With the organization's 3rd annual Celebration & Awards Gala just 10 days away, on June 12, CIMA President Stuart Johnston took time to respond to several questions about recent developments in the music industry.
A much more extensive interview with Johnston regarding CIMA itself will run in Monday's issue.
On the recent CRTC decision allowing Bell Media to discontinue funding MuchFACT:
"We were very disappointed in that decision, although we weren't surprised given the CRTC's decision a couple of years back on their "Let's Talk TV" decisions. It opened the door to their latest decisions on their license renewal applications from Bell and others. Clearly, it's going to have an impact if the $2M or so a year from MuchFact is either removed from the system or changes substantially where it's no longer resourcing the kind of things it has been over the last 30 years. Bell at the moment is saying that it's business as usual, so it's one of those things where we're taking a wait-and-see approach."
If Bell decides to discontinue funding, are there alternate options?
"That's something we're just starting to get our heads around. What options are out there? Is the federal government going to be a partner on this in terms of its digital strategy? Again, it's looking at exporting. Videos are very much an export tool when it comes to marketing and promotion. So if that part of the federal strategy - are there other private sector partners, which may or may not include Bell, that are going to be able to help us with our content creation? So I think there are always going to be options. But right now, could I tell you what they are? No."
What is the CIMA position on the recent purchase of the Canadian Music Rights Reproduction Association (CMRRA) by SoundExchange?
"That's another one that we're asking questions about. We're hoping that it's going to be fairly positive, because the CMRRA are still going to be at the helm of their business here in Canada, even though SoundExchange is the owner. In fact, we were just talking today about putting together an information event for our industry and bring CMRRA and others to the table so that they can explain fully and answer questions fully about what the impact will be today and in the future. So it's a timely question but we're still waiting for the dust to settle on this thing."