(Ottawa) Justin Bieber is one of the most popular artists of all time, and has been racking up Grammy and Juno awards since the beginning of his career.
Posted at 9:57 a.m.
The 28-year-old singer-songwriter from Ontario was also named one of the most influential people in the world and one of the top 10 most powerful celebrities.
But are his songs Canadian enough for the government’s online streaming bill?
Spotify, the world’s largest digital music platform, where Bieber’s hits have been streamed millions of times, has his doubts.
The company says songs by Justin Bieber and other well-known Canadian artists will not qualify as officially Canadian under Bill C-11, which is pending in Parliament.
According to Spotify, among the tracks unlikely to qualify under the strict Canadian content rules are Ghost by Justin Bieber, She’s All I Wanna Be by Tate McRae and Anybody Else by Moroccan-Canadian singer Faouzia.
The bill seeks to update the Broadcasting Act to subject streaming platforms to the same rules as traditional broadcasters, including requiring them to promote Canadian content.
To be considered Canadian, songs must meet a series of criteria.
Under the current rules, a song must meet two of the following criteria to be considered Canadian: be written entirely by a Canadian, be performed primarily by a Canadian, be broadcast or performed live in Canada, or have lyrics written entirely by a Canadian. Canadian.
Ghost by Justin Bieber, for example, only meets one of those requirements – meaning traditional broadcasters can’t consider it Canadian content, and if the bill passes, Spotify and other platforms streaming won’t be able to either.
Spotify says that without a more flexible definition of what counts as Canadian content, the platform could end up promoting fewer tracks from artists in the country than it currently does on its Canadian playlists.
“It’s important to understand that today’s music world is international in nature, involving artists from around the world collaborating,” said Nathan Wiszniak, Marketing Manager for Canadian Artists and Record Labels at Spotify. .
“Under current definitions of Canadian content, many songs that we know and love from Canadian artists would not be classified as Canadian. »
However, the current rules could change. Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has announced his intention to ask the broadcasting regulator, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), to review the definition of Canadian content.
He said he would communicate the policy direction to the CRTC after the bill passes through Parliament. At that time, the CRTC would be responsible for regulating streaming platforms and ensuring that they promote qualifying Canadian content.
Spotify maintains 90 playlists featuring Canadian artists in a range of genres, including country, Quebec rap and French classics.
The platform says it currently uses a range of data sources to determine if a song is Canadian, including artist self-declaration.
“That means we’re offering a much broader category of tracks that we’ve identified as Canadian than what we think would be classified as Canadian under current definitions,” Wiszniak said.
Playlists are tailored to the listener’s musical tastes, in part based on what they tend to listen to. They are also designed to introduce people to Canadian musicians and genres they may not have heard before, he added.
“We are concerned that unless Canadian content requirements are updated, this bill could limit the exposure of emerging and beloved Canadian artists and lead to the overexposure of others, which may offend to listeners. »
Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet Law at the University of Ottawa, says the current criteria for what counts as a Canadian song can “lead to quirks.” He says that the definition of Canadian content needs to be updated in the bill.
“(This) has led to foreign artists performing covers of Canadian songs produced outside of Canada being defined as Canadian, because they meet musical and lyrical standards,” he says, while that Canadian artists performing songs written by non-Canadians and produced outside of Canada does not count because only the artist requirement is met. »
Bill C-11 has passed the House of Commons and is being scrutinized in the Senate when senators return from their summer recess.
Senators have been inundated with phone calls, emails and letters from opponents of the bill who claim it could impact amateur videos posted on YouTube.
But those who support the bill say it updates Canadian broadcasting laws and will help promote Canadian artists.