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Why Aren’t Musicians Speaking Up About CBC Funding Cuts?

Thursday, August 13th, 2015
CBC Fest small

2013 CBCMusic.ca Festival

Below is a new column from David Farrell at FYI Music News on the lack of vocal support for the CBC coming from Canadian musicians during this election campaign. Regardless of your party allegiances or where you fall on the political spectrum, it is hard to deny that the CBC has done more than any other media outlet to support and promote Canadian music and the arts. With that, it’s surprising it sees so few Canadian musicians speaking out about the federal government’s funding cuts to the public broadcaster.

The 2012 federal budget cut $115 million from the CBC’s budget over three years. It’s easy to ignore what that means in real-world terms. Speaking recently with a friend who works at the CBC and, for it, has covered the arts for many years, she told me that her newsroom is currently working with barebones staff and resources as a direct result of the cuts. It’s inevitable that this will impact the quality and scope of their work.

Musicians and those in the arts industries, more than most, stand to lose from the CBC’s diminished capabilities. For decades, CBC radio, web, and TV, along with other initiatives such as the CBCMusic.ca Festival, have provided a platform for Canadian artists to reach a larger audience and it’s often the first, and sometimes only, outlet that will play their music and conduct interviews for a national audience. It’s a vital part of the music ecosystem in this country.

For this reason, I was glad to see this column by David Farrell at FYI Music News calling out Canadian artists for not speaking out about these cuts and what they mean for Canadian music during this election season.

Michael Raine, assistant editor, Canadian Musician

Musicians Silent About the CBC In Election Run-Up

By David Farrell on FYI Music News

 Too many of Canada’s musicians appear to be steadfastly silent in the run-up to election day on Oct. 19th. Maybe it’s because they are worried about upsetting their chances of receiving their next grant, or perhaps creating a hiccup in radio land where they must compete with Drake, The Weeknd, and a hit parade of Taylor Swifts.

Whatever the case may be, everyone from Arcade Fire on down has benefitted from a purse string of grants and (sweet deal) loans paid out by foundations such as Musicaction, Factor, and VideoFACT — and future funding for these grant bodies could come undone if a newly elected government wants to privatize culture and wind-down a charity of private-enterprise funded support programs. After all, if the Netflixes of this world can scoop hundreds of millions of dollars from Canadians without having to put in a dime in contributions to existing cultural support programs, why should Canada’s broadcasters? And you had better believe this is going to be an issue as the competition for entertainment dollars shifts from a simmer to a boil in the next several years.

Read the rest of the column HERE.

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