brown, 1991, p.351).12Wright (1991, p.310) attacked William Watson's analysisNational Pastimes: the economics of Canadian leisure (1988)because it used the essentialist idea of "Canadianess" tovet the material produced as a way of measuring theefficiency of Cancon. However, Wright (1991, p.315) went onto celebrate protectionism for increasing the "volume andrange of Canadian recorded product available for Canadianconsumers" without saying why that fact is important. Worksuch as Wright's borders on a structural imperialistposition and so reaches an impasse because it specifies thatculture is materially transmitted but ignores its contents.Writing in early twentieth century Italy, Antonio Gramsciexamined popular culture and the nation. Rick Gruneau (1988,p.17) has suggested that since "representations of Nationwere fundamental to the social and cultural struggles of the1960s and 1970s and were sometimes articulated insurprisingly progressive ways", it is odd that Gramsci'sideas have not been taken up in studies of popular culturein Canada. It could be argued that Gramsci's conception ofthe National Popular provides a useful framework for thescrutiny of the predicament of popular music made byCanadians in relation to the State and national identity. Toclarify that claim, the context, details, more recent uses,and relevance of his work will be explained.13Gramsci grew up in one Southern province of the newlyunified nation state of Italy, late in the nineteenthcentury. The country had been formed from a collection ofseparate territories in 1861 (6 years before Canada) and inGramsci's lifetime was undergoing social, cultural,geographic and political transformations. Italy had a largerelic peasant population, strong regional cultures, and anindustrializing urban heartland in the North which allpulled it apart in different directions. Against thisturbulence an emergent fascist party took control of thenation during the 1920's (Forgacs, 1990, p.26). As a youngman Gramsci migrated from his home in the South to aNorthern industrial city and became actively involved inCommunist politics. He became a founder and then generalsecretary of the Italian Communist Party and as a result wasarrested in Parliament in 1926 and imprisoned until he diedin 1937 (Femia, 1975, p.30).Through more recent recognition of his work, Gramsci hasbeen acclaimed by some as the most important figure intwentieth century Western Marxism (Femia, 1975, p.29) andthe most acclaimed Marxist writer on popular culture(Dombroski, 1978, p.168). However, anybody directlyinterested in Gramsci's writing faces a daunting task for anumber of reasons. Before his confinement Gramsci followed acourse of praxis, actively engaging theory with his actionsand experience in the real world to improve the14effectiveness of his politics. Once in prison, although hebecame less militant and more reflective (Dombroski, 1978,p.169), he continued to engage theory and empiricalinformation through an interest in culture. From prison hewrote down his thoughts on Italian culture and other topicsin a series of 33 notebooks, the Quaderni (Hartley, 1984,p.171). They were a fragmentary, provisional and incompleterecord of his ideas, which provide outlines for furtherstudy. Gramsci's method of praxis meant that his ideas tookshape rather than appeared as systematically expoundedworks. Moreover, to circumvent the prison censors he isbelieved to have frequently used code words and euphemisms(Femia, 1975, p.30).Through his notebooks Gramsci developed the notion of'hegemony'. This term means leadership, the domination ofone group by another with the consent of the dominatedgroup. Gramsci's project was an empirical exploration ofcapitalist societies in order to uncover the modes ofhegemony which made them function smoothly. As such, theterm was used in different ways in his work to exploreculture, education and party politics. However, ourattention here can be focussed upon ways in which hisexploration of hegemony became concerned with popularculture.15Figure 1: The National Popular within cultural hegemonyIntellectualsiPeople - Nation/National - Popular culture(central figures)Emotional needs^ InterestsCommon People(Source: Compiled from Forgacs and Nowell-Smith, 1985)Gramsci became concerned with cultural politics to furtherhis Marxism because he realized that popular culture spoketo the common people, but could be written and appropriatedby anybody interested in leading them. Figure 1 shows howthe National Popular fitted into Gramsci's concern with thecultural side of hegemony. He was certain that progressivepolitical and cultural development required a national phase(Rosa, 1978, p.111), during which the National Popular wasconstructed and put to use. At the lowest level he realizedthat popular culture spoke to the interests and emotionalneeds (p.300) of the common people.7 The distinction betweeninterests and needs was made because Gramsci saw the formeras time and place specific (p.347).7 Page numbers directly attributed to Gramsci are drawn fromAntonio Gramsci: Selections from Cultural Writings (Forgacsand Nowell-Smith eds., 1985).16For Gramsci the term 'intellectual' was used in differentways (Rosa, 1978, p.107). In fact Gramsci's notion of whatis meant by the label intellectual constitutes a radicalbreak from tradition and suggests a more encompassingdefinition than is commonly held. While we normally think ofan intellectual simply as an academic scholar, Gramsci usedthe term 'intellectual' to describe any person producingsomething meaningful and therefore speaking to the people.In Gramsci's work intellectuals could be cultural producersworking in entertainment, education, or party politics.Gramsci's method was radical because he threw thesecategories into flux and therefore politicized areas whichwe do not normally consider as warranting politicalattention.In the political dimension of hegemony an intellectual isany person appropriating the National Popular in order tospeak for the people. To show how that took take placeGramsci included the example of jacobinism in the formationof France as a nation. Jacobinism was the name given to atype of populist politics in which one elite could wrestpower from others contesting the right to rule the nationby aligning with the common people. Gramsci argued that in asimilar way a constituency which he called the people-nation(p.293) was bonded together by the National Popular andcould be appropriated for political ends.17Gramsci was concerned with hegemony because it was amechanism which could move a country in different politicaldirections depending upon the intellectuals involved.Therefore he made a distinction between bourgeois and'organic' (working class) intellectuals (Rosa, 1978, p.107).Bourgeois intellectuals could only write culture from abourgeois point of view, which meant that the consciousnessof the working class would be hidden by a cultureconstructed around the similarity of individual middle classexperiences (p.291). Gramsci •thought that in reality thiswould create a hierarchical National Popular and in a moreprogressive situation an egalitarian National Popular couldbe produced by organic intellectuals (p.209). The classconsciousness created could provide an environment in whicha vanguard party could lead the workers and peasants intorevolution.The net result of these over-arching concerns was thatGramsci took an immense interest in the internal workings ofthe popular culture in his own time and place. Gramsci'sconcern with his country came from its role as an arena forhis own praxis. His concern with any Italian NationalPopular was that it could become drawn into such praxis.Thus Gramsci carefully managed to avoid an empiricalquagmire of regional and peasant cultures (Rosa, 1978,p.111) by choosing particular popular entertainments whichincluded the theatre, popular fiction, opera and concerts18(Forgacs and Nowell-Smith, 1985, p.20). What he found wasItaly had little celebrated material in most aspects of itsNational Popular because of the hegemony of foreign culturalproducers upon the Italian people. He developed his keyideas from the example of popular literature. Gramscisuggested that because the public preferred to read theserialized popular fiction of foreign authors they underwentthe moral and intellectual hegemony of those authors. Thus,while the Italian State planned for hegemony over itscitizens it was itself subjected to hegemony, in that itsown people liked foreign literature.At the same time, although bourgeois Italian intellectualswere writing material which most of their fellow citizensdid not like, they claimed their work was what defined theculture of Italy as a nation. Italy's bourgeoisintellectuals had co-opted the cause of the nation so as notto feel the weight of the people against them: claiming todo something in the national interest was a way to avoid thelabel of dissent and regressive consequences it entailed(p.255). Yet by doing this the bourgeois intellectuals wereclaiming to know and define the people; they were speakingfor the entire corpus of citizens rather than justthemselves. Gramsci argued Italy's own literary culture wasnot national, since it was not popular and had no centralfigures (p.264). In effect, the common people had importedtheir popular culture. Italy had no separate National19Popular element in fiction, since what was claimed asItalian literature was not popular with most of thecountry's citizens. However, the public were not totallyprone to exoticism, since they preferred Italian music (p.255).Gramsci thus presents a view of culture which is based atthe national scale and suggests that both the content ofculture and the cause of the nation matter. Moreover, it isa (consenting) victim's view of culture. As a collectivegroup, the nation is a victim of certain forms of foreignpopular culture, a weak State and (if that social groupconsidered nationalism important) bourgeois Italianintellectuals. The State is a victim of its accountabilityto the common people, its own free trade policy and bothItalian and foreign bourgeois intellectuals. The foreignwriters and Italian intellectuals appear to benefit the mostfrom the whole situation. Gramsci implies that the situationmatters most to the Italian State, whose effort to make itscountry separate is undermined by allowing the import ofassumptions embedded in foreign popular culture. Thus itmust be realized that Gramsci's schema is not a panacea ofstudies of popular culture since it has too narrow a focus.While it does not dwell on consumers' views of culture, whatthe schema can explore well is the role of the State.20The whole schema presents Italy as the stage for a playteeming with ironies; it is a farce for which the readersare the audience. In research for the chapters which follow,numerous ironies emerged, so perhaps the notion of ironyitself needs further examination.8Muecke (1988) argued a situation is ironic if the audiencegets a painful and comic feeling from viewing characters whodo not understand the full context of their actions andcannot see beyond the immediate environment to find they aremistaken. That feeling stems from a discrepancy betweenimmediate appearances and a wider reality (Muecke, 1988,pp.5, 30). The first thing irony suggests is a distancebetween the observer from the situation involved; a distancefrom which writers and intellectuals have drawn theirauthority, position, and power to explain something.Historically irony was used as a ploy to change world viewsby showing that with distance the universe no longer8 Many commentators have found that irony is a definingfeature of Canadian culture. For example Linda Hutcheon(1991) has found irony to be the key feature of a certaingenre of Canadian writing. Similarly Barry Grant (1986,p.124) has argued irony may be the "most distinctivefeature" of Canadian popular music. The study of that•characteristic is avoided here because to claim thatCanadian culture is essentially ironic is to potentiallyinfluence the style of music that Canadians can make whilefeeling comfortable as citizens. We are enquiring aboutirony here because Canada's cultural industries are riddledwith ironies stemming from their international andhistorical predicaments. However, in so far that individualcultural producers are also subjected to these circumstancesit is not surprising that they sometimes produce ironicwork.21appeared cosmologically orchestrated (Muecke, 1988, pp.35,80).In the current context irony serves to take theconspiratorial edge off cultural imperialism hypotheseswhich suggest that foreign media are colluding to preventthe formation of a Canadian national identity. 9 As apolitical device the secret of irony is that while itappears to stem from a distanced objectivity, it puts theaudience in a concealed moral position towards the selectedsituation by raising the issue that particular thingsmatter. Theodore Adorno thus advocated the use of irony as astrategic political tool (Rose, 1978, p.18), yet Gramscimakes us more sympathetic with each group involved in hisschema by showing the contexts within which they operate.Nonetheless his schema is still full of ironies which implythat the content of culture and nation matter. Itrepositions concerns about imperialism within the nationrather than looking outside; yet it does not step back farenough to let us see the full implications of culturalinteraction for more than one country. To see how Gramsci'sidea is orientated to this national scale it needs to beclarified by returning to his own writings.9 See Tomlinson (1991) and Laing (1986) for critiques of thediscourse of cultural imperialism, the latter concerning themusic industry.22For Gramsci the National Popular as a whole entity was aconsciousness, a "reality" (p.247), a "spirit" (p.319), a"deeper cultural substance" (p.123) which created a "bond ofdemocratic solidarity" (p.325) between the people andintellectuals. So, given the grounds for Gramsci's concernwith culture, it is possible to argue that the NationalPopular was a vital foundation of his theoretical structure.The concept contained different forms of entertainment andthese were internally divided into sections, so for examplecommercial literature was a section of literature which waspart of the National Popular (p.348). Just as his owninterest in theatre pushed him towards fiction and thenacross a range of pastimes, Gramsci insisted that peoplestudying the National Popular should broaden their horizonsto look at the popular culture of each country as a whole(p.209). In reality, he suggested that if a country islacking in one National Popular pastime, its citizens maymake up for it by celebrating other types of entertainmentwhich were produced by their nation (p.378).While Gramsci has provided grounds for discussion by bothsubsequent Western Marxists and students of popular culture,his views on the National Popular have not been widelyexplored. However he became a champion for Marxist humanistsconcerned with the dissolution of working class culture asBritain changed in the 1950s. In fact both 'Hegemony' andthe 'Popular' are included as entries in Raymond Williams'23Keywords (1976). The concern from such founding fathers ofcultural studies was partly a conservative and romanticattempt to dismiss an emergent ideology of classlessness andpartly an exploration of their own working classbackgrounds. When Gramsci returned as a focus for theBirmingham school in the late 1970s, emphasis was upon theway in which his ideas put popular culture into aprogressive framework. An opportunity was created whichallowed history to be written from below, including workingclass pleasures, and creating a standpoint from which thesubaltern could speak (Hall, 1978, p.8-10). This was part ofa wider reactivation of Gramsci's ideas in order to exploretheir potential for uniting Marxism with other struggles(Gruneau, 1988, p.25).The British concern with Gramsci did not explore theimperialist aspects of hegemony for at least two reasons.Firstly Gramsci's ideas on imperialism had been marginalwithin Western Marxism, as writers wanted to address otherissues explored by Gramsci within the rubric of hegemony(Hartley, 1975, p.176-178). Secondly Gramsci's specificallycultural writings had not been collected in any Englishtranslation, and were dispersed over his prison notebooksuntil Antonio Gramsci: Selections from Cultural Writings (Forgacs and Nowell-Smith eds) appeared in 1985. The OpenUniversity's Popular Culture Course team had taken up the aninterest in Gramsci from the Birmingham school, and a year24after his new collection of writings were translated,published a book reflecting the results of their concern forhis work (Bennett ed, 1986). Again Gramsci's notion ofhegemony as a mechanism of imperialism was ignored. Onereason could have been that the international aspect ofhegemony was not thought relevant to studies of Britain'ssituation. Also, explorations of Gramsci's ideas in the UKstumbled upon the problem of defining the popular (Gruneau,1988, p.22). To summarize, Antio Gramsci's writings arebased around the ironic case of a nation which remainedcoherent in spite of the influence of foreign intellectualsupon most of its citizens. The close study of his work showsthat Gramsci was forging a particular notion of culturalimperialism which hinged upon the question of who wrote thecountry's National Popular. For various reasons academicshave neglected to address that question with the frameworkwhich Gramsci constructed. In fact they have usually takenup other aspects of his work.If we are to use it as a theoretical foundation, thelegitimacy of taking Gramsci's imperialist notion ofhegemony and using it for our own aim is important toconsider. To Gramsci, an organic intellectual was a leaderfrom the working class who could emerge to make culturalproducts charged with the unifying consciousness of thatclass. •Patterson (1975) has shown that in Country musicorganic intellectuals changed as they became incorporated25into a capitalist framework of musical exchange. SinceAnglo-American rock was always within that framework, andnot produced by organic intellectuals, our interest in themusic is not aimed to redeem it for any socialist project.This brings up the question of how legitimate it is to tearout one part of Gramsci's overall schema. Gramsci himselfborrowed ideas from different sources. He followed Lenin inhis belief in a vanguard party and he followed Hegel in anintense concern for empirical matters. Moreover, his viewson nationalist politics can be traced back to VincentGioberti and Italian Democrats who took up the idea ofJacobinism by analyzing French politics (Rosa, 1978, p.109).• Given the way he took on other influences and was deeplyconcerned with well informed empirical work, the current useof Gramsci's work is not necessarily a problem, especiallyif we realize his immediate goal was to understand theinterests of the State in popular culture as a way ofbuilding the nation. Hence the question of whether we canaddress 'the people' as a coherent and working class entityis not relevant in this context. The people are nationalcitizens whatever class they come from because our interestis an immediate one of building national culture rather thanworking class culture per se. Furthermore the current studyleaves wide open any political directions in which thenation could go. What is artificial is the limiting of thisthesis to popular music.26One advantage of using Gramsci's framework is that one canavoid unrealistic theoretical assumptions which treatpopular culture as a monolithic entity or as somethingoutside the fabric of society. Gramsci claimed that for somepeople popular pleasures are more than just individualobsessions, since they relate to a context of collectiveidentity. The idea appeals because it does not specify thecontents of national identity yet moves beyond structuralimperialist concepts by both avoiding external specters andexplaining how the contents of culture matter. The result isto open up popular culture and its key vehicle, the media,as sites of struggle.Especially since the secondary literature is so limited,Gramsci!s scheme allows us to look at primary sources ofmaterial in Canada in order to understand popular culture onits own terms. Concern is therefore with the internalworkings of culture, but this use of sources has severaldisadvantages. Nearly all the material written about rock inEnglish have been Anglo-American in both assumptions andapplication, since historically the bulk of popular musicmade and sold since the early 1960s has originated fromAmerica or Britain.10 However, within Canada a small but10 Difficulties of access and referencing meant thattelevision and radio programs have rarely been used here inanything but a cursory way. However, this is not to denythat shows such as 'The New Music' and 'Good Rockin'Tonight! have a large impact on current collectiveinterpretations of Canadian music.27growing stream of eulogies has begun to appear linkingCanadian bands to essences of national identity or tracingout histories which function in the same way by searchingfor a common thread between bands (Yorke, 1971; Goddard andKamin, 1989; Fetherling, 1991). For example, in the middleof an excellent, comprehensive dissertation on The Band inhis book 'Some Day Soon', Douglas Fetherling (1991, p.94)states that Garth Hudson was the member of the group who•"looked the most Canadian". Hence Fetherling's romantictones smuggled in an insult which implied that people canlook more or less Canadian. A more objective and industry-sensitive body of writing about Canadian music has been intrade magazines. The country manages to support severalmusic industry and specialist periodical publications (TheRecord, RPM, Canadian Musician, and SOCAN's CanadianComposer) but no longer has any national newsstand consumermagazines.11 However, articles in "Canada's NationalMagazine", Maclean's, have provided a largelyTorontocentric, nationalist view of the country's culturewhile daily newspaper stories and reviews also represent aprolific primary record.These sources have been drawn upon extensively as they areboth widely circulated and form a detailed archive of the11 SOCAN is Canada's current main performing rights societyfor songwriters, the acronym stands for the Society ofComposers, Authors and Publishers of Canada.28history of popular music made by Canadians. However,critical interpretations of their contents are limitedbecause their own reporting is selective; hence there is alimit to the amount of cross-referencing possible betweenthese sources. Furthermore, while reports on individualbands are common, discussions which include more than oneCanadian act are relatively rare. As such, it is difficultto call the occasional and fragmentary comments on Canadianmusic as a whole something approaching a discourse. So anychoice to examine Canadian popular culture through the lensof the popular press implies its own difficulties.Nonetheless Maclean's, Canada's daily newspapers and thetrade magazines are vital sources of information on anotherwise largely neglected industry.However, if we are to use Gramsci's ideas it is necessaryto examine their immediate advantages and shortcomings forthis project. In order to do this we must explain how theunifying potential of nationality can be understood. For itscitizens, Benedict Anderson (1983) described nation as akind of imagined community, which means that while nobodyknows everybody else in their nation, citizens usually feelsome form of allegiance with one another. As a basis foridentity, what is important about the nation is not so muchthat it is imagined (as all large communities are) but thatmost people are born into their national citizenship.Crucially, although citizenship is a fundamental and29recognized aspect of personal identity, certain aspects ofwhat it means to be a member of the corpus of citizens areperpetually open to negotiation. For anyone with a separatebut non-contradictory project, national unity is aninvaluable resource as it can be co-opted to further thoseother, external aims.For example Hebdidge (1988, p.219) has suggested that theLive Aid famine relief concert, organized by a pair ofBritish people (Bob Geldof and Midge Ure), showed that whatit meant to be British was to care for people of othernationalities. Importantly, this took place at a time whenpoliticians in that country implied that to be British wasto care foremost about oneself and one's family. Hence, ascitizenship is something which members of any constituencyare likely to have in common in one sense the nation formsa kind of outer container for many diverse projects. Itforms what could be called a foundational resource, aposition from which to speak advantageously about othermatters. Lawrence Grossberg (1992, p.381) has shown how, inthe USA, right wing politicians have latched on to suchapparent absolutes as bases from which to build theirarguments. Opposing their arguments makes one appear tooppose the mutually agreed premise (the nation) and thusfeel guilty.30Returning to Gramsci's schema, a problem which dogs boththe Italian scenario and other concepts of culturalimperialism is the possibility of people reinterpreting whatthey read or listen to in the light of their ownnationality. In a sense cultural identity must be weak inthe first place for foreign material to appeal in an allembracing way. Furthermore Gramsci saw any hegemonic cultureas consented: Italians read foreign novels (usuallyserialized in newspapers and magazines) because they likedthem. Foreign writers somehow appealed to them, when Italianwriters did not. Also he implied that for the exporters ofculture the needs of the foreign market are not purposefullyfactored in to the process of cultural production, whichonly applies to producers who have export as a secondaryconcern. This may apply to American cultural products inrelation to Canada, since from the US Canada is seen as asecondary market. Gramsci reasoned that if a country washighly susceptible to foreign influences its citizens wouldhave no market for their own cultural products. Hence heassumed that any nation involved in prolific culturalproduction was autonomous, since its culture was notsignificantly affected by outside influences.In the realm of consumption, Gramsci argued that importedcultural products contained intellectual and moralassumptions from their country of origin. Allied to this,with the example of popular fiction, Gramsci assumed a31simplistic division between foreign and indigenous literarycontent. While foreign works would not be read in Italy ifthey did not appeal to the people, this appeal acted tocarry foreign assumptions to those Italian citizens. Thequestion is where we can draw the line between these twoelements of content, if at all. Thus a problem immediatelyappears because it could be those very imported assumptionswhich both sell the product abroad and unify the customernation's culture. It appears that Gramsci consideredimported hegemonic assumptions were influential enough toprevent the internal formation of a national identity incertain spheres of popular culture, even though thecountry's other cultural industries (in his case, opera)were strong enough to export Italian products.This brings us back to the role of the State. Indemocratic societies, the term 'nation' denotes the hegemonyof a State over all the inhabitants belonging to a certaingeographical space. In Gramsci's schema the importation ofcultural products matters specifically to the State becauseof the cross border transfer of moral and intellectualassumptions involved. Thus it seems clear that we can talkabout a national project in the singular: the - need of theState to build a separate culture constructed and acceptedby most of its citizens. In its widest sense this caninvolve mechanisms which include the promotion of modelcitizens, and the presenation of the nation as a coherent32and prestigious entity (ready for recognition by foreigncountries) for example during the Olympic Games.If we rule out essentialism, the option of rejectingGramsci's framework would only leave us with job and revenuecreation as criteria for judging cultural policies. Thisactually amounts to the State itself using the nation as afoundational resource to further its aim of balancing thebudget and restoring accountability. Since in the culturalindustries a very high proportion of the money spent turnsdirectly into wages (Maclean's v.98/11, 1985, p.53), itcould have strong Keynesian implications. Also any policycreating jobs in Canada's cultural industries could have thespin off of building cultural unity. Nonetheless, using jobcreation as the sole criterion from which to judge is tomisunderstand the State's interest in culture. The test isto see whether State intervention into the nation'srecording and broadcasting industries has created more jobs,and in what quantity. It would seem strange that the Statewould both choose to invest in the cultural industries(rather than those with more potential for job creation witha larger market) and use its policies to celebrate thenation if it was only interested in job creation.Gramsci implies the ultimate goal of the State is toencourage indigenous production in as many culturalindustries as possible. In the schema, he presented the33State as ineffective (p.349). This suggests that, as ademocratically elected and accountable body, it did not havethe power to change the predicament of the nation. However,Gramsci felt it might be possible for radical groups tocastigate the State for its inactivity on matters ofnational unity. If the State decided to act more severelythe implication is that it would either have to censorimports or stem the flow of literary free trade, which couldprove unpopular with the masses, or channel the energies ofItalian writers towards popular fiction. That would bedifficult for Italy's writers, who had already co-opted thenational cause for their own purposes. Either path wouldthus be nearly impossible to follow. Furthermore, theFascist State was in the 1920's presenting Italy as anageless nation when the country was only recently built outof a collection of provinces (p.201). Because the governmentaimed to draw on tradition and the people's choice was partof that tradition (p.349) authorities could not successfullychange the people's taste by the criticism of popularculture.His focus on the State meant that Gramsci tended to makethe structure of the media a marginal concern. In Italy thatwas the machinery which serialized and presented foreignnovels to the Italian public. In Canada one part of themedia takes the form of broadcasters who bring American,Canadian and other music to the people. In capitalist34societies the media operate in order to make a profit.However the unusual thing about the media in Canada is thatstruggles for control have also become both a bid byintellectuals to co-opt the cause of the nation in order toavoid feeling its weight and an attempt by the State torealign the National Popular. It could be argued that such aduality has effectively shifted the dilemmas involved fromthe state to the citizens themselves. Initially, unlikeGramsci, the Canadian State took a coherent view of thepopular which had no room for the production or export ofparticular forms of the country's popular culture. Fears ofAmericanization formed the cornerstone of an argument whichsuggested Canada's culture made it different and could betalked of as a coherent entity. Later, effectively followinga strategy which Gramsci recognized, the government began toview Canadian musicians and record labels as significantcultural producers. Yet the Canadian State has beensensitive to something that Gramsci did not explore: thedanger of regional cultures rejecting the cause of thenation.In this thesis each chapter examines different facets ofthe process by which music made by Canadians is facilitated,heard and appropriated. Chapter one aims to question viewsof Canadian music presented to consumers and to ask whetherwe can identify a unified Canadian sound and thus support anessentialist position, or whether Canadian artists should be35seen as part of a different type of unity, a NationalPopular. This chapter uncovers how Canadian artistsachieving popularity are appropriated, remembered andcollectively represented by the media. It begins byintroducing and clarifying the specifics of a musicalNational Popular, interrogates the notion of a Canadiansound, explores the role of Canada's regions and finallyexamines various historical candidates for a musical elementof the National Popular.It has been shown here that the Canadian State has changedits policy orientation towards popular culture and in asense become more active than the Italian State in Gramsci'sschema. While, in various ways, the State is included in allthe chapters of this thesis, chapters two and three aim tohighlight its central links to the music industry. Chaptertwo is concerned with relations between Canadianbroadcasters and the CRTC, which determines what qualifiesas Canadian music and how much of it can be played. Ifrepresentation forms the central topic of the first chapter,that concern also forms part of this chapter due to thepublic nature of recent debates around Cancon. Thus thestory of how one central figure in Canada's NationalPopular, Bryan Adams, publicly called the CRTC to account isanalyzed.36In Chapter three we move away from public issues to lookat the way in which the sound recording industry determineswhether artists are recorded and promoted in the first placeand how popular they become. Then a link between the federalState and the music industry outside of the CRTC's realm isexamined; aid •to the recording industry through theFoundation to Assist Canadian Talent On Record (FACTOR).While most chapters are written in Gramsci's spirit, facingpopular culture on its own terms, the material in chapterthree contains issues outside the realm of debate for mostconsumers. Thus we can explore new aspects of therelationship between the State and music industry. Forinstance, in chapter three we can deduce whether FACTOR hascreated significantly more jobs than before the musicindustry received external funding.Part of the pleasure of music is that it is also asymbolic resource; bands can play with identity at the sametime as playing their tunes, and audiences take meaning fromsongs not just through the lyrics but from the contextwithin -which they are presented. Chapter four inverts theconcerns of chapter one to examine how Canadian bandsactively participate in representations of the nation. Itinvestigates the concert promotion industry, sponsorship andthe operations of various bodies recognizing Canadianmusicians, in order to show how Canadian music is placedinto contexts of spectacle glorifying the nation.37The chapters thus form a series of inter-related Gramscianfarces in which context has been stressed over irony,although most readers will undoubtedly find irony as theyinterpret events from their own positions. What Gramsciprovides us with is one schema which, given its inductivespecifications and shortcomings, will be positioned on thesidelines for most of the following discussion. Theconcluding chapter brings what has been found back to theschema and applies the result to a question hanging over thefuture of Canadian popular culture in general and Canadianmusic in particular: that of free trade.38Chapter Two It Sounds Canadian [Blue Rodeo's Greg] Keelor explained his frustration as akid watching television's Captain Kangaroo, a program filledwith American references. Said Keelor "I'd ask my mother whyI didn't swear the pledge of allegiance and she'd say'Because you're Canadian.'" "'What's that?'" said Keelor, ina child's voice. "'We're not sure,'" replied [Jim] Cuddy,imitating Keelor's mother.'This chapter aims to clarify what is being looked for inCanadian music as an element of the National Popular. Wewill begin by examining some of the ways in which songsrecorded by Canadians have been lumped together bycommentators in particular ways for specific reasons. Thesecan be seen as essentialist collective appropriations ofCanadian music. Next, the potential regional obstacles to amusical component of the National Popular are explored.Finally, some trends which might be worthy of considerationas candidates for the rock element in Canada's NationalPopular are scrutinized. The trends which are considered assignificant include Coffee house folk, hoser rock and thelatest roots and format crossing trends.2In order to consider Gramsci's ideas against moreessentialist viewpoints, the notion of a Canadian sound can1 From 'Urban Cowboys' by N.Jennings in Baclean's (v.102/16,17/4/89, p.59).2 A format is a^musical ghetto on radio creating aparticular sound identity, often around a particular genreof music. It is one way for broadcasters to target audiencesegments and appeal to particular advertisers.39be explored. The term sound suggests a degree of heardcoherence and therefore a shared musical project orproduction environment. The idea of a national or regionalsound assumes an association between that sound and thegeographical area it comes from and, by implication, thepopulation belonging to that area. Here the group of peopleis the Canadian nation; a national sound thus relates to thesubjectivity of being Canadian. Presuming that a Canadiansound forms part of Canada's cultural identity, the notionof such a sound appeals to those seeking to build anindustrial infrastructure (to create or preserve a Canadiansound) and critics of free trade (who wish to protect aCanadian sound and industry).One danger of defining any sound is the exclusive natureof such a definition's inherent logic. Since a Canadiansound would have to be distinct, in theory it may also bepossible to define an Tin-Canadian sound, somehow less tiedto the nation. If the notion rests on more than a binarydivision, it may also be possible to label other sounds asbeing more Canadian, too Canadian or conversely not yetCanadian. 3 If a Canadian sound is defined by music ratherthan common production, other sounds made in Canada could be3 Artists and Repertoire (A&R) staff at record labelsfunction to discover and sign new bands. One A&R person saidto Halifax folk singer Lenny Gallant that his songs sounded"too Canadian" (Halifax Chronicle Herald 9/5/90, p.C5).However, A&R people are notorious for finding suitableexcuses not to sign acts.40ignored, submerged within a cacophony of everything we havenot chosen to define as Canadian. Alternatively, it ispossible to move away from the need for any definition toinclude . a common sound if we take Gramsci's notion, that aNational Popular culture has simply to be made and liked bythe citizens of the country concerned. Yet in Canada soundsmade by foreigners could be more popular with listenersthan those made by Canadians.Usually it is assumed that a sound is somehow endorsed byits listeners; but in this case the question becomes whichlisteners we use to gauge the degree of endorsement.Paradoxically, Canadians have traditionally recognized theirown sound through its popularity with American listeners(Can. Musician v.8/3, 1990, p.40). Yet it seems unlikelythat Americans realize they are hearing a different soundfrom their own when they hear Canadian music and whetherthey even differentiate sounds in this manner is open toquestion. One dangerous implication of defining a Canadiansound by its Canadian makers and overall popularity is thatgiven the political economy of the music industry, suchmusic depends upon the exotic requirements of the Americanmarket. Another is that bands which do not gain successoutside Canada only get the chance to be part of this soundby association and they cannot alter the sound of their ownaccord. This dilemma prompts us to enquire who can claimownership to a Canadian sound identity.41This dispute can be demonstrated by the issue of lyrics.If we really examine the qualities which could bind togethermusic made by Canadians, it could be argued that thecoherence such criteria suggest is illusory. For example iflyrical content is centrally at stake rather than music itis possible to create a list of artists who have sung aboutgeographic themes common (and sometimes specific) toCanada.4 Yet these artists can hardly be lumped togethersimply by age, integration with the industry or type ofmusic produced. Also the marginal nature of Stompin' Tom andStringband attest that the majors tend to disown lessestablished acts centrally using "Canadian" themes,especially if the labels do not hear their music as hits.5Further, it is possible to trace a thread of Canadian bandsmore or less ironically celebrating America for the pleasure4 Any reasonable list of such themes would include Canada'svivid regional geography (Stompin' Tom Connors, Gordon Lightfoot, Quebec's Chansonniers); mystical rural and nativethemes (Bruce Cockburn, Robbie Robertson, Blue Rodeo); smalltown and prairie issues (Grapes of Wrath, The TragicallyHip, Randy Bachman, Stringband, kd lang) and urbanenvironments (Murray Mclauchlan, Martha and the Muffins).5 Few people have been able to make local geographic themeswork well in Canadian popular music. As Claire Eamer said in1978 "Living in Saskatchewan and writing songs about gophersand old battlefields is a sure way to avoid the attention ofthe major record companies" (Can. Composer no.201, 1985,p.22). However certain folk artists, and one or two others(including Randy Bachman) have made such themes work attimes by linking senses of place to other feelings.42it brought them.6 As such, arguments that Canadian music isbased upon 'Canadian' lyrical themes show more about thegoals of the people making them and the bands they havechosen to consider important than it does about the entirebody of music made by Canadians. However, that does not meanwe must abandon all enquiry. Asking questions about why mostmusic made by Canadians does not contain these themes cantell us about Canadian songwriters, the media and musicindustry.If, for whatever reason, Canadian audiences do not listen•to sounds made by fellow Canadians, then any attempt todefine a Canadian sound by who produces it could result inthe paradox of the national sound being perceived as aminority interest. However it may be that such a strategymight be useful in helping, or hindering Canadian musicians.So if the notion of a Canadian sound is something to bedrawn upon for specific purposes, enquiry should be directedtowards how and why different groups make use of thatconcept.A common argument which can be analyzed in relation tothis query is that Canadians, as musicians, are imitatingforeign (usually American) sounds. That argument is hard to6 Such songs include 'America' by Rim Mitchell, 'AmericanMusic' by Prism, 'America is Sexy' by Paul Hyde and 'FromNew York To LA' by Patsy Gallant.43place in relation to ideas about a Canadian sound.7 Yet itcould be argued that this accusation implies no Canadiansound has been created as yet, so it can be used to bothcriticize the industry (if we privilege more over lessoriginality, whatever the results) and suggest that theindustry has potential. The cornerstone of this idea is thatCanadian audiences, raised on media bled over and importedfrom the USA, will not accept home product. It is assumedAmerica is a homogeneous market in which consumers rejectanything exotic or original, in preference for music made byUS citizens drawing on influences from within their owncountry. If imitation is necessary to penetrate the Americanand Canadian markets, by aping US sounds Canadian bands areplaying to the audience's taste.The imitation based argument attests the power of rock aspopular music; if rock did not somehow speak to us we wouldnot bother to make or listen to it. However, it does this ina way which tends to over-simplify and is therefore naive onseveral. counts. Firstly it ignores external antecedents toAmerican music (Maclean's v.85/8, 1972, p.70). Also itimplies a false degree of coherence to American sound, whichthus functions as something separated from Canada (ratherthan embedded in the same capitalist social formation),neatly dividing the nations rather than asking about which7 If Canadian bands do have something in common, somecritics assert it is their lack of originality.44Canadians are imitating which American sounds. Thirdly itsubsumes other foreign sounds, not least the huge influenceof music from Britain on Canada.8 Also, the idea that peoplewant imitative music is insulting to audiences on both sidesof the US border in suggesting neither want anythingoriginal. The imitation argument is essentialist in assumingprior use is somehow ownership of a cultural practice. IfCanadians chose to reject all the cultural practises whichhave come into Canada there would probably be very few left.It seems that a line is being drawn by some nationalistcritics between older and more recent cultural practices,the latter having a potential role in nation building. Thischain of thought leads to a query: if rock is imitative offoreign styles, and thus has no role in nation building, whyshould it be supported and funded by those with nationalistinterests? This was the question which the CRTC's Report ofthe Taskforce on Broadcasting Policy (1986) began to examine(Financial Times of Canada 18/2/91, p.12). Yet even if wetreat rock as an industry like any other, there are economicgains to keeping it within Canada. Moreover there areindustrial justifications for signing and promotingeconomically viable but imitative bands. These aspects ofpolitical economy include the need to fit in with particular8 Also it ignores the common function of rock in differentcountries, as a form of pleasure and (largely in the past) asymbol of rebellion.45(often nostalgic) formats to get airplay; the small size ofthe market in Canada and the branch-plant structure of themajors; and the cost of making records with videos, whichlead to conservative signing decisions stressing the exportpotential of the artist.Sometimes the imitation argument is used by bandsthemselves, paradoxically, to show that they are differentfrom the rest by being both original and Canadian. 9 Yettheir use of the argument seems odd since the artiststhemselves should know that all bands imitate others, asmusic is mostly imitative. In fact some of the best bandsbegan as garage or bar bands doing cover versions, sinceyoung bands often find their identities by imitating others.We traditionally celebrate those who put their own stamp oncover versions and/or are eclectic in where they draw from,and those who are considered too slavish in their imitationusually receive criticism. So the Beatles were praised fortheir use of diverse musical strands, but The Guess Who werepanned for their plagiarism. In a sense, then, the imitationargument could be used as a way of saying no Canadian soundexists as yet, because the bands are still learning thetechniques of their vocation; at worst it may indicate they9 For example Mark Gane of Martha and the Muffins stated"Unlike a lot of early Canadian rock bands we're notposturing as American or British" (Maclean's v.94/47, 1981,p.70).46are not progressing since they cannot take the risksassociated with innovation.The rock critic Chris Dafoe's pointed article in the Globeand Mail, coming just before the 1992 Juno awards, was atimely discussion of the question of Canadian music (and thereputation of the industry) for a middle class, adultaudience.10 By writing in a high profile national newspaper,we can infer that Dafoe was not particularly aiming to speakto young rock fans, but to the people who run, fund andofficially recognize the music and broadcasting industries.In fact Paul Burger, at that time the head of Sony MusicCanada, speaking at The Record's industry conference thenext day, said he found the article embarrassing anddepressing, partly because the discussion was on separatepages so good news about the music was tucked at the back ofthe entertainment section.11It must be realized that Dafoe's article has not been theonly one in its field. For example Barry Grant (1986) hadpreviously put forward a similar line of argument in TheJournal of Canadian Studies. He perceived a tradition ofpoor and imitative Canadian rock music and placed the blame10 Dafoe's article was called 'Pop's The Question' (Globeand Mail 28/3/92, pp.C1,C9).11 Paul Burger's comments on the "clouded vision of thesuccess of Canadian artists that exists out there" can befound in The Record (v.11/35, 20/3/92, p.9).47for it squarely upon the CRTC's Cancon radio regulationpolicy. However, it could be argued that Grant tended toover-simplify the issue, although the controversy aroundCancon will be examined in the next chapter of this thesis.Rather than investigate that limited dimension of thepredicament of Canadian music, what Dafoe said will beexplored here because he provided the most current andsophisticated popular exposition of an essentialistviewpoint. Furthermore the article has been singled out forits author's efforts to influence an important targetaudience.Dafoe took an aesthetic approach in order to stressimitation. He began by saying that he did not want to admitthe mediocrity of the Canadian music, since he is a Canadianhimself. This first step was a bid to link the industry tothe question of nationalism at its broadest in order tolobby for change; ie. as Canadians the mediocrity of ourmusic industry is uncomfortable to us. He went on to outlinethe contents of two categories of Canadian music, suggestingthat most Canadian music (by which he implied anything whichdid well in the USA) has been mediocre: "the bland leadingthe bland from generation to generation". Moreover, artistsemulated the "worst" trends in American music. There wasPaul Anka (who appeared at a "boring" time in pop history),the bubblegum kitsch of The Guess Who, and more recentlyBryan Adams (described as a capable craftsman with nothing48to say, who could only speak through cliches). Obviously,this is a subjective commentary. 12Next Dafoe described the artists in his more innovativecategory: the group of early 1970s instrospective singersongwriters we might call the Coffee House crowd, thecurrent spate of more ironic artists and even Rush (anunusually cerebral hard rock band from Toronto).13 Inessence Dafoe drew the lines between the bands that shouldbe celebrated and supported as Canadians, and those who havecopied styles from the USA. This functioned to push thereputations of particular artists. But it may have alsofunctioned to transfer guilt on to readers who may feel, forexample that they are proud Canadians but also like TheGuess Who.Dafoe then outlined the reasons why he thought Canadianmusic has been mediocre in order to find the cause of theon-going malaise. First he denied the idea that the CRTC'sCanadian content regulation has been the main problem, sincethat cannot alone define the content of Canadian music. Thenhe flatly rejected the essentialist notion that Canadians,12 Dafoe was choosing the worst trends, ignoring the factthat Anka was actually unusual for his time in being a teenstar who wrote his own songs, perhaps also misconstruing therole of cliches in hard rock and other such issues.13 "The instances of ironic comment upon American popularculture are so numerous in Canadian music that they may beits most distinctive feature" (Grant, 1986, p.124).49by nature, have an imitative psyche. His approach here mayhave been helpful, but he failed to explore the reasons whysuch an attitude developed (such as the attraction oftailoring one's music to as large an audience as possible).He blamed the marginal geographic location of Canadaadjacent to an American market ten times its size. Yet lateron in Dafoe's article it is shown that such a location canwork in the opposite way; as a place particularly able tofacilitate innovation, so the relevance of geography dependsupon other circumstances. Also he blamed the structure ofthe industry: the branch plant organization of the majors,• small size of the Canadian market and difficulties ingetting US parent companies to release Canadian artists inother territories. Certainly these are important and will beelaborated upon in chapter three of this thesis.Dafoe went on to celebrate a current spate of artists,such as kd _Zang and The Tragically Hip, who have begun tospring out of Canada. He noted that these artists all havecertain things in common: a North American sound which is ofthe US at the same time as being in ironic relation to it.Also they are all signed directly to US majors and are moreorientated to European rather than US markets. In Europe,Dafoe suggests, being Canadian may be an advantage since50Canadian bands are both exotic foreigners and a selectminority compared to the US bands who come over to tour.14While Dafoe appeared to be simply outlining his particulardescription of the Canadian music scene, his argument hasdistinctive implications if we relate it to the presentpolitical context. What Dafoe implicitly did was to arrangemiddle class consent for a celebration of emergent musicmade by Canadians signed to stay popular in a potentialfuture context of Free Trade. It was a way to focus readers'attention upon artists distributed back into Canada bymajors making decisions in the US, rather than on artistssigned either to Canadian independents (such as KimMitchell) or to the majors within Canada (such as AnneMurray or Colin James). Dafoe's implicit conclusion was thatthese two latter structures are, of necessity, adopting astrategy of signing popular bands which will not experiment.While that may certainly be one possible way to remainviable, such a signing policy implies that the Canadianbands whose records get released never autonomously producetheir own interesting sound. The whole argument ignored theefforts of Canadian independent labels (begun in Canadawithout orders from the majors) to secure releases for their14 He thus attempted to define and celebrate a new trend,despite the facts that these bands tend to avoid Canadianlyrical themes, they are not especially orientated towards aCanadian market, and (their own remuneration aside) theprofits they create go to the US.51artists in other countries. Of these both Nettwerk inVancouver and True North in Toronto have looked foralternative artists (L. Burshtein, pers.comm.).Even if we reject Dafoe's approach and conclusions, someof the points he raised are worth exploring and will beexamined in chapter three. Certainly the political economybehind Canadian music is important enough to its content towarrant further discussion.To return to the question of sounds made within thenation, when studios improved and proliferated (arguably asthe consequence of Cancon and FACTOR), the low quality ofrecorded Canadian music improved and attention was focusedon the content of the music itself.15 Major labels arelooking for bands with the ability to sell outside of Canadabecause the costs of recording and video promotion mean thatacts with hit records only in Canada can rarely make aprofit (A. Williams, pers. comm.). Due to the demands of themajors and the devalued image of Canadian sounds, someartists themselves have been trying to avoid aligningthemselves with Canadian music as a category. 16 If many15 Prior to the 1980s Canadian music tended to be associatedwith hickish vocals and poor quality production, so it had abad and backward reputation (A. Williams, pers. comm.).16 Now artists bring material to A&M, at least, sayingproudly that they do not sound Canadian (A. Williams, pers.comm.).52labels and acts do not consider the issue of a Canadiansound relevant, it becomes important to reconsider thereasons for thinking in that way.One central question which puts the existence of aCanadian sound in doubt is that we have to ask whether it isthere in the first place.17 Furthermore, the concept is alsoproblematic because some people restrict Canadian sounds toparticular genres.18 Also frequent comparisons in the pressbetween up-coming Canadians and popular American artistsfuel the imitation argument. This reinforcing occurs becausejournalists use more famous artists as a way of locating andbuilding up the reputation of artists to their readers.Since Canada •lacks well known role models the centralfigures in America's National Popular are used instead (J.Bateman, pers. comm.).These press comparisons are another indication thatCanadian music does not exist in a vacuum. In fact it has17 This relates to the apparent fact that when surveyedCanadian consumers do not care about the issue of Canadianidentity in relation to music (Baciean's v.101/1, 1988,p.45), so without incentives or penalties neither wouldradio programmers.18 These styles include Celtic music (related to migrationalroots) and Country (related to themes explored and looseCanadian Country radio formats). Similarly there are genrespecific arguments against Canadian sound: a lack ofmaterial in AC (except Anne Murray) and dance formats, andthe argument that hard rock copies American music and themes(E. O'Day; D. Buote; B. Phillips, pers. comm.).53been shown here that, for various reasons, Canadian musicrelies frequently on foreign listeners. If Canadian soundsare particular musical trends which are produced by Canadianmusicians and recognized abroad, then it makes little senseto talk about a Canadian sound identity in isolation.19While a geographical approach moving beyond the local islikely to exclude some bands who are unpopular within oruntypical of the places studied, it seems more reasonable tosituate Canada within a global social fabric. It could be• argued that trends recognized as particularly significant toCanada's National Popular music really represent importantmoments in an international history of rock in whichCanadian musicians have made significant contributions. A'dialectic' is an ongoing tension between two things whichproduces a fruitful result. Canadian musicians havedialectically reacted to influences which at particulartimes were more widely recognized as significant, and inturn they have contributed to globally recognized styles.That idea of an interaction between Canadian musicians andothers does not specify the source of these influences:sometimes they have come from the USA, sometimes fromBritain, and potentially from within Canada itself.19 While essentialism is dismissed here, other voices stillrely upon that position because their interests are moreparochial than those of this thesis. The State has aninterest in fostering the industry, so Prime Minister BrianMulroney has suggested Canadian music is "truelydistinctive" (The Record, v.12/4, 1992, p.10).54Having created a framework which transcends essentialistarguments, before we can talk about the musical component ofCanada's National Popular we are left with the question ofregional cultures, because it appears at first sight thatthey may be an obstacle to a national sound. Regionalism wasglossed over in Dafoe's arguments by stressing the positionof the country as a whole in relation to other markets.However regionalism is difficult to ignore since the vastsize, insular geography and scattered population of Canadamean that the structure of the media, production anddistribution systems, and demands on State resources arelargely, regionally organized. Just as with the nationalscale, however, it could be argued that regional identity isactively reconstituted through modern social formations inthe light of wider global developments and that theseinfluences break across the country with differentialeffects.For example the invasion of the Mersey Sound spearheadedby The Beatles had a profound effect across the whole ofNorth America in the mid-sixties. On the west coast of theUSA it quickly replaced surf sounds. Further to the northcrude reworkings of R'n'B had flourished which, fronted bybands such as The Kinusmen and The Wailers, became known asthe North West sound. Slowly in Seattle and Vancouver bandswriting their own songs for high-school dances and bar gigschanged their sets to include Beatles covers (Gill, 1993,55p.128). Further east, in Toronto the tunes of the Liverpoolgroup stimulated a melting pot of highly fashion-consciousacts, in a trend known as the Toronto sound headed by ThePaupers and The Kensington Market (Maclean's v.81/2, 1968,p.34). In Quebec songs by The Beatles influenced party bandslike Le Classels in a trend which became known as Le ye-ye(Maclean's v.78/5, 1965, p.47).If regions fragment foreign influences coming into Canada,we need to find out how this can possibly begin to createnationally popular artists. However, since regions arethemselves embedded in a wider social fabric, artists fromparticular places can attain wider scales of popularity. Theprocess occurs through a variety of mechanisms that givedistributors in a wider area confidence in stocking theact's records. The mechanisms include the artist's homeregion sales, their own promotional efforts, recognitionfrom inside the industry, and media interest. A shiftingframework of constraints and opportunities caused by theindustries involved has been integral to this process.One mechanism which helped to push smaller artists intothe national spotlight was the growing significance oftelevision. In the 1960s Canadian bands got early nationalexposure on the publicly owned CBC network. The CBC couldnot guarantee fame, but was nonetheless a national forum fortalent. More recently City-TV's show 'The New Music' and56then the nation's rock video channel Much Music have had asimilar function (Can. Business v.58/4, 1985, p.75).Table 1: Early artists on CBC-TV shows Act CBC ShowYear ofshow1st Yearof fame Maclean's ReferencePaul AnkaPaul Anka1962 1957 v.75/1,^1962,^p.52SpecialGordon CountryLightfoot Hoedown 1960 1965 v.84/6,^1971,^p.56AnneMurray Jubilee 1966 1968 v.85/5,^1972, p.30Guess WhcLet's Go 1968 1965 v.84/6,^1971,^p.56As Table 1 shows, several of Canada's most famous earlierartists began their careers, or got further recognition, onCBC shows.20 While the evidence is not clear cut, the tablesuggests that television was important before radio wasregulated for Canadian content, as one way in which certainCanadian acts were exposed to the nation.Different regions have made various contributions to theNational Popular at different times. For example, in the1960s the Maritimes was a crossroads for a wide spectrum ofsounds including tunes from Louisiana, Cape Breton fiddling,Celtic soul and local Black Sea chanties. Country radio had20 Yet despite their special mandate, funding and theseearly shows, CBC-TV have a history of both ignoring pleasfor more Canadian popular music programming and claimingexceptional status in relation to paying Canadian artiststheir copyright dues (see Can. Business v.58/4, 1985, p.75;Music Scene no. 344, 1985, p.2).57also proved influential upon the locality. 21 Younger peoplein the area found a forum on television, particularly withDon Messer's jubilee which had begun in 1956 on a localnetwork and 'Music Hop', which showcased the emergentHalifax blues scene in 1965.22 Messer's show became Canada'ssecond most popular TV program (as Singalong-jubilee) in the1960s and acted to shunt Nova Scotian talent into thenational spotlight. The most famous act to emerge was AnneMurray who signed to Capitol-Canada in 1968. Another of thefirst acts was Catherine McKinnon who became seminal in theearly 1960s Toronto folk scene.The candidates for a musical component of the NationalPopular cited in sources such as Maclean's are Coffee Housefolk, Hoser rock and the latest, ironic, 'roots' revival(retro-bands, grunge rockers, and format crossers such ascowpunk and reworkings of British blues). However before we21 Out of the 1920s depression Bank Snow emerged throughCHNS in Nova Scotia as a country singer in the old tymefiddle tradition who went to Nashville to record for RCA-Victor. One of his fans was Stomping Tom Connors who alsodrew on American country star Jimmie Rogers to create simplecountry tunes celebrating the place names and livedtraditions of corners of the nation he had hitchhiked to inhis youth. He emerged from the Martime bar circuit into theToronto spotlight a year after Canada's 100th birthday toenjoy some national success, marking the start of a long,marginal career (Bclean's v.85/5, 1972, p.30; v.85/8, 1972,p. 30).22 Music Hop showed the CBC had a roots-upward strategy ofbuilding the nation; the show came from a different provinceeach week night (Maclean's v.85/5, 1972, p.64). This was thesame strategy used many years later by Molsons at the GreatCanadian Party, explained in chapter four.58can discus any of these it is important to return to rockand then Gramsci's notion of the National Popular in orderto gain a clear and more detailed insight into what we arelooking for.The history of rock has been one of particular generationsand places taking basic elements of popular music andreworking it to serve their needs. Undergoing wideform and content the music has changed with itshistorical and geographical context. Rock emergedUSA not only because it was fully implicatedswings ineconomic,from thewithin acapitalist system of exchange shared by other countries, butbecause it spoke to one social group attempting to defineitself wherever it was: youth. As such, it was policed,disowned and criticized within the USA by a range of peoplenot allied to the project of that demographic group. AsMartin and Segrave (1988, p.76) point out,itself initially disowned rock, criticism ofcountries was as much a way to demarcate theirsince Americait from othersocioeconomicspaces as it was a reflection of concern for their youngpeople.It could be contended that arguments akin to Gramsci's,but directed specifically against rock, have been voicedmore often when the music's contents have been perceived as59dangerous.23 Rather than focusing solely upon that body ofcriticism, which itself rests on an imported framework, thischapter aims to examine indigenous interpretations of rockbeing made in Canada and how they represent the music in thecontext of the nation. One of the problems of importing anidea from Italy to look at the importation of culturalpractices into Canada, is that Gramsci avoided the thornytopic of the indigenous production of popular culture bystressing that the local intellectuals were not from thecommon people, since they were from the bourgeoisie.To Gramsci a National Popular culture was made by thecitizens of the country concerned and contained centralfigures. By default, it did not contain assumptions whichwould be imported if citizens consumed foreign popularculture. The potential for export and state involvement isleft open rather than specified, but to be a NationalPopular whatever was produced had to be liked by most peoplein that nation. Gramsci's own concern with the people ofItaly drew attention to what was going on in his own23 Opposition from Canadians to rock has sometimes used thenation to dismiss music more generally perceived asundesirable in content. For example, in the 1950s Elvis'sChristmas album was seen as a profanation of sacred carols.Opposition to it was "even more irate" in Canada than in theUSA (Martin and Segrave, 1988, p.66). In the late '60s JonRuddy of Maclean's argued that young people in Canada werebeing influenced by Americans and taking on their"vocabularies and ethos of drugs, psychedelia, [and] sexualliberation.., for most Canadian youth, where US teen agersgo there will they go also." (in the article 'How To BecomeAmerican Without Really Trying', v.82/11, 1969 p.60).60country's popular culture during his time. It is tempting toargue that entertainment has changed considerably sincethen, to the extent that audiences have fragmented beyondany hope of constructing a National Popular. However, if werealize that the notion is itself a theoretical andstrategic political construct, the question becomes whetherin each instance the citizens of a nation are writing theirown culture. In terms of Canadian music this means thatthere is no necessity of a single national sound sincenobody likes all sounds. Rather, any candidate for part of amusical National Popular must arouse the interest oflisteners who would follow that type of music. Yet to haveany constituency the music must speak to a significantnumber of listeners, rather than become a minority interest,or as Gramsci called it a "closed caste".Any attempt to look at a National Popular becomes aselective endeavor. Here selection has been based upon thepopularity of each genre within Canada at particular timessince the music industry began to specifically cater to theyouth market which emerged in the 1950s. For example,although some Canadian jazz musicians are world famous forwhat they do, because jazz has not been associated with theyouth market or (consequently) the highest selling type ofmusic during the period under examination, jazz trends arenot dealt with here. Yet other types of minority music which61have become popular at particular times since the 1950s,such as folk, are mentioned.For Gramsci each element of the National Popular had to bewritten and liked by citizens of the country involved to theextent that consequently the citizens consuming it did nottake an interest in foreign culture. This leaves us with thenotion which he left relatively open, that of centralfigures. To become a National Popular any pastime had tohave "eminent personalities" creating a hierarchy of publicattention. So for example Gramsci showed that some Italianwriters were popular, but not well known, and so did notconstitute central figures within their canon (Forgacs andNowell-Smith, 1985, p.210). Also with fiction he outlinedthe added problem that fictional characters, rather than thewriters themselves, were the currency of the NationalPopular (Forgacs and Nowell-Smith, 1985, p.350) and theirantics were popular because they aroused the moral concernsof the people. Gramsci is rarely specific about the value ofcentral figures. However we could surmise that they areimportant because they are memorable, act as markers indiscussions and controversies about particular arenas ofculture, and furthermore they have a citizenship which canbe made relevant by parties concerned with the nation.Rock becomes easier to deal with than popular literature,because frequently the writers are also the performers, who62therefore act as centres of attention. More of a danger isthat, if each element of the National Popular speaks to toosmall a demographic group, central figures will not become acommon currency across the nation. However, in Canada therehave been a few rock musicians, notably Bryan Adams who,while they may not have made music appealing to all agegroups or tastes, have become widely recognized.Returning to folk, the music included in that category hashistorically transformed and varied in popularity as societyhas changed. As a consequence the term 'folk' itself isdisputed. Purists argue folk songs are those that are atleast a century old and in their descent have lost theirauthor's name. However, in the 1920s depression a strain ofnomadic US folk artists wrote their own songs of protest(Scheurer, 1991, pp.171,189; Maclean's v.95/28, 1982, p.53).By the 1960s the folk audience expanded into middle classNorth America (Scheurer, 1991, p.181). Softer groupsemerged, including Ian & Sylvia from Canada, and theMariposa festival near Toronto became a key forum forsinger-songwriter acts. These singer-songwriters emerged atvarious scales of popularity to become famous in a trend wecan call Coffee house folk. The aim here is not to discussthat trend in detail, but provide an outline which we canuse to consider its role as part of the country's NationalPopular.63As a candidate for one moment in the musical part ofCanada's National Popular, not only were differentcombinations of the artists popular at the time linkedtogether by different connections within the music industry,but also the popular music made by Canadians was linked todevelopments in the US. The vibrant folk activity in Canadawas at least in part a result of American folk music and itstrappings becoming popular north of the border during theearly 1960s. Conversely Canadians played a significant rolein the next phase in North American folk: As the Torontofolk scene began to decline the artists associated withCoffee House folk began to gain US success by the early1970s. In New York, Albert Grossman had managed not only Ian& Sylvia and Bob Dylan, but also Canadians The Band andGordon Lightfoot. Two Canadians who left Toronto for the US,Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, were also both managed byElliot Rogers and eventually became label mates on Warner's(Maclean's v.86/3, 1973, p.80-81; v.87/6, 1974, p.28). AlsoBernie Finklestein, who owned the Toronto-based True Northlabel, had close ties to Grossman and managed two folk actsthat were nationally successful within Canada, MurrayMacLauchlan and Bruce Cockburn.In contrast to the purist definition of the genre, Folkmusic emerging after the mid 1960s came from a celebratedbunch of individual singer-songwriters. It created a circleof famous names which gave Canada a kind of National Popular64music. Yet within the trend itself, musical directions werehighly diverse and even the core artists had realdifferences.24 Moreover several Canadian acts which wecannot label as folk had an unprecedented degree of USsuccess at the time as well. These acts included Anne Murray(whom nationalists claimed as Our Anne), rockers The Guess•Who and The Band (who had been assembled by Ronnie Hawkins in Canada, then backed Bob Dylan in the US for a period whenhe took to electric sounds).Another problem with Coffee House folk as part of aNational Popular was that Canadian reporters sometimes hadan ambivalent attitude towards the acts involved becauseartists did not easily fit into a nationalist framework. Forexample Neil Young and Joni Mitchell became expatriates,while Gordon Lightfoot (and other artists with USfollowings) denounced Cancon.25 Coffee House artists emergedat a time when folk was popular because audiences readily24 They included the prairie folk turned hard rock of NeilYoung, the jazz elements in some of Joni Mitchell's work,the Dylanesque folk-rock and ballads of Gordon Lightfoot,the softer, christian inspired tones of Bruce Cockburn andgritty street influences of Murray McLauchlan.25 For example, Ralph Cox explained "Young has become anexpatriate, a creature of California. If he's a barometer asto whether money can bring you happiness, the new Canadianstars who aspire to replace him had better take heed. Neil Young can't handle it. He even shies away from the recordingstudio, and as for live performance he'd rather not."(Maclean's v.87/4, 1974, p.88). In his efforts to positionYoung, perhaps Cox spoke too soon! For Lightfoot's commentson Cancon (and his need to contribute to Canadian culture)see Markle (in Maclean's v.84/2, 1971, p.28).65accepted political statements within the songs themselves.26They contributed with socially conscious songs makingreference more often to America than Canada: for example'Ohio' (about the Kent State massacre) by Neil Young,'Woodstock' by Joni Mitchell and 'Black Day in July' (aboutthe Detroit race riots) by Gordon Lightfoot (Wright, 1987,p.28). From any position which suggests Canadian music hasto be different from other sorts this seems undesirable, yetwithin Gramsci's framework it can be read as a success storyin which Canadians contributed to American popular cultureat the very time it articulated social unrest as the voiceof a concerned generation. Moreover, the popularity of manyCanadian musicians in the USA almost guaranteed theirrecords as hits in Canada. Furthermore some of the CoffeeHouse artists brought an emotional introspection to many oftheir songs which gave longevity to their careers. Thus theyhave been more stable central figures within CanadianNational Popular music than many other Canadian acts famousin the USA, such as 1950s teen idol Paul Anka, who wentthrough. more erratic phases in bidding for popularity.While Coffee house folk thus fitted the mould of aNational Popular it only represented one cohort and moment26 Rock history was at a remarkable juncture in the late1960s and early 1970s because song lyrics became timely anddirect in their social commentary. Previously North Americanpopular music was dominated by songs about love andteenager's pastimes such as surfing.66in recent history. However, into the early 1980s a plethoraof Canadian hard rock bands became popular in the USA, in anexport trend which began to attract press attention. Writersfor Maclean's called the sound exported from Canada Hoserrock. The magazine ran two articles that pegged this as anew Canadian sound, in contrast to the country's previousmusical export commodity.27 They were fair in linking thetrend to changes in the media and music industry.Maclean's articles about Canadian rockers touring the USAbegan by stating that several bands from Canada had foundfans touring the Mid-West USA, and then noting the ironythat American fans probably did not realize that they werewatching a Canadian band. This was likely the obvious way togo about writing such a story, but the unexamined logicswith which such stories were written served nationalisticends. The opening gambit grouped Canadian bands into amovement somehow beyond the control of the USA: an"invasion" or "flood" (typically also used in anti-immigration rhetoric). Next, the use of this irony acted toconceal the imitative nature of Hoser rock, presume theignorance of US fans and present the attitude that thenationality of the bands mattered (when it may not have totheir fans). In reality famous bands were sometimes27 'Workingman's Rock' by Bart Testa (v.93/11, 1980, p.54-56) and 'Canadian Rock Rolls South' by Thomas Hopkins(v.95/24, 1982, p.44-48).67introduced by announcing their home town: adding to thedifference, exoticism and rootedness of the act.29Maclean's was certainly not obviously biased at all times;their celebration of foreign acts suggests the magazine hasno simple or fully coherent nationalist position. HoweverHoser rock was put forward as a new cause for nationalisticcelebration built upon renewed recognition from the media.The spate of bands was suitable because it could beportrayed as an "anti-trend" which contrasted theauthenticity of Canadian music against the fickle demands ofthe US industry.29 Other trends recognized in popular musicaround that time included disco dance music, which wasoriginally rooted in the lifestyle of black and gay Americancommunities, and then a strain of punk influenced pop musicwhich became known as the New Wave. Canada could be alignedwith the authentic, ahistoric, and yet dynamic andheterosexual, because Hoser rock had none of the "fey newwave keening" of disco or the New wave, or even the slownessof Anglo-American pomp-rock which had been popular in theearly 1970s. The Canadian bands which were recognized in the28 "From Winnipeg, Canada, the Guess Who!" (Maclean'sv.84/6, 1971, p.55) and Bryan Adams as "the Groover fromVancouver" (Life & Times, 21/7/92, p.2).29 The argument went essentially that certain heavy bandshad built up a base of younger fans by touring until thepress and industry could no longer ignore then. Also some FMprogrammers had begun to loosen playlists as an experimentin recession and discovered hard rock found them a youngeraudience.68Hoser style were especially suited to success for severalreasons. It was argued that Cancon had summoned up aninfrastructure of slick studios in which to hone theirsound.30 Also the industry North of the 49th Parallel wasmore buoyant in recession; the bands were smart investorssince they had tight profit margins and were used to workinga small market by avoiding fancy stage shows.While Canada already had a legacy of Hoser type bands(such as BTO) favoured by the industrial pre-conditionsoutlined above, the unprecedented number of Canadian bandsin the genre getting recognition was a new occurrence.Maclean's writers added the artistic assertion that Canadianrock in particular was more "pared down" and "hardertravelling", meaning it was somehow simpler and more directthan any American equivalent. These last claims areinteresting because, given the other imperatives, one wouldexpect they would not be needed. They may have related to anaim of differentiating Canadian product, by the magazinerather than the bands.However the writers for Maclean's also presented (butrarely answered) criticisms of Hoser rock: that it was bland30 While certainly Bryan Adams profited early on from thesongs he sold to others which qualified as Cancon (E. O'Day,pers. comm.), it is hard to see how the rule could have"stimulated the success in the 1970s and 1980s of bands likeRush" (Mills and Dickson, 1987, p.2659).69(imitative) franchise rock, pre-packaged for teens yet madeby older men and safe for radio.31 They noted critics alsosaid it could have been a fortuitous combination of luckybands, rather than a coherent trend.While many of those criticisms are true it is alsoimportant to note that they are selective. Centrally criticsmade the assumption that Canadian sounds they could considerwere defined in relation to US demands. This means thatCanadian New Wave bands who only became popular north of theborder were neglected by the magazine in its attempts todefine Canada's nationally popular music. Those bands playedwith personal identity while Hoser rockers usuallyreinforced their identity. The rocker's appeal to some youngAmerican (post-baby boom) fans and certain Canadiannationalists alike was through their lack ofexperimentation; or so it seemed. Yet the rock bands beinglumped together in an attempt to show them as a Canadiantrend were otherwise too diverse to easily aggregate, asTable 2 demonstrates.31 Nationalists pointed out the music was American in themesand style.70Table 2: Some differences between Canadian Hoser rock bands WinnipegMontrealVancouverBand Lyricalthemes32RecordlabelFansRush Sci.fi. Anthem US+EuropeSag-a Sci.fi. Polydor E. EuropeTriumph Love Attic Can. + USStreet-Love Warners Can. + USHeartAldo- Love CBS US-NovaBTO Work+loveMercury Can/US/UKLover- Love CBS Can. + US.7.12.21Bryan- Love A&M Global-AdamsArea ofOri inTorontoReasonfor fameUS toursEuro-toursCan. fansCan. fansAggressivePublisherAM airplayCan. fansMTV video(in 1983)The music of many Hoser bands may have been quite similar,but they were very different in other ways. For example, interms of their labels, while most were signed to majors,Triumph remained on a Canadian "indie" despite their USsuccess,33 Many other differences could be pointed out,such as the way Bruce Allen almost manufactured Loverboy(Can. Business v.57/9, 1984, p.68) compared to Rush whodoggedly refused commercial pressures (Maclean's v.91/2,23/2/78, p.26-30).32 Lyrical themes are greatly simplified here. For example,while Rush did write songs about outer space, they also sangcritiques of suburbia, introspections on the meaning of fameand songs about relationships, amongst other things. Anotherexample is Bryan Adams, who made a foray into socialcriticism for his 'Into The Fire' album, but has otherwiselargely sung songs about relationships.33 An indie is an independent record label, run solely torelease records, and organized on a smaller scale than amulti-national corporation (eg. Nettwerk Records). Also Rushare unusual in that they are signed to Mercury through theirmanager's sub-label Anthem.71As a candidate for Canada's National Popular in musicHoser rock suffered from the opposite problems to CoffeeHouse folk. Musical similarities between the bands wereswamped by other trends with national and regionalrepercussions at the time.34 Most Hoser rock bands attracteda young, male audience, so it is difficult to say that thetrend appealed to a wide spectrum of listeners. Apart fromthe start (with BTO) and end (with Bryan Adams) of thedecade or so in which Canadian rock of that sort peaked inpopularity, it was hard to say that the trend had centralfigures with high profiles.35 Claims about Hoser rock, whichadmittedly came at a certain time (for example before female34 From 1975 to 1985 several "international" trends brokeacross Canada and stimulated acts signed to the majors withlimited success. Punk bands The Poles and The Diodes emergedfrom Toronto, while the scene in Vancouver spawned DOA andThe Subhumans. Early disco music became popular by beingplayed for the dance floors rather than on radio or viatours, so acts signed to the majors such as Canadian GinoSoccio were not well known. A few Canadian balladeers hadhits in the US, including Patsy Gallant, Dan Hill and GinoVanel1i. Grant (1986) argues that the early 1980s ironic popof the New Wave was a time when Canadian music becameespecially popular in the US. However I believe the New Wavewas a time of relative isolation for Canada. Outside actscould not sell well on tour (see Maclean's v.95/34, 23/8/82,p.48). From Toronto Martha and the Muffins managed a UK hitwhile Rough Trade, famous in Canada on True North, failed inthe US with poor distribution. Only The Nylons gained someUS fame, through their tours. From Vancouver the Payola$ andparty band Doug & The Slugs found national success. FinallyThe Spoons were Canada's only major electro-pop signing, butthey had no foreign success.35 In Popular Music Since 1955, of Bachman-Turner OverdrivePaul Taylor (1985, p.185) notes "The importance of the bandin Canada is difficult to appreciate for the Britishreader." This clearly suggests they were recognized acrossthe country as central figures in the musical part ofCanada's National Popular for a period.72rockers grew in number) ignored Canada's diverse and richheritage within rock by quickly packaging the music tootightly into a nationalist framework. Bands which only foundfame at the national level, but for various reasons had lesssuccess penetrating the US market, were ignored, as werewomen.36 This neglect of female rockers is importantbecause punk, New Wave pop and rock allowed female artiststo play with the identities handed to them. For example theycould express aggression within the traditionally maledominated style of hard rock.37In the 1980s several factors encouraged the emergence ofthe latest phase of bands to have potential as a NationalPopular. It could be argued that the interplay of dominantradio formats and the structure of labels have been the twomost crucial influences upon music emerging within Canada inrecent years. Adult Contemporary (AC) is the dominant format(Can. Musician v.7/2, 1986, p.41) and it consists of vocalballads. Yet there are many types of AC which lean betweeneasy listening instrumentals with a few songs with vocals36 Some rock bands were only nationally successful. Theyincluded Max Webster (whose singer Kim Mitchell later wentsolo on the Alert label) and Trooper (the Vancouver partyband who failed to get US airplay). Prism had the talents ofBruce Fairbairn, Jim Valiance and Bruce Allen, butfloundered in the US because their label in America, Ariola,could not find enough promotional money (B. Fairbairn, pers.comm.).37 Women in rock around that time included Lee Aaron andDarby Mills.73mixed in, through soul and pop, to softer classic rock. ACairplay is important, but not all bands want to do AC typematerial. One result is that, especially with the majors,acts are signed. and songs are released for their AC andformat crossing potential. It could be argued that theemergence of more female artists both on indies and majorsis associated with this policy. While these Canadians workin a variety of genres, it seems fair to conclude that manyhave been signed for their appeal to AC listeners andpotential to get played on more than one format.38Many hard rock bands now include more ballads on theiralbums since these can get them wider airplay. Whether anyparticular rock band records songs in ballad style dependson their musical preferences and the amount of pressure fromtheir label. Certainly it is a potentially lucrativestrategy, but not one confined to Canada. The importantpoint about this policy is that the structure of the musicdoes not alter because acts including such material on their38 These artists include Celine Dion who signed direct tothe USA for her first soulful anglophonic album. Also SarahMclachlan is beginning to become popular in the US, singingher soft harmonies on the Nettwerk label (L. Burshtein,pers. comm.). With more of a rock edge, Sue Medley touredwith Bob Dylan whilst signed to the Mercury label, but wasrelegated to a less promoted position after a label staffshake-up (J. Bateman, pers. comm.), while Sass Jordan signedto Aquarius, has remained popular at a national level only.Other female artists have gained national success on AC andcountry formats, including kd lang, Mae Moore, Loreena McKennitt, Jane Sibanry, Rita Chirelli, Michelle Wright andRita MacNeil.74albums are doing two associated types of songs. However, anewer and more relevant trend is that format crossing songsget recorded especially to subvert the division of radiosound identities. Such format crossing hits in Canada haveincluded 'Lost Together' by Blue Rodeo and 'Superman's Song'by The Crash Test Dummies. 39 These records are begun intheir home formats and then worked across the others bylabel promotion staff. It must be realized that the trenddoes not mean artists who have changed format during theircareers, such as Elvis Presley who gradually moved betweencountry, rock and AC formats. Even artists such as LyleLovett, who records material suitable for either AC orcountry formats, are not strictly included. The type offormat crossing music referred to in this context comes fromacts which regularly release discs able to traverse morethan two formats. Although the CRTC's Cancon policy may meanbroadcasters in formats which cannot find much qualifyingmaterial stretch the limits of what they are willing toplay, the crossover trend relates more to the aim of themajors to sign bands and release material which appeals toas many formats as possible, in order to continue viableoperation by saturating the small Canadian market. Hence thecrossover material is also marketed to stations in formatswhich have no shortage of Cancon material.39 Blue Rodeo is the first group Warner's have shippedacross all 5 radio formats (Marketing v.95/47, 1990, p.1).75Thus it could be argued that this trend is restricted tocountries like Canada, where the small size of the marketmeans that the majors need access to as many fans aspossible to make their promotional effort worthwhile. Whilewe could question the Canadian nature of the trend becausethe foreign majors are responsible for it through theirsigning and single release policies, many other popularmusical trends that could be considered Canadian wereperpetuated in that way. We can only say format crossersmake a Canadian sound in the sense that such music is moreencouraged in less populated countries and Canada is one ofthose.Again, like Hoser rock, format crossing is also a slimtrend compared to the amount of Canadian music getting madebecause there are plenty of freshly signed Canadian artistswho are highly format driven (J. Bateman, pers. comm.). Theyinclude heavy metal bands such as Slik Toxix and Sven Gall and rappers like Devon and Maestro Fresh Wes. Many of therecent format oriented signings in Canada have been made byindependents distributed through the majors. Artists ontheir rosters include Alanis, Mitsou and Love & Sass indance. For the independents with limited marketing budgetsformat targeting makes sense as an export strategy whichselectively reaches fans of particular styles. Hencedifferent types of bands get signed depending on theimperatives upon and policies of particular labels. The76result is that while format crossers may be a minority ofsignings, they are unusually popular with consumers.If we look at bands signed with an ability to play songswith inherent ambiguity in relation to formats, it becomesimportant to explore whether they have anything more incommon. It could be argued that one thing such bands shareis their generational predicament. Since they are reworkingdominant structures of identity handed down by babyboomers,the bands emerging within this trend have an experimentalbut retrospective quality. For example, nostalgic radioformats have helped reposition blues as a popular interestamongst white North Americans. Canadians have been signed ina variety of ways. Jeff Healy was signed direct to the USlabel Arista; Colin James struck a deal with Virgin; and ata much smaller scale Paul James showcases his own vanitymaterial in Toronto (Maclean's v.101/47, 1988, p.55;v.100/9, 1987, p.35).40 Furthermore rockers moving in othermusical directions have emerged. 54.40 signed to Warners in1986 following several Vancouver indie releases and tours ofthe West coast college circuit. They have become popular inCanada through a more recent deal with Sony Music (Can.Musician v.4/7, 1986, p.42). Similarly from Kingston,Ontario The Tragically Hip have become a band with a loyalCanadian following, but limited US success. They began by40 A Vanity release is any recording released by the banditself rather than an outside label.77reworking British Blues, sounding similar at first to theRolling Stones. After releasing an EP on BMG-Canada in 1989,they signed to MCA for the release of subsequent albums(Can. Musician v.10/3, 1988, p.45).The Cowpunk trend, a loose amalgam mixing the music ofcountry, blues and folk with the attitude and approach ofpunk, developed out of New York and Toronto. The bandsassociated with it tend to have a musically innovative soundwith AC or format crossing potential. One important groupare the Cowboy junkies, whose cheaply recorded but highlyacclaimed 'Trinity Sessions' album was released in most ofBMG's territories in 1987. Blue Rodeo are another bandallied to the trend who came from Toronto and signed toWarners in that year (Maclean's v.102/16, 1989, p.58-59).Also an associated artist is kd lang, from Alberta, whorecruited the Reclines in 1984. She released a single thenext year and signed her brand of country direct to Sire-Warners (Life & Times 11/5/92, p.2). Although she began incountry music, becoming a controversial figure with talentrecognized in Nashville, by her fourth album kd had moved onto a crooning torch sound. Compared to the eclectic countrypop of Blue Rodeo and darker mixtures of The Cowboy junkies,kd lang has warped the genres she chose from within. Both ofthe latter artists have found fame in Britain, the US andCanada. Similarly Winnipeg's Crash Test Dummies, weresetting their sights abroad once their 1991 debut album on78BMG sold well at home (Can. Musician v.14/1, 1992, p.42).This is another band very difficult to categorize by theirmusic, if anything leaning away from cowpunk towards Celticfolk influences.Export imperatives may create a situation in which fewbands have an interest in proclaiming that they have aCanadian sound. However, a degree of Darwinian competitionexists between those bands which have not yet managed toaccess the best help the majors can offer. When anybodystands to benefit from it, their roots in the national orone of its provinces suddenly count. Roots are used as amarketing device, if not by the act themselves then by thestaff who peddle their singles to radio stations for thelabel. The place an act comes from becomes part of their"story" (Riordan, 1988, p.289). If a band is relativelysmall or exclusively playing to Canadian audiences it has aninterest in stressing this commonality. Smaller bands dothis through their names and songs (exoticism is produced inpress-kits by stressing their home region) or by mentioningicons of popular culture such as the sport of hockey, in andbetween songs.4141 Hockey has central figures which Canadian music sometimeslacked. One early 1960's surprise hit by a Canadian was'Gordie Howe' by Bob Davies (Maclean's v.73/4, 1963, p.63).79The current situation allows no simplistic conclusions butone important element is that national attitudes have begunto turn around. Thirty one years ago Paul Anka was nearlyjeered off the stage at his first homecoming gig (Maclean'sv.72/1, 1962, p.36) .42 More recently artists popular abroadwere reclaimed more or less successfully depending on wherethey had chosen to live. Now, not only are homecoming touracts like Bryan Adams celebrated, but so are some artistsmost people know will not do well abroad, such as theBarenaked Ladies. Canada's popular acts may be too musicallydiverse to allow us to label them as a coherent sound. Thisis a potential problem for essentialists who insist that tobe relevant Canadian music has to be somehow different fromforeign artists.43 Yet in terms of a National Popular, itdoes not matter that these artists are diverse in theirmusical styles. In fact that could be an advantage because,as central figures, they collectively cater to a variety oftastes. Perhaps more important is that most have the backingof foreign major labels; they show us that Canada istherefore implicated within a wider industrial milieux.To conclude, the discussion in this chapter has shown thatCanadian artists are now making a diversity of music liked42 A Gig is a live rock show.43 An example of this position is Barry Grant (1986, p.125)who argues "For a Canadian song to say in some way 'I am notAmerican' is a tentative but progressive step forward towarddefining our own popular music".80by audiences both inside and outside the country. Whiletheir music has become too diverse for us to find unifyingqualities which bolster an essentialist position, to anextent their work can be fruitfully reappropriated usingGramsci's notion of the National Popular. So far it has beenexplained that traditionally not only do Canadians largelylisten to foreign sounds, but they use foreign success as acriterion for good music and make music which suits thatcriterion. At first sight this seems a problem for nationalcharacter. However, it has been argued that if we repositionCanada within the global social fabric it becomes irrelevantto suggest a priori that Canadian music has to be unified,and different from anything written abroad. In his owncontext, Gramsci explained reasons that the people did notlike Italian literature and thus a way that indigenouswriters could be reorientated to become more like foreignwriters in order to reach their fellow citizens.44 Ifregional cultural strength is a forgotten component in thehistory of Canadian rock, it is also a debatable one. Forexample Appendix one shows that music made in Quebec isactually subject to mediation from outside the province.44 Bearing in mind his interest in creating a nationalculture, the following statement from Gramsci can beinterpreted as a suggestion to Italian writers: "Literaturemust be at one and the same time a current element ofcivilization and a work of art. Otherwise, instead ofartistic literature there will be a preference for serialliterature." (Forgacs and Nowell-Smith 1985, p.264)81Nevertheless in Canada the demands of foreign markets,changing significance of airplay in beginning trends anddifferent degrees of regional retrenchment have beenimportant in developing trends in the nation's music. Thesefactors mean that while we can talk about the popularity offoreign artists within Canada and the difficulties faced byCanadian acts, we cannot simplistically speak of thecultural domination of Canada by the USA. Nonetheless thatconcept of domination has provided the grounding for somenational cultural policies, such as the CRTC's Canconregulation examined in the next chapter.82Chapter Three Cancon: Doing it for You?"I don't think I'd ever walk away from Canada."- Bryan Adams-Having examined the difficulties of finding and defining aNational Popular in relation to Canadian rock, it is nowimportant to explore some industrial aspects that Gramscidid not consider. The discussion in this chapter exploresthe wider context, origins and consequences of the CRTC'sCancon radio regulation, situated within a dialogue betweenbroadcasters and the State. The motives behind Stateregulation related to the CRTC's own concerns over nationalculture and the structurally marginal position of Canada'ssound recording industry. As a central figure in the musicalelement of Canada's National Popular, Bryan Adams stimulatedthe CRTC to question its rule. Integral to this process, itis argued, was the attention drawn to his own nationality,citizenship and representative status as someone with theimage of a regular guy. Finally some implications of thechanges which resulted from Adams' protests are examined.Antonio Gramsci's emphasis upon consumer choicemarginalized the framework which delivered that choice byassuming a kind of literary free trade. The case of music inCanada is more complex because not only are there two1 From 'Bryan Adams Off The Record' by W. Deverell (inSaturday Night v.107/9, 1992, p.82).83industries behind the delivery of music, recording andbroadcasting, but also the Cancon policy of the CRTC hasbeen one small barrier against musical free trade in thelatter. Furthermore, while the CRTC has moved beyond themodel of the lame State set out by Gramsci, its policy hasactually been to an extent in line with his work. The CRTCis only mandated to delve into Canada's airwaves, and withthe tacit approval of the sound recording industry it hasregulated the broadcasters. This chapter aims to explore thegoals of Cancon, the dialogue between the CRTC andbroadcasters over its operation, and the consequences ofthis regulation. Finally the way in which one artist (Bryan Adams) prompted a change in CRTC policy is discussed.Radio airplay now brings most forms of music to wideraudiences and has even boosted sounds, like disco, whichbegan as minority interests propagated in other ways. Evenin an age of national television and video, radio reaches amaximum audience, so labels still see airplay as 70% of theway to popularize a record (A. Williams, pers. comm.).Record company executives target their marketing budgets tovideos, trade magazine advertisements, paraphernalia andwhatever other acceptable ways they can find to pique theinterest of station programmers. Thus the Canadian musicindustry supports two regular trade publications aiming toreach radio staff, even though there is no market forconsumer magazines. Furthermore, even if a band does not84sell many records, if they secure extensive airplay they areguaranteed some remuneration from performance royalties.2While the central aim of most radio programmers is toimprove audience ratings in order to draw in moreadvertising revenue, it is also true that some stations arejust as concerned with keeping a loyal core of listeners.Oldies stations fall squarely within the logic of maximizingaudience ratings but they do little to promote new bands. By1987 15% of Canadian Stations played nothing but old hits(Maclean's v.100/9, p.32). This development demonstratesthat the use of radio as a vehicle to promote bands is aneconomic coincidence stemming from the music's saleabilityrather than a matter of destiny (D.Osborn, pers. comm.).Yet the popularity and consequent commercial value ofrock allowed the music to spread across Canada in the firstplace during the 1950s. Young people formed an expandingcohort which in a boom economy became an affluent radioaudience. Their emergence as a significant consumer groupprompted many stations to shift programming towards rock androll. Some programmers (in the environment of the MasseyCommission) disapproved, because the new music aired wasboth American and youth orientated. Another trend from2 Unlike sales, royalties from airplay offer regular paymentand are one of the only ways in which non-performingsongwriters get paid.85America which Canadians adopted was the division between AMand FM programming set up in the USA by the FederalCommunications Commission in 1967 (Denisoff, 1986, p.247) topromote diversity. Since FM had a smaller audience it becamea community of musical outsiders, difficult to mix together.Loyal audiences, segmental programming and targetadvertising eventually developed into radio formats, whichstayed as FM grew to entertain more listeners, both in theUS and in Canada.In the 1960s radio broadcasters were modelling themselveson the USA (Yorke, 1971, p.2) because the large market ofthat country proved the effectiveness of techniquesdeveloped by their programmers. Furthermore, Canadian musicitself was in a difficult predicament because Canadianartists were rarely signed or had hits in their own country.Those who received airplay were either expatriates signeddirect to US majors, or artists such as Gordon Lightfoot,who had built up a fan base by touring Canada or exceptionssuch as The Guess Who.33 Starting out as Chad Allen and the Expressions, The GuessWho changed their name in order to trick radio programmersinto thinking they were the English band The Who. The ploygot them airplay for their 1965 single 'Shakin' All Over'.Three years later they secured airplay again by recording apromotion for Coca-Cola. Stations which advertised the softdrink played for the resulting single 'These Eyes' partlyout of courtesy to their sponsors, but that began a seriesof US chart hits for the band (Yorke, 1971, pp.21,44).86As the 1960s drew to a close, in an environment ofcentennial patriotism, broadcasting policy underwentconsiderable change.4 By 1967 the Standing Committee onBroadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts hence arguedthat a single body was needed to control the country'scommunication system, since they believed it was "thecentral nervous system of Canadian nationhood" (Foster,1982, R.241).5The resulting body, based upon the expedient ifunrealistic notion of a unified Canadian media, was mandatedby the 1968 Broadcasting Act and called the CRTC. Its holdover radio licenses allowed the Commission to regulate theentire programming environment within which broadcasterscould operate with a gamut of stipulations. Crucially, afternearly a year of preparation, on the 18th of January 1971,regulations for AM stations required that 30% of the songsplayed in every 4 hour period qualify as Canadian contentThe 1958 incarnation of the Broadcasting Act may haveallowed the Board of Broadcast Governors to create Canadiancontent rules for television, but nationalists complainedthat their cause rested too heavily upon the shoulders ofthe CBC.5 This metaphor of the media as a central nervous system wasa co-optation of the terminology of Canada's mostsignificant intellectual export at the time, MarshallMcLuhan. However, he had argued that communications hadexploded "abolishing both space and time as far as ourplanet is concerned" (McLuhan, 1964, p.3). So the artificialbounding of the media for nationalist causes hid the sourceit drew on and thus the contradictions arising from its ownparochialism.87(Can. Composer no.200, 1985, p.22). This measure promptedthe governments of other countries with relatively smallmusic markets to consider using their national airwaves forthe cause of cultural protectionism.6It could be argued that if the Massey Commission had beena moment in which Canada's intellectuals had used the nameof the nation in order to assert their need for funding, theemergence of Cancon resulted from members of the soundrecording industry laying claim to the nation as a way toalter the activities of broadcasters. In both instances theState was what gave force to these claims; it intervened inthe media in a way which was unlike the Italian Stateearlier in this century. Unlike the USA, the Canadianconstitution contains no freedom of the press clause(Hindley et al, 1977, p.90).7 A strong State could intervene6 Before Cancon was established, some extremist regimes suchas Nazi Germany and fascist Spain had controlled theirnational airwaves (Etzkorn, 1973, p.191). These governmentshad fostered cultural nationalism because it wasconveniently allied to their extreme politics. However, inmore liberal nations impulses for the control of radio forcultural protectionism began to come from representatives ofmarginalized music industries. For example, before Britishpop began to dominate foreign markets in the mid-1960's,British musicians agitated for governmental protection ofthe their national airwaves (Frith, 1991, p.264). TheCanadian regulation was an unprecedented measure of thatsort for a developed country. It paved the way for othermarginal nations to follow suit. For example, Australiabegan a quota system for its airwaves in 1973 (Jonker, 1992,p.26).7 In the USA the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)deals with radio station licensing. Since the FirstAmendment guarantees freedom of the press the FCC cannot apriori censor stations. It can, nonetheless, remove a88in broadcasting by claiming to act in the interest of apublic who were otherwise consuming foreign music.8In their complaints about the erosion of public choice•under Cancon (Can. Composer, no.200, 1985, p.22)broadcasters were really decrying the reduction of their ownoptions. Stations had provided a limited choice of music forpeople before the regulation. They ignored the fact that thepublic was still free to do other things such as retune orturn off their radios. Yet audiences did not leave and,possibly due to the national cause behind Cancon, they hadnot complained in general. However, when in 1975 theCommission decided to ban FM stations carried by Americancable services into Canada because they did not encouragediversity, there were enough listener complaints to makethem relent (Hindley et al, 1977, pp.92-93).The immediate consequences of Cancon were numerous. AsCAPAC argued, publishers, producers and promoters now hadreduced risk and a burgeoning home market to build uponstation's license if what they broadcast is not in thepublic interest. The threat of such action, coupled withvague directives, induces stations to police themselves overdrug related lyrics (Denisoff, 1986, p.272).8 While the Commission was made up of ex-broadcasters(Maclean's v.83/4, 1970, p.111) and so was likely to respectthe imperatives upon them, within reason it could do as itpleased. The new regulation was supposed to impose uponCanadian broadcasters on behalf of the country's embryonicrecording industry.89(Can. Composer no.200, 1985, p.22). A distribution systemwas already in place within Canada (Can. Business v.60/10,1987, p.128), made possible by tariffs on imported recordsand cassettes. Coming at a time of relatively low recordingcosts the Cancon regulation stimulated the majors into usingCanada as a test bed for Canadian bands with exportpotential. It turned the nationality of Canadian artistsfrom something to hide into a marketing technique at home,stimulating an immediate spate of compilation albums whichprogrammers could select from. 9 For the government, thepolicy was an effective and cheap way to reduce free tradein the sale and marketing of music.As such, Cancon was successful in its aims of introducingCanadian music to Canadians and through this stimulating theCanadian sound recording industry. In its first aim the CRTCwas adhering to the spirit of Gramsci in not specifying thecontent of music made by Canadians. This was similar to whatSpain had done before and what Australia did after Canconbegan. While Cancon has allowed the Canadian recordingindustry to attain a level which it would not have done in afree market, the music produced remains export orientatedsince the US market remains a larger one. Gramsci's schemacan accommodate this situation with more realistic9 Canadian artists as a whole were now guaranteed moreroyalty remuneration, a degree of national recognition andpotential sales.90assumptions than viewpoints suggesting Canadian music has tobe different in some aspect of content. In line withGramsci's ideas, a lack of specification regarding thecontent of Cancon (beyond who made it) allowed the CRTC toescape essentialist arguments. Yet Cancon also proved usefulin controlling content at particular times.10Perhaps a more difficult dilemma for a Gramsci type ofinterpretation of Cancon has been the tension between itsfirst aim of helping Canadian artists and second aim ofhelping the industry. In other countries content policiesnot only avoided appearing an undemocratic imposition (byspecifying how they were helping the public, or theirtargeting of the radio programmers), but they also kepttheir aims cultural.11 The dual aims of Cancon were metthrough the implementation of what became known as the MAPLsystem. This meant that each selection (individual song10 When CAPAC wanted 5% or more of daytime selections tohave music and/or lyrics written by a Canadian (Foster,1982, p.306) cover versions of foreign songs could bescreened out. When averaging periods were at their narrowestthe CRTC effectively prevented programmers from broadcastingthe American charts, or ghettoizing of Canadian music byplaying large blocks of it at once (Foster, 1982, p.335).11 In Spain Franco's 1969 radio content law reflectedGramsci because it aimed to stop the "growing foreignism" ofthe airwaves and give the people "a style that is closer totheir own customs" (Martin and Segrave, 1988, p.156). TheAustralian Broadcasting Tribunal's aim in creating itsAuscon rule was similarly to secure airplay for Australianartists in order to develop an Australian musical culturecommensurate with the quality and diversity of musicavailable (Jonker, 1992, p.26).91played on the radio) would be judged against the fourfollowing criteria, and (after 18th January 1972) if it metat least two of the four the song qualified under Canconrules:M) Music composed by a Canadian.A) Artist principally performing the music or lyrics must beCanadian.P) Performance recorded in, or broadcast live from, Canada.L) Lyrics written by a Canadian. 12With this system the CRTC were defining the ownership andnationality of each song in order to create optimal socialand industrial consequences for their regulation. Theirdefinition of Canadian talent goes beyond the artist singingthe song, into its writers and place of recording. 13However, to the public all that is seen or heard is theartist in question. Since it is possible that a foreign song12 Basic MAPL information is taken here from CRTC Factsheet:The MAPL System (CRTC, R1-02-92). The CRTC liberally definea "Canadian" person as a Canadian citizen, landed immigrantor person living in Canada for at least the last six months.13 The 'P' criterion makes the location where a song wasrecorded an important consideration. It is one example ofthe international nature of the recording industry beingdenied by Cancon: bands often leave Canada to record withproducers they like (Nite Moves 10/92, p.13) or to avoid thepressure, disturbances or boredom of recording at home (Can.Musician v.1/5, 1989, p.92). Conversely bands who come toCanada, for example to work with producer Bruce Fairbairn inVancouver, get that point in the Cancon system. Thisconfiguration of MAPL creates revenue and puts Canada on themap for fans abroad, but whether its benefits relate to theoverall aims of Cancon is questionable.92sung by a Canadian may fail to meet the other criteria, thesystem has always faced problems of public accountability.To the broadcasters the problem with new Canadian music,like a lot of other music, is its unproven potential. Assuch Cancon was seen as a danger to audience ratings,particularly in border stations where the blanket coverageof the rule broke down and Canadian stations competed withones from the USA for the same listeners (Can. Composerv.57/2, 1971, p.30) .14After some initial enthusiasm (Foster, 1982, p.336) fewstations have exceeded the criterion, so it seems likelythat abolition of the rule would reduce or maintain currentlevels of Canadian music. Furthermore, those stationsconcerned with attracting more listeners without breakingthe quota practice the "stuffing" of Cancon material intoless popular times of day such as the late evening or smallhours of the morning (D. Buote, J. Johnston, pers. comm.).The time period during which each station takes an averagemeasure of Cancon controls the legality and popularity ofstuffing. For example if the quota is averaged for logsacross the whole day then the bulk of songs meeting thecriteria can be stuffed into unpopular times. Yet if theaveraging period is four hours then each four hour block14 Yet once it operated there was minimal public outcry, sothe CRTC continued as usual.93during the day must meet the required level of Cancon. Sincestuffing means songs qualifying as Cancon are played atunpopular times, the result is to reduce the audiencelistening to qualifying acts.Even if narrow averaging periods can make the public blindto differences in what they listen to, the Cancon regulationmeans that radio programmers cannot forget they are dealingwith two types of music. Many of them mentally ghettoizeCanadian music (J. Johnston, pers. comm.). Therefore whenrecords come in programmers put them into two pools, Canconand foreign artists. The format and market of a stationeffects what it receives in terms of the quantity and typeof input into each pool. What proportion of each pool getsplayed depends upon the station's format, how often it playsoldies and under what rotation or repeat factors a stationoperates. Conflicting stories about the nature and viabilityof Cancon exist (Can. Composer no.200, 1985, p.28) not onlybecause of the growth of the industry , since the rule began,but because the regulation cannot be considered without itscontext alongside, for example, rules governing the width offormats.The format rule governs what genre of music a station hasstated it will play on its promise of performance.1515 A Promise of Performance is the document each radiostation. uses as part of its license application to the CRTC,specifying what it intends to broadcast.94Narrower formats mean less stations per format, so labelscan target promotional budgets to stations likely to playtheir particular acts. For musicians working outsideminority genres, the narrower the format the smaller theaudience they can reach. The net result is a reducedaudience as potential record buyers, but a more efficientway to target advertising and label promotion dollars. Table3 shows how radio is currently divided in Canada:Table 3: The popularity of different radio formats in CanadaFormat % of Stations % of ListenersAdult Contemporary (AC) 61 28Middle of the Road (MOR) 15 20Album Oriented Rock (AOR) 7 11Others 17 41(Sources: Can. Musician v.7/2, 1986, p.41; Focus on Culture,Stats Canada v.2/4, 1990, p.2):So AC is currently the dominant format in Canada, but thecategory targets a relative minority of listeners andincludes a wide variety of music. The Canadian recordingindustry does not provide a lot of material in the AC, Danceand Country formats, so Cancon material is added to theirplaylists as soon as it comes into the station (D. Buote, B.Phillips, pers. comm.). Labels orientating themselves tothose formats within Canada have the benefits of Cancon andless of a need to devote money to promoting their wares tostations. The stations may search a little outside theirformats, so those genres get defined more loosely in Canadathan in the flooded market of the USA. Also album tracks,95old hits or the frequent repetition of songs can be used tofill up the Cancon quota. Of these formats, only AC providesartists with a strong incentive to tailor their products,through its dominance. The other genres are minorityinterests containing records made by enthusiasts or thosemore concerned with export.-6 In formats which have noshortage of Canadian music to choose from, such as AOR (hardrock), Some bands may either be not good enough or too lateto make the quota. Thus on occasion stations have turnedaway hopeful young bands with the excuse that they hadalready filled out the quota for the week (J. Ufton, pers.comm.).Appendix two shows a history of changes to Cancon and theother rules related to it, including widening formatdefinitions. What this demonstrates is that the CRTC hasbeen attentive enough to the lack of Cancon material in manyformats to loosen its rules.17 For example, if a single16 For example country music in Canada is a thrivingminority interest. Country releases in Canada collectivelycontain amongst the highest percentage of Cancon compared toother types of music (Sound Recording Statistics Canada,1988, p. 29: 1989, p.29). However these releases arerelatively few in number and played on a distinct minorityof stations.17 While stations within the most liberal regulatoryframework of rules outside Cancon are the most free to playforeign material, they also have the potential to remainviable while playing more Cancon material. In Valleyfield,Quebec, KOD 137 AM began in 1991 as a francophonic stationwhich decided to play only Cancon tunes. This is possiblebecause, as an AM station, they do not have to specify aformat on their promise of performance and can play anything96makes the top forty charts in The Record or the USA trademagazine Billboard, the CRTC defines it as a hit (Can.Composer v.1/2, 1990, p.17). As part of the policy todifferentiate AM and FM programming and encourage diversity,FM stations could only play hits eighteen times per week. AsFM took over audiences from AM, programmers became irateabout the rule, particularly because of their growing chartorientation. The repeat factor rule had existed for manyyears along side Cancon, but as audiences moved from AM toFM, programmers following them complained about the rulebecause it prevented FM playlists from being filled withproven hits. When broadcasters felt a need to question therule, they argued that it prevented the formation of aCanadian star system and as a result it was eliminated forCanadian material in 1986 (Regulations Respecting RadioBroadcasting CRTC, 1986-1230, p.22-23). This paved the wayfor the complete elimination of the rule in 1992 (B.Phillips, pers. comm.).However, far from tightly controlling the daily operationsof stations, the CRTC lets the system largely police itself.Right from the start, after clearing up their queries, theCommission trusted the broadcasters about what met MAPLcriteria. At first the CAB complied a book of Canconmaterial with 7000 entries (Can. Composer no.57, 1971,from Gordon Lightfoot, to Renee Claude to dance acts likethe West End Girls (Probe v.3/1, 1992, p.8).97p.32), but due to the logistics of maintaining such a book aMAPL rating was soon displayed on each record's label.18Record companies were willing to do this since they saw itas a marketing technique in Canada (A. Williams, pers.comm.).Further policing of the broadcasting system operatesthrough two streams of complaint. Firstly the public cancomplain to the CRTC about stations. However this processhas little potential: the CRTC can question therepresentativeness of individual complaints and access tosome documents is limited. The system is set up so thatpublic complaint is orientated towards holding stations totheir promises of performance, and therefore the CRTC to theBroadcasting Act (Glustein and Aston, 1981, p.3-5). Theparochial conception of the media upon which the act restsis rarely questioned. Listeners usually address verbalcomplaints to the station concerned or tune to somethingelse, rather than attend CRTC meetings.19 Public ignorancemeans that complaints from the public tend to compareCanadian stations to those in the USA without realizing18 CAB Stands for the Canadian Association of Broadcasters.19 In reality "public" hearings held by the CRTC becomeforums in which broadcasters and lobby groups express theirviews; neither the Commission nor the broadcasters seestheir role as that of public educator (D. Buote, S.Alexander, pc rs. comm.) despite their supposedaccountability.98their different regulatory environments (D. Buote, pers.comm.).The second steam of complaints addressed to the CRTC comesfrom broadcasters concerned about other broadcasters.Sometimes the CRTC grants more than one station the sameformat if a local market can support them.20 The tightcompetition gives an extra incentive for stations to monitortheir competition. Typically one may complain about anotherlocal station drifting towards its own format.21 Anotherissue of complaint is compliance with the Cancon rule. Onebroadcaster may find fault with a competitor thought to becounting songs meeting only one of the MAPL criteria asCancon or failing the quota (E. O'Day, pers. comm.). In itswisdom the CRTC usually pulls the log books of bothbroadcasters to assess the complaint, which means that onlystations with clean records make complaints. Also the CRTC20 The CRTC decides which stations can get licenses at alocal scale by taking into account the financial securityand market for proposed ventures, as well as what kind ofmusic each proposed station will play. Thus in Vancouverthey have turned down alternative rock station Coast 1040'sapplication for an FM license even though it is probably theonly one to play over the Cancon quota minimum andencourages diversity with a very large play list (J. Ufton,pers. comm.). The reason is that the station has lowaudience ratings and has been in financial difficulty (Globeand Mail 5/4/93, p.A9).21 For example Easy Listening stations have begun to addvocal ballads and creep into AC formats as they loselisteners, yet AC stations complain because they have higherquotas to fill up (J. Bateman, pers. comm.).99makes occasional further random sweeps; in 1989 it caughtabout fifteen stations by this method (Financial Times ofCanada 18/2/91, p.10). Yet no station has ever lost itslicense solely over Cancon offences. The worst that hashappened has been the reduction of license tenure down froma potential 7 years to 18 months, which represents apunishment since it takes a long time to prepare eachlicense application (S. Alexander, pers. comm.).Complaints about the Cancon system have come from avariety of viewpoints.22 What we shall concentrate upon hereare those from artists themselves, as popular figures haveperhaps. proved the most publicly troublesome to theCommission, straddling the boundary between the public andrecording industry and thus questioning to whom the CRTC is22 From the USA, Time magazine argued that Cancon nurtured aweak and doubtful Canadian culture as a barrier to freetrade (Maclean's v.85/8, 1972, p.70). This view is ignorantof the industrial and media configuration around Canada andassumes a false degree of coherence to the nation's culture.Others argue that the music business is too large for Canconto be effective (M. Laba, pers. comm.). Yet the rule meantUS record companies could no longer avoid signing Canadianbands with the excuse that the bands failed to have a hit intheir home country. Cancon allowed foreign majors to releaseCanadian acts using Canada as a test bed. Furthermore theCRTC directly promoted Canadian bands (eg. Canadian FeatureSegments were encouraged in return for an advertisingamnesty on FM 1986-1991) and most Cancon comes fromindependent labels. The idea that Cancon quotas are imposedupon the public forgets who they are really imposed upon:broadcasters. Those who blamed sustained broadcaster apathyfor the limited success of Cancon (Maclean's v.85/8, 1972,p.70) ignored economic imperatives facing stations.100accountable. Artists did not always like the way in whichtheir exposure had come about. 23To qualifying acts, the situation suggested doubts abouttheir talent, which sales figures could not always dispel.The problem was that such doubts assumed that stationprogrammers were impartial judges of unproven talent in thefirst place. As a forum for talent, inevitably Cancon hadmixed results. Doubts about Canadian talent from all sourcesgrew as it was realized that while the quota increased theairplay devoted to Canadian music four fold, from 8% to 30%,sales figures remained constant at around 11% of all thepopular music bought in Canada (The Record v.12/4, 1991,p.22). Again what this selective statistical foray ignoredwas the fact that since most Cancon was provided byindependent labels, there was a large imbalance in the moneyspent to promote and market Canadian releases compared tothose from foreign artists.While most artists were thankful for the benefits Canconcould give them, a trio of popular Canadian artists workingabroad, Bryan Adams, Anne Murray and Celine Dion have not23 In formats with less Canadian material, Canadian actswere getting played because of their nationality rather thanhow good they were. If things like promotional dollars andtime of airing are held equal, low sales could show a bandwas given an artificial break by Cancon, but sceptics couldalso dismiss high sales as a result of guaranteed exposure(Wright, 1987, p.30). As competition to fill quotas becametougher, the reason for this feeling began to disappear.101qualified as Cancon in their later careers. Whether theyavoided qualification deliberately or by accident, theseartists have sacrificed their position in the smaller poolof releases meeting Cancon requirements for the knowledgethat their success cannot be attributed to the regulation orbe used, in praise of the Commission.Of these it was Bryan Adams who created unprecedentedchange in the MAPL system by publicly holding the CRTC toaccount for his perceived miscategorization as a non-Canadian, even though none of the songs co-written for his'Waking Up The Neighbours' album qualified under Canconrules. While he had complained for some time, up until Adamsprotested late in 1991, the CRTC had rarely examined thestructure of MAPL because they had received little publiccomplaint and the industry itself had put on a united frontin favour of maintaining the regulation.24Adams himself had attained a level of success difficultfor the Commission to ignore. Though not always a favourite24 For example the Canadian Songwriters Association foundthreats to Cancon a key worry for their members (Probev.2/6, 1987, p.2). Also Al Mair of Attic Records believesthat in the discussion over Cancon between labels, the CRTCand radio programmers, emphasis should be shifted from quotapercentages to patriotism and the right of citizens to hearCanadian music at reasonable times of the day (Can. Comp.,no.235, 1988, p.26). Finally performing rights societymagazines contained editorials mobilizing Canadian writersagainst the erosion of Cancon (eg. Music Scene, no.345,1985, p.2).102with the critics, in the past Adams had set a series ofprecedents with his success. By September 1991 he wasarguably the best known Canadian outside the country, likePaul Anka had been before him. Yet unlike Anka, his successabroad made him a national hero back home as well as arallying point for the Canadian recording industry.25 He hadbeen the first Canadian to sell over a million copies athome with the album 'Reckless' (Halifax Chronicle Herald28/3/87, p.36) and one of the only Canadians to appear atthe Live Aid international famine relief concert. Moreover,he was fresh from having the biggest selling single in theworld since the American 'We Are The World' collaboration,'(Everything I Do) I Do It For You' (Saturday Night v.107/9,1992, p,80).This level of success made his own musical roots a site ofstruggle within the rock press. While it was the airplay ofvideos from his 1983 album 'Cuts Like A Knife' which beganto break Adams across North America, the release of hisReckless album in October 1984 and a tour with Tina Turner25 Bryan Adams had co-written most of his hits with Canadiansongwriter Jim Valance. The team were members of PROCAN, thePerforming Rights Organization of Canada, a leadingperforming rights society which was merged with CAPAC toform SOCAN as it exists today. Editorials in CanadianComposer co-opted Adams as Valiance joined PROCAN's staff(Music Scene v.3/5, 1987, p.2; Probe v.2/4, 1987, p.1). Yetin 1991 personal differences between the rocker and theirpresident, and possibly Adams' international view ofsongwriting, meant he defected to an American performingrights organization (D. Osborn, pers. comm).103finally made him known globally as an anthemic rock star.Adams' success followed a path that had just recently beenforged by American Bruce Springsteen who had turned to rockanthems and unlimited marketing with his 'Born in the USA'album and tour. Writers often use more famous acts tosituate upcoming artists for their readers.26 Artistscompared to Adams were usually American, yet as Table 4shows many of his influences (acts he covers on stage, sayshe likes, or saw while young) were British:Table 4: Comparisons between Bryan Adams and other actsNationality of acts AmericanBritishAustralianCanadianNo. of Comparisons2734 with 10 acts11 with 5 acts1 Act (AC/DC)1 Act (Corey Hart)No. Influences 3 Acts7 Acts1 Act (AC/DC)(Source: this is an non-exhaustive, but extensive, search ofthe Canadian Musician, Chatelaine, the Globe and Mail,Maclean's, Melody Maker, Music Scene, New York Times,Rolling Stone, Saturday Night, Spin, the Toronto Star, theTimes, and Variety)26 When Adams was compared to Canadians they were usuallynational figures rather than musicians. For example at leastthree times he has been compared to hockey star WayneGretzky (Vancouver Sun 5/10/85, p.A1; Maclean's v.100/27,1987, p.32; Globe and Mail 13/9/92, p.C1).27 Separate figures are given for the total number ofcomparisons made between Adams and acts from a particularcountry, and also the number of acts from each country withwhich he was compared. For example, Adams was compared to 10American acts, but because writers collectively compared himto many of these acts more than once, he was compared toAmerican artists a collective total of 34 times. In thatparticular case he was compared to Sprinasteen 17 times, andthe remaining 17 comparisons were distributed between 9other artists.104While Adams was almost a generation younger thanSpringsteen and his songs were simpler, half of the Americancomparisons were with Springsteen. If their music, aims andstyle were a different, what Adams and Springsteen did havein common was a way of dressing down for live shows in plaintee shirts and jeans which denoted them as regular guys.28This style was not new in rock; writers in Maclean's hadnoticed middle class Canadians dressing in manual workclothes in 1972 (v.85/3, 1972, p.32) while earlier Canadianrockers like Neil Young and The Guess Who had done so(v.84/5, 1971, p.41; v.84/6, 1971, p.54). Springsteen madethe timeless style popular once more to associate himselfwith working class Americans. His message was that thethings Americans are told to hold dear (such as blindpatriotism and the American dream) need questioning in lightof the predicament of poorer people. Yet the way he conveyedthis was though songs which reinvested everyday life withhope. So his success was latched on to in a way whichdetracted from (or even inverted) his message: as a regularguy being successful and thus proving the American Dream, asa patriotic American and as a sex symbol. Attention was28 Adams manufactured this image for himself. "He's aregular guy, he insists" (Kamin, 1985, p.1). He demonstratedit in different ways which became part of his story. Theseincluded everything from the fact that he buys his own planetickets to the lack of long guitar solos in his songs(Guitar Player v.21, 1987, p.26). While not unusual inthemselves, they became relevant as things not associatedwith rock stars.105focussed upon the man himself rather than those he pointedto.29Bryan Adams' songs were effective emotional vehicles,usually more concerned with relationships rather than theplight of the working poor. Nevertheless his dressing downmeant that, in order to make good copy, press reports wouldplay upon elements of his visual identity.30 The Britishpress in particular caught on to his Canadian hoser imageand used his national identity for some lightheartedstereotyping.31 So Adams was seen as a regular Canadianabroad. Furthermore, Simon Frith (1988, p.94-101) has begunto demystify Bruce Sprinqsteen by showing the inauthenticityof his image. For example while posing as a manual worker29 See 'Making A Loud Noise' by J.Miller (in Newsweek13/4/87, p.74).30 Stressing the dynamism of his live shows as work sessions(Life & Times 21/7/92, p.2; Globe and Mail 12/2/92, p.E2);giving him manual occupations to suit the occasion such asOkanagan fruit picker (Vancouver Sun 8/9/92, p.C1);exploring his masculinity as a sex symbol (Chatelainev.59/9, 1986, p.71; Creem v.19/2, 1987, p.49) or as a markof his ordinariness like a roguish boy next door (RollingStone 10/9/87, p.42).31 British associations were with Canadian stereotypes suchas the bar circuit. For example "I can't quite make out whathe's advertising, Canadian lager perhaps?" (Melody Makerv.62/14, 1988, p.22). "It was quite possible to imagineoneself in a sawdust-floored tavern watching the Adams groupperform under a neon sign advertising Labatts beer." (Life &Times 21/7/92, p.2). Also, upon learning that Adams hadrecorded an album in his Vancouver house, one reportersuggested his next was to be "recorded with the assistanceof a pack of huskies and a squad of mounties" (Melody Makerv.62/15, 1987, p.17).106and employee, Springsteen is literally 'the boss', employinghis own band. In a similar way it could be shown that, forexample, Bryan Adams comes from a middle class background.In fact this forms a typical section of Adams' pressbiographies (Toronto Star 25/2/92, p.A1; Saturday Nightv.107/9, 1992, p.82). So it could be argued that many fansknow, but do not care, that these rockers are not what theyseem. The question is why young middle class audiences havea need for this kind of image.Whatever the reason, at homecoming gigs, it has becomeclear that Adams' image as a regular guy has becomecentrally important. At one Toronto show Adams' reportedlyaroused patriotic frenzy comparable to a young Trudeau(Toronto Star 23/9/85, p.D1), while at another in Vancouvercrowds cheered when Adams told them he had once lived in theworking class suburb of Surrey (Vancouver Sun 3/2/92, p.C3).So, following 'Reckless' Bryan Adams was a unique centralfigure in Canada's musical National Popular. This put him ina privileged position from which to speak for - and to -Canadians. With the late 1980s growth in socially consciousrock events and under pressure from the critics, Adams madethe relatively unsuccessful yet less innocent album 'IntoThe Fire'. Finally he reverted to the party rock image, andregular guy status, for 'Waking Up The Neighbours'.107After its rush release, the unrepresentative initialsingle ''(Everything I Do) I Do It For You' sold 6 millioncopies worldwide and became the most successful tune inCanadian history (Vancouver Sun 27/1/92, p.24; Toronto Star14/1/92, p.B1). Following on its tail as the 'Waking Up TheNeighbours' album was released on the 23rd of September, theCRTC had de facto made its ruling. All 15 songs on the newalbum had been co-written with English producer Robert"Mutt" Lange, giving each song just one of the two MAPLpoints needed to qualify it as Cancon. As part of the 70% ofnon-qualifying selections each song could only be played amaximum of 18 times per week on any FM station (Toronto Star14/1/92, p.B1). There were various mechanisms Adams couldhave used, even at the last moment, to have made the albumqualify as Cancon.32 Jeff Bateman (pers. comm.) suggestedthat manager Bruce Allen may have simply forgotten tocorrectly file the songs with A.W. Yet that label puts theMAPL logo on its discs as a marketing device within Canada(A. Williams, pers. comm.), so they probably would not havelet such •a mistake slip through. It could be argued thatmis-filing was a deliberate act on Allen's part for Adams.32 For instance, since some of the initial single's lyricswere taken from the 'Robin Rood' film script and MichaelKamen wrote the melody they could have fudged the credits sothat Adams appeared to write either the music or lyrics,giving the song 2 MAPL points. Furthermore, Mutt and Adamshad reworked Adams ideas for many of the songs (VancouverSun 27/1/92, p.C4), so this fudging could have been done onother songs. Also as some of the album was recorded inCanada, some songs could have got the 'P' point.108Broadcasters kept out of the dispute, but it seems likelythey would have liked to have seen Adams new materialqualify as Cancon, since his songs would be played on mostformats anyway as proven hits. In fact neither Adams nor hismanager planned to fight the CRTC decision by directlycontacting the Commission (Winnipeg Free Press 13/9/91,p.31), since they knew that as a proven star Adams wouldreceive plenty •of Canadian airplay. Adams' unprecedentedsuccess and representative status as a regular guy put himin a particularly powerful position from which to criticizeCancon and call the perceived bureaucratic tendencies of theCRTC into account. What Bruce Allen and Bryan Adams weredoing was holding the CRTC up for public accountability.Firstly Allen took the opportunity to question Cancon as asystem of allocation of musical privileges (Globe and Mail13/9/91, p.C1). He noted how other acts could qualify whowere not Canadians, such as The Osmonds with 'Puppy Love'written by Paul Anka, but did not examine the industrial aimof Cancon. Then he implicitly compared Cancon to anotherallocation system, by pointing out that Canadian hockey starWayne Gretzky had an American wife, lived in Los Angeles andpaid taxes to America yet he qualified to play on theCanadian national team. Interestingly he did not choose tolook at other such systems within the music industry, suchas the Junos or FACTOR, or examine the reasons why different109selection criteria arose in different contexts. Next Allenset in train a semantic manipulation of the issue towardsAdams' own citizenship. The CRTC implied that Adams' newsongs did not qualify as Canadian content. At the albumrelease party Allen then said "Try walking up to Bryan andsaying 'Hey, guess what Bryan? You've lived here all [sic]your life but you're not a Canadian artist'" (Calgary Herald13/9/91, p.F2).Adams himself chose the start of his Canadian tour earlyin 1992 to attack Cancon in a series of interviews withCanadian newspapers. 33 He began by attacking essentialism:"If they think my music's un-Canadian that's their problem"(Montreal Gazette 14/1/92, p.C27), but he went on to say"Who wants to have an international record and then bedeclared un-Canadian?" (Toronto Star 14/1/92, p.B1). With aslight of hand usually practiced by politicians Allen andhis act had turned around interpretations of the Canconruling towards Adams' status as a Canadian, yet nobody hadever said he was not one (S. Alexander, E. O'Day, pers.comm.). In fact that was the one MAPL point he had received.33 Since the newand had been 4eager for freshmonths worth of1992, p.80).album resulted from 3 broken collaborationsyears in the preparation, the press werenews. At one stage he decided to scrap 18studio recordings (Saturday Night v.107/9,11 0This perceived miscategorization created a stream of presscriticism, largely in favour of Adams and angry at hisplight. The Commission was labelled as self-indulgent andself-perpetuating (Financial Times of Can. 18/2/91, p.10),even though only a tiny fraction of its staff deal withradio Cancon. 34 Also attention was focussed upon why Adamsshould have qualified: he had a Canadian passport, wasalready recognized by the State (with the Orders of BC andof Canada), had unprecedented successes and did things whichcontributed to the nation (Winnipeg Free Press 13/9/91,p.39). Certainly these are all true. From the rumouredsingle for Canadian unity with Celine Dion (Toronto Star2/7/92, p.C4), to the way Adams used his nationality againstthe odds as a foreign marketing technique, to his centralefforts in the Canadian famine relief single 'Tears Are NotEnough' (O'Hara, 1989, p.32), Bryan Adams had done goodthings which frequently contributed to the cause of nationalunity, and he exercised an unusual degree of moral controlover the use of his songs. Moreover, the notion of Adams asa regular Canadian guy was drawn upon: he had lived inCanada most of his life, was not a politician, but was"very" Canadian (Performing Arts v.27/2, 1992, p.16). 35 Anne34 The CRTC has 375 staff (S. Alexander, pers. comm.) and 9of them deal with Cancon on radio (Financial Times of Can.18/2/91, p.10). Thus because stations largely policethemselves only 3% of staff need to administer Cancon.35 "Although he claims to feel 'very Canadian', Adams saysthat he has never thought of his music as having a nationalsound" (N. Jennings, Maclean's v.100/27, 1987, p.35). This111Murray., who had been in a similar predicament for years alsolent her support (Vancouver Sun 16/1/92, p.D6). However, ifan artist's Canadian citizenship alone was enough to qualifyas Cancon, the industrial aims of the regulation might be indoubt; yet the public hardly knew or cared about them.Adams himself used the opportunity to put forward hisviews on the role of the State in Canada.36 He argued thatthe government does not belong in the music business andCancon should be abolished so that Canada could compete onthe same footing with the rest of the world. The fact thatCanadians consumers only supported him once he broke in theUSA was used to suggest the system is ineffective with them.In addition he claimed that Canada had its best artists[those biggest in the USA] before the regulations began. Inorder for Canadian artists to rise from the street theyshould be rewarded solely on the quality of their music.Adams argued Canadian artists cannot get signed elsewherebecause Cancon breeds mediocrity. Labels at home can safelysign acts in the knowledge that those artists will receiveairplay. Since Cancon does not support bigger Canadianartists who use music industry support outside the country,the regulation provides limited opportunities for careeris what makes him so interesting in relation to Gramsci'sideas.36 His argument here is drawn from interviews in theToronto Star (14/1/92, p.B1) and Vancouver Sun (27/1/92,p.C1+C4).112growth. Adams continued that mediocrity can never be erasedby penalizing excellence, but because the audience cannot beregulated real talent always wins out. He said if Canconmust stay, anybody with a Canadian passport shouldautomatically get two points but perhaps direct support,limited' to 2 albums per artist, would be better.While some of these comments contained a grain of truth,most were naive or hypocritical.37 This hypocrisy related tothe fact that Adams was flexible in pushing for whatever hecould get. As a national hero decrying his perceivedmiscategorization, to many members of the public Adams had acase. In a Gallup survey held at the time 76% of thoseinterviewed said Bryan Adams was wrongly disqualified andright in his complaints (Halifax Chronicle Herald 5/3/92,p.B1). The Commission was in trouble: it knew the industrywanted 'Cancon kept and Adams had lost credibility withsmaller musicians (Vancouver Sun 16/1/92, p.16), yet membersof the public began phoning up to air their views (S.37 Naive, for instance, in that he ignored how programmersformed and picked from pools in their different formats. Hewas hypocritical in querying the whole system but focussingattention upon getting one rule changed (D. Osborn, pers.comm.). He stressed quality while using the charts as anarbiter. He claimed to be a-political whilst beginning achange many politicians would not have had the power tomake. Furthermore Adams is far from being against any Stateinvolvement in cultural industries, in that he supports theCBC as "a form of government subsidized entertainment thatactually does some good." (Saturday Night v.107/9, 1992,p.84).113Alexander, pers. comm.). An added problem, to the initiated,was the CRTC's own incoherence.38In British Columbia former Environment minister JohnReynolds wrote to prime minister Brian Mulroney about theCRTC disqualifying "a full time ambassador" for Canada (BCRpt. v.3/5, 30/9/91, p.39). At that time Commission ChairmanKeith Spicer and Secretary General Ferdinand Belisle were ona tour of Canada soliciting the wishes of broadcasters andminority groups in informal closed sessions (S. Alexander,pers. comm.). Mulroney quietly prompted Spicer to decide toset up a committee of music industry representatives to lookinto the issue. A date was set for review of submissions onpaper, and newspapers and regional offices were told aboutthe issue. Irate callers were advised to write to the CRTC,because unlike the initiation of MAPL, the process of thisreview -was on paper, without any public hearings (S.Alexander, pers. comm.). Effectively the CRTC had decided tograpple with the least radical but most embarrassing ofAdams' complaints.38 As acting director for radio at the CRTC Anne MarieDesroches told the press that Adams' album had missed byhalf a point, due to its foreign co-writer. Yet the CRTCnever gives out half points (Winnipeg Free Press 13/9/91,p.39). Further Susan Alexander (pers. comm.) and the CRTCfactsheet (R1-02-92) both use the confusing shorthand ofselections qualifying as "Canadian" rather than meetingCancon requirements.114Before the decision of the CRTC was announced, some 16months later, two significant incidents took place. On March26th came the Juno awards, which are partly State funded,and nationally televised on CBC.39 Adams had won numerousJunos in the past, including 6 of them for songs on'Reckless' in 1984 (Winnipeg Free Press 6/12/84, p.43). As arather stuffy award system, there never seems to be room atthe Junos for more than one star of each type. In the pastAdams had fended off Corey Bart, but in 1992 Red Riderveteran Tom Cochrane was nominated against him in 5categories. The atmosphere was tense because the awardscould become a forum for the industry to publicly comment onAdams' views, since they represented the votes of members ofCARAS. Cochrane had achieved success only within Canada, andwith his latest album 'Brad, Brad World' seemed a strongcontender. Adding to the tension was the fact that BruceAllen had formerly managed the new contender withoutfinancial success (Can. Business v.57/9, 1984, p.74), andAllen was rumoured to have threatened to pull his currentstar unless guaranteed an award (Globe and Mail 30/3/92,p.A2).As it turned out, in the categories where both had beennominated Cochrane won three awards (Album, Single and Malevocalist) and Adams won two (Songwriter and Producer). Of39 The Junos are discussed further in Chapter four.115these Cochrane's awards were all selected by CARAS voteswhile Adam' Producer award was chosen by a CARAS panel.Adams also got a Special Achievement Award for his bestselling single and he reverted to regular guy status bythanking CARAS for "putting aside the politics" .40 The netresults were that the industry had shown itself to disagreewith Adams' views; a CARAS survey taken on the night showedthat only 12% of members thought Cancon should be changed(CARAS News, 2/92, p.2). Also, as a result of hisrecognition, Cochrane's label, Capitol, gave his album a newimpetus in the USA (B. Pairbairn, pers. comm.).The second incident occurred on April 6th, just before athree day conference on the music industry in Canada, whenThe Record's managing editor Martin Melhuish published hisexamination of how well Canadian artists had done onBillboard's US single and album charts. Melhuish used JoelWhitburn's archival reference book and [staying] powerpoints system to "get a perspective" on the "international"effects of Cancon.41 He showed that, in general, Canadianartists had greater success on the US charts prior to40 Backstage he added "If politics are going to be involvedthen let it be the way it's going to be" while Cochrane saidat one point "Anyone who thinks Canadian music is mediocrecan go to hell" (Globe and Bail 30/3/92, pp.A2, Al).41 Information on the Melhuish statistics is taken from TheRecord (v.11/33, 6/4/92, pp.1, 16-17) and the Globe and Bail(27/3/92, p.C2).116Cancon, which effectively provided evidence to bolsterAdams' views in front of the industry.While Melhuish admitted his figures had "nothing to dowith the domestic industry" he was quick to conflateinternational with American performance. Moreover he simplyselected bands in which at least half the members wereCanadian, rather than keeping a focus on bands meeting MAPLcriteria. Also, though Melhuish did not concoct the formulashimself, their representativeness is open to question. Forexample the top individual singles he found seem to havebeen from "one hit wonders" .42 Also, if one looks at thecollective powerpoints for Canadian artists in the singlesand album charts, while some artists did well before Cancon,overall the total certainly did not, especially in the1960s. What this suggests is an ignorance of industrialobstacles to the progress of Canadian artists, such as thelarger dynamics of the economy and recording industry.Finally, late in January 1993 the CRTC announced itsdecision about how international co-written songs would beinterpreted under the MAPL system. Ever since Keith Spicerhad called upon music industry representatives the generalview was that Cancon was a good rule, but it would need somefine tuning to avoid more cases like that of Adams42 The top three were Percy Faith, Sheriff and The Diamonds.117(Vancouver Sun, 16/1/92, p.D6). Cancon had the advantages ofa blunt instrument in that it was cheap, effective and easyto use. The option of awarding half points would bedifficult to assess and administer, and could ruin the MAPLlogo. What the CRTC decided was to award one whole point ifit could be shown that the Canadian co-writer contributed atleast 50% to both music and lyrics. Since the ruling onlyapplied to albums made after September 1991, 'Waking Up TheNeighbours' had effectively been the stimulus to change, butdid not qualify (Vancouver Sun 1/2/93, p.D8).This rule will mean that the CRTC once more has to trustan external party over adjudication and also faces theproblem that frequently nobody can be exactly sure how mucheach person contributed to any co-written song (B.Fairbairn, pers. comm.). Perhaps more important is that thenew rule shows changes are occurring. Firstly, while Canconquotas could be changed on a station by station basis, thisnew rule is unprecedented as a historic change in the MAPLsystem itself.43 Also it effectively enlarged the pool fromwhich programmers could draw Cancon, making morecontributions to Cancon possible from the majors. For43 MAPL may have been applied differently but until the co-write rule it was immutable. For example, although in itsfirst year 1 MAPL qualified, the CRCT made it clear thatchanges of a writers citizenship would not alter the MAPLrating of their previous songs (Can. Composer no.57, 1971,P.32).118example Sony Music has a policy of encouraging internationalco-writes (J. Bateman, pers. comm.).To conclude, for their part, broadcasters are beginning touse Cancon in the name of the nation as a lever to loosenother rules, many of which have helped smaller bands.Further, the MAPL system holds an ambivalent status inrelation to Gramsci's ideas. In terms of the popularcelebration and assumptions transmitted, music is morecomplex than writing because the songwriter and performercan be of different nationalities. If we believe thetransmission of assumptions is solely in the writing thenonly the 'M' and 'L' in MAPL (supporting its industrial aim)prove sound.44 Yet Canadian artists singing songs written byforeigners are acceptable to the public. The problemactually rests with the umbrella definition of whatconstitutes Cancon, yet this is fine as a broad support ofthe industry. Also the new ruling makes this definition evenmore liberal.As with any policy, it seemed that Cancon cannot pleaseall the people all the time, and as an attempt atintervention has created its own set of problems. Yet it isalso true that Bryan Adams was, despite his continualprotest, an inconsistent figure. However, stimulated by his44 It is difficult for the public to celebrate foreignartists as their own and they do not care about songwriters.119efforts, it seems that the CRTC has (as a nationallyaccountable organization) had to consider something beyondits scope: the international nature of the sound recordingindustry.120Chapter FourPlaying The Game START From the basement or garage... Get a bankloan andstart a band. Miss a turn... Good music. BO gimmicks.promo! Miss a turn!... Plane crash! Out of game.IHistorically the major record companies have been createdand controlled by conglomerates that diversified into soundrecording to produce demand for their hardware sales(Denisoff, 1991, p.2). On the margin of this organizationalstructure, the Canadian sound recording industry is unusualnot only because it has survived at all, but also because ithas been fundamentally shaped in a particular way byinterventions at the national scale from the State andbroadcasters. The Toronto based heavy rock group Triumph once released an album called 'just A Game'. On one side ofthe gate-fold sleeve was a board game about negotiating themusic business. It showed that the band treated the industry(on one level at least) like a game, with all its rules,perils and opportunities. Being in a band is, after all,about playing with music, style and identity.If Canadian bands also treat the industry as a game thischapter directs attention to how they fared as its players.Firstly the music business is examined as a ladder forrising artists. Second, selected national public and privateinitiatives are explored which help bands at particular1 From the sleeve of the 'just A Game' LP by Triumph (Attic,1979).121points in their careers. These topics build upon the lastchapter by indicating more ways in which the Stateinfluences the sound recording industry.Most acts seek the largest audience possible, so it is nowonder that artists with fans in more than one country wouldprefer nationwide popular recognition to being positioned asnationalists by sections of the press if they were given thechoice.2 In chapter three it was argued that Canadianartists have contributed to wider developments because theyhave been able to emerge from the local scale. Yet it isnaive to assume a smooth ascent into larger markets based onthe recognition of talent, because signing may suddenlyallow an act to be distributed at a national scale at leastwithout emergent steps. Furthermore, for acts signed to themajors subsequent growth implies a coherent chain ofdecision making withinthe label influenced from the rootsupwards. Even though an international market exists forsongwriters, the return of royalties and the distributionand promotion of some acts, top artists are still implicatedwithin differentiated geographies of taste and control.For artists the industry is set up more like a ladder inthat the opportunities associated with signing and touring2 Arguments about cultural imperialism seem naive when onerealizes that the whole aim of most artists and themachinery behind them is to export music from Canada.122leading to different rungs. However, the notion of a ladderis a poor metaphor since those bands given specialopportunities can find themselves on higher rungs while forsome the difficulties of ascending from one rung to the nextare almost insurmountable. In economic terms the benefitsfor the artists are greater further up the ladder. Yet, aswe shall see, in Canada this means more of the profits madefrom successful bands go abroad.At the bottom of the ladder is the bar circuit, problemswith which include that owners find it cheaper to playcanned (recorded) music on less popular nights of the week(E. O'Day, pers.comm.) and audiences frequently expect bandsto do cover versions. 3 Added to this is the expense oftouring across the country; the small scattered populationmeans that frequently it is more viable for bands to remainin their home region (B. Fairbairn, pers. comm.). Artistsoutside Ontario face the practical problem of living in thatprovince on tour when the cost of living, particularlystaying in hotels, is more expensive than in other areas ofthe country (E. O'Day, pers. comm.), while Toronto bandsgoing outside their home region have sometimes been givenunfavourable press coverage due to the perception that their3 This problem seems to be a North American phenomenon,since in Britain there is less of an expectation for coversand pub rock bands are more free to write for themselves.Folk clubs never had the problem, because audiences cameexpecting to hear something original.123province drains music industry resources (Georgia Straightv.26/1292, 1992, p.33). Even if a band gets put into clubswhich support their style, the problem is that touring hasto be within a framework which further promotes them. Tourscan build up a loyal fan base, especially if fans are givenother ways to already know the songs. Jeff Healy, forexample, spent three years touring the bars of Canada to noavail before his trio signed to Arista in the US (MelodyMaker, 19/11/88, p.21). Outside their home region bands canhave problems getting recognized. A video aired on MuchMusic can give upcoming bands the national exposure theyneed to embark on a national tour, but for that the bandmust have already made a quality demo tape.4A more costly way to recruit fans is to release a vanityrecord. How successful this will be at attracting furtherinterest depends on what sort of live reputation an actalready has and how fast their release sells. Thus whilePaul James and Strinqband were both successful with theirvanity albums in the long run, it was Stompin' Tom and Rough Trade who managed to push themselves up the ladder withfaster sales of their own releases (MSclean's v.90/11, 1977,p.59). As vinyl records these had the potential of gettingairplay, at least on local and college radio. Bands can selltapes to fans but material distributed in that recording4 A demo is an unreleased recording made by a banddemonstrating what they do.124format is not liked by radio programmers, yet the cost ofmanufacturing CDs is prohibitive. One way around the dilemmaof how bands can optimally distribute their music has beento participate in a growing proliferation of indiecompilation CDs, some of which are now produced by FACTOR(FACTOR Annual Report 1992, p.9). Since bands pay to includethe demo material, these are lucrative for their compilers.Moreover, if radio has shown a mixed reception to thesecompilations, depending on each station's format, the majorshave said they are useful for A&R meetings since they aresufficient in quality and many bands can be compared at onesitting. As yet none of these CDs has led directly to anysigning, but as might be expected, they have led at least torequests by A&R teams for bands to supply more material (TheRecord v.12/4, 1992, p.6).The next rung of the ladder is to sign to what could becalled a true indie, which is an independent record labelnot orientated to any one band and organizing its owndistribution. True indies have survived in Quebec andOntario and they subsist in Vancouver, but the country'svast size and difficult terrain prohibits cheap, easynational distribution. Such labels have no significantlyproven hits, so the option of joining cartels abroad torelease material outside Canada is difficult, making theselabels of limited benefit to bands seeking increasedinternational exposure. Independent labels which are125distributed by the majors are of more significance inCanada, but it is important to outline their unusualhistorical predicament before we can assess what they offerto Canadian acts.In America during the 1980s the majors began to scoop upindependent labels for distribution.5 The indies hadactually proved more aggressive with their product marketingthan some majors, attracting young record buyers fed up withmainstream radio programming aimed at the babyboomgeneration. For the majors the risks of re-releasingindependent albums were low since the costs of recording hadalready been covered by the indies and the success ofparticular small labels could be used as an indication ofhow viable they were for partnering in redistribution deals(Probe, v.3/1, 1992, p.3).In Canada there has been a much longer runningrelationship between the majors and indies, founded upon aparticular distribution system. In the calculated view ofthe majors, due to its population size, the country did notconstitute a separate centre of demand or therefore warranta separate distribution system. However, the federalgovernment kept a tariff on imported commercial recordings5 Redistribution deals appeared because REM's 1983 album'Murmur' proved that indie albums were a good investmentthat could sell well.126even before rock and roll became popular. It meant that anyforeign label had to pay duty on each record or tape comingin to be sold in Canada. Once Canadian record sales werelarge enough for the tariff to seriously reduce profitsavailable to the majors, they created branch plants,regional offices and a more localized distribution system tosell their wares from within the country. This system was inplace by the late 1960's.6Especially after Cancon was created, a symbioticrelationship emerged between the indies and majors. InToronto Bernie Finklestein established True North in thelate 1960s linked to Epic-CBS, and in 1973 GordonLightfoot's old manager, Al Mair, began Attic Records (Can.Composer no.235, 1988, p.24). A proliferation of othernational indies linked to the majors included Duke Street,Alert, Aquarius, Daffodil and more recently in Vancouver,Nettwerk (Can. Musician v.6/2, 1985, p.49).Given the relationship between the indies and majors inCanada, it has been argued that the country did notexperience the •rapid incorporation of alternative sounds6 Tariffs on phonographs coming into Canada began in 1952(M. McClintock, pers. comm.). We can surmise that the majorsset up their distribution system around the mid 1960s: PaulAnka's signing direct to United Artists in the USA in 1956suggests the major's system was not in place that early, butAnne Murray's signing to Capitol-Canada in 1968 showed itexisted by then.127taking place south of the border in recent years.Relationships had already been struck up whereby nationalindie labels exploited the major's distribution system(Probe, v.3/1, 1992, p.3).The advantage of this rung of the ladder is that sinceCanadian national indies have diverse rosters of talent,there is a relative lack of competition when it comes togetting signed, compared to the USA.7 Many Canadian nationalindie labels do not have either specialist or alternativesigning policies, so they are more like sub-labels.8 Also ifstars on these labels have hits across the country, dealscan be potentially engineered with other indies, cartels ormajors abroad. Acts on the indies may find foreigndistribution easier than their counterparts on the majors,because they are often more free to seek such distribution.7 As a whole the US has a much larger market which cansupport less popular types of music due to audience sizesalone. However, this means American national indies, and thedepartments of the majors, are specialized in particulartypes of music. This creates sharper competition withingenres, although the benefits are great to those who cansign at that level (Can. Composer no. 235, 11, 1988, p.26).8 A sub-label is one in-house division of a major labelwhich signs and develops bands; sub-labels can createparticular sound identities by signing particular types ofartists, but equally they may sign musically diverse actsbrought together in other ways. The grounds for comparingCanada's national indies to them are due to their degree ofadministration, legal control and autonomy in signings fromthe major label. The most notable exceptions to this areNettwerk in Vancouver and True North in Toronto, who bothset out to sign alternative acts. A few national indies,such as Stony Plain Records from Edmonton, specialize inparticular types of music.128Major labels frequently deny their less successful acts•access to their in-house foreign distribution system andthose acts can find contractual difficulties if they seekindependent foreign distribution.However, while it may be contractually easier for Canadianbands on indies to make deals distributing their music inforeign territories, this remains a difficult feat, sincethey face a different problem. Touring and releasing putbands backed by poor promotion in a chicken and eggsituation: tours are only effective if a release is popularand the confidence for a release comes from showing supportby foreign tours. Acts have used a variety of strategies tostimulate the interest of foreign labels so they can getsigned for release abroad.9Some bands try to build up foreign fan bases solely bytouring target areas, but most acts already have foreignreleases. Yet even once a release is made, the foreigndistributor may still leave promotion completely in thehands of the band and their manager (Can. Composer v.3/3,9 One option some acts follow is to make a video madeespecially for the head of a foreign record company,narrated in his or her own language. Also some managers andpublishing houses aggressively seek out foreign distributiondeals 'for their bands, especially at internationalconferences. However, since many foreign distributors do notassume that a successful record in Canada will be one intheir territory, another strategy is to stage a small tourshowcasing the band to demonstrate local support for them inplaces where they have not yet been released.1291992, p.16). Moreover, less famous foreign bands interestedin touring the USA face an environment of tighteningimmigration rules (Can. Musician, v.13/5, 1991 p.12).Another problem of nationally distributed indie labels isthat they can only offer their bands relatively limitedrecording budgets. So, despite their flexibility, suchlabels do not give their artists the all round backing amajor can offer which make it easier to reward good musicwith high sales. High sales profits are important becausethey not only build confidence in a band, but buy the wayswhich facilitate further growth: bands with nationalcontracts have expenses (for basic costs, videos and tours)deducted in advance from sales profits via recoupableaccounts.The next rung on the ladder is to get signed to a branchof one of the majors within Canada. For a band alreadysigned to indies the possibilities of signing with a majorare limited. However, some of the national indies (and sub-labels) are run by top managers and if a band is on theirmanager's own indie label, it may be possible for him or herto help them sign direct to a major. Unsigned bands alsohave an opportunity because each major label operatingwithin Canada currently has regional offices with A&R staffwho will scrutinize unsolicited demos or videos. In factthey are inundated with demos and are notorious for not130signing acts which have gone on to be picked up and soldmillions of records.10 The national modules of the majorsare not fully integrated in their policy decisions regardingthe release and promotion of particular bands. Unfortunatelythose modules in Canada working with such a small marketcarry less weight than their counterparts elsewhere.Canadian branches of the majors are therefore not in anadvantageous position since they do not have full decisionmaking status within their own companies. They actually formsatellites, administrative training grounds for executivestaff on their way up corporate hierarchies (D. Osborn,pers. comm.). Especially given the conservatism of radio andthe costs of videos, they can rarely afford to sign newacts.11. Those with a sound which can sell globally (A.Williams, pers. comm.), any ability to cross formats, andmore commercial music are prioritized.Furthermore, the Canadian branch of each major mustconvince its parent company to release recordings in other10 Blind blues guitarist Jeff Healy was told he did not haveany gimmicks by one of the major's Canadian offices (MelodyMaker 19/11/88, p.21). Loverboy had 22 rejections from themajors before Columbia-CBS released their first LP, whichsold over 100,000 copies nationally (Can. Business v.57/9,1984, p.21). Haywire received a rejection letter from oneconcerned with their low market potential two weeks aftertheir first album (released by Attic) had gone gold at home(Music Scene no.354, 1987, p.8). Rush were refused by allthe majors in Canada, yet they have gone on to sell the mostalbums of any Canadian band (Maclean's v.91/4, 1978, p.30).11 In fact one major, Warner's, is currently purging itsCanadian roster. (The Province 26/6/92, p.C5).131countries. While this sometimes happens, it is rarer thatCanadian recordings are made a promotional priorityelsewhere in the world. So bands with reasonable recordingbudgets and promotion at home can be frustrated abroad.Unlike acts on the national indies, those artists signed tobranches of the majors do not really have the option ofstriking up additional deals abroad.The major labels prioritize and highly promote any foreignreleases of acts on their rosters they believe will sellwell abroard. However, different territories are known toprefer particular types of music.12 If a major recordcompany has limited confidence in an act signed to theirCanadian branch they may wait to assess the success of thatartist in Canada. This accounts for the time lag of around ayear between home and foreign releases for many Canadianbands. One exemplar case was the group Loverboy, who werereleased in the USA by their parent major Columbia -CBS onlywhen their first album was a hit in Canada (Can. Business,v.57/9, 1984, p.71). It is important to realize this routehas not been followed very often in recent years, sinceeither bands have signed with enough confidence forimmediate foreign release or they are not popular enough for12 For instance Japan is known to prefer its own stars,female dance artists and hard rockers. Music with a folk orcountry flavor does not do well there, so for example BMGreleased the Crash Test Dummies in all of its territoriesexcept for Japan and Eastern Europe (Can. Composer v.3/3,1992, p.17).132foreign distribution. Perhaps the test policy is morefrequently used as an excuse for not releasing materialabroad, because the staff controlling releases outsideCanada but within another branch of the major label do notalways use a Canadian artist's previous success to estimatetheir potential in larger markets (B. Mink, pers. comm.).These staff may need further persuasion from a band'smanager, publishing house or colleagues at the Canadiandivision of their label. Therefore, Canadian bands face thebiggest difficulties when such staff continue to ignorethem.Even if their ownership and financial control is basedelsewhere, the major labels usually have centres of decisionmaking located in the USA, especially in Los Angeles and/orNew York. Such centres did not sign the bands that Canadianbranch .plants want them to release. They have their ownpriority US acts with grassroots support from well populatedhome regions. 13 In their bid to get a US deal, some Canadianacts have found themselves signed to labels with too littlepromotional money. For labels, backing bands is more likegambling than investing because, although very large profits13 Presumably US artists can enter Canada without anysupport there because they have already sold well in theirown US home regions to have venture capital for releases.The problem for Canadian bands wishing to expand out of thecountry is that Canadian regional audiences are not largeenough to make such support significant and their help doesnot count on the US charts.133are sometimes made, there is very little certainty regardingthe return upon their investment. Even in the USA, under 15%of bands break even on their first album (Rolling Stone21/9/89, p.33), so the majors rely on profits from top actsto sustain their lower selling artists. The majors will notreduce promotional dollars allocated to their top acts inorder to promote unknown ones. Furthermore, the costs ofmaking records with videos have escalated to reduce thetotal money available for remaining signings. The net resultis that fewer acts are signed, but each one is betterpromoted.Perhaps more often the problem for Canadian bands is thatthey are not priorities within their major labels. Canadahas a legacy of acts popular across the country, especiallyfrom the early to mid-1980s, who either did not get releasedor prioritized abroad by their parent majors. Some of thesebands had enlisted famous producers. For example thePayolaS, who signed to AAM, had worked on one album withDave Foster, but it was relegated to national release (MusicScene no.346, 1985, p.20). Similarly The Spoons, also onA&M, worked on an album produced by Nile Rogers which onlygot a Canadian release (Can. Musician v.8/3, 1990, p.40) .1414 At present A&M only sign Canadian acts that they canmarket internationally and they try to guarantee priorityreleases with their parent (A. Williams, pers. comm.). Alsotheir publishing company, Almo-Irving, has aggressivelysought out custom for songs written by Adams and producerJohn Dexter, so indications there are that Canadian actswill no longer be relegated national releases only (MusicScene no.355, 1987, p.10).134Also M+M, who signed to RCA, made an album with top producerDaniel Lanois and their label never released that recordabroad (Can. Musician 9/3, 19871p.14).Furthermore if bands are released and initial US sales arelow they can be downgraded to Canadian-only status.15 Evenwhen labels appear to have innovative policies, things maynot be so simple. For example Sony Music have a specificcompany policy to push bands from outside the USA andAustralia, but it means promoting the acts they think willdo well on the local chart listings. There is no guaranteethey will prioritize Canadian acts abroad (Music Week,7/11/92, p.24).The expatriation of artists became a sore point fornationalists in the late 1960s, yet it was not a new way forCanadian talent to escape from the apathy of labels andradio stations. Leaving the country could also mean lightertax constraints, better opportunities and proximity to thedecision making centres of the majors. The disadvantages itincurred included being away from roots, friends and family,15 For instance Platinum Blonde were tipped as Canada's nextbig export in 1985 after their first album sold very well athome, but their career faltered with poor US sales (Can.Musician v.8/3, 1990, p.40). Conversely, despite a wellreceived tour of the USA with Bob Dylan, Sue Medley wasdowngraded for her next album by her label Mercury after aninternal shake-up in the parent major (J. Bateman, pers.comm.).135and potentially feelings of guilt in betraying Canadian fansand attacks from Canada's nationalist press. Whileexpatriation has become rarer for artists, it has notstopped.16One reason for relocating in the US is to reach the toprung of the ladder by getting signed directly by a US parentmajor. The benefits for acts signed in this way include highrecording budgets (often moved up after a previoussuccessful album), guaranteed releases in differentterritories, and priority promotion. Furthermore, a US hitcan bring its writer $150,000 in airplay royalties while itis in the top forty (Maclean's v.100/9, 1987, p.36) andprove an artist for airplay in other territories, includingCanada.1716 Despite having a number one dance hit in Canada, thenucleus of Martha and the Muffins, 11+M, decided to go toEngland to renew their career after their Canadian RCAcontract expired (Can. Musician v.9/3, 1987, p.14). Alsosome of Canada's top writers have either become expatriates(including Dave Foster and Eddie Schwartz in Los Angeles) orhave gone into jingle making. Although good songs can besold abroad, a scarcity of connections, poor royalties andproblems faced by writer-performers in Canada may be causingthe trend.17 Sometimes bands on poorly coordinated majors faceadditional problems when released back home. For examplePure, a band signed to Warner's in Los Angeles aftershowcasing at the Music '91 show in Vancouver, have hadproblems getting tours and promotion in Canada due to theirlack of recognition by Warner Music-Canada (J. Bateman,pers. comm.).136While previously Canadian acts signing direct to the UShead offices of the majors usually had to make their homesin America, the important thing about direct contracts nowis that any participating bands can remain in Canada. As aconsequence the predicament of artists signed directly hasbecome more difficult to describe in simplistic nationalistterms because the only things which need to be expatriatedas a result of the contracts involved are profits that theparent majors make on their investment. Interesting andtalented acts, such as the Barenaked Ladies and kd lam!,have made deals in this way; but the question is how, and bywhom these people will get positioned vis 1 vis the nation.Signing directly to parent companies makes economic senseto the acts involved and successful acts are hard torelinquish as national figures since their position is amark of their achievements as Canadians)- 8 Thus the presenceof directly signed Canadian acts in foreign markets servesto bolster pride for them back home.19 The future of such18 Communications minister Perrin Beatty thinks "whenCanadian musicians have to be signed in the US first beforethey get recognition here, there's something fundamentallywrong" (Probe, v.2/7, 1991, p.1). Yet Barenaked Ladiesmanager Nigel Best has stated "I don't think that a bandnecessarily signs a record deal in an particular countrybecause it's that country. I think you make... the rightdeal for you...but, every time it happens in the musicbusiness that a band signs a record deal in America, thereare many vocal complaints" (The Record, v.11/35, 1992, p.9).19 Directly signed artists are also distributed in their owncountry with all the national promotional forces of theparent majors, frequently through the vehicle of American137acts is only in question if they fare poorly in foreignmarkets, in which cases such bands can be seen as test casesrevealing the policies of their labels.20To those concerned with the industry direct signings canneither be ignored nor simply celebrated since profits madefrom their talent go abroad. As with expatriates and casessuch as Anne Murray (who works abroad, but lives in Canadaand was signed to Capitol-Canada) the music industry andState are left to sort over the dilemmas: what awardcategories to put them in, how much FACTOR support to givethem, whether they qualify as Cancon.This brings us to Gramsci's notion, that the morality ofcentral figures was one thing which made the common peopleinterested in the National Popular (Forgacs and Nowell-Smith, 1985, p.300). In Canada, for the nationalist pressthe battle is fought over how top acts position theirCanadian identity; that is, as Canadians, what things theyconsider important. Sections of the press claiming to speakfor the nation can deflect industrial problems stemming fromCanada's marginal position into personal moral quibblesmedia. As a consequence Canadian fans themselves oftencelebrate direct signings more than many other artists.20 At the moment Toronto's Barenaked Ladies are crucial andunprecedented in this respect, because they have been signeddirectly to a major in the USA but have gained mostpopularity within Canada, while also being aimed at the UScollege circuit.138about the artists concerned as role models. Artists signedfor their international potential are co-opted as nationalsymbols because of their success and then called to defendwhat they do as Canadians. They may feel forced to definetheir links with Canada more obviously and personally thanother acts. For example, Paul Anka sent two magazine editorsphotocopies of his passport to show them he was still aCanadian (Maclean's v.88/2, 1975, p.50). Such debate divertsattention away from criticism of the industry or thesuggestion of alternatives to the way in which labels arestructured. The result is a battle to define who has theright to say what being Canadian is about, rather than whyparticular circumstances should somehow matter. 21Canada now has a diversity of artists strung between thedifferent rungs of the recording industry ladder, from thosestill doing small tours and seeking record contracts, tothose commanding secure contracts with the head offices ofmulti-national major labels. Attention can now be turned tothe operations of the Canadian State and other organizationswhich are working to improve the conditions for Canadianartists. The CRTC does not form the only link between theFederal State and the music industry. The Department of21 For example journalist Tom Harrison has said of Bryan Adams "He's from Vancouver, but he's never been satisfiedwith being a Canadian" (Maclean's v.100/27, 1987, p.35).This implies Harrison has a specific view of what beingCanadian means with which he can call Adams to account.139Communications (DoC) is the most important other governmentbody which deals with Canadian musicians.22 Structurally,the DoC connects with the music industry through itsprojects and the settling of copyright issues.23 TheFoundation to Assist Canadian Talent On Records (FACTOR) hasbeen a way for the DoC join in with Canadian radiobroadcasters in channelling funds from the radiobroadcasting to the sound recording industries. FACTOR hasassisted Canadian independent labels by allowing artists toclimb certain rungs of the industry ladder. Also, being runwithin the Canadian music business, the organization hasdemonstrated the solidarity of an industry made up ofdiverse structures when faced with a common concern. Infact, it could be argued that such a degree of coherence isactually one of the strengths of countries on the margin ofthe world music industry.22 A third area of linkage is the recognition of artists:for example the Order of Canada has been given to GordonLightfoot and Bryan Adams while the Juno Awards and the AnneMurray Centre in Springhill have received federal Statefunding (Maclean's v.91/9, 1978, p.30; v.102/52, 1989,p.36).23 It is important to realize that although the DoC hashelped Canadian musicians with policies such as increasedfunding for FACTOR, in the area of copyright it has beenslow to update archaic laws. Thus Canadian music makers arestill denied remuneration in ways which have becomelegislated rights in many other developed countries (forexample see Can. Composer no.231, 1988, p.2; Probe, v.2/7,1991).140While early attacks on rock saw it as a form of Americancultural imperialism (Martin and Segrave, 1988, p.76), onlymore recently have different nations begun to support theirown music industries. In the 1970s and 1980s the KGB fundedbands in the USSR that it found politically favourable(Globe and Mail, 15/3/93, p.A13). As a less extreme, butstill marginal market, Australia has a very coordinatedindustry. They support Auscon, strong provincial schemes andExport Music Australia (EMA) which emerged more recentlythan FACTOR, but is an almost identical endeavor (E. Jonker,pers. comm.). Schemes like these attract attention not onlyfrom other cultural industries, but from poorer countrieswho cannot afford to experiment with the money set aside fortheir arts programs (Can. Composer no.200, 1985, p.16). Whatconcerns us here is whether FACTOR has provided a successfulprototype for enhancing the music of a nation on the marginor, for example, has been more motivated by the ulterioraims of broadcasters who established the project.Before Cancon radio broadcasters were generally tooconservative to play Canadian songs unless proven as hits inthe USA, the key complaint of station music directors beingthe poor quality of Canadian sounds. Because of this someprogrammers had begun to make initiatives to improve thequality of Canadian material in order to meet theirstandards, in some cases well before Cancon was introduced.For example Standard Broadcasting began a major reference141system for its stations called the Canadian Talent Library(CTL) in 1962. These initiatives increased once Cancon wasthe law since programmers were forced to play more Canadianmusic than ever before.24 The established sound recordingindustry feared that such schemes would defeat theindustrial purpose of Cancon: if broadcasters filled up thequotas by drawing upon material recorded at the stationsthemselves there would be no significant boost to theindependent Canadian record business (Yorke, 1971, p.214).Cancon contained no quality stipulation and the assumptionwas that increased airplay would result in enough increasedsales to boost the indigenous recording industry. What theCRTC did not take into account was that groups with hitrecords solely in Canada have problems in financiallybreaking even, so unless they had external funding orgenerous parent labels, they could only afford to pay lowrecording costs.25 Furthermore, as mandated by the24 Early initiatives included live concert simulcasts, theMaple Leaf System (a phone network between stations topopularize Canadian artists, which its critics claimed was agesture made to the CRTC in order to avert Cancon) andvarious record labels such as the Rogers Candlelight andWine series, and the CAB's short-lived Astra label (TheRecord v.12/4, 1992, pp.20,22)25 One broadcasting corporation, Rogers, argued that it wasdollars and not guaranteed airtime which Canadian cultureneeded (Maclean's v., 1979, p.30). Further, the CABsuggested that the government tax incoming cultural productsand use that money to aid the industry (Foster, 1982,p.307). It would have reduced the burden on broadcasters butalso enraged the major labels, who already gave the Canadianrecording business some of their lucrative custom.142Broadcasting Act of 1968, the limit of the Commission'srealm was to oversee the airwaves in Canada as publicproperty; they could not regulate the sound recordingindustry.What they could do was to put further pressure onbroadcasters, turning their complaints about quality intopenances at license renewal time, by asking stations on acase-by-case basis what they were doing for the developmentof Canadian talent. At first, due to the vague rubric of thequestion, answers were generic.26 The money could be spenton live shows, lyric contests, or within reason anythingelse a station thought was relevant. For stations centrallyconcerned with audience ratings and freshly burdened byCancon, the issue of talent development was not a priority.Another possible problem was that bands could benefit from astation's money and then sign direct to US record companies(The Record, v.11/35, 1992, p.9).The biggest problem with Canadian talent development wasthat each station was relatively powerless to do much forCanadian bands except at the local scale. In 1981, RichardHahn's Report to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters(CAB) suggested an industry taskforce be set up to examine26 Soon stations began quoting dollar figures to demonstratetheir commitment, but this money was frequently squanderedjust to meet the. target.143the ways of pooling funds (The Record v.12/4, 1992, p.22).Thus two broadcasters, CHUM and Moffat, approached the CRTCand DoC. The CRTC was in favour of a sound recordinginitiative, but could not provide any funding (as it wasbeyond its mandate). The DoC had previously ignored pleasfrom the Canadian Independent Record Producers Association(CIRPA) for years (Probe v.2/3, 1987, p.3).27 As the DoC'sspokesman, John Watt told the industry to help itselfbefore it could hope to get any help from the government.Hence representatives from the music industry met with someof the broadcasting corporations in 1982 to form FACTOR. Thefirst sponsors were CHUM, Moffat and Rogers. Soon morebroadcasters joined and the initial $240,000 FACTOR had toallocate began to rise every year. In 1985 FACTOR approachedStandard Broadcasting, who agreed to incorporate itsCanadian Talent Library into the project (The Record v.12/4,1992, p.26).FACTOR had begun with the intent of securing DoC funds,but the national economic climate was against them: in late1984 a severe round of federal government cuts removed over$80 million from the budget of the CBC and $3.5 million fromthe Canada Council (Can. Composer no.200, 1985, p.46).Furthermore, the organizers of FACTOR knew any scheme would27 CIRPA did not have the power to demand more airtime fromstations on one hand and more dollars from them on theother; the initiative had to come from the broadcastersthemselves (The Record v.12/4, 1990, p.26).144have to be a nationwide operation to get any money from theDoC. So in 1985 their representative approached a key Quebecmusic industry organization, Le Association du Disques etSpectacles (L'ADISQ), who decided to set up a parallel bodycalled MUSICACTION. The Quebec operation agreed to take 30%of any forthcoming DoC funds, distributed through a holdingcompany set up for the purpose (The Record v.12/4, 1992,p.26).In early 1986 the DoC announced a new package for thesound recording industry in Canada, called the SoundRecording Development Program (SDRP), on a fundingcommitment of $5 million annually for five years. As well asthe timing of this move, in an environment of intense cutsin arts funding, the other surprising thing about it wasthat FACTOR-CTL/MUSICACTION was to receive the bulk of themoney involved, the rest going to the Canada Council tosupport minority music.28 It was an unprecedented venturenot only because the federal State was joining thebroadcasters in funding Canadian popular culture, but alsobecause the DoC was usually skeptical of projects which werenot government controlled (The Record v.12/4, 1992, p.26).28 The Report of the Task Force on Broadcasting Policy(1986, p.410) had suggested to the CRTC that, asbroadcasters stepped in with more funds for commercialmusic, public funds should be diverted towards minoritygenres. However, with FACTOR the government still providesas much as sponsor contributions and loan repayments puttogether (FACTOR Annual Report 1992, p.20).145It seems likely that the DoC invested in FACTOR as apreferred way to help the Canadian independent soundrecording industry for several reasons. Firstly they got aproject tailored to the demands of labels and musicianswithout having to pay the cost, or take on the task, ofsetting it up. Secondly, despite the DoC's misgivings overjoint ventures mixing public funding and privateadministration, .government contributions to FACTOR were inkeeping with the ideology of the State in the Mulroney erasince they were a way to show that private initiativesdeserved full support. Finally, by providing dollars, theDoC could have some control over FACTOR/MUSICACTION and itsbeneficiaries, and share in the success of the project. Oneindication of this control was that any changes to theprogram now had to be agreed upon by everybody right up tothe prime minister, so the scheme became less flexible (Can.Composer no.231, 1988, p.28).Yet contributing to FACTOR was also a way for thegovernment to show musicians it cared about theirpredicament as the scheme received a three fold increase infunds. Furthermore the DoC were especially keen to helpfrancophone acts and insisted that 40% of the entire moneyallocated would go to MUSICACTION. Since it was agreed eachorganization could receive financing from broadcasters usingtheir language, the distribution of DoC funds helped even146up the proportions of funding available for English speakingand francophonic acts (The Record v.12/4, 1992, p.26). Also,separatists had previously refused financial help from theCanada Council (Maclean's v.82/6, 1969, p.45), so the newscheme both put Quebec's music into a separate self-administered category and tied it into the nationalistproject of the federal State. In terms of the relationshipbetween the State and music industry the new circumstancesformed a pattern shown in Figure 2:Figure 2: The relationship between the State, broadcastingand sound recording industries in Canada CRTC■ifCanconRadioDoC$^FACTOR1Poorly PromotedCancon materialCanadian SalesCanadianlabels1Export SalesThe aim of FACTOR has always been to "further thedevelopment of the Canadian independent recording sector"(FACTOR Annual Report 1992, p.1). Potentially it could alsocreate Cancon material. Although the CRTC could not steerthe sound recording industry themselves once FACTOR existedthey could make contributions a condition of license for147broadcasters, rather than merely a voluntary scheme. 29 Anadded benefit was that the Commission could maintain localCanadian talent development requirements as well. To reachits goal FACTOR was dedicated to meeting the demands ofbands and labels making up the industry. The most basicstrategy was to fund the recording of quality demo tapes byup-coming bands so they could shop them around to labels ina bid to get signed.At a higher level FACTOR stepped into the financialmanoeuvres of the labels themselves. In the early 1980srecession, lower record sales forced most record companiesto find new cost effective release strategies. One was topass the risk of having a hit album on to the artists bycharging all recording costs to an account recoupableagainst their record sales. This meant that at the beginningof their recording career, a band could be famous withoutbeing rich. It was a major incentive for them to reduceexperimentation and tailor their songs to the dictates ofcommercial radio. FACTOR has extended this procedure bygiving independent Canadian record companies recoupable29 In the preface (p.17) to Radio Regulations 1986 the CRTCtold stations it had decided not to count advertisementswithin special foreground programs as part of each stationsadvertising quota, allowing broadcasters to make more moneyby taking on more sponsors. Significantly the Commissionsaid it expected any additional new revenue should be usedon to schemes such as FACTOR, local initiatives or networkedprograms. Instruction continued; "The Commission intends toreview licensees' commitments in this regard at the time oftheir license renewal".148loans so that they could make albums and videos, andgranting awards to Canadian bands going on foreign tours.30Applications for FACTOR support are sent to theorganization's head office in Toronto and divided into theirgenres. Each of these is then divided between panels of"experts" in the relevant field and assessed against themarket place, so that bands selected will not be a waste ofmoney (E. O'Day, pers. comm.). Since April 1992 FACTOR hasfarmed out most assessments to regional panels.31 Thisregionalization is relatively superficial: FACTOR is stillrun from the boardroom in Toronto, while about half of theapplications come from Ontario.32 What the move has allowedis an increase in the number of panels, a new awareness ofFACTOR for applicants in hinterland provinces and a hushing30 FACTOR loans are repaid with minimal interest of around5% through each act's record sales (Halifax Chronicle Herald4/3/88, p,2-E). Artists get to keep any royalties and anyadditional sales profits.31 Regional affiliates exist to represent Ontario, BritishColumbia, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta(FACTOR Annual Report, 1992, p.5).32 By 1986 Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland andPrince Edward Island together contained 9% of the country'spopulation and contributed 8% of FACTOR applications. As aresult of FACTOR advertising in trade magazines in thoseprovinces, their collective total was pushed up to 26% thenext year (Halifax Chronicle Herald 4/3/88, p.2-E). It wouldbe unfair for FACTOR to dictate where their applicants comefrom, yet it seems the organization may be aiming toequalize the regional representation of awards whenpopulation differences mean that would make little sense.149of criticisms attacking the incestuous nature of theproject.In many ways FACTOR has been a resounding success. The DoCliked the project so much that in 1991 it renewed financialcommitments indefinitely. Furthermore, the scheme has becomea model for their Book Publishing Development Program,announced early In 1992 (The Record v.12/4, 1992, p.20). Onits tenth anniversary the organization could boast that forthe $17 million it had ploughed into Canadian independentmusic, bands receiving the money had grossed ten times thatfigure. If total FACTOR input is divided between the 1,400acts the scheme has supported over its lifetime (The Recordv.12/4, 1992, p.20), we arrive at a tiny average of $1,200per band. Since even the lowest award is now $1,500, andbands can be granted up to $25,000 (FACTOR Annual Report1992, pp.6, 12) that average shows how the funding hassnowballed and how total figures can hide a lot ofvariation.The bands involved welcome this money and have sometimesproduced interesting and controversial work as a result.Acts including Bruce Cockburn and Blue Rodeo, using FACTORloans, have recorded songs implicitly criticizing thefederal government over native issues. For well known150artists setting their sights abroad, such as kd lanq, FACTORhas made extensive foreign tours possible. 33However, FACTOR has a number of disadvantages and problemsfor the parties involved. 34 Since the organization devotesa bulk of its money to sound recording, this will be thearea examined first. 35 As it is driven by the demands ofmusicians, with increased funding FACTOR has seen anincrease in the number and variety of awards given in itsmost basic categories, which go direct to artists makingdemo tapes. Yet paradoxically, as Table 5 shows, these arestill the hardest awards to get.33 Blue Rodeo's song was 'Fools Like You' (Marketingv.95/47, 1990, p.1). FACTOR is liberal enough in itsdefinition of Canadian independent music to include artistssigned direct to the USA using their own sub-labels (such askd lang signed to Sire-Warners via Bumstead Productions andRush on Mercury who use their manager's sub-label, AnthemRecords).34 Problems which are important, but not explored hereinclude that a reasonably high quality demo is needed justto approach FACTOR. Also funds run out annually in certaincategories like tour support (E. O'Day, pers. comm.). Givenits power, the board of directors lacks artists or ordinaryconsumers (3 of its 7 members have to be broadcasters).Furthermore some panel members have felt they were the wrongpeople for their roles (B. Mink, pers. comm.).35 Of the FACTOR $3.3m total 1991 budget, $0.3m goes tosyndicated radio programs, $0.5m to foreign tours orshowcases and $0.5m to videos. The remaining $2.2m is spendon sound recording (FACTOR Annual Report, 1992).151Table 5: The Success of FACTOR applicants in different projectsFirst^%Successful 1992Pro'ect^ Year Applicants New Talent Demo (EP)^1982 20FACTOR (LP) Loan 1982^25Songwriters Demo (EP)^1986 33Compilation CD^1991 33Producer's Demo 1991^66Direct Loans (to labels)^1992 95(Source: FACTOR Annual Report, 1992)The Canadian Songwriter's Association^(CSA)^hasapproximately 30,000 members and it recently carried out asurvey (Probe v.2/6, 1987, p.2) which found that 19% of themembers asked did not pay for their own demos. Of those whosought *funding 46% applied to FACTOR. In other words around9% of those surveyed had approached the body. That couldmean there are nearly 3,000 applicants seeking FACTOR awardsfrom amongst the CSA's membership, assuming most membersproduce demos. To select from these applicants each panel ofthree people is obliged to contain one broadcaster. Thepanels are required to select more commercial music, sounusual artists experimenting within rock are rarelyaccepted.36 Also FACTOR has tougher Cancon criteria than theCRTC and can look into the accounts held by artists as a36 For example one panel accepted a "third rate Foreigner"style hard rock band, but not a black East coast artist whosang a song with a rocking Calypso beat, about working infish canneries (Can. Musician, v.10/3, 1988, p.7).152condition of contract, so help from the organization comeswith strings attached.37For those selected, the possession of a quality demo tapeis no longer the sign of commitment from a band or faith inthem by private financial backers that it once was. FACTORmay have made talent more audible to Canada's independentlabels, but that does not mean that labels willautomatically undertake more signings. Although FACTOR nowhas its own CD compilation project, bands possessing FACTORfunded demos are forbidden to release that materialthemselves as a condition of their award. The New TalentDemo Awards application (p.2) says that any songs recordedare therefore "...NOT intended for commercial release... orairplay". FACTOR thus works conservatively with labelsalready in existence, which means it is unlikely to createmore jobs in the recording industry. This lack of anindustry multiplier is visible in recent recording industrydata from Ontario. The data suggests that when FACTOR gotits first DoC funding late in 1986, there were more wagescirculating in the province, but not more employees.3837 For instance, the New Talent Demo Award application (p.2)specifies the artist must be Canadian and at least 50% ofthe songs must have full MAPL rating.38 Between 1986 and 1987 the increase in FACTOR fundscontributed to a number of changes measured in the musicindustry. In Ontario's part of the recording industry therewas a small rise in wages, from $34.7m to $35.5m. Yetassociated employment fell from 1323 to 1250 people.Nationally, radio royalties (termed leasing revenues) forrecords released by Canadian labels increased from $6m to153Moreover, FACTOR's help has altered the infrastructure ofthe recording industry in Canada, and arguably affected thefinal product released by the independent sector. While theorganization has financially supported the country'sstudios, 148 of them now subsidize the project by supplyinghalf price studio time. The scheme is really furthering aproliferation of low budget studios, since the bands andlabels that it funds cannot usually afford time in more up-market establishments. It could also be argued that FACTORhas actually made Canadian independent music on the wholeless interesting, by reducing some of the pressure on theindependent scene to create viable materia1.39Even .for the radio programmers who initiated the projectthe results have judged as been mixed. In Country music, a$11m, but sales revenues for that music fell from $229m to$206m (Sound Recording, Statistics Canada, 1986, pp.17,18;1987, pp.20,32). So if the new material was selling well inCanada, under Cancon it was being played.39 FACTOR panels only deal with smaller awards and loansdirect to artists for demos. So when FACTOR decides to loanmoney to independent labels, it usually leaves the releasematerial on those labels up to the label staff. In otherwords, FACTOR generally vets demos rather than finalreleases. It could be argued that FACTOR loans thus resultin the release of material in which independent labelsmight otherwise have little faith. Country music has a lowvolume of record releases, so Canadian Country music radiostations play a relatively wide variety of artists becausethey need to. Some Country labels have become adept atmaximizing radio airplay for their releases, profiting fromthe associated royalties and also taking money from FACTOR(J. Bateman, pers. comm.).154style which suffers from a lack of Canadian product,broadcasters asked the CRTC to trade off reduced Canconquotas for increased FACTOR support. The Commission refusedtheir request, arguing that both things were necessary andthat FACTOR would gradually provide material (Probe, v.2/4,1987, p.1). Yet it is also true that since the scheme issupply-driven by musicians and labels it cannot createproduct on demand for radio stations of particular formats.Thus, because of the popularity of hard rock amongstCanadian musicians, although AOR (hard rock) stations arejust 7% of the total in Canada, 25% of the material assessedby FACTOR in 1991 was in that category (FACTOR Annual Report1992, p.5).FACTOR backed material is not tailored to suit Canadianradio, because it is really aimed at larger markets in othercountries. In fact two thirds of the ten-fold return ontheir initial investment has come from outside the country.To the DOC, FACTOR is specifically supported as an exportinitiative. Award money is restricted to supporting bandswho tour abroad. The DoC does not allow its contribution tobe spent by FACTOR on the assistance of Canadian rock bandswho wish to tour their on country (E. O'Day, pers.comm.). 40 This aspect is a total reversal of the CRTC's aim40 While bands playing minority or traditional music can gethelp from the Canada council, provincial tourism initiativesprovide the main possible source of government funding forCanadian rock bands wishing to tour their own country. Theseinitiatives often take the form of regional festivals, but155of introducing Canadian music to Canadian audiences. Itworks with the mentality outlined in chapter two andillustrates that the demands of the recording industry,rather than the public, are paramount.In minor ways FACTOR opposes the Cancon regulation, sinceit does not increase Cancon material especially for needyCanadian radio formats and is actually export oriented. Yet,on balance, the scheme's continued private funding iseffectively an admittance by radio broadcasters that Canconis here to stay. With MUSICACTION's help in Quebec,production increased so much that the CRTC's goal to raisefrancophonic quotas became a possibility. These quotas wentup by 10% during 1990 in accordance with the Commission'saims for the province (Probe v.1/1, 1990, p.3). In generalFACTOR-CTL/MUSICACTION makes Cancon harder to remove, sincethe broadcasters are joining in with the CRTC in enablingthe industry to undergo growth which would not have occurredin a free market. They can no longer argue without hypocrisythat the industry should stand on its own two feet withoutCancon, while funding material to suit the regulationthrough FACTOR.Also the independent labels which benefit from FACTORsupply 72% of the material which qualifies as Cancon (Probethat means bands requiring help with national tours have tolook for private funding.156v.2/4, 1987, p.4), make up 11% of home sales and account for2% of all the money labels use on marketing in Canada (Focuson Culture v.3/3, 1991, p.2). Cancon means that radioprogrammers play independent material; its removal wouldprobably mean that these labels would have to devote muchmore money to marketing. 41 Rock videos are one area ofmarketing in which FACTOR helps labels. Currently FACTORallocates 15% of its funds to help finance videos (FACTORAnnual *Report 1992, p.22). It is not, however, the onlyorganization financing rock videos in Canada. When it beganin 1984, Much Music agreed with the CRTC that as a conditionof license it would put 2.4% of its gross revenue towardsstarting a body called VideoFACT which would fund Canadianvideos (Music Scene no.342, 1985, p.10). Soon this became 5%and Musique Plus (Quebec's rock video channel) joined in1986 to contribute 2.4% of their gross (J. Thorburn, pers.comm.). The project is administered by a geographically andindustrially mixed board of directors who subjectivelyassess the songs and proposals of applicants.41 Most of the radio personnel interviewed could notimmediately say which artists they played had FACTORsupport. This can be interpreted as one indication of thepoor promotion involved which has become possible under theCancon regulation.157Table 6: The differences between FACTOR and VideoFACTFACTOR42 VideoFACT $1.2m from Much Music +Musique PlusAll of Canada (20% forQuebec at minimum)$0.5m pooled frombroadcastersEnglish CanadaCanadian independentnational release,meeting the requiredCancon criteria.Funding(in 1991)GeographiccoverageEligibility Pleasing video idea +song on Canadian ownedmaster recording (willdeal with unsigned actsor vanity releases butnot with majors).As Table 6 shows, VideoFACT is run with a differentphilosophy than FACTOR, but the two complement each other inallowing Canadian artists at various stages of their careersto work with the medium of video. In fact VideoFACT issimilar to FACTOR in that it provides material qualifying asCancon for use by sponsoring broadcasters. By their thirdyear the CRTC insisted Much Music play 30% Cancon, which iswell below what is usually expected of televisionbroadcasters. The rock video station could have feasibly putold hits into high rotation until qualifying songs filledenough of their logbooks. Also Much Music is in thedangerous position of having limited control over its basicraw material, since videos are supplied virtually for freeby the record companies (Maclean's v.102/36, 1989, p.66). If42 This comparison would be more valid if MUSICACTION wereincluded; however no information on their funding isavailable in English. It seems likely that the entireFACTOR/MUSICACTION budget for videos would be less than themoney provided by VideoFACT.158labels •or publishers ever decided to boycott the channel,VideoFACT would provide material for it to play.43Both VideoFACT and FACTOR award up to $12,500 as half thecost of each video project they support. Private spending onCanadian videos doubled in 1990 to reach $1.6 million (Focuson Culture v.3/3, 1991, p.2)1 which together with awardedmoney totals $3.3 million to make about 130 videos at$25,000 each. In our discussion of the music industry as aladder it was noted that a good video of a good song canplay a crucial role at certain points for a band: as acalling, card for attracting A&R attention, and as a primerfor airplay or a national tour. Yet the total spending inCanadian videos is a tiny part of the $80 million spentmarketing acts in Canada (Focus on Culture v.3/3, 1991,p.2). It is likely that the bulk of all money spent on actsis devoted to the radio promotion of foreign artists thatalready have videos. Airplay reaches a large audience and isstill the crucial medium for creating sales, since only 5%of the population watch Much Music for an average of just 2hours per week (Focus on Culture v.3/3, 1991, p.2) .4443 One boycott has already occurred: Warner-Chappel MusicPublishing told it's artists not to appear on the channelsince it perceived Much Music were not fairly remuneratingsongwriters via the copyright system (see Probe v.2/2, 1991,p.4).44 Much Music are particularly supportive to Canadian actsbecause they do not restrict airplay of Canadian videos onlyto unpopular times. However, the channel will not change apolicy of three daily rotations to make the most ofadvertising dollars by working with audience turnover. 5% of159To conclude, our discussion in this chapter has shown thatthe music industry in Canada is not a monolithic entity. Itcontains different scales of organization, different typesof structure and a variety of agents. Furthermore, theCanadian artists currently celebrated in their own countryoccupy a wide range of structural positions within theindustry. Yet although certain aspects of it are repletewith conflicts of interest, the discussion of FACTOR showedthat (spurred on by broadcasters and the State) Canada'smusic industry could be united by common problems.While FACTOR is neither an essentialist project, jobcreation scheme, nor charity, it does fit into a Gramscianschema since the organization encourages the export ofCanadian music, and acts which do well abroad are celebratedas part of the Canadian National Popular. FACTOR has helpedto raise the profiles of selected acts in a limited way, soperhaps the scheme ought to redirect some of its money frombasic awards into the radio marketing of music in formatswith no shortage of Cancon in Canada and to all categoriesthe total programming (or 15% of Cancon) is filled withfrancophonic videos, as a bargaining measure on the license(T.D. Mulligan, pers. comm.). These may make a visualcontrast to English Canadian material, but they have notproduced hits and may cause viewers to change channels. Alsothe francophonic acts thus take up air time that could beused for anglophonic indie and/or VideoFACT videos (J.Ufton, pers. comm.). Appendix one deals further with theissue of francophonic material.160abroard. Yet its control by both the recording industry andgovernment means the scheme forms mainly a recording andexport initiative. Paradoxically the organization helps withvideos but is of no direct help with live tours back home;another source of financial help for musicians in this areawill become apparent in the next chapter.Finally, through its exploration of the unusualpredicament of Canada's sound recording industry, thischapter has shown that being on the margin of a large markethas both benefits and problems. Sometimes it is easy to losesight of the benefits of this marginality, such as theunified nature of the sound recording industry as a lobbyinggroup and the actions of the State directly augmenting fundsfor independent labels after it paved the way toward adistribution system for them.Nonetheless, it is also true that if the Canadian musicindustry was not in a relatively marginal position thesethings would not have been necessary. Gramsci's schema hasbeen used to suggest that one of the dangers of thesecircumstances is that disputes over the shape of theindustry get transfered on to queries about the morality andactions of central figures. While the Cancon debate in theprevious chapter showed that such a process of transferencehas been manipulated by one top artist to change theindustry, in this chapter we saw the opposite and more usual161case: the press questioned the morality of some artists inrelation to their citizenship whilst ignoring the thingswhich facilitated their success. Such debate seems in dangerof ignoring what is being done to help smaller artistsacross the country because it keeps attention focussed upontop acts.162Chapter FiveGoing Down Like A Song"It's smooth. It's mellow. And it goes down like a song."• Advertising for Molson Canadian beer, 19701Live shows offer performers an immediate gratificationwhich many artists claim is the most rewarding part of beingin the business. They can also create loyal record buyingaudiences (Riordan, 1988, p.53). Under a commitment to theDoC, it has already been mentioned that FACTOR does not fundCanadian bands touring at home, so it becomes relevant toshift focus to see how the concert promotion industry makestours possible in spite of this lack of encouragement. Thischapter examines that business and its intertwining withsponsors, focusing on two instances which have broughtrepresentations of the nation into the foreground: the GreatCanadian Party and national award ceremonies.Although they have devoted considerable attention tocorporate advertising and rock music as separate topics,academic writers concerned with popular culture have ignoredthe issue of rock sponsorship. In modern western societiespopular music is fully implicated within the framework ofcapitalism, so it is hard to easily dismiss sponsorship asselling out.2 As such, sponsorship does not fit well into1 From Maclean's (v.83/9, 1970, p.26).2 Bands are paid by their labels, remunerated by SOCAN,funded by sponsors, sometimes swap free equipment for albumcover credits or make money on the side doing jingles.163frameworks used by those hoping to rescue rock for utopianpolitical projects. Yet rock sponsorship has practicalimplications for the audience and, as music is a symbolicresource, it may become a site of struggle over what isrepresented to the audience. This means that it can bequestioned.Engagement in sponsorship has both advantages anddisadvantages for all parties concerned. The corporationsare able to associate with the image of the band playing andpitch their product to a large, clearly definedpsychographic target group of young people who may not yethave built up brand loyalty.3 This only makes sense in thecontext. of consumers of music being likely to consumespecific products. For example while it would rarely befeasible to try to sell them false teeth, the brewingindustry views rock fans as a crucial target group.Sponsorship creates a particular reputation for a firm. Aportfolio of interventions to facilitate cultural eventsbuilds up a corporation's image in the minds of customers,share holders, lobby groups and the State. It can sometimesdivert attention away from public relations problems inother areas. Finally, sponsorship allows a companyprivileged access to a particular form of entertainment for3 Psychograhics is way to segment the market based upon thelifestyle and attitude of different groups within it.164its workers. Executives get to meet stars back-stage andpromoters can reserve the best tickets for use by sponsorsand the media. For employees this can act as an incentive tojoin or stay in a particular firm and to be more productivein the workplace. It can help a smooth reproduction of thelabour force and enhance paternal employment relationswithin the firm.4On the other hand corporations contemplating rock musicsponsorship face problems. Fans perceive sponsors go too farif their logo appears actually on the stage or on thingssuch as tee shirts sold of the band because they feel theyshould not have to pay for tickets or garments already paidfor by the sponsor (Can. Musician v.9/3, 1987, p.49). If acorporation invests heavily in one act they could lose outif that group splits up, radically changes direction or,worse still, does something which ruins the firm'sreputation.For audiences the sponsorship situation has had mixedresults. Corporate sponsorship has helped promoters put onseveral shows close together.5 Also corporations have given4 Certain aspects of the utopian planning operations ofRobert Owen, Cadbury's and the Lever Brothers in Britainhave found a modern day echo in corporate ventures such asthe contest Pepsi organized for its Canadian employeesaround Triumph's 1985 national tour (Can. Musician v.6/2,1985, p.10).5 Previously promoters faced liquidity crises from risingproduction, transport and newspaper advertising costs,165financial support for larger, more frequent or prohibitivelyexpensive tours. These include national tours of Canada forartists with large operations.6 On the other hand very largeshows have sometimes been the target of the fans' complaintsbecause the possibility of seeing and relating to the band(which makes each show personal) is reduced, while ticketprices have remained stable or gone up. Further, sponsorshiphas altered the fundamental nature of touring for artistswho have not become so popular. Big acts still tour, aidedby inter-brewery competition, but in recession smallerpromoters have been squeezed out. Much of the middle tierhas fallen out of the concert promotion business and,perhaps, fewer intermediate level shows have been presented(Music Scene, no.354, 1987, p.8).Another drawback of sponsorship for many fans has emergedwith recent ticket allocation practices. While the pre-emption of tickets by promoters has been common for a longtime, Paul Simon's 1991 show in Montreal was the first onerising performers fees, and union dues. To reduce theirexposure to financial loss, promoters tended to scheduleconcerts with sufficient time lags between them to pay offloans and assess their stocks of working capital.6 For example the deal that Anne Murray struck with Fordallowed her to make her first national tour of Canada in1987, nearly two decades after she had become a nationalfigure (Can. Musician v.10/6, 1988, p.47). Similarly BryanAdams' unprecedented Waking Up The Nation tour in 1992 wasseen by 146,000 Canadians in 13 cities, many of which Adamshad never been to before, sponsored by both Molsons andCoca-Cola (Molsons Annual Report 1992, p.13).166in the country which privileged audience members who werecustomers of the sponsors. In that case early seats weremade available to American Express card holders who wereallowed' to buy tickets before they were released to thegeneral public (Montreal Gazette 7/7/90, p.F1). Thissituation not only demonstrated what sort of fans Simon nowhas in general, but how certain types of sponsorship canhave elitist ramifications. Furthermore, one Chicago marketresearch firm has found that 70% of people questioned werewilling to buy a particular product in return for a rebateon ticket prices at concerts. In the USA Barry Manilow hasalready held shows using this method (Billboard 22/2/92,p.86). Even if it has not yet arrived in Canada, rebateschemes set another precedent in restricting who gainsaccess to concerts and on what basis.For the artists sponsorship comes with some stringsattached. There may be restrictions placed on acts;certainly most sponsors expect band members to use theproducts they endorse (or at least not use those of thecompetition). Whether bands should associate with particularbreweries was questioned when one report to the brewingindustry suggested a majority of American adults saw it asuncaring about such issues as underage drinking.7 However,7 Information about the Wirthlin Group Report appeared inBillboard (7/9/91, p.28).167the single report was insufficient to deflect the bands andsponsors involved from continuing their relationship.Bands potentially feared they would be asked to changetheir image to suit sponsors, but most corporations involvedhave an arms length relation to their acts. Bands are reallypicked by sponsors because of their popularity withparticular audiences (Can. Musician v.9/3, 1987, p.47). Yettheir relationship with sponsors could put bands in dangerat two extremes. Firstly, acts successfully committed tosponsorship deals could run the risk of over-exposure.8Conversely those without the kind of audience a sponsor islooking for are not solicited by corporations. For exampleteenyboper idols are not seen as desirable by companiestrying to sell cars. Since in Canada the breweries are theprime sponsors of rock acts, there is competition over alimited crowd rather than concern for other types ofaudience. In the extreme, acts with reputations that coulddamage the image of sponsors have been avoided by both majorbreweries (Toronto Star 29/11/86, p.F1). At first, althoughthey realized that corporate funding could bringconsiderable benefits, promoters and bands became suspiciousabout the possible consequences of large scale sponsorship.They speculated about what could happen to the concert8 For example The Spoons deal with Thriftys in the early1980s meant that they were on television and radio so muchthat viewers began to complain about seeing too much of them(Can. Musician v.9/3, 1987, p.49).168promotion industry, the disadvantages of transforming it inparticular ways, and how much control over importantdecisions the sponsors could obtain.9Although a few bands still oppose sponsorship and use thatstance itself as a marketing device, most bands get involvedand take advantage of the benefits offered by sponsors.10Concessions to backers are usually minimal so sponsorship iseffectively free money. Thus acts involved with any sponsorface the potential moral problem of taking extra moneywithout doing anything for it. Yet if sponsorship money isgoing to expand the scale and number of live shows ratherthan directly pay the bands, the increased exposure theygain helps, but they still have to perform well enough topersuade fans to buy their records. In Canada inter-brewerycompetition has bid up the money that bands can take fromsponsors (Toronto Star 29/11/86, p.F1). With more and larger9 The fear of who had control over musical performances wasa previously expressed back in the 1970s, as part of thedebate surrounding the private sponsorship in Canadianclassical music (Maclean's v.84/2, 1961, p.71).10 This may be in songs like 'This Note's For' You by Neil Young in 1986 which was banned by MTV, but not Much Music,for its product placement (Vancouver Sun 19/7/88, p.F7).Also a bands image may convey their anti-sponsorshipattitude. For example Lowlife, an up-coming Canadian band,have put on showcase gigs wearing tee shirts with anti-corporate slogans on them (Georgia Straight v.26/1292, 1992,p.33). Furthermore, one member of Rough Trade unsuccessfullysued Pepsi for misappropriation of character when they usedan image like his in their advertisements (Canadian Musicianv.6/4, 1985, p.13).169tours possible, artists have the potential of building upbigger fan bases.The image a sponsor gives to the artist depends on whothat sponsor is and how they treat the act involved. Thecareful selection of a sponsor may help an up-coming band,not least because they may be joining a particular roster ofother acts. Their association may actually make them moreacceptable to different audiences who trust the breweries topick good bands. For smaller bands looking to maximize theirfan base that association may be an advantage.Since sponsorship has so many advantages it can be treatedas a resource, at least for those bands that can obtain it.While sponsors benefit more from acts with large homogeneousaudiences, there is also the possibility that smaller actscan get sponsored by any corporation that cannot afford tobid for top stars. Nonetheless, unsigned acts with smallfollowings seem unlikely to be a viable proposition. Yetsponsorship also potentially creates more funding for lesscommercial music, since the sponsors do not have to profitfrom the concerts per se, but from the sales of theirproduct associated with the show. In theory, sponsors havethe potential to promote acts with low record sales butlarge live followings.1111 The way in which Molsons stepped in to help the Mariposafolk festival in 1987 suggests that this is the case; the170Although sponsorship gained significant momentum in the1980s, various companies have used rock to bolster theiradvertising campaigns ever since the music became popular.Rather than initiating relationships, in the 1980s corporatedeals merely renewed them on a bigger scale.12 In the USAsponsorship had become a way of life for top bands by themiddle of the decade. As a result a consulting firm,Rockbill, emerged to match up appropriate sponsors withbands. In Canada manager Joe Owens, by 1985, found himself asimilar niche. After securing sponsorship from Pepsi and theshoe manufacturers Converse for his band Triumph, he foundsponsorship deals for several other acts (Can. Musicianv.9/3, 1987, p.47). The rush of different corporations intothe fray stimulated Canada's two top breweries, Labatts andmusic may not sell well on record, but it attracts adrinking crowd (Montreal Gazette 28/1/1987, p.F5).12 In the USA, in the 1950's local civic groups paid bandsat dances (Nbebel, 1974, p.61), and televison shows such asDick Clark's Bandstand found sponsors (Martin and Segrave,1988, p.97). The CBC competed for advertising in the sameway as other channels, so it is likely that their pop showswere also sponsored. In the 1960s rock took on other themesand the entanglement with sponsors was reduced. Independentconcert promotion took off as it reached a bigger market.While the music changed again in the 1970s, the industrystill stood largely without support. Exceptions included theseries of shows across Canada sponsored by Imperial Tobaccoin 1971 (Maclean's v.84/2, 1971, p.61). By the 1980s theaging and increased affluence of baby boomer fans meant thatif bands were willing, rock was ripe for a re-attachmentwith sponsors on a larger scale. In 1981 the Rolling Stonespaved the way by making a deal with Jovan. Bruce Allen wasquick to get a Canadian tour for Loverboy with NissanAutomobiles the next year (Can. Business v.57/9, 1984,p.73).171Molsons, to look at music as a way to promote their leadingbrands, Labatts Blue and Molson Canadian. To do this theyentered sponsorship deals and then the concert promotionbusiness itself.Concert promotion is a highly competitive business. Whilepromoters sometimes put on events in other countries, theydo not see the situation in terms of Canadians invadingother places, or in the opposite case foreign excursionsinto Canada. Rather, like radio stations, promoters havetheir own territories which frequently spill across nationalboundaries but can be encroached upon by rivals. In CanadaConcert Promotions International (CPI) was established byMichael Cohl and Bill Ballard in 1973. Through its grip onthe Toronto market and subsequent diversification, CPI grewto be the cornerstone of one of the largest and mostsuccessful conglomerate operations in rock in North America.In Montreal Donald Tarlton's Donald K Donald (DKD) companyhas put on shows for a similar amount of time. On the Westcoast, Vancouver was the territory of promoters from Seattleuntil, in 1977, Norman Perry set up Perryscope productions,with the backing of both CPI and DKD (I. Nobel, pers.comm.). Appendix four shows that when Labatts bought aportion of CPI, of which Molsons were already a customer,the relationship between the promoter and that particularallied sponsor began to deteriorate and two national concertpromotion giants were created. Canada's two top breweries172had evolved from being the customers of concert promoters tobecoming their partners.If at first there was some suspicion as to what wouldhappen from promoters and bands, more recently DonaldTarlton has argued "We have singlehandedly saved the brewingindustry" (Music Scene no.345, 1987, p.8), while Mark Normanof Perryscope has stated to the contrary "withoutsponsorship I wouldn't even be in the business" (CalgaryHerald 31/3/91, p.F1). Which one of these claims we considercorrect depends upon what we think the concert promotionindustry should be. The conglomerates now battling to put onshows in Canada have also diversified into concertmerchandising.13 Moreover, both concert promoter-sponsors(if we can now separate the two) have come to control andinflate the scale of pop culture events within Canada. They13 Promoters only distribute merchandise, and most profitsgo to merchandising companies. Usually bands only makeroyalties from merchandise sales, but when Loverboy foundthey were selling an average of $9 worth of paraphernaliaper fah at some shows, the group formed their ownmerchandising company (Can. Business v.57/9, 1984, p.73).Canada's concert promoting conglomerates bought outindependent merchandising firms to give them exclusiverights to market the products of top acts. Through itsownership of firms such as Brockhum (which cost them $6million and is now run by Norman Perry) and Krimson, BCLowns the rights to merchandise all products for Michael Jackson, Prince and other artists (Can. Business v.58/2,1985, p.69). MCA owns Winterland Products, which is animportant rival merchandising firm.173do not just present music shows, but other types of eventsas wel1.14What these events have in common is that they are allspectacles, as opposed to festivals. A spectacle is "aspecially prepared or arranged display of a more or lesspublic nature (especially on a large scale) forming animpressive or interesting show or entertainment for thoseviewing it" (OED v.16, 1989, p.164). Thus spectacles are avery particular form of entertainment. To compare, the rootof the word 'festival' means "Of or pertaining to a feast,benefitting a feast day" (OED v.5, 1989, p.852). Spectaclesare unlike festivals in that they usually appeal to fewer ofthe senses and rarely involve active participation on thepart of those in attendance. They leave less room fordifferences in experience and reinterpretations in the mindsof people attending, and spectacles directly addressindividuals with particular messages rather than constructmore fluid senses of community. Rock concerts are spectaclesbecause the division between the stage and audience remains,yet they are also unusual in that audience participation isoften encouraged in particular ways that are frequentlyspontaneous. One key line of enquiry is the context within14 Perryscope does not just deal with rock music but puts onCountry music shows, ballet, comedy and theatre events (I.Nobel, pers. comm.). Molsons, Labatts and CPI (but, as faras I know, not Molsons-MCA Concerts Canada) are alsoinvesting in sports sponsorship, ownership and broadcasting.174which these spectacles occur, and the degree of festivecommunity that arises. However, before we can examine thoseissues in relation to Molson's Canada Day celebration, theGreat Canadian Party, it is important to explain the currentframework of rock concerts in Canada.Large popular rock acts usually contract booking agents toarrange tours. Canada's most successful agents are S. L.Feldman & Associates in Vancouver and The Agency in Toronto(I. Nobel, pers. comm.). Booking agents orchestrate tours bycontacting promoters in each location targeted for a show inorder to arrange venues. Canada's top breweries are buildingsome of their own concert venues, such as Molson Park inBarrie Ontario, and have engineered exclusive deals withother venues. Those exclusive deals mean that smallerpromoters cannot get access to the big venues, so agentstend to work with CPI or Molsons-MCA Concerts Canada whenarranging tours for popular artists.15 Furthermore, these•larger promoters sometimes bypass booking agents by goingstraight to managers. Although agents dislike beingcircumvented, promoters maximize potential profits byengineering such direct deals.1615 Parties outside the sponsor/promoter/band nexus which wewill ignore for brevity here are SOCAN (who collect around2% remuneration for gigs from promoters), radio stations(who swap free airtime with promoters for the prestige of"presenting" gigs of bands in their format) and ticketagents (who sell tickets to the public).16 Notably CPI went straight to the Rolling Stones managerto get their Steel Wheels world tour in 1989 (I. Nobel,175Acting as concert promoters can be lucrative to sponsoringbreweries since they can still profit from gigs where theyare not allowed to advertise. Previously Labatts sometimesunderwrote gigs that were not helping beer sales. By owninga stake in CPI's parent company (BCL) the brewery couldprofit from any gig put on by the promoter even if other,non-alcoholic sponsors were solicited by CPI to help fundthe shows. Secondly, in effect, various corporate moves haveallowed Molsons and Labatts to access specific rosters ofartists'.17 While bands cannot endorse alcoholic beverages,once a band is with a particular agent and promoter theyjoin a roster of acts sponsored by one of the breweries.The brewing division has been the back bone of the Molsonscorporation partly because it is has performed consistentlywell, even in recession (Molsons Annual Report 1992, p.1).At such times while the breweries may have the money to putpers. comm.). It grossed $250 million by drawing 6.2 millionfans on 3 continents (Maclean's v.104/44, 1991, p.69).17 Labatts bought a 50% stake in the International Talentgroup, which handles top US and UK acts in North America. Itgave them a roster of artists for CPI's operations (LabattAnnual Report 1991, p.36). Molson's partnering of MCAsimilarly allowed access to acts on the MCA, Motown andGeffen labels (Montreal Gazette 9/8/90, p. D6). However,although Molson MCA-Concerts Canada is aligned to the MCAfamily of labels, since sponsorship deals for Canadian bandsare worked out with managers this does not mean that theacts on MCA have automatically been •sponsored by Molsons.For example The Tragically Hip are signed to MCA, but are onthe Labatts live roster.176on large concerts, lowered consumer spending means that thepublic has less ability to pay for tickets. While bandsthemselves can reduce staff on tour or do smaller acousticsets if they have strong enough songs, promoters have beenforced to adjust their operations considerably. 18 The 1990srecession has meant that both major concert promoters inCanada are now carried by their corporate backers, who hopefor long term profit and a continuing link to theircustomers 19If placing musical events at the mercy of sales of otherproducts can be a blessing, it is also a potential danger.18 In recession, promoters still face usual problems such astrouble with security, potential riots following curtailedsets by favourite acts, City Councils refusing the use ofcertain venues, and a problematic relationship with localliquor boards. As extra measures they must turn downmanagers asking too high a price for their band, changingvenues or cancelling shows if bands do not sell many ticketsin advance, refusing guaranteed fees for bands beforeconcerts and reducing ticket prices. Some are spendingadvertising dollars more creatively, putting on double billsor festivals or including surprise guests, and negotiatingproduction cost caps between the agents first estimates andactually seeing the bands. (See for example Maclean'sv.95/34, 1982, p.48; Montreal Gazette 18/8/90, p.H9;Billboard 22/2/92, p.1).19 The Labatts 1991 Annual Report (p.39) shows BCLconstituted most of the $9 million lost by their partlyowned businesses. Similarly Molsons Annual Report (1992,p.4) shows that of the $8.3 million made by the Sports andEntertainments Group $7.4 million was made by the expansionof the National Hockey League. Molsons stress the "highquality", "well planned" nature and "impact" of their gigs(p.13). Their wording denotes the aim of putting on theshows and is also a repositioning of rock vis a vis popularculture, which is not usually considered high in qualitybecause that associates it with high culture.177The selling of beer at gigs is a separate deal tosponsorship (I. Nobel, pers. comm.), but de facto it hasusually been the sponsor's brand. As the national marketlead of Labatts Blue began to slip to Molson Canadian in1991, it was announced that the former beer was no longergoing to be aimed at young, party-oriented drinkers whichMolson's still targeted (Globe and Mail 9/5/91, p.B4).Slowly, though they helped in the Music '91 Canadian talentshowcase held in Vancouver, Labatts began to reducesponsorship commitments. Some of its contests (such asGuitar .Narz) and help with the CASBY awards came to an end(The Province 26/6/92, p.C5; N. Raskin, pers. comm.). Withtheir youth oriented brand selling well, Molsons were in abetter position to host a celebration.The sponsors wished to enlist a variety of Canadian actsfor this celebration, so from the outset it is important torealize that a co-operative effort existed. Therefore it isrelevant to consider what degree of moral involvement we canattribute to the artists in their participation. Artistsexercise a degree of moral control over their songs whichprevent. the use of them in undesirable ways and/or promotedesirable interpretations. For example, as the owner ofcopyright, a songwriter can determine whether his or herwork will be broadcast." This means that artists have some20 Thus for example while Bryan Adams could refuse the useof one of his songs in the war film Top Gun (Can. Musicianv.8/6, 1986, p.36), he could not veto the use of another of178control over the contexts within which their work getsheard.Theodore Adorno explained this issue by saying that themeaning and function of a piece of music could oppose eachother if the context of the work contradicted its content(Rose, 1978, p.113). Thus, to argue that rock and politicshave parted company since the 1970s would be the result ofonly focussing on the lyrics to most current songs.21 In the1980s, whether we look at protest songs played on nostalgicradio formats, old hits used in advertising or seeminglyapolitical songs played at benefit gigs, changing thecontext of popular songs was one of the main ways in whichthey were used politically. 22 So it could be argued thathis tunes by racist politician David Duke's campaign, sinceit was used for a non-broadcast slide show. All he could dowas ask Louisiana radio stations not to play the song untilafter elections, which lost him royalties (Vancouver Sun14/11/91, p.A1).21 This does not mean that there are no acts still writingpoliticized songs outside genres such as rap and folk. Infact acts such as Sting, Billy Bragg and REM remain popular.Furthermore songs which are ambiguous can become significantin particular contexts. For example lines from the chorus ofa song by Canadian singer-songwriter Andrew Cash go "Thereis a time and place: it could be today." While remainingopen to interpretation on record, such lyrics have a lot ofpotential to raise audience consciousness if they are sungat events focussed upon particular issues.22 An interesting example was Keith Richards show for theblind, put on by order as a penance after being found guiltyof drug trafficking by a Toronto court (Maclean's v.92/19,1979, p.62). Another facet of the entanglement of rock andmorality was the use of old hits in advertising. A Torontojournalist suggested boycotting Molsons for using songs byThe Beatles, since she felt things she associated with thesongs at the time they were hits had been appropriated179artists are still central to the politics of rock, becausethey can decide whether to use the appeal of their songs forparticular ends by allowing them to be put into certaincontexts.Canada Day, as the official cause for a variety ofnationalist celebrations, has become such a context. Thenaming of the holiday came about though a private member'sbill rushed through parliament in 1983; renaming DominionDay as Canada Day and fixing the date on July 1st(previously the day had been celebrated on the first Mondayin July). 23 Ironically, the inherent change of emphasis wasaccompanied by a cut in federal funding for celebratoryevents, from $5 million to $3.7 million. The province ofQuebec received most of this money (Halifax Chronicle Herald30/6/83, p.1), possibly to neutralize the growing voice ofseparatists in that province. Yet the reduced funding forCanada Day opened up new possibilities for privateinitiatives to play a role in financing events and therefore(Maclean's v.100/9, 1987, p.32-33). This aligns the bandsand sponsors together against the consumers in a disputeover the ownership of popular memory. One problem is thatthe advertisement may be the first context in which youngerpeople hear the song.23 This renaming was important because it denoted theState's intent of emphasizing the future of Canada as aunified nation in the minds of the people, rather thandwelling upon the country's past. The policy is a modernparallel to the way that the Italian State represented Italyas a unified and timeless nation to it's people, whichGramsci described (Forgacs and Nowell-Smith, 1985, p.201).180associating with the day. In the next decade annualfestivities continued and in 1988 Pepsi, the soft drinkmanufacturer, set a precedent by asking to sponsor a CanadaDay festival in Toronto (Globe and Mail 28/6/88, p.A14).Canada Day 1992 was used by different people for differentends, drawing upon the significance of the fact that it wasthe country's 125th birthday as a nation. In Vancouverdemonstrators burned flags, protesting against "125 years ofgenocide against natives and the oppression of colouredpeople in Canada" (Globe and Mail 2/7/92, p.A6), but ingeneral the day was marked by patriotism unseen since 1967.On the only official speech of her visit to the country theQueen urged the nation's leaders to keep national interestparamount during constitutional negotiations (Toronto Star2/7/92, p.A1). The DoC used the day to promote the winningsong of its $10,000 contest, open to SOCAN's members, whichthey specified had to be about the land, people and futureof Canada (Probe v.1/3, 1992, p.2). Across the country thepublic sphere came alive with citizens showing that, despitepolitical differences, a sense of community associated withthe national project was intact. A diversity of performancesshowed that music was a way to demonstrate (and potentiallyconstruct) this sense of community. 24 Although the Great24 In 1987 Bryan Adams had played Ottawa on Canada Day(Maclean's v.100/27, 1987, p.32). Three years later KimMitchell, Luba, Murray Maclauchlan and Michel Pagliaro,amongst others, had played that city after the Meech Lakeattempt at constitutional reform collapsed (Toronto Star181Canadiah Party only represented some of the musical activitygoing on that day, for those people in attendance, listeningon radio, or watching it on TV, the Party became a focus forthe occasion.Molsons had been through an erratic recent history whichaffected how they could legitimately place themselves incelebrations of national unity. Their merger with Carling-O'Keefe, owned by Elders, gave the Australian brewing giant40% share in the enlarged corporation, which allowedLabatts (Molsons main competitor) to advertise itself asCanada's only national brewery. For Molsons this was asevere challenge. Staunch in their support of free trade,the firm replied in advertisements that they were "proudlybrewing your Canadian beer" abroad (Financial Post 2/2/89,p.3). Furthermore both companies brewed foreign beers underlicense in Canada and were among the most successfulexporters of beer to the US market. Yet after negotiationswith the US over free trade, by 1992 Molsons executivesperceived it in their interest to view the national scale ofeconomic organization as paramount.2526/6/90, p.A17). In 1991 in Toronto Stringband had invitedthe prime minister to their 20th reunion gig (Toronto Star26/6/91., p.D16). Similarly Canada Day 1992 was an occasionfor music. In Montreal at the end point of a procession ofaround 20,000 people, Mitsou sang on a stage with the MapleLeaf flag draped behind it in a concert followed by afirework display (Montreal Gazette 2/7/92, p.A3).25 They focussed on the nation by shifting attention awayfrom other geographical scales: in their report the breweryargued any notion of an integrated international market was182The corporation was well aware that the year of Canada's125th birthday could become part of their project and theywere in a good position to engineer a celebration. BecauseMolsons public relations problems have been regional ratherthan national in scope, it seems unlikely that their reasonfor hosting a party was to divert attention away fromproblematic public issues connected with the corporation,aside from Labatts claim to being Canada's only nationalbrewery. 26 Any argument that Molson's used the GreatCanadian Party to divert attention away from issuesunrelated to the celebration of national unity are difficultto make.Also if Molsons sole interest was in selling theirproduct, it is hard to fathom why they would have chosen tocelebrate the nation as well, rather than holding the eventa myth and that the removal of provincial barriers couldonly benefit their operations (Molsons Annual Report 1992,p.10). Yet being a Quebec-based firm the brewers were alsocautious in their nationalist optimism: "Based on Canada'sconsiderable experience at resolving our differences, wehave reason for confidence in our ability to renew ourinnovative form of federalism in this 125th year ofconfederation" (Molsons Annual Report 1992, p.14).26 In 1991 the lobby group Mediawatch had complained to theToronto. Transit Commission over Molsons sexist advertising(depicting "The Long Haired Fox"). As a result the posterwas removed from the underground (Globe and Mail 19/7/90,p.A1). Similarly their merger with Carling-O'Keefe resultedin 1400 jobs lost in two years. Many radio stations refusedan advertisement made by workers complaining about whathappened, but neither dispute was national in scale (Globeand Mail 29/8/89, p.B1).183in a more neutral context at any other time when rock fanscould attend. It seems fair to say that as well as being away to direct the attention of consumers towards their beer,the Great Canadian Party (held on Canada day) was anotherindication of the company's views on Canadian unity. Theclaim of Labatts seems likely to be one reason that Molson'swere eager to associate themselves with the nation, but theyhad to find another way to lay claim to that source ofpride.The idea of throwing a party had actually been suggestedby Jay Marciano, the Vice President of MCA-Concerts Canada,who had proposed a series of big concerts across the country(E. Lefko, pers. comm.). The money was to be raised viasponsorship and initially it was proposed that sponsorswould pay $36,000 each. As it turned out, Molsons signed upquickly, then the A&A Record retail chain and Much Musicjoined the project. Once Much Music was involved theydecided to connect the different concert places in variousways to make it a unified national celebration (T.D.Mulligan, pers. comm.). The idea was to sell Molsons beer,the music of the bands involved, and celebrate Canada'sbirthday at the same time. The Party integrally involved anetwork of 25 AOR radio stations, which were nearly all thebroadcasters in that format across the country. They got anunprecedented simulcast of some 13.5 hours of Cancon. Thesponsors got two thirty second radio advertisements per hour184Figure 3: A Poster advertisement for the Great CanadianParty(Source Georgia Strait v.26/1278, 1992, p.2)185across the network, billboard space and options formerchandising and program advertising at the shows(Marketing 97/24/92, p.4).The advertising campaign leading up to the shows wasextensive but did not focus on the nation. Instead stresswas placed upon singling out the subject (individualaudience member) and emphasizing who was going to bethere.27 Both mechanisms pointed towards the spectacularnature of the event. Figure 3 shows a poster for the concertwhich illustrates that these were designed to emphasize theconcert's construction as a spectacle as well. There was nota Maple Leaf in sight, except the one unobtrusively built into the Molson Canadian logo.The bands were selected by Marciano, Molsons and bookingagent Sam Feldman for their popularity, ability to draw acrowd and appeal to the Molson Canadian demographic profile(E. Lefko, pers. comm.). Their estimates proved right, thespectacle attracting a collective total of about 100,000people,' mostly in their twenties, to shows in St. John's(Newfoundland), Barrie (Ontario), Landsdowne Park (Ottawa)27 A written advertisement for the party stated "Be therelive, in person... Watch it live.. • Hear it live... IT'SCOMING FOR YOU" (Georgia Straight v.26/1278, 1992, p.2),while one on radio cajoled "Don't miss out: you've waitedone hundred and twenty five years for a celebration likethis!".186and the Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver (British Columbia)(Marketing v.97/24, 1992, p.4). Other shows, for example inEdmonton, were part of the Party, but were not televised(Edmonton Journal 2/7/92, p.B1). The sponsors made an effortto represent as many areas of Canada as possible, as a wayto prevent people from particular regions from feeling leftout (T.D. Mulligan, pers. cam.). At each show a drape hungbehind the bands to show the radio and television signalsbeaming from each venue. Also all the provincial flags werehung across the tops of the stages.Yet it is important to realize who was being left out ofthe celebration and why. The event was for anglophonetelevision and radio; so because most Quebec acts do notdraw audiences outside their province, except for Nicholasin Ottawa they were not included (E. Lefko, pers. comm.).Why Molsons did not put on an equivalent show in Quebec isopen to question, especially since they had selected one actfrom each language for their nationwide Take Care campaignthe year before (Playback Strategy v.2/22, 1991, p.7).Moreover, selecting the bands meant selecting the audience,so obviously the show was a narrow demographicinterpretation of who constituted the nation. Many of theacts which were not booked already had tours organized.2828 Toronto's Barenaked Ladies and Vancouver's Spirit of theWest were playing the Glastonbury Festival in England at thetime (Georgia Straight v.26/1280, 1992, p.27). SimilarlyBryan Adams was on tour in Europe on the day. Also Bruce187Bands such as Vancouver's 54.40 came off the Labatts rosterfor this event because Molsons MCA-Concerts Canada paid themmuch more than for a normal gig (I. Nobel, pers. comm.).Arts on either brewery's roster do not usually play at theother brewery's events, so the managers of bands from theLabatts roster who were asked to play had to explain toLabatts that their acts were not altering their contractual(Source: Georgia Straight v.26/1278, 1992, p.2)agreements inany long term way. So while the event itself can be seen asa tribute to the organizing power of Molsons, tacitly it wasalso thanks to the co-operation of Labatts.Hence. when Neil Osbourne, lead singer of 54.40, emerged ina home made tee shirt emblazoned with "Corporate beer saysHAPPY BIRTHDAY CANADA" the statement was as much a truism asit was a demystification. If the aim of the day was thegrass roots unification of a nation which could not seem tounite in other ways, then it is fair to say most bandsattending celebrated that cause. However, possibly becauseof their awareness of the need to export music, some bandswere in general quieter or more ambivalent about the natureof the event. Some acts played cover versions of foreignsongs (probably without giving that issue consideration)such as David Goa(' who did a version of 'Voodoo Chile' byJimi Hendrix. Others selected their songs more carefully.Cockburn and Tom Cochrane already had tours organized (E.Lefko, pers. comm.).188For example, co-headliner Kim Mitchell avoided his latestsingle,:Americal(Ottawa Citizen 1/7/92, p.2).Gord Downie, lead singer of headliners The Tragically BID,was particularly extreme in his commentary. The band isusually sponsored by Labatts, and like several other bandson the day flew between different venues adding to theatmosphere and connectedness of the event. Downie cameacross on stage as a kind of demented genius and used thatpersona as a front to criticize both Molsons and toreconsider the spirit of the celebrations.29 His asides,from the very centre of the spectacle were important giventhat the band had a highly loyal following.The Tragically Rip were scheduled to play Molson'sspecially constructed park in Barrie, Ontario, and then flyto Vancouver on the same day for a second show. Afterloosing their instruments on the way to Vancouver, they cameon stage an hour late. Of his previous venue, Downie said"Barrie, Toronto, Ontario. You don't want to go there:Molson World". At another time, when one over-excited fan29 Making references to the sponsors seems to have becomealmost a duty at this event. At the second annual gatheringthe next year on Canada day in Vancouver, the Canadian Party1993, Steven Page of headliners The Barenaked Ladies said"Welcome to the great Canadian beer commercial... Now weknow what being Canadian means - it's drinking carbonatedbeer-flavoured soda pop!" (Georgia Straight, v.27/1333, 1993p.39).189was forcibly led off stage Downie said "We're under the ironcurtain here in Molsonia".In Molson Park in Barrie, Downie said on stage "StupidDay... Who are we kidding?" (Globe and Mail 3/7/92, p.C7).In an attempt to show the difficulties of the nation at onepoint he said "Have you heard my new Referendum question. Ifyou're in be silent. Are you with us or what?". Also in oneinstrumental interlude Gord made a garbled analogy betweenhounds tearing their prey apart and what provincialministers were doing to the country.Furthermore, for patter between one of the songs, Downieput the recent trade of hockey star Eric Lindros from theQuebec Nordiques to the (American) Philadelphia Flyers inthe context of a betrayal of kinship. He implicitlycriticized the apparent betrayal of their own nationalidentity some Canadians make for the rewards of goingelsewhere.30 Also Downie made a point of humming or singingparts of songs by other Canadians such as Mary Margaret O'Hara while on stage, demonstrating his alignment toCanadian musical traditions. As such it seems that Downie'scollected comments showed not that he was against the ideaof the nation, but felt uneasy with any premature or30 Similarly The Skydiggers also dedicated the song We Don'tTalk Any More to the Lindros Family.190insincere celebration of national unity and with being partof a corporate advertisement.Molsons could do very little about Downie's comments,which were an act of resistance allied to a particular viewof national identity. However, Downie's comments and all thereal problems of the day, such as the bad weather in Ottawa,the heat collapse victims and stage crashers in Barrie, thelack of sanitary facilities in Vancouver and the ambivalentattitude some Canadian fans had towards Spinal Tap, wereneglected by the TV coverage. 31 Much Music emphasized therevelry and the nationalism by asking bands where they camefrom, getting the crowd to sing patriotic songs and findingpeculiar patriots. In fact the day got surpassingly littlemedia coverage elsewhere, since some entertainment writersconsidered the channel had already sufficiently covered theevent (J. Bateman, pers. comm.) and it was considered asmerely a Molsons promotional event (E. Lefko, pers. comm.).Yet the fact that it was both a Molsons promotional eventand a party celebrating a very particular representation ofthe nation makes it worth special scrutiny for our purposes.Also as the viewing figures for Much Music that day were notparticularly impressive, and no attempt was made to selltelevision coverage to the USA because the bands involved31 Spinal Tap were the spoof headliners at the GreatCanadian Party. They are a group consisting of threeAmerican actors posing as British pomp rockers their venturewas (as we shall see) controversial.191had few US fans (E. Lefko, pers. comm.), what was reallyimportant about the event was how the audience themselvesperceived it.In Vancouver some crowd members were entering in to thespirit of the celebration by waving flags, wearing them orappearing with faces painted or (temporarily) tattooed withCanadian symbols. Molsons themselves provided free temporary"Molson Canadian Rocks" tattoos, attempting a form of brandassociation only so far attained by Harley Davidsonmotorcycles. Still other crowd members wore the merchandisethey had bought at the show. At about 8.30pm in theGrandstand the crowd did several spontaneous collectivewaves of the sort usually reserved for euphoric sportsevents. In the fringes of the stadium grounds people lessconcerned with the music formed clusters of friends, andplayed with frisbies and hacky sacks. Molsons MCA-ConcertsCanada had turned the area adjacent to the stadium into afestival ground and had organized a video screen to seelink-ups with other Party sites in Canada.32 Line ups forbeer, food concessions and washrooms frequently allowedstrangers to exchange spontaneous comments or spark upconversations. In sum the event had an air of festivity to32 They made room for two beer gardens, a video arcade, aVancouver Canadians pitching contest, two volley ballcourts, a trampoline, concessions and a smaller musicalstage sponsored by local AOR radio station C-FOX (VancouverSun 2/7/92, p.C1).192it which was as much created by grass roots activity as itwas engineered. It broke down some social barriers andformed 'a sense of community in celebration of the day'sproject.Moreover, the fact that most people appreciated thefestive atmosphere was evidenced by the way peoplevolunteered to participate in our series of audienceinterviews. Thirty sheets with the same seven questions oneach were used as the basis of short, structured interviewsto survey various members of the audience during theevent.33 The results of these were frequently obtained fromsmall groups of friends, which is why there are differentnumbers-of answers for each question. When questioned aboutwhere they found out about the concert, most said eitherfrom friends or the radio.34 This shows not only the powerof AOR radio to select particular fans (and also sell themshows) but also the sociability of those going. In Vancouversome 27,000 young people showed up and, just as Ley and Olds(1988) found at Expo '86, they usually came in groups of twoto four people. Like most rock concerts, the idea of theGreat Canadian Party as a spectacle for those attending it33 I would like to thank Stacy Warren for fieldworkrendered and also Barry McPherson of Molsons forhospitable.34 Of the 34 answers given 39% said they found outradio, 39% from friends, 11% from Much Music andwritten advertisements.servicesbeing sofrom the11% from193can be questioned, because it had festive tinges and wasinterpreted by groups.To the question of why, exactly, people were attending, avariety of answers was received. If they could be divided atall, people coming for the music and festivity of the partywere evenly matched, while a further 10% came for otherreasons. 35The preliminary questions were followed by others focusedmore on music and the nation. Firstly audience members wereasked what bands they would have liked to have seen if thoseplaying had been unavailable that day. 36 Frequently the mostrash member of the cluster of friends answering would beginreeling off their favourite bands regardless of theirnationality until another interviewee would say "Hey: theyhave to be Canadian because it's Canada Day" and then a moreselective listing would follow. This suggests thatfrequently people do not think of bands in terms of theirnationality, but the criteria emerged from negotiations35 Of the 54 answers given, 45% said they came for a festivetime. This category included most activities seen in Molsonsbeer commercials, such as drinking and flirting. In thisrespect Molsons were again successful. However another 19%mentioned the music in general. Furthermore 28% of answersmentioned particular acts by name, and in fact several fanssaid they would not have been there if The Tragically Hipwere not playing.36 The J02 answers given were as numerous as the differentgroups on AOR radio. 62 acts were mentioned, of which 42%were Canadian, 26% British, 25% American and 8% fromelsewhere.194between friends. The social interpretation of the spectaclereinforced its relationship to the nation.The national question was further broached by asking(given that it was the Great Canadian Party) what missingCanadian bands anyone wanted to see there. To this there wasno single or circle of Canadians chosen much more thanothers. Most acts got one, two of three 'votes'.37Interestingly, while Bryan Adams got two, so did Roch Voisine from Quebec and also Loreena MCKennit got one. Thislatter pair of artists are anomalous, since even wellinformed listeners who preferred hard rock stations wouldprobably not have heard or thought about them. In fact bothwere mentioned in Tom Harrison's preparatory article in TheVancouver Province (26/6/92, p.C5). It seems possible that aminority of fans may have been using it as a text with whichto interpret the event. This is important because, far frombeing an uninformed and uncritical piece, Harrison actuallyquestioned some of the paradoxes of the industry and of theDay, before it began: from the role of sponsorship in rock,to who was and was not there, to whether Canadian musicshould be associated with the project of nationalism.37 There were 41 answers specifying 28 groups. 25% of thegroups mentioned, and thus 32% of the answers given were forgroups playing elsewhere at the Party (as were 42% of theCanadian acts mentioned in the previous question).195The presence of Spinal Tap was one of the issues whichHarrison had raised and some audience members had a problemwith on the day. As spoof headliners of the entire event,the group shared top billing with Canadians Rim Mitchell andThe Traaicallv Hip. They flew across Canada with a group ofMuch Music contest winners. The three American actors posingas British rock stars formed a thread uniting the country onthat day. At least six other Canadian acts had flown inorder to play two venues, but only Spinal Tap had been toall the televised places. Given that they were a spoof groupand that a relative minority •knew they were Americans, theaudience apparently had no qualms about supporting them. 38Finally, in order to find out whether the Great CanadianParty had put activities into a more patriotic and sociablecontext than the people attending would have organized forthemselves that day, they were asked what else they mighthave been doing.39 Even if we combine the people attending38 Of the 47 answers received to the question of whether itmattered that not all of the bands playing Vancouver wereCanadian that day, 36% gave an unqualified "No". Another 13%gave qualified negative answers such as "No American bands".Yet a further 11% gave answers which admitted Spinal Taponly, such as "They're a joke, not a band". On top on that41% of answers given said that it did matter, such as "It'sbetter if all the bands are Canadian" or "On this day, yes,you have to have Canadians here".39 Of the 59 answers given, 10% said they would haveotherwise been working on that day, while another 28%specified solitary home oriented activities such as watchingtelevision. A further 26% said they would be have been goingout to public open spaces such as the beach or park, but notcelebrating and the same amount said they were going toparty at home. Just 10% said they would have been attending196patriotic events with those partying at home, only 36% ofthose in attendance would have been actively engaged inpatriotic activities if they had not attended the Canada Dayconcert.So, then, it seems clear that Molsons were successful inthe immediate aims of their project. In 1988 Pepsi hadattempted a smaller project in Toronto, but theirnegotiations with city administrators broke off over theirpotential rights to soft drink sales in Nathan PhillipsSquare. The Chairman of the 1988 Toronto Canada DayCommittee said "Corporations should be falling over eachother to get involved in Canada Day to show they are goodcorporate citizens" (Globe and Mail 28/6/88, p.A14).Certainly Molsons proved themselves as good corporatecitizens, especially since some of the shows they supportedthat day actually made a loss (E. Lefko, pers. comm.). Ifspectacles are an exact form of semiotic closure, preventingreinterpretations of the themes they focus on, then GordonDownie's comments could have been as undemocratic as thecorporate nationalist emphasis of the event. Neverthelessthe cause of the nation formed a realization of imaginedcommunity, but at the same time it was in a very particularcontext. It showed that the pleasure of music, the effortsof a television station and the corporate organization of apublic patriotic celebrations, such as the events at Canadaplace or the associated firework display.197brewery could unite (one demographic part of) the nationwhen in other important times and locations other suchattempts had failed.Another type of representation of Canada boosted by theinitiative of• private sponsorship has been constructedthrough Canadian music award ceremonies. The function ofsuch events is to recognize the achievements of bands,inspire them to new heights and through that to market themusic industry. In relation to this the Junos, CASBYs andother well publicized national awards can be scrutinized asa background (their history is explored in appendix five).The Junos developed in a nationalist environment, underthe wing of the trade magazine RPM, and then became involvedwith the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences(CARAS) who represent the industry, and then televised.CARAS is modelled on the USA's music industry organization,the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS),but the Junos are not based upon their Grammy Awards (Can.Musician v.6/5, 1985, p.14). While nearly all the Junos areawarded to Canadians, the Grammys are for citizens of anynationality. The acts are voted on by NARAS (usually basedon their American sales).So while the Americans might make the mistake of thinkingtheir awards are international in scope, Canadians receive a198telecast of the Grammys, and celebrate their artists gettingawards as if the event was like the Olympic games. Moreparochially, the Junos have acted as a perpetual area ofconcern- for those interested in the cause of nationalculture. As Canada's oldest and most established pop musicawards, the Junos are seen on the CBC. The 1992 awardsdemonstrated, with obvious references to Cancon, that unlikethe Grammys the Juno ceremony can act as a mouthpiece for aunified industry. This may be possible because CARAS onlyhas 1500 voting members (D. Falle, pers. comm.), which islikely to be a fraction of the membership of NARAS.There are several mechanisms by which the Junos representa particular interpretation of the nation in the nature ofthe awards themselves. The first one is by having aninternational award (for the foreign entertainer of theyear), which is not needed in the Grammys, yet appears oddin the context of the Junos. Given the size of the audiencein Canada, it seems likely that the award means little toany artist receiving it (M. Labia, pers. comm.). Onepossibility is that, like having a foreign presenter, thisaward markets the show: CARAS have been trying to selltelecasts of the Junos to the USA for some time and theyhave not been successful because the bands involved rarelyhave US fan bases (D. Falle, pers. comm.). The 1992 ceremonywas the first show to contain no foreign acts performing(Globe and Mail 30/3/92, p.A2), but the award in question199was kept. As Table 7 shows, particular awards are chosen indifferent ways and the foreign entertainer award is the onlyone to be both nominated and selected entirely by CARASvotes.Table 7: (limos are chosen by different groupsNumbers ofAwardsWho Chooses5 nomineesWho Selectswinner14773CARAS PanelsCARAS PanelsSalesSalesCARAS PanelsCARAS votesCARAS votesSales1 [Foreign Ent.]^CARAS votes1 [Canadian Ent.] CARAS + Media(Source: Juno Awards Fact Sheet,CARAS votesPublic votesCARAS, 1993)This table show us that any debates about choosing theforeign' entertainer award take place within CARAS, ratherthan in public. Since the problems with other possibilitieshave already been mentioned already, an alternative argumentcould be made: having a foreign entertainer of the yearaward draws a line which isolates Canada as a nation andshifts attention away from incoherences within it. The awardpositions the sounds listened to by Canadian consumers in acontext emphasizing the artist's citizenship as a basis foridentity, rather than stressing another geographicalcriterion (such as the act's home region) or a non-geographical criterion (such as their gender). It impliesthat fbreign artists are different enough from theirCanadian counterparts to warrant separate consideration, but200since the award cannot be given to Canadians it also unifiesand categorizes Canadian entertainers as national citizens.The foreign entertainer award shows the Canadian musicindustry making a unified choice about who to celebrate,rather becoming an issue of public debate. Such debate couldexpose rifts in the general public based upon dividedloyalties outside the nation, or show that Canadiansregularly prefer artists from a particular country; neitherpossibility would reinforce national pride.Another interesting award is the Canadian entertainer ofthe year award, recently created by CARAS with input fromtheir brewing sponsors. Molsons had a history of eithersponsoring particular individuals or teams, like those atthe Olympics (Maclean's v.101/4, 1988, p.100), or takingover organizations they became involved with, such as theconcert promotion business. When CARAS approached them in1985 the brewery helped in various ways, but allowed thesponsored organization to retain control." One crucialthing Molsons did was put ballots into 100 Cineplex cinemasacross the country to give the public a chance toparticipate in the selection process. The result was the40 Molsons have helped CARAS with advertising, publicrelations, promotion and sales initiatives. They fund aCARAS scholarship to train entertainment managers, subsidizethe show itself and set up a series of new talent showcasesin the week leading up to the ceremony (CARAS News Winter1992).201only award directly sponsored by Molsons: the Canadianentertainer of the year award. This was a particularlyshrewd move by the brewery. CARAS chose the nominations sothey were not left out of the new award, but since thepublic selected it Molsons could not go wrong in terms ofassociating with anyone unpopular with their potentialcustomers.Another way to give the nation coherence has been to baseawards on musical genres, rather than regions. As a forumfor talent, like the Grammys, the Junos have grown steadily,usually by recognizing genres of music which have alreadygained enough popularity and recognition in the industry towarrant their own awards. New awards are decided withinCARAS once the issue arises and administrators see them asan indication of the maturation of the industry. In a sense,then, CARAS is a body open to criticism about how itrepresents the industry and can be compared to a politicalparty swayed by lobby groups. By 1992 the awards had grownto 33 categories and thus 165 nominations (Juno Fact Sheet,CARAS, 1993).41For example, songs played by Canada's black musicians haveoften been rejected by labels who assumed they could notsell to the rest of the nation, even at times when foreign41 To make a comparison, the Grammy awards already had 64categories by 1985 (Canadian Musician v.6/5, 1985, p.14).202black acts sold well in Canada.42 In the early 1980s theBlack Music Awards of Canada were set up by concernedmusicians, labels and others making up the black musicalcommunity. In 1985 the Junos were augmented by two neweditions: the best r'n'b/soul recording and the bestreggae/calypso recording (which has now been dropped). Theblack Canadian musicians may have deserved recognition, butCARAS was then faced with how to present this to a largelywhite audience. The result was that small panels of CARASmembers chose these awards; the black music industry wasinvited to recognize itself within CARAS to avoid othermembers of the academy neglecting or misrepresenting it.In 1985 the organizers of CARAS fended off criticism thatthey had no separate award category for francophone music,by saying that any song sung in French could win if it soldwell enough in all of Canada (although CARAS voters wereEnglish Canadians) and that such a divisive award wouldundermine their project. Yet L'ADISQ has included ananglophone category in their awards since well before 1985and more recently CARAS have relented and included afrancophone album category. This may have been done as agesture to recognize the efforts of L'ADISQ by reciprocating42 For example, in 1975 Producer John Capek said "Canadianrecord companies keep saying they don't know what to do witha black artist, that there's no market - and yet half thetop ten in Canada these days is by people like The O'Javsand The Jackson Five" (Can. Composer no.200, 1985, p.14).203their gesture, but whatever the reason, CARAS were againfaced with the dilemma of creating a new award to representa minority group within the nation. However, the way the newaward was chosen contrasted to the way awards for blackmusicians were picked.CARAS resolved the problem of suitably representing thissensitive minority group by basing the award forfrancophones solely on sales. They were not collectivelyforced to choose from a type of music they knew littleabout. Having an award based upon sales criteria was adifferent policy to reciprocally acknowledging the effortsof L'ADISQ within the Juno ceremony. Even if L'ADISQaccepted decisions made solely by CARAS members about whoreceived the francophone's Juno, autonomously choosing awinner -could reinforce the separation of the two industrybodies. The use of a neutral, common criterion such as salesfigures was more suitable than choosing criteria which wouldexpose the dichotomy between francophonic Canada and therest of the nation.4343 The SOCAN awards, which began in 1989 to recognizemembers of that organization who were played the most onCanadian radio, avoided this type of problem by having twoaward ceremonies. The francophonic Montreal ceremony washeld a week after the Toronto event with an internationalartist and a Canadian of the reciprocal language recognizedin each (Can. Composer v.1/3, 1990, p.11).204Like the Molson's award the choice was put in the hands ofthe people concerned. Unlike the Molson's award it acted totell one part of the country what was popular in anotherpart. Also, it could be argued that the award forfrancophones pulled Quebec's inhabitants into CARAS'sproject. Many francophones from Quebec see their collectivehistory and position as much more than that of a province.Yet if we treat that area in the way it is currentlyrecognized, as a province, Quebec has found representationwithin the Junos when other provinces have not done so. 44Since the Junos represent the nation to itself from theviewpoint of the music industry, their televising has beenimportant to CARAS and cultural critics alike. Luminariesnot only attend but also present awards. For example PierreTrudeau. once gave a Hall of Fame award to Joni Mitchell (Maclean's v.92/14, 1979, p.47), thereby lending weight tothe construction of a particular history of Canadian popularmusic engineered by CARAS. The debate around the awards inthe late 1970s focused upon their amateur presentation. On44 British Columbia has been unique as a province which notonly set up its own chapter of CARAS in the late 1970s, butalso its own awards. The West Coast Music industry Awardsbegan in 1980 and survived that decade in various forms withhelp from labels, CARAS and local music industryphilanthropists. In 1992 the awards died with no governmentfunding, little interest from the labels and a withdrawal ofCARAS funds (Nite Moves 11/92, p.30). So now all of Canada'sbig anglophonic awards (the Junos, CASBYs, SOCAN and MuchMusic Video awards) are Toronto based, although CARASlocated the Junos in Vancouver in 1991, arguably as aconcession to the region.205one occasion a reunited Guess Who were cut short. On otherspoor lip synching, misunderstandings and other mistakes weremade (Can. Musician v.10/2, 1988, p.52). In 1981 Anne Murrayrefused to appear on the show because of its history ofproblems (Can. Musician v.10/6, 1988, p.46). The ceremonyitself was constantly in danger of ruining not only thereputations of the stars and public figures who attended,but worse still it had the potential of driving them,audiences and respect for what Canadians had done, away. Theinvented tradition of the Junos rested, then, on a ratherprecarious base.On top of this problem were two rather misplacedcomplaints about the Junos. Firstly the criticism that theawards were put on for the television audience, rather thanthose actually attending, underestimated the importance ofwho the Junos were being staged for. CARAS is not simplyputting on awards and recognizing particular stars, buttheir aim is to be seen to do so.45 A similar complaint hasbeen that the awards are too predicable because they arebased upon sales (Maclean's v.92/14, 1979, p.46). This isless relevant when one realizes that CARAS has to speak to45 At one ceremony the live audience were told not to get inthe way of the cameras (Maclean's v.92/14, 1979, p.46). In1993, with a viewing figure of 5 million (around 20% of thenational population), people were employed to sit in theseats previously occupied by anyone who arose from theaudience. In this way an effort was made to show viewersthat the O'Keefe Centre was packed (Globe and Mail 23/3/93,p.A10).206the nation in a language that it can understand. The Junosare not critic's choice awards based upon criteria whichonly an initiated minority can appreciate, but a way inwhich the industry reflects and attempts to align itselfwith the nation.In comparison to the Junos, Toronto alternative rockstation CENY's CASBY awards are voted on entirely by publicballot, CASBY standing for Canadian Artists chosen By You.These awards have negotiated the problem of representingparticular genres by dividing categories up by both theformat of product and geographical area (eg. Album of theyear from Western Canada). The Junos are aimed at helping tosell Canadian artists abroad. As the CASBYs do not haveenough profile to help with this, they help to exposeregional acts to the nation and get them signed to labelsallowing wider distribution deals.To emphasize the alternative nature of the CASBYs thereare no acceptance speeches. A non-mainstream award promotesdiversity because bands which would not have otherwise beenrecognized get a chance. Yet at the moment their organizerssee their awards as both non-mainstream and a precursor forbands who may end up at the Junos (N. Raskin, pers. comm.),which are slightly divergent aims. Throughout their historythey have undergone a reorientation away from beingalternative towards helping smaller acts, in order to207survive as an awards system. Their success peaked in 1985when CBC televised the show, yet more recently times havebeen harder.46 While the CASBYs have avoided the kind oflobbying received by the Junos, they have been criticizedfor their selection criteria, since nominations were atfirst chosen from the CFNY playlist and consequently has asouthern Ontario slant (Can. Composer no.201, 1985, p.14).Currently CFNY asks the music industry itself to choosenominees. Like the way that Molsons got the public involvedwith the Junos, the implication is that the Junos and CASBYsare moving closer together.The Junos, CASBYs and SOCAN national ceremonies deliver atotal of 87 awards available each year for Canadian acts,covering recognition from the public, radio programmers andrecording industry. The longer the list of awards grows themore it implies a collective lack of confidence and need toprove Canadian talent. If the value of each award is notknown in the first place, as awards proliferate their worthseems reduced. This saturation has led Mordecai Richler to46 Into the 1990s the CASBYs were dropped by CBC, so theirorganizers created a radio network with the help of one ortwo alternative stations in each province. CFNY use theawards for Canadian talent development. The stationsinvolved received 3.5 hours of cheap Cancon programming andinformation about the grassroots support of various upcomingacts. In 1992 a further blow came when Labatts withdrewtheir sponsorship (as part of their restructuring) soorganizers found Asuna Automobiles to replace them.Furthermore, the awards run at a loss (N. Raskin, pers.comm.), while the Junos are supported by their ticket sales,govenment funding and sponsorship (D. Falle, pers. comm.).208argue that the proliferation of awards within Canadarepresents a "burgeoning celebration of non-entities"(Maclean's v.91/10, 1978, p.78).While different music awards have different functions, inthe Jun'os in particular a select few artists get nominatedin several of the same categories. The result is a showdownbetween similar types of artists which, if the results areuneven, builds up only a proportion of the acts in therunning. It means that CARAS is not only helping to throwaway many of its own exports, but it is doing this in frontof the nation. The Great Canadian Party was a limitedrepresentation of Canadian rock, but it showed that Canadianfans do not think of the country's music in terms of a tinyhandful of acts. 47 In selling acts abroad, the Junos makegood copy, but that does not mean that foreign writers haveanything more than a cursory knowledge of their value. TheJunos obviously have an important national function, soperhaps it is time to open them up more by restricting thenumber of times an artist can be nominated or win an award.That could prevent the kind of over-investment which leavesthe fate of representing the nation on the shoulders of afew artists.47 This was demonstrated by the way that those in attendanceanswered one question in our survey (associated withfootnote 37) and gave their support to the many actsperforming across the country that day.209In conclusion this chapter has looked at two collective,public ways in which the musical aspect of Canada's NationalPopular is constructed. It has shown that rock sponsorshipis a way of life in Canada and deserves further study as oneof the main contexts within which rock reaches the people.The Great Canadian Party and award ceremonies in Canada areimportant to the National Popular because they bothassociate Canadian bands with the cause of national unity invery specific ways. Together with various televisionchannels these two types of events are actively exposing anew generation of Canadian bands to a nationwide audience,even though those bands are neglected by radio stationsaimed at babyboomers. It could be argued that if nationalaward ceremonies are to recognize Canadian acts for whatthey have done, the Great Canadian Party shows what thesebands can do as part of a wider co-operative effort.210Chapter Six Conclusion "The music industry is not, in fact, monolithic.., there aremusic industries which are always partially fractured andcontradictory, opening up new spaces in their constantlyshifting and conflicting formations"- J. ShepherdlAs the above quotation suggests, the music industry is nota structurally coherent entity but rather a vehicle whichhas emerged (and transformed) via historical contingency toconvey rock to consumers. Thus it would be wrong to concludeby emphasizing the interrelationship of previous chapters onthe basis of their empirical contents alone, since it is ourtheoretical standpoint that has unified them. Thus, toconclude, we shall return to Gramsci's schema to reconsiderthe related questions of nationalism, cultural imperialismand how to assess the potential consequences of free trademeasures.The cause of national unity has been an undercurrentthroughout this thesis. Gramsci's schema situates thecoherence of the nation within a progressive framework, as aprerequisite to the emergence of a national working classculture. However, this is only one relatively narrow andspecific reason for nationalism. Any pure nationaliststance can become dangerous if it is put forward blindly,without a consideration of what it means in relation to thecontext, since the context and therefore consequences of1 Taken from Shepherd (1993, p.180).211national unity are not fixed. For example nationalism maymean something different in peacetime than in war time.Even more difficult to deal with is that different socialgroups simultaneously draw upon national unity for differentreasons. Thus Gramsci's schema does not allow us to endorseor reject national identity in any simple way in relation tomusic, because it avoids an orchestrated view of what thenation is. One way the schema demonstrates that view is byshowing class divisions within the national population,while in this thesis the divisions have been seen ininstances involving conflicts of interest between differentgroups making up the elements, overseers and customers ofCanada's music industry.The advantage of such an open framework is that it giveseach reader the possibility of considering his or her ownidentity and position in relation to arguments which callupon the nation for particular ends. This takes us from aviewpoint that calls culture to account in the name of thenation towards one which critically examines the ways inwhich the rallying cries of national unity are used.As a country, Canada is in a potentially difficultpredicament; it contains citizens with cultural identitiesrooted in diverse backgrounds which on occasion create thecontext for disputes. Yet this plurality opens up212opportunities for redefining what it means to be part of anation in new, progressive and exemplary ways. The actionsof the Canadian federal State have helped increase thequantity of music being made and heard by its citizens andthus shifted and diversified the National Popular. However,the types of sounds being made did not develop in uniqueways because any nation is also implicated within a widerinternational social fabric.Moreover, discussions in the third chapter and firstappendix here demonstrate that the regions of Canada do notsignificantly prevent the coherent development of a musicalcomponent to the National Popular. Like the nation, but at asmaller scale, they rework and contribute to widerinfluences.2 In rock perhaps the biggest difficulty causedby the regional geography of Canada is not one of culturaldifferences, but the way that the scattered populationpresents an obstacle to national exposure for touring bands.Furthermore, while Canada has these special problems, thatdoes not mean that other countries with less fragmentedgeographical configurations and different politicaleconomies have no problems.32 In the late 1970s a regional musical revival in theMaritimes prompted Ron Hynes of the Wonderful Grand Band tosay "Newfoundland has always been subjected to Canadianismand Americanism, in terms of culture and music" (Maclean'sv.92/1, 1979, p.5).3 Some countries face an opposite problem to Canada, ofbecoming too dense in terms of music produced. For examplethe UK may have produced around one third of the world's213Gramsci's schema allows us to begin with the assumptionthat popular culture is implicated within a wider frameworkof exchange, which helps put the music made by Canadians ina new light. Rather than policing the music back into aparochial conception of Canadian distinctiveness which hasnever been defined, or worse still pretending it hasfollowed a canon which does not exist, the schema allows usto celebrate the diversity of sounds made in a country wheretalented people have been given a forum to express whateverthey choose. This is not to say that the nation isirrelevant, but simply to celebrate it more liberally,without the paranoia sometimes associated with nationalistsentiments. In other words notions of the nation should notbe used as an excuse to control the wealth of Canadiantalent in existence or bemoan the efforts of the country'sartists. Rather those acts should be facilitated andcelebrated, as music may be one of the best ways forCanadians to share common feelings and experiences.popular music, but it now has its own share of dilemmas. Oneis that A&R staff tend to sign acts in accordance withnational trends in dance music, such as techno and ravesounds, which have marginal export potential. This isimportant because the British singles market is now becomingcomparable in size to that of Canada, even though the UK hasa much larger national population. Another problem is thatthe singles chart is so saturated that singles have a hyper-sales pattern: their short chart life-cycles give foreignlabels or branch plants little confidence in them as provenhits (Music Week 7/11/92, p.25).214One problem with using Gramsci's schema as a way toexamine the contents of Canadian popular music is thatGramsci was not very clear about the criteria for definingcentral figures. It is also hard to qualify whether thesefigures are liked by most people. Certainly a diversepantheon of central figures has emerged to become part ofCanadian popular memory. Chapter two showed that Canadianaudiences have historically accepted Canadian acts if theyfared well in the USA. The first and perhaps only period tospawn several central figures at once was the early 1970s.An array of characters emerged from the Coffee House phase,including Anne Murray, Neil Young and The Guess Who. Mostof these people have survived as successful figures withinthe industry. They have been joined by Bryan Adams, achampion from the tail end of the Hoser rock era and finallyby direct signings from recent years such as the BarenakedLadies, kd lanq and Celine Dion. Also this collection ofpeople has been augmented by other reasonably popular acts,such as Kim Mitchell and Sarah Maclachlan. The Canadian rockscene has always been too open and effervescent to form anykind of popular canon, which is only a problem if we followthe essentialist notion that a nation's music should beeasily aligned with its borders.44 From the viewpoint of Gramsci's schema, the potentialproblem with Canadian music may be that famous Canadians arenot making particular types of music. As a consequenceCanadian listeners may seek out foreign artists in thosestyles. Further, successful young Canadian acts playing inthose types of music may be compared to famous US musiciansor other famous Canadian citizens, sometimes from sports.215However, it is also true that Canadians have alsocelebrated foreign acts. This leads us to questions ofcultural imperialism. On that subject CommunicationsMinister Perrin Beatty has said recently (Probe v.2/7, 1991,p.2) to Canada's songwriters:"My concern is that there is no other country in the worldwhere there's a higher penetration of foreign culture. Mygoal isn't to shut others out but to ensure that Canadianvoices can be heard... I intend to make it clear to our[free trade] negotiating partners that while Canadiancultural products are for sale, Canadian culture is not."Like Gramsci, from his quotation Beatty implies that hesupports national unity. Yet he does so in a particular waythat contains a number of contradictions. The most importantone comes in the final slogan. If we replace "for sale" with"implicated within capitalism" the problems become clear inthat Beatty is implying Canadian culture is an entityoutside material society. If we replace "Canadian" with"American" (ie. 'while American cultural products are forsale, American culture is not', which suggests Americanproducts can be purchased without cultural attachment) itbecomes clear that this logic also opposes the tenets ofstructural concepts of media imperialism, or at least treatsCanadian culture and foreign culture in very different ways.As a way of saying Canadian culture matters and is an exportThat was certainly the case with Bryan Adams because hesuddenly became famous in an area which Canadians had lesssuccess in before.216priority, the statement brings us nearer to Gramsci's ideas,in that it specifies that, psychologically, cultural tradematters more to the country subjected to it.If America is an exporting machine, a cultural dynamo,then it is also true that Canada is a smaller dynamocreating anti-imperialist media material. What both of theseclaims relate to is the size of the markets for these twotypes of product. In other words it could be argued that theamount and rate of output of popular culture from America iscaused more by that country's logistics than anything moreconspiratorial. This thesis has not aimed to look at theundeniable international success of American artists, but tofocus upon what Canadian artists mean to Canadian audiencesand perhaps more importantly whether the exposure of thoseartists has been facilitated by the actions of recordcompanies and the State. In order to fully explore thatissue we have to return to the industry backing Canadianacts.As the trickle of artists signing before tariffs, andcurrent direct signings show, Canadian artists can becomepopular internationally without any industry existing intheir own country.5 Many Canadian central figures have had5 Yet these artists are a distinct minority and have tograpple perpetually with dilemmas of mistaken nationalidentity. For example Paul Anka went to New York and signeddirect to United Artists in 1956. Despite living in the USA,he did not give up his Canadian citizenship and was proud to217the power of the majors not only to promote them in theirown country, but in other suitable territories. So if wecould transfer what has been explained about the majors intothe language of Gramsci's schema, we would find that foreignpublishing houses were employing reorientated Italianwriters to write. the Italian National Popular partly becausetheir writings were so successful abroad. In fact, theparallel with Gramsci's Italy is much closer if we considerItalian symphonies, which were popular both within their owncountry. and abroad. Their foreign appeal actually reinforcedtheir place in an otherwise weak National Popular.While the major corporations have centres of control (butoften not ownership) in the USA, what is interesting abouttheir trade in music is that each label deals in thesalability of its artists whatever their nationality. Themajors do not foreground their own corporate image.6 So itbecomes difficult to complain about the invasive power ofAmerican owned and controlled recording and broadcastingindustries in a nationalist context when they begin toexport the talents of Canadian artists all over the world.7say so when Canadian magazine editors accused him of beingAmerican (lifac1ean's v.88/2, 1975, p.48).6 The majors are owned by companies based in Japan, Germany,Holland, England and the USA (see glossary).7 For example Bryan Adams single 'Everything I Do I Do ItFor You' was number one in the UK for an unprecedentedperiod. English protest singer Billy Braga joked "Peopleasked me if I wanted to leave the country after the Toriesgot re-elected, I'd rather have left when Bryan Adams was218By using Gramsci's schema this articulation of Canadianartists within export oriented American media should nottrouble the citizens of Canada, because Canadian acts couldnot be sold anywhere if they had no appeal. What it means isthat the media have a facilitative role in building nationalidentity within a wider context. As successful Canadiancultural products, the recordings of Canadians signed to themajors are exported to other countries and that serves toreinforce their own country's National Popular becauseCanadians recognize the foreign achievements of their fellowcitizens.At the national level, the State in Gramsci's framework isagainst the unregulated trade of cultural products only ifit means that foreign producers supply indigenous demands.However, whether Gramsci's schema can be used as an argumentfor the Canadian ownership of Canadian talent depends uponwhether the nationality of ownership changes the exposure ofCanadian acts (and thus the content of culture) in Canada.If we believe Canadian popular culture is fully implicatedwithin the fabric of society, then the structure of itsownership is likely to matter to the country's Nationalnumber one for sixteen weeks". Joel Parks corresponding fromBritain for Nite Moves (v.7/84, 1992) said "... suchlongevity is looked at as kind of freaky over here. Almostan imposition... This town, this country does not like theidea they should become 'American', and that means they donot like bland pop excess as part of their musical diet."219Popular. Chapter four showed that the Canadian recordingindustry consists of diverse but symbiotic structures. Thismeans that we can neither use any single artist asrepresentative of the whole industry in Canada or expect anyblanket cultural policy to have the same consequences forall Canadian artists.8 However, less proven Canadian artistsnegotiating with the majors or on smaller labels have faceddifficulties because of their citizenship. In many ways ittook the efforts of the federal State to summon up nationalrecording and broadcasting industries for Canadian acts inspite of a prevalence of, and often preference for, foreigncultural products.9 As we have seen, although Cancon andFACTOR have different goals which do not simplisticallymatch up, often they have ended up complementing each other.In this context, on balance, it seems clear that Statepolicies have positively influenced the musical element ofCanada's National Popular.8 Chapter three showed how Bryan Adams was central instimulating an alteration in Cancon. There are two importantpoints about this. Not only did he have unusual status as aCanadian rock superstar, but the incident suggested thatcentral figures are not just victims of the agents popularculture; they can be protagonists.9 It could be argued that Gramsci's schema assumes a adegree of coherence to the State which may not exist inCanada but the information is conflicting. While the DoC has"responsibility" for the CRTC and its funding (Probe v.2/7,1991, p.2), as a body at arms length to the government theCommission is not directly accountable to any particulardepartment (S. Alexander, pers. comm.).220While the State has said it will keep culture "off thetable" (Can. Composer no.229, 1988, p.18) in free tradenegotiations, under the General Tariff and Trades Agreement(GATT) it has already been agreed that tariffs on importedcommercial recordings will be phased out (Can. Composerno.229, 1988, p.18). Historically the 14% import tax placedby the Canadian government on imported reproduced recordingsfor consumers has been too high to allow imports to continueonce the market reached a significant size." As we haveseen its main result was to set up a manufacturing anddistribution system in Canada. Since then 95% of the unitsbought within the country have been manufactured at home(Can. Business v.60/10, 1987, p.128). Thus an industry wascreated, providing Canadian national Indies a chance todevelop and for the quantity of Canadian releases to beincreased. If the majors (as opposed to the national indies)can do a better job of exposing Canadian talent, Gramsci'sschema could not be co-opted by the Canadian independentrecording industry, unless we could demonstrate that Indiesfacilitated the majors in their aim.1110 Interestingly, in one statement to the 1970 StandingCommittee on Broadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts,the CAB argued the government should impose an import tax onforeign sources of supply and on foreign recordings, withthe revenue going to developing Canadian music (Foster,1982, p.307).11 It may be difficult to show that Canadian indies areexposing talent to better signings with (rather than simplydistribution by) the majors, but they do allow moreCanadians to get signed at all, and therefore heard, and sothese small labels have themselves given some exposure to adiverse constellation of talent.221As a result a distinct question mark hangs over the futureof music made in Canada. Our examinations of FACTOR and theJuno awards showed that, despite structural diversity, themusic industry within Canada is a unified lobby group. Mostpeople in the industry are not looking forward to freetrade.12 Yet no representatives of the Canadian musicindustry have been consulted over either GATT or the NorthAmerican Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) package (Can. Composerno.229, 1988, p.20), even though the removal of the tariffbarriers and other issues seem likely to have profoundimplications for them.Since it has too small a population to be counted as acentre for demand, after tariff walls crumble the majors arelikely to once again see Canada as a territory requiring nospecial manufacturing or distributional provisions. GATTtherefore has the potential to remove manufacturing jobs,avenues for signing and control over distribution fromCanada back into the USA. Once branch plants no longer haveto operate from within Canada, majors may re-centralizetheir manufacturing and A&R divisions. These changes are12 For example, despite his views on Cancon, even BruceAllen sees the current distribution system as a safety netthat he and other managers signing acts with US majors cancome back to if they fail (Can. Composer no. 229, 1988,p.22).222likely to considerably effect Canada's national indielabels.From the point of view of the independent recordingindustry, essentialism may be an appealing way of aligningthe exposure of Canadian talent and the welfare of theindustry. Yet it can only work if Canadian bands are signedfor their alternative sounds.13 To an extent this is thecase, but that does not mean the majors are not interestedin such music.14 Yet this type of argument restricts thecriteria by which we recognize good Canadian artists.Essentialist ideas also provide a context for the notionthat any need to prove Canadian artists in the USA maydisappear once people realize the Canadian artists theycelebrate are different from those South of the 49thparallel. While it is wrong to dismiss any such argumentswhich are not opposed to free trade without consideringthem, the problem with this particular scenario is that it13 Bernie Finklestein has made an argument akin to Beatty's,that "Culture is not something a country owns, it is what acountry is... This free trade deal isn't about competition,its about Canada" (Canadian Composer no.229, 4/88, p. 22).This is easy for him to make because he runs True NorthRecords successfully with an alternative mandate. OtherCanadian independents have no such policy.14 Rhian •Gittins (pers. comm.) has suggested "There is adistinctive Canadian sound - notably French Canadian, andour college rock such as 54.40, Grapes of Wrath, RootsRoundup, Barenaked Ladies etc. etc. Someone somewhere islistening to it." It could be argued that the popularity ofthis trend is partly a result of the signing policies of themajors which allow such bands exposure on a large USalternative/college circuit.223overestimates the power of consumer demand in Canada. As oneanswer to this, the CRTC have suggested that Canadianbroadcasters will be central in constructing and maintaininga separate Canadian sound identity in the future.15 Theyhave thus made an essentialist argument (but one in whichdistinctiveness will be actively constructed), by suggestingthat the music heard and played in Canada will have to bedifferent to survive. Yet when alternative stations appearthe Commission cannot help them if they are not seen asviable 16Ironically the. latest generation of Canadian bands alreadyfits this mould as many of them are unusual and few have hadsuccess outside the country. It is important that these up-coming Canadian bands are given a fair opportunity toexpress. themselves. Their main problem is that because theydo not appeal to the large, lucrative babyboomer audience,they are selling to a relatively small record buyingaudience and hold little appeal to radio programmers ortheir advertisers. Even with exports, many young bands stillface difficulties. Luckily the needs of sponsoring breweries15 David Colville, as acting chairman of the CRTC, hasargued that it is in each station's own interest to provide"unique and distinctive Canadian programming. Otherwise theywon't survive in this market" (Probe v.1/2, 1991, p.4), AlsoKeith Spicer has said the same thing (S. Alexander, pers.comm.).16 Coast 1040 are a distinctive broadcaster and have beenrefused an FM license (Globe and Bail 5/4/93, p.A9).224and some niche product advertisers to reach a youth marketled to their co-operation with music industry bodies such asCARAS, CPI and Much Music and has helped support this newgeneration of Canadian bands.Yet these sources of help have their own difficulties, notleast because they put future help for rock at the mercy ofsales of other products. From a Gramscian viewpoint perhapsthe major problem with sponsorship is that foreign acts areusually the largest draws, so it is likely they will besponsored if necessary in preference to Canadian artists(Maclean's v.95/34, 1982, p.48). Furthermore, Canadiantelevision may have a rather precarious future as forum forCanadian talent.17 If these mechanisms play a smaller rolein supporting Canadian acts in their own country in thefuture,. institutions such as the FACTOR and CRTC may beencouraged to step up their activities.The possible implications of free trade packages such asGATT and NAFTA upon this whole situation are difficult to17 For television free trade in the guise of Bill-C130 hasalready become a problem. Disputes over the remuneration ofnon-broadcast cable services meant that one large publishingcompany, Warner Chappell Music Canada, instructed itsartists to boycott Much Music (Probe v.2/2, 1991, p.4). MuchMusic has proven an invaluable forum for new talent, lettingthe nation embrace artists at a national scale whenpreviously acts successful in America were more commonlypraised. The channel itself may thus attest structuralimperialist theories. However, unfortunately, it could soonrevert to being a pay TV station again (The Record v.11/35,1992, p.9).225assess in the abstract, since their effects could depend ona whole variety of factors. These include the burgeoningrole of Europe as a market for Canadian acts, US signingdemands, •and the aggressive enterprise of particularpublishers and other industry players. In fact, any possiblere-centralization in A&R decisions might mean furtherincreases in direct signings, with more Canadian artistsgoing from independent to major labels, allied to an alreadyfalling roster of US acts on those majors. There is apossibility that less restricted trade may benefit someCanadian artists. Although free trade measures provide someinteresting grounds for speculation, perhaps it is better tostudy countries freely "trading" with the majors and theirsuccesses with indigenous acts. In terms of the NationalPopular it is important to realize that the calibre ofCanadian talent is not in question; that is citizenship andtalent are separate things. Even if smaller countries havemore problems in getting their artists recognized, suchplaces .do not automatically create more or fewer talentedpeople per head of population.18 Examinations of these18 The argument that Canada is a small country and thishandicaps the quality of Canadian artists has been used bycertain people. This is flawed because it confuses thequality and quantity of exposure of Canadian talent. Perhapsthe worst thing is that it is an argument made in attemptsto protect Canadian music. For example CRTC chairman KeithSpicer has described American music a "seductive product"(Probe v.1/1, 1990, p.3) and when he was in charge of CAPACJohn Mills once likened the country's music industry to asmall team at the Olympics which "cannot win a large numberof gold medals" (Can. Composer no.201, 1985, p.22).226countries reveal that, helped by historical contingency,some have great success with their cultural exports.19Structuralist views of imperialism become difficult tosustain in such instances.Once GATT is phased in, Canada may no longer be a specialcase for the majors and the future of Canadian labels maydepend upon whether they can survive by export. If otherfree trade agreements are made Canada's remaininginsistences upon cultural sovereignty, such as Cancon, couldbecome highlighted as objects of dispute by foreign tradingpartners (Nite Moves 10/92, p.16) .20 Fundamentally, aims ofupholding the notion of public (Canadian) control of theairwaves may come into conflict with new imperatives.21 As19 Ad hoc comparisons between Canada and Holland orAustralia are difficult because both of those countries havetheir own major labels. Australia's major, Festival (jonker,1992, p.24), is not mentioned in the glossary because itdoes not export to Canada. Yet Australia has proved itsability to export via other record companies throughexcellent co-ordination of different aspects of the industryand some vigorous indie labels. As in Canada, acts have ahard time getting airplay in the face of nostalgic formatsat home, despite Auscon (Billboard v.101/4, 1989, p.A8).20 Presently American bands asking how they can get FACTORfunding are told they have to become Canadian citizens (TheRecord v.12/4, 1992, p.50).21 If Canada does not sign such a free trade agreement, thepotentials for retaliatory protectionism by the USA remainunexplored. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC),which is the American body with the same job as the CRTC,has no equivalent to Cancon since presently it does not needit. Although it does not have the same official mandate asthe CRTC in terms of protecting airwaves as public property,it has immense power as a "sword of Damoclese" overbroadcasters and has previously used the public interest tocircumscribe its activities (see Denisoff, 1986, p.279).227such cultural policies deserve further attention aspotential stakes in free trade negotiations.The current role of Cancon depends upon what format weexamine. The rule has not summoned up much material forCanada's dominant format, AC. This may be because of thepre-existent export imperative of Canada's indie labelsrather than a lack of promotional dollars. In short thoselabels are engineering export deals to make whatever musicthey want to, and often they prefer to promote artists whomake music outside AC formats. Yet as we have seen aboutthree quarters of the material qualifying as Cancon iscurrently provided by Canadian independents. As Canadianindependents spend only 2% of all promotional dollars butaccount for around 11% of the market share, Cancon isundoubtedly a help to them. That does not mean that stationswhich want to meet the minimum of qualifying songs allowedby the regulation with (more popular) artists from themajors have to play any independent material. For manyprogrammers an unproven hit is a record less likely to getplayed, whatever label it comes on. Thus if the majorssimultaneously release Cancon material both inside andoutside Canada, and it becomes a hit outside the country, itis more likely to be included on the play lists of Canadianstations than other unproven material. Independent labels228cannot always promote artists abroad with the powers of themajors and may therefore loose out in that instance.If Cancon is kept, there are two more immediate problemsfor the Canadian indies. Firstly Cancon forms part of abroader environment of rules that the CRTC negotiates withradio stations. Within that environment broadcastersthemselves use the cause of national unity (in the guise ofthe Cancon rule) as a foundational resource with which tolever other regulations out of the way, to give them a lessimpeded broadcasting environment. 22 It could be argued thatwhile abolishing Cancon may be to the detriment of Canadianartists, allowing broadcasters to use it as a bulwark tobreak other rules is not helping smaller Canadian acts agreat deal.Secondly the co-write rule (ie. the change to the MAPLsystem brought about in the wake of Bryan Adams' protests)may allow radio programmers to select more of their Canconquota from material released by the majors. In relation toGramsci's schema, cultural production in music is different22 The Canadian broadcasters have also used a version of thenational interest to maintain an archaic system of copyrightflows. For example, the government's concern with a versionof the nation portrayed by broadcasters has lead to it'sprocrastinate over particular copyright issues. If thegovernment cannot co-operate with the IPFI on internationalexchange deals of rights packages, Canadian artists will notbe fully remunerated for the use of their songs in othernations.229from written literature because the performer, who forms thefocus of public attention, may not be the same nationalityas the songwriter. In such circumstances, if we follow astrict Gramscian analysis, the National Popular cannot beconstructed from central figures who use foreignsongwriters. The net result of the new co-write rule is anincrease in these foreign writers and that is also likely tomean an increase in the proportion of well-promoted Canconmaterial provided by the majors.Despite these problems, the present circumstances allowCanadian independent labels an environment from which theycan expand. Even though it is not easy to draw commonconclusions about Canadian indies, since they are diverse insignings and financial abilities, those labels are importantin providing a diversity of artists to write the musicalcomponent of the country's National Popular. The indies showthat Canadians can celebrate their fellow artists whetherthose acts are seen to be doing well abroad or not. This wasone thing attested by the Great Canadian Party. Yet artistson independents who are respected nationally within Canadabut unsuccessful outside it, such as Rim Mitchell, may losetheir distribution facilities once tariffs are phased out.That consequence really depends upon what the majors decideto keep in Canada and whether they renegotiate with nationalindies. It may be that the majors stop distributing lower230selling labels, or offer to upgrade certain artists whiledropping others.Perhaps a way to further encourage the independent sectorwould be to extend the Small Business Development Act to therecording industry, creating an influx of private investmentwhich would follow the definition of tax breaks (Can.Musician v.9/2, 1987, p.38). It would then be up to theindustry itself to supply the talent to keep itself viable,even after GATT.In sum, foreign majors are already providing much ofCanada's National Popular and it is likely they willcontinue to do so after GATT, albeit with a potentiallysmaller roster of well promoted bands. The future ofCanada's independent sector is not so certain. While thismay not be a problem from the viewpoint of Gramsci's schema,economically it could be a problem for Canada.Rock may have originated from diverse (and foreign)musical strands which were fused and transformed toentertain young people in the USA. Yet, even if inretrospect American rock has been an excellent culturalartifact of its time and place, the important thing is thatrock music actually provides an excellent forum, as anopportunity to express whatever is on a songwriter's mind.Although songs written on the theme of national identity are231relatively rare, that does not mean that the efforts ofmusicians cannot inspire their fellow citizens to feelnational pride. Pride in national identity does not have tocome intrinsically through the content of the music itself,but that content must be inspiring in some ways to fellowcitizens. 23 If (for structural reasons) a free market is notthe best way to facilitate this process, it may not be tothe best way for Canadian music to advance.As such rock music can facilitate Canadian unity (as itcan facilitate any other type of unity) because it is anopportunity for Canadians to be inspired with whatever theirfellow citizens have done. It could be argued thatencouragement and the promotion of diversity are thereforevital ingredients which will help Canadian acts to make thebest music that they can. Artistically GATT could be aproblem for anybody interested in maintaining a diverseenvironment in which sounds made by Canadians can flourish.Unlike the Italian State in Gramsci's schema, theCanadian federal State has acted to realign its country'spopular culture. The diversity of structures gathered underthe umbrella of the music industry makes it almost23 For example, perhaps Canadian fans of Bryan Adams' musicshould not be encouraged to say "I like Adams' music and sohe makes me proud to be Canadian, because he shows what weCanadians can do", rather than "his music does not soundCanadian to me, but I like it anyway".232inevitable that any State policy will have unintendedconsequences. However, free trade measures may mean that theCanadian federal State has to please foreign tradingpartners as well as Canadian citizens. This thesis has shownthe ways in which Canadians have taken up and promoted rockwithin their own country. While it is not easy to outlinewhat they will gain in free trade agreements it seems likelythat the country's National Popular will be transformed onceagain.In the preceding pages Gramsci's schema has been used toprovide a novel, viewpoint from which to explore the linksbetween Canadian music, the industry backing it, the Stateand the nation. We have seen how and why Canadian artistshave become famous and sometimes the ways they (and others)have used that fame. Perhaps one of the most importantthings about that process is that it has been made possibleby citizens working hard within the industries associatedwith music right across the country. Yet the period from thelate 1960s to the early 1990s may be an anomalous phase inthe nation's cultural history in which nationalism promptedthe State to help many aspects of the music industry. Sincethe federal State is still an accountable entity, it remainsup to the citizens of Canada to decide whether this facet oftheir culture is something they want to keep. Theinvestigation presented here suggests that allowing it to233disappear would represent a distinct loss to Canadiannational culture.234GlossaryAC: Adult Contemporary - a format of radio stations playingsoft pop, rock and soul ballads.AOR: Album Oriented Rock - a format of radio stationsplaying hard rock bands.A&R: Artists and Repertoire - The division of a recordcompany responsible for finding and signing new acts.Auscon: The Australian Broadcasting Tribunal's regulationwhich specifies that 20% of songs on Australian radio haveto be Australian in content (E. Jonker, 1992, p.22).L'ADISQ: (Le) Association Du Disques et Spectacles (A Quebecmusic industry association).Baby Boomers: The large generation born just after World WarII who have become a key consumer group sought after byacts, broadcasters and advertisers alike due to theircollective size.CAB: Canadian Association of Broadcasters.Cancon: The CRTC's regulation which specifies that a certainproportion of broadcast programming in Canada has to beCanadian in content.CAPAC: Composers, Authors and Publishers Association ofCanada - along with Procan, it was a recent predecessor ofSOCAN.CARAS: Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Amusic industry academy of peers, based on NARAS).CBC: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.CIRPA: Canadian Independent Record Producers Association.CPI: Concert Promotions International.CRTC: Canadian Radio-Television and TelecommunicationsCommission.Demo: An unreleased recording made by a band demonstratingwhat they do.DoC: (Federal) Department of Communications.Essentialism: The idea that something has an essence whichdetermines that it should be a particular way. (eg. ThatCanadian music has a unifying quality).235FACTOR: Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent On Record.Format: A musical ghetto creating a particular soundidentity, often around a particular genre of music. It isone way for broadcasters to target audience segments andappeal to particular advertisers.Francon: A CRTC regulation in Quebec which specifies thatfrancophonic radio stations must play a certain proportionof francophonic songs.GATT: General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.Gig: A live rock show.Hegemony: Leadership - the domination of one group overanother which exists with consent from the dominated group.Indie: An independent record label, run solely to releaserecords, and organized on a smaller scale than a multi-national corporation (eg. Bettwerk Records).Major: A large record company run as part of the operationsof an even larger conglomerate. They are:From Japan Sony - Sony Music (was CBS)From England Thorne - EMIFrom Holland Phillips - PolygramFrom the USA Warners - WEA: RepriseFrom Germany BMG (was RCA/Ariola)Due to a tariff on imported tapes and CDs, the majorspresently have Canadian branches, usually suffixed with "-Canada" (eg. Sony Music-Canada).MAPL: The rating system, based on the writer of the music,the artist performing it, the place of production and writerof the lyrics, which determines whether a song qualifies asCanadian content.MCAG: Music Copyright Action Group.MDR: Middle Of the Road - a radio station format for olderlisteners playing music of a style which was popular beforerock began to dominate the charts in the late 1950s.Much Music: Canada's national rock video TV station.MVSICACTION: Quebec's sister organization to FACTOR.Musigue Plus: Quebec's rock video TV channel.NARAS: [American] National Academy of Recording Arts andSciences.236PROCAN: [The] Performing Rights Organization of Canada -along with CAPAC, it was a recent predecessor of SOCAN.Promise of Performance: The document each radio stationuses as part of its license application to the CRTCspecifying what it intends to broadcast.Psychograhics: A way to segment the market based upon thelifestyle and attitude of groups within it.SOCAN: Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers ofCanada.Structural imperialism: The idea that one country's culturecan penetrate another solely because a larger machinery ofmedia and cultural production is controlled by the invadingcountry.. It specifies that culture is materially transmittedbut ignores its contents.Vanity release: A recording released by the band itselfrather than an outside label.VideoFACT : Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Video(started by Much Music).237BibliographyPrimary Sources (i) Personal Communications came in by two means:The following people were interviewed, most specifiedthey were giving their own opinions rather than those oftheir organizations:Name^PositionSusan Alexander Regional Officer for Vancouver, CRTCJeff Bateman^Journalist for The Record, etc.Dale Buote^Program Director, KISS FMLynn.Burshtein A&R/Publishing, Bettwerk RecordsBruce Fairbairn ProducerWarren Gill^Executive Director, Harbour Centre SFUJim Johnston^Program Director, CFMISharon Kelly^Production Assistant, MuchWestMartin Laba^Professor, Dept. of Communications, SFUBen Mink^Songwriter + Musician with kd _ZangTerry D Mulligan Presenter, MuchWestIan Nobel^Talent Buyer, Perryscope ProductionsEllie O'Day^Exec. Dir., Pacific Music Ind. Assoc.Don Osborn^Member Relations Representative, SOCANBrad Phillips^Program Director, Z95.3 FMJulie Thorburn Program Director, VideoFACTJamie Ufton^Assistant Program/Music Dir., COAST 1040Alfie Williams Promotion, A&M RecordsThe people below sent written information:M. D'Attanasio Communications coordinator, FACTORDaisy Falle^Executive Director, Juno Awards (CARAS)Rhian Gittins^Little Mountain Sound Studios238Elliot Lefko^Alt.Talent Buyer, MCA-Concerts CanadaM. McClintock^Revenue Canada Excise Library, OttawaNony Raskin^Dir. Marketing/Special Projects, CFNY(ii) The following journals, newspapers and magazines havebeen referenced within the text.From Canada:British Columbia ReportCalgary HeraldCanadian BusinessCanadian Composer (SOCAN's publication)Canadian MusicianChatelaineEdmonton JournalThe Financial PostFinancial Times of CanadaGeorgia StraightThe Globe and MailHalifax Chronicle HeraldMaclean's MagazineMarketingMontreal GazetteMusic Scene (Procan's discontinued publication)Ottawa CitizenPerforming Arts and Entertainments in CanadaPlayback StrategyProbe (a supplement to Canadian Composer)The Province239The RecordToronto StarVancouver SunWinnipeg Free PressFrom America:BillboardCreemGuitar PlayerNewsweekRolling StoneFrom Britain:Life & Times (a supplement to The Times)Melody MakerMusic Week(ii) Reports, information sheets and other materials (oftenprovided by interviewees) were used:CARAS. 1992. CARAS News 2-1992. Juno Fact SheetCFNY. 1992. CASBY Press KitCRTC. 1986.. ^Radio Regulations 1986 (See Canada Gazette Part II SOR/86-982, 18/9/86, p.4192)-1986. The Report of the Taskforce on Broadcasting Policy.(by Caplan, G.L.and Sauvageau, F.) Ottawa: Minister ofSupply and Services Canada-1991. Amendments to Radio Regulations 1986-1992. The MAPL System, Fact Sheet, Cat. R1-02-92FACTOR. 1992. Annual Report [1st April 1991-31st March 1992]-1992. New Talent Demo Award Application FormLabatts. 1991. The John Labatt 1991 Annual Report Molsons. 1992. The Molson Companies Ltd Annual Report 240Statistics Canada. 1986. Sound Recording,Culture Statistics, Cat. 87-202-1990. Focus On Culture 2,4, Culture Statistics,Cat. 87-004-1991. Focus On Culture 3,3, Culture Statistics,Cat. 87-004-1991. Canada 125th Anniversary Yearbook Tourism Canada. 1992 Canada Travel Guide. London: Phoenix241Secondary Sources Anderson, B. 1983. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: VersoBennet, T. et al (eds) 1986. Popular Culture and Social Relations. Philadelphia: Open University PressBrown, L. 1991. 'Songs from the Bush Garden' .Cultural Studies 5,3, pp.347-357Denisoff, S. 1986. Tarnished Gold: The Record IndustryRevisited. New Brunswick: Transaction BooksDombroski, R. 1978. 'Antonio Gramsci Selections FromCultural Writings [Review]'. Italian Quarterly25, 97, pp.167-170Etzkorn, K. (ed) 1973. Music and Society: The Later Writings of Paul Honigsheim. Toronto: John Wiley & SonsFemia, J. 1975. 'Hegemony and Consciousness in the thoughtof Antonio Gramsci'. Political Studies 23,1, pp.29-48Fetherling, D. 1991. Some Day Soon: Essays on Canadian Songwriters. Kingston, Ontario: Quarry PressForgacs, D. - and Nowell-Smith, G. 1985. Antonio Gramsci: Selections From Cultural Writings. London: Lawrence andWishart- 1990. Italian Culture in the Industrial Era. New York:Manchester University PressFoster, P. 1982. Broadcasting Policy Development. Ottawa:Franfost CommunicationsFrith, S. 1988. Music for Pleasure. Cambridge: Polity Press1991. 'Anglo-America and its Discontents'.  Cultural Studies 5,3, pp.263-269Gill, W. 1993. 'Region, Agency, and Popular Music: TheNorthwest Sound, 1958-1966'. The Canadian Geographer 37,2, pp.120-131Glustein, H. and Aston, R. 1981. Radio, TV, Cable: Protecting Consumer Rights. Outremont, Quebec: CanadianAssociation for Better BroadcastingGoddard, P. and Kamin, P. 1989. Shakin' All Over: The Rock'n'Roll Years in Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill RyersonGrant, B. 1986. 'Across The Great Divide: Imitation andInflection in Canadian Rock Music'.The Journal of Canadian Studies 21,1, pp.116-127242Gray, E. (ed) 1990. Visions of Canada: Disparate views of what Canada Is, what it ought to be, and what it might become. Woodville, Ontario: Canadian SpeechesGrossberg, L. 1992. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place.New York: RoutledgeGruneau, R. 1988. Popular Cultures and Political Practices.Toronto: Garamond PressHall, S. 1978. 'Marxism and Culture'. Radical History Review18, pp.5-14Hartley, W. 1984. 'Approaching Gramsci's Cultural Politics'.Italian Ouarterly 25, 97, pp.171-182Hebdidge, D. 1988. Hiding In The Light. London: RoutledgeHoggart, R. 1957. Uses of Literacy. Middlesex: PenguinHindley, M. et al 1977. The Tangled Net: Basic Issues in Canadian Communication. Vancouver: J.Douglas LtdHutcheon, L. 1991. Splitting Images. Oxford: OxfordUniversity PressJonker, E. 1992. 'Contemporary Music & Commercial Radio'.Media Information Australia 64, pp.24-30Kamin, P. 1985. Bryan Adams. Wauwatosa, Wisconsin:Robus BooksLaing, D. 1986. 'The Music Industry and the "CulturalImperialism" Thesis'.  Media, Culture and Society 8, pp.-331-341Ley, D. and Olds, K. 1988. 'Landscape as Spectacle: World'sFairs and the Culture of Heroic Consumption'.Society and Space 6, pp.191-212Litt, P. 1991. 'The Massey Commission, Americanization, andCanadian Cultural Nationalism'. Oueen's Quarterly 98,2, pp.375-387Martin, L. and Segrave, K. 1988. Anti-Rock: The Opposition to Rock'n'Roll. Connecticut: Archon BooksMcLuhan, M. 1964. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. Toronto: McGraw HillMills, D. and Dickson, R. 1987. 'Born To Rock'.Horizon Canada 10,111, pp.2654-2659243Muecke, C. 1988. Irony. London: MethuenNoebel, D. 1974. The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music. Tulsa, Oklahoma: AmericanChristian College PressO'Hara, J. 1989. Bryan Adams.Ontario: Fitzhenry and WhitesidePatterson, T. 1975. 'Notes on the historical application ofMarxist Cultural Theory'. Science and Society39,1, pp.257-291Riordan., J. 1988. Making It in the New Music Business.Cincinnati: Writer's Digest BooksRosa, A. 1978. 'Gramsci on Italian Cultural History'.Praxis 4, p.107-113Rose, G. 1978. The Melancholy Science: An Introduction to the Thought of Theodore W. Adorno. London: MacmillanRussell, P. (ed) 1966. Nationalism in Canada.Toronto: McGraw-HillShepherd, J. 1993. 'Value and Power in Music: An EnglishCanadian Perspective' (in Blundell, V. et al (eds)Relocating Cultural Studies. New York: Routledge)Scheurer, T. 1991. Born in the USA: The Myth of America in Popular Music. Mississippi: Mississippi University PressTaylor, P. 1985. Popular Music Since 1955: A Critical Guide to the Literature. Boston: G.K.HallTomlinson, J. 1991. Cultural Imperialism.Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University PressWallace, R. and Malm, K. 1984. Big Sounds from Small Peoples: The Music Industry in Small Countries.London: ConstableWilliams, R. 1976. Keywords.New York: Oxford University PressWoods, S.E. 1983. The Molson Saga, 1763-1883.Toronto: DoubledayWright, R. 1987. '"Dream, Comfort, Memory, Despair":Canadian Popular Musicians and the Dilemma of Nationalism1968-1972'. The Journal of Canadian Studies 22,4, pp.27-43-1991 '"Gimme Shelter": Observations on culturalprotectionism and the recording industry in Canada'.Cultural Studies 5,3, pp.306 -316244Yorke, R. 1971. Axes, Chops & Hot Licks: The Canadian Music Scene. Edmonton: Hurtig245Appendix 1 : QUEBEC As A Strong Region?Many francophones from Quebec see their historical roleand identity within Canada as more than that of just anotherprovince. As a strong region, it could be argued that Quebeccan be seen as a microcosm of the problems faced at a largerscale by Canada. However, to see it only like this ignoresthe way in which the wider context of Canada impinges on tothe Province and serves to depoliticize it as a separatistforce in Canada.Quebec is a tiny market for music, with a total populationof 6.5 million people in 1992 (Canada Travel Guide, TourismCanada, 1992, p.10). Yet this market is also loyal due toits relative homogeneity in language and culture. Salesfigures in the province for francophonic hits can becomparable to those for hits in all of English Canada. Forexample in one year alone 7 francophonic records sold over100,000 each in the province (Maclean's v.82/6, 1969, p.46).One Maclean's article by Wayne Grigsby described what wascalled the "Americanization" of Quebec's artists andsuggested that essentially the province was losing itsdistinct content.' Crucially, his claims were addressed toan English speaking audience: it could be argued this was away to represent music in Quebec and slot it in to a modelof Canada, as a distinct element and something to bepreserved. Being unified by a particular language and lessknown outside the province, Quebec culture provided animportant chance for nationalist writers to portray acultural microcosm in a particular way as an example to therest of the nation, and also to play down the possibilitythat it could be a threat to national unity.Grigsby argued that reductions in lyrical themes paved theway for anglophone music and finally English lyrics. Thisprocess was seen as perpetually on-going. In the 1970s thecreative and industrial precedents were pointed out: thecollapse of the chansonniers; Robert Charlebois shifting ofattention from rural themes to urban street talk; theborrowed music of pomp-rock. The change accelerated between1979 and 1982, when soulful pop singer Dianne Tell and folk-rocker Daniel Lavoie became popular. Finally by the 1980ssingers were beginning to turn away from their own stylesand language. All of the presented evidence may have beentrue but it could also be argued that the picture was aselective portrayal interpreting history in a certain way.In the early 1960s trends, such as the vedettes (imitativefrancophonic teen idols like Michel Louvraine) and le ye-ye1 Hewers of Funk, Drawers of Glamor' by Wayne Grigsby(PMclean's v.95/16, 19/4/82, p.63-64).246sound show that in Quebec music was not a diminishingresource outside the wider social fabric and separate fromanglophone influences. At the same time American folk notonly stimulated a Toronto scene, but paved the way for astrong articulation of Quebec separatism by thechansonniers. The chansonniers began as a group of youngsinger-songwriters who found a forum in the first Boite aChansons (coffee house) which opened near Montreal in 1964.The next year Le Patriot in Montreal became a key centre ofactivity. The idea was to end the trend of copying music,lyrics and themes from foreign sources. For Grisby thisinfluence had already been erased.Folk provided a vehicle to express the concerns of LeQuebecois with stars such as Gilles Vigneault, Monique•Leyrac and on the Select label Raymond Levesque (HorizonCanada v.10/111, p. 2656). They drew on the legacy ofhistoric chansonniers and poets to form the first modernstand for autonomy in song in Canada, even before anglophoneartists with centennial fever began exploring patrioticthemes. In Quebec the chansonnier movement died out into the1970s due to a lack of key figures and the politicalmainstreaming of separatist politics. Many Quebec artistsfollowed Dylan in going electric in a trend which becameknown as the Mountain Street sound. Robert Charleboisemerged as a hero.What Grigsby's article did was reposition the artist.Charlebois had actually made subjects more relevant and lessromantic to urbanites, while (despite attempts at airplayoutside Quebec) retaining a strong belief in separatism.zWhen there were attempts to export his music, such as thenonsensical francophonic single Lindberg, they failed. By1975 he had developed a regular sales pattern of 50,000records in Quebec, the same number in France and noneoutside. So it is hard to describe him as abandoning theculture of Quebec. Also it must be noted that there werecomparisons made between Charlebois and Dylan, but thesewere made by the English speaking press to situate anunknown artist for its readers.3In the early 1970s British bands such as Genesis put ontheatrical sets in large arenas and outdoor festivals toshowcase their complex and indulgent albums in a style thatbecame known as Pomp rock. Fans in Quebec began to support ahandful of pomp rock outfits including Offenbach, Harmonium2 In one interview at an ale house he even turned over coinshe had left on the table to make sure the Queen's head wasnot showing (Maclean's v.87/9, 9/74, p.82).3 See Talent by Jon Ruddy (in Maclean's v.82/6, 6/69, p.48).247and Beau Dommaae who rejected the soft music, strong themesand rural orientation of the chansonniers.Like Charlebois, Offenbach was a very popular act whichwas repositioned by Grigsby's anglophone version of Quebec'srock history. They began in 1971 and disbanded in 1985 aftertwelve albums and a career which was a clear cut example ofa band taking up the power of rock and making it their own.Like other acts in Canada they began by doing covers ofAmerican hits, but then moved into singing in French and,like Charlebois, explored Quebec themes in joual (frenchstreet slang). They showed that rock could be sung well inFrench and thus became a real cause for Quebec fans.4Offenbach, then, had actually been part of an unusual twodecades in which Quebec pulled itself away from anglophoneinfluences. Rather than selling out to anglophone influencesthey actually put them to use in co-opting Quebec fans.Moreover, the 1970s had been marked by a reactivation andexposure of outposts of francophonic culture in other areasof Canada such as Azadie, the French name for Cape Bretton.In the 1980s the trend Offenbach had sparked offcontinued; bands took the type of music originally played byanglophones and sung in French over it. Some stayed in rock,such as Nuance and Les BB, while others took on dancestyles. These acts included Top Sonart and more recentlyMitsou. Also there have been up-coming acts in the same veinincluding Bogart, Madame and Manu Manu.It is important to realize the industrial context withinwhich these bands operate. Quebec has had a strong historyof it's own labels, such as Select which released materialfrom the chansonniers and more recently Isba and Traffic. Inrecession a number of low budget operations have been ableto sign more acts in the province than the majors. While theindustry may have declined into the 1980s, it grew againafter receiving DoC funds after 1985. Also the arrival ofthe provincial rock video station Musigue Plus in 1986helped generate exposure for artists on local labels.While Quebec has a low number of young people playing orwatching music the artists there appeal to all ages and formpart of an interlocking monde du spectacle: the same starsappear in advertising, television dramas and otherentertainments, as well as on video and record (Maclean'sv.82/6, 1969, p.45). Also it has the highest weekly hours ofradio per listener of any province in Canada. As a means ofexposure, radio in Quebec is a site of struggle. There are4 So much so that in the year the band split up lead singerGerry Boulet could argue that the Quebec music industry wasnow dead since youth were abandoning their culture in favorof that from the USA (Globe and Mail, 25/7/90, p.C1).248many anglophonic radio stations in the province and themajors blanket distribute their anglophone products there aselsewhere. The most successful acts in Quebec are Englishspeaking visitors and Quebec city at least had no local clubcircuit or press interest.5Yet stations which are francophonic on their promise ofperformance are regulated by the CRTC's francophonic contentregulations (known from now on as Francon). The effect ofFrancon on francophonic music is difficult to separate fromsponsorship, separate charts, a radio promotion week andfederal funding. Certainly while the net result is positive,it is also limited. Francophonic records only form 6% of allreleases in the province, yet the Francon quota is now setat 55% of the songs played. Even when the quota was higher,in 1982, francophonic material formed 20% of requests andaround 11% of final sales (Maclean's v.95/16, 19/4/82,p.64). What this shows is that while the tastes of aprovince cannot be legislated, francophonic music isdisproportionately successful, especially since francophonelabels often have low promotional budgets. Thus francophonicmusic continues to form a vigorous minority in Quebec.Furthermore, francophonic music in Quebec had beentraditionally kept alive by finding a larger audience for itin France. For example Grigsby noted that Daniel Lavoie,influenced by Joni Mitchell and The Beatles, had recordedone of his albums (and sang some live songs) in English to apositive response from francophonic fans, implying asnowballing loss of culture. Yet Lavoie actually went on todo very well in France, but not in the anglophonic world.6French audiences in the 1960s and 1970s loved the exoticaccents and songs of Quebec singers. However while Wallaceand Maim (1984) argue that France has proved resistant toforeign music due to its size, the country has transformedfrom being a cultural exporter (especially of films) in the1960s to a major importer of music from the Anglophonicworld in the 1980s.1 Francophonic Quebec artists are now5 Francophonic audiences are so used to anglophonic rock,that as with Canada, having a hit abroad usually made thepossibility of a hit at home more likely.6 For many artists like Lavoie the Quebec scene has proventoo limiting since the area's press and audiences tire ofany local star popular in the province for too long aperiod, yet welcome local acts coming back from foreignsuccesses.7 This was so much so in fact that in 1990 an undersecretaryfor rock music was appointed to both capture the youth voteand decry the influence of Anglo-American rock (CalgaryHerald, 11/1/90, p.C2).249beginning to remix their material to fall within theconventions of Anglophonic rock ready for export to France.This certainly shows that the cultural force of a country isnot solely related to its size.The structure of the music industry and the appeal of theparticular acts means that Quebec faces a problem: it iseasier to import anglophonic music than it is to sendfrancophonic music out of the province. Moreover, as thecopy trends showed, Quebec is frequently welcoming ofsignificant Anglophonic trends and groups, to the extentthat sometimes it has celebrated anglophonic groups beforethe rest of Canada. These are as diverse as Skinny Puppy,Supertramp and The Gypsy Kings (Lynn Burshtein, pers. comm.;Can. Musician v.13/4, 1991, p.36). Also efforts by EnglishCanadians to enter with messages of conciliation have beencommon and accepted. These included short tours by BruceCockburn, the Canadian centennial song, 'Ca-na-da' by BobbyGimby and proposed duet for unity single by Bryan Adams andCeline Dion (Toronto Star 2/7/92, p. C4).Nearly all attempts in the opposite direction have failed:Charlebois's single was played only in the small hours byanglophone radio programmers; the tours of CANO (afrancophonic group from Sudbury Ontario) and Michel Rivard(ex-Beau Dommage) were unpopular and even Francophonicsuperstar Roch Voisine's album sung in English failed (TheProvince 26/6/92, p.C5). Only Frenchman Plastigue Bertrand'sNew Wave single San Plain Pour Moi was a francophonic hit onboth sides of the provincial border (Maclean's v.94/6,9/2/81, p.32). The song's rhythmic urgency complemented itsnonsense lyrics to shift attention away from its language.Certainly for francophonic groups to sing in English wasone major trend of the last decade. The imperatives to singin English became so strong in the late 1980s that bandssuch as Madame which sung in French were perpetuallyquestioned by the press as to why they did (Can. Composer,no.232, 1988, p.28). The primary reason to sing in Englishwas economic: anglophonic songs could potentially access alarger market and thus one with enough support for raregenres. The problem with this was that the efforts of suchgroups rarely sold well in anglophonic territories. Further,the most commercially successful groups from the province(Corey Hart, Men Without Hats, and The Box in the late1980s) had all sung in English.Some bands would bolster their arguments for singing inEnglish with artistic reasons: French had been associatedwith traditional and middle of the road (mor) songs of theirparent's generation; English was apparently an easierlanguage in which to write and sing rock. However, Offenbachhad sung in joual and made it work, so it could be thatthese bands, including Time Capsule, were looking for250creative reasons to justify those of economics (Can.Composer, no. 220, 1987, p.26). Despite this, they all facedcommon problems due to their choice of language.Michel Rivard bought up the dilemma that Acts from quebecsinging English lyrics are giving up an element of theirculture; Rivard justifies his songs as sung in French due totheir feel and that French is a less cliche laden language(Calgary-Herald 8/12/88, p.C4). This argument is disputable:it essentializes aspects of art and "giving up" onedifference may allow others to be communicated. These groupsare learning to communicate their concerns to a wideraudience. In fact the majors in Toronto considered thesebands' accents too strong and their , themes too regional,although the majors usually find excuses to turn awayanglophonic acts too. Moreover, they do distributefrancophonic acts, such as Mitsou on Isba-Sony.It is likely the reason for so few significant signingsfrom Quebec is partly a matter of low sales: AnglophonicCanadians have traditionally ignored Quebec records, and notonly due to their poor promotional budgets. Radio wasreluctant to play francophonic music, since they did nothear it as hits and assumed anglophonic audiences would beboth confused and driven away by it. This ignored the powerof the beat in foreign records which had influenced thepreferences of francophonic fans. The anglophonic presstended to ignore Quebec's artists until those acts did wellin their own province. The two videos shown per hour on MuchMusic may show the rest of the country what francophonicacts are doing, but the exposure has not significantlyincreased their sales. Anglophonic Quebec bands rarely getplayed; Celine Dion was a lucky exception in this respectsince she signed direct to a US major (Financial Times ofCan. 18/2/91, p.10).In effect, there are various mechanisms in Canadaoperating to keep Quebec culture in its place and thereforekeep Quebec bands francophonic. Francon itself is moreessentialist than Gramscian since unlike Cancon the CRTC dospecify an element of the content of culture. Francon isparticularly important because, unlike Cancon, it reallydoes relate to the content of an album rather than who ismaking it. While it may benefit those artists wishing tosing in French, it could be argued that Francon is aconstraint on Quebec artists wishing to take their musicoutside the province and into the anglophonic world. A lackof funding from both Musique Action and FACTOR are lessobvious constraints, as are various contests and awardceremonies. In the mid eighties these only affected a spate251of relatively unsuccessful bands, but now they are causingdilemmas for some relatively major artists. 8It seems unfair to say that artists have brought theirpredicament upon themselves when really they are bothworking with a set of economic opportunities and should befree to choose whatever cultural identity they want. Theinteresting thing is that some mechanisms from the nationallevel are in effect. The CRTC is the arms length agency ofthe federal government which oversees the airwaves in Canadaform a unified system of public property. It interprets thepublic as the local rather than national community; yet itanswers the question of who francophone culture is for andwho decides over it in a national way. That does not meanthat the CRTC regulates airwaves in the province withoutencouragement (or at least consent) from members of theQuebec goverment, or other provincial inhabitants. What itmeans is a that Francon may be against the wishes of some ofthe people it directly effects: local musicians,broadcasters and their listeners. Unfortunately the rhetoricof distinct society tends to assume away both the way theprovincial social formation is integrated in a wider fabricand the opportunity for personal choice in this case.8 At the 1992 Juno awards Mitsou failed to even getnominated for the francophonic album category since heralbum just missed the 80% Francon required. Celine Dion'sbid for fame in the USA with her anglophonic album Unisonmeant she fell foul of not only Cancon and Francon, butreceived the L'ADISQ award for best anglophonic album of theyear; which she refused on stage (Montreal Gazette 2/7/92,p.A3).252Appendix 2 : Changes In CRTC Radio RegulationsThe first column shows the month and year each regulationchanged. The second records the percentage of selectionsrequired to meet the Cancon quota on AM and FM. The thirdcolumn shows the number of MAPL points a song needed to becounted as Cancon. The fourth column contains the periodover which Cancon could be averaged for station logs. Thefifth column records the percentage of hits programmers areallowed. play over all and the sixth column shows how manytimes per week they can play each hit song. Finally theseventh column contains the number of formats on AM and FM;a larger number means more, therefore more narrow and highlyspecified, formats. It is important to realize that wideformats give broadcasters the opportunity to play a widervariety of music. AM formats are specified on each station'spromise of performance but, unlike FM, they are not policedin the station's daily activities.co-writesgiven 1 pt.extraRemoveafter2y?4.Exemptionson request(eg. forcharityweeks)Canadianhits nowexemptedfor firstyear11/1986199019911/199212/19922/199330 PerweekRpt.s/week18GoneforCan.Musicon FMEliminated3average % Hitsperiod^on FM4hr 50%Date % Canc. MAPLM/Y^AM FM pts.1/1971 30 00^11/1972^4,^21/1975^204/1986FormatsAM FM 10^104^4(Main Sources: Radio Regulations 1986, Amendments to... 1991 CRTC; Can. Composer v.57, 1971, p.30; Susan Alexander, Radiostaff of Coast 1040, CFMI, KISS FM and Z95.3 Alf, pers.comm.)253Sign four yearsponsorship dealwith CPI for"7 figures" withfilm + radiobroadcast rightsAdopt a youthfuladvertisingstrategy for Mol.Canadian beer.Molson also joinwith Rogers inbidding to theCRTC for a musicvideo TV network.Labatts sponsorPerrys cope.Approach CPI buttheir deal fails,so they promiseto beginconcert promotionusing independentpromoters.Appendix 3 : CPI, Mb1sons and Labatts in the 1980sYear CPI Molsons Labatts 81 Begins Awear andbuys out BrockhumMerchandise firms.8283 Pushed out of theKingswood theatrenear Toronto by USfirm Nederlander.84 Buys out Krimson(merchandising)corp. and partnersUS promoter ChuckSullivan to finishThe Jacksons tour.CPI attempts butfails to go publicand is taken on bya smaller promoter,the Garys, over itshold on Toronto'sMaple Leaf Garden.85 Courts rule thatother promoters canuse the Maple LeafGardens but theymust pay CPI.86 Steps in to helpCARAS, beginsvenue sponsorshipand is rumouredto be partlybuying out CPI.Uses Jim SkarrattPromotions fora Platinum BlondeCanadian tour inwhich Labatts isthe promoter.Sets up LabbattsBlue Live Entert.Promo. Corp. withSkarratt, butcannot get bigvenues, or hence,acts.254Year CPI^ Molsons 87^ Underwrites theMariposa Folkfestival for 5y,hires Toronto's+ National PR topublicize concertseries, and setsup another 5y CPIsponsorship deal.Labatts (Late in 1987)Labbatts pay $25mto partner Cohlin CPI = Brockhum(BCL). Yet CPIhas just over 4yleft with Molsonsas a customer.89 Rolling Stones Start the Take Stay as partnersTour arranged by Care campaign + in and sponsorsgoing to see their merges with of CPI.manager; talks theminto making IMAXfilm.90 BCL regain full useof Maple LeafGardens, sell Davisticket printing.O'Keefe, whichbegins Molsonsv.s Labbattsadvertisingstruggle overwho's for thenation.Wins court supportand partners MCAas Molson-MCAconcerts Canada.promo. firm; bySeptember theybegin with RobertPlant's tour.Attempt SupremeCourt injunctionagainst Molsons,to stop them fromstarting separateconcert promotionfirm while stilla BCL customer.91 Enlist Colin James + Quebec'sEvil Penguine forTake Care messageand build MolsonPlace in Toronto.Late in the yearMolson Canadianbeer sells morethan Labatts Bluein Ontario.Step in to joinBC government infunding Music '91in Vancouver area(in the middle ofwhich is Molson'sJuno awards!)92^ CPI sponsorshipcontract comes toan end and Molsonspromote + sponsorThe Great CanadianParty + Bryan Adams.(Main Sources: Toronto Star 3/8/85, p.A3; 29/11/86, p.F1; Can.Business v.58/2, 1985, p.64; Can. Musician v.6/5, 1985, p.14)255Appendix 4 : The History Of Awards In Canada Year Junos 1964 RPM magazinereaders poll.1970 Gold Leaf Awardspresented at aceremony.1971 Renamed Junosfollowing acontest.1975 CARAS set up,and awards onCBC telecast.1978 CARAS take over.1979CASBYs Other Awards L'ADISQ Felixawards galanight begins.CASBYs return toradio networkonly.Labatts drops butAsuna+Sam's adopt.1980 BC-CARAS begin WestCoast Music awards.19811982198319841985 Molson isapproached byCARAS and agreesto sponsor Junos.1987 Molson sponsorCan. entertainerof the year awardchosen by public.19891991 Junos heldin Vancouverduring Music '91.1992 First all-CanadianJuno awards ever.CASBYs begin asCFNY's "U Knows"= Spoof Junos ina Toronto disco.CASBYs go formalin Royal hotel.No radio supportfor U Knows.Renamed CASBYs+ get nationalballots inGraffitiMagazine;radio networkmakes national.Late 1980s:CBC televiseCASBYs.Felix awardsthrow 3 maincategories opento public vote.SOCAN awardsbegin.(Sources: Juno Fact Sheet; CASBY Press Kit; Can. Composerno.201, 1985, p.12; v.1/3, 1990, p.10)256


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items