Has Streaming Smothered Homegrown Acts?

The following is an editorial that was posted on Canadian Music Blog this weekend. The opinion piece, backed with some facts, suggests the hard-won homegrown team of stars that Canada has supported over the past several decades is in danger of being smothered by a small number of elite superstars backed by big money, big labels and fanned to fame by Spotify.

Remember the days when all kinds of Canadian acts, unknown outside the country, populated the domestic charts? Well, those days may be over.

The year-end Billboard Canadian Hot 100 annual charts began in 2008. That year, there were 15 songs with unique Canadian artists who made the cut. From 2009 to 2012, things held steady at 17 or 18 unique Canadian artist songs among the top 100 of the year.

Things reached a peak in 2013 with an impressive 19.

After that, we see a significant decline.

The 2014 chart had 16 unique Canadian artist songs, 2015 had 13, and 2016 only 12.

Cut the latter number in half and we arrive at this year, 2017's horrifying 6. Yes, that's all, six: Alessia Cara, Drake, Justin Bieber, Shawn Hook, Shawn Mendes, and The Weeknd, all signed to American record labels.

Coincidentally, Canada granted access to foreign streaming service Spotify in September 2014. And, suspiciously, that very same month, Nielsen decided to include streaming data in compiling the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 charts. Notice too that artists and labels, both foreign and domestic, around this time began telling fans to stream their music but would mention the name of only one streaming service of the many out there. Guess which one?

There is no CanCon in streaming. And the artists who are being promoted on the services are those signed to the big U.S. record labels which can outspend everyone else in marketing. – Continue reading here

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