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Barenaked Ladies would need 9,216 streams of ‘If I Had $1,000,000’ to buy a single box of Kraft Dinner

July 10, 2014

If Barenaked Ladies singers Ed Robertson and Steven Page had a million dollars, their most beloved song states plainly, they’d be rich. That’s evident. But that leads us to the next question: How would the Barenaked Ladies get rich?

As musicians, the logical answer seems to be, “well, get your songs played a bunch, doye.” But that rationale—which might’ve been true in sunnier days for the music industry—is faulty: the Copyright Board of Canada has proposed terrible royalty rates for music streaming under Tariff 8. The tariff covers “non-interactive and semi-interactive webcast” (read: streams), and, as Music Canada reports, musicians will get paid 90 per cent less when their music is streamed by Canadians. Check the tariff right here.

Re:Sound, a not-for-profit organization centred around music licensing, believes these rates put the Canadian music biz at a competitive disadvantage. 

“Re:Sound does not take this decision lightly. On behalf of sound recording rights holders, we have no choice,” said its president, Ian MacKay, who isn’t related to the iconic Minor Threat singer of the same name. “The Copyright Board decision set rates in Canada that are approximately 10 per cent or less of the rates prevailing in most other territories, and also rejected marketplace rates freely negotiated between Re:Sound and streaming services.”

[pullquote]”The decision positions Canada as a significant outlier in the world, and greatly disadvantages the Canadian music industry in the globalized market place.”[/pullquote]

So, what does that mean in tangible numbers? Music Canada broke down those royalties using “If I Had a Million Dollars” as an anchor.

Here’s what they found.

9.8 billion: The amount of plays required to “have a million dollars”;

64 million: The amount it’d cost to buy “buy you some art,” like a Picasso or Garfunkel;

9.5 billion: The amount of plays needed to “buy you a house” in Toronto, where free-standing houses average out at just under $1 million;

17 million: The amount it’d cost for a “buy you a fur coat”;

9,216: The amount it’d cost to buy a single box of Kraft Dinner.

The I Stand For Music Facebook page has mobilized in protest. Meanwhile, this song sounds a little quaint now, doesn’t it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHacDYj8KZM

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