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Wanted: Pop music definition
7/28/2003

GATINEAU - For all of you music fans out there in the industry baffled by popular music, or have a difficult time grasping what, exactly, is pop music - or have your own ideas on what pop music should be - then we have a job for you.

Today, the CRTC called for comments on a definition of "pop music", as it relates to Canadian specialty services.

Earlier this year, after a complaint filed in 2001 by MuchMusic over the programming of Craig Media's two digital specialty services, MTV Canada and MTV2, the CRTC told Craig that its digital specialty channels MTV Canada and MTV2 must change what they air.

Chum Limited, owners of MuchMusic, complained to the Commission that MTV Canada was too close to being a competitive music service to its established analog specialty channel founded in 1984 - and that MTV2 was showing videos from too many genres and not sticking to pop, what it's licensed for. The Commission's own rules surrounding the new digital channels included a provision that they not directly compete in the same genre with existing analog specialty services or any category one digi-nets.

MTV2's license says that 95% of what it shows has to be pop music videos, so as a part of its decision in February, 2003, the CRTC took a stab at defining what pop music is while telling Craig to respond to the decision by filing an amendment to its license for MTV2 so that it can add a definition of pop music to the digi-net's license terms.

The definition the Commission proposed, taken nearly word for word from Chum's complaint, says: "A 'Pop Music Video' is a music video clip of a performance of a musical selection that is listed or has been listed within the preceding 12 months on the following trade publication charts: Billboard's Top 40 Tracks and/or Canadian Music Network's CHR Top 50 Spins, and/or CHR Top 50 Audience, or other charts as may be approved by the Commission."

This latest call for interventions centres on Craig's new application for amendment, which asks for a more liberal interpretation of pop music.

Craig has asked that a pop music definition, as it applied to them, would say "not less than 70% of music video clips broadcast on the service shall consist of music video clips of a performance of a musical selection that is listed or has been listed within the proceeding 36 months on the following trade publication charts: Billboard's Hot 100 and/or Canadian Music Network's CHR Top 50 Spins and/or CHR Top 50 Audience, or other charts as may be approved by the Commission.

As well, asked Craig, "Canadian music videos shall not be subject to the foregoing restrictions."

If Craig does not get this license amendment, the Commission's restrictive definition would make it difficult for MTV2 to carry on in Canada, Craig Broadcasting's vice-president corporate and regulatory affairs, Jennifer Strain told www.cablecastermagazine.com in February.

"(The original) MTV2 (decision) is definitely something we're taking a closer look at," she said then. "The conditions of license now imposed aren't going to be easy to deal with. We think the (pop music) definition proposed poses some real problems for Canadian artists and Canadian music videos."

The deadline for intervention - and to propose your very own definition of pop music - is August 29, 2003.


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