New Brunswick

Music streaming royalty rates too low, says Moncton musician

Moncton musician Ken Kelley is calling on Canadians to speak out against Tariff 8, the royalty rates for music streaming recently set by the Copyright Board of Canada, saying they're too low and will hurt musicians.

Ken Kelley is calling on Canadians to oppose the Copyright Board of Canada's Tariff 8 decision

Moncton musician Ken Kelley is speaking out against new royalty rates set by the Copyright Board of Canada for streaming music in Canada.

Moncton musician and blogger Ken Kelley says the rates set by the Copyright Board of Canada are too low and will hurt Canadian musicians. (MusicNerd)
Under Tariff 8, internet music streaming services will pay 10.2 cents for every 1,000 plays of a song.

Kelley, who plays drums with the band The Monoxides, says the royalty rate is too low and is calling on all Canadians to oppose the Tariff 8 decision in a recent blog post.

"If you’re on Facebook, please take a moment and join the I Stand For Music page. It was created as a space to amplify opposition to the Tariff 8 decision, and to show our support for recorded music and Canada’s music community," he states in the article, Canadian Music Needs Your Voice.

"Everyone enjoys music. This isn’t about propping up indie bands or lining the pockets of those who don’t need the money. It’s about principle."

Kelley cites the example of the Vancouver band, Moist. 

"For them to earn basically the equivalent of, say $5.29, I mean, they equated it to buying like literally a jar of peanuts, it would take almost 52,000 streams of one of their songs," he told CBC News.

By comparison, in the United States, 1,000 plays would be worth $1.10, said Kelley.

Re:Sound seeking judicial review

Re:Sound, the organization that collects and distributes royalties to performers, had been seeking a rate of between $1 and $2.30 per 1,000 plays.

It is applying for a judicial review of the board's decision.

The lower rate will hurt musicians, said Kelley.

"If somebody asks you to take a 90 per cent pay cut you'd look at them and think they are insane. But this is exactly what the Copyright Board of Canada is doing," he said.

The Copyright Board of Canada contends the tariffs are "fair and equitable for both users and copyright owners."

Sylvain Audet, a lawyer with the board, says there are other streams of revenue for bands and labels.

“Even for the exact same activity there's going to be further payments. It doesn't deal with any reproduction rights and it doesn't deal with the musical works which would be subject to a different tariff."

The board estimates the total royalties generated for Re:Sound by the tariff will be about $500,000  per year.

Large music streaming services, with annual revenues of about $130,000, will pay annual royalties of about $7,000 under the new rates, the board says.