When Alicia Toner hears one of her songs playing on SiriusXM, she knows she has a much-needed paycheck to help keep her music career afloat.
In fact, sometimes Toner says the satellite radio company’s royalties added up to 50-75% of his revenue for the whole year.
“Gasoline prices and inflation have skyrocketed, so it’s very hard to make money on tour. One hundred streams from a streaming platform will get you about half a penny,” the author said. -singer-songwriter from Prince Edward Island.
“But if you’re lucky enough to have a song on satellite radio, that song, each time it’s on the air, brings in about US$44. So if you’ve got a regular rotation on a station, that’s a serious and reliable income. you manufacture.”
“Horrible and terrifying”
So when she learned that SiriusXM had decided to terminate its contract with CBC Radio 3 and CBC Country – channels focused on promoting up-and-coming independent Canadian artists like her – she became concerned.
“The general reaction and consensus is that it was pretty awful and terrifying for the Canadian indie music scene,” Toner said. “The fear when these things start to be taken away is ‘how much longer can I keep doing this?'”
Russell Louder knows the feeling. The island musician, who now lives in Montreal, released two songs on SiriusXM this fall, via CBC Radio 3. They said thousands of dollars in revenue were at stake.
“Inflation made touring nearly impossible,” Louder said. “But I was like, ‘at least I can count on, if I get 100 rounds from CBC, I can count on four great Americans to tie me down more for the next three months.’ That’s how I used to work. And then to find out that we don’t have that anymore, so suddenly, just before winter, people are shocked. Labels are going to fold. Artists’ careers are going to end.
New music channels
SiriusXM’s contract with CBC – which also included two French music channels – ended on October 1.
On its website, the company said the end of the contract with CBC provided an opportunity to “leverage SiriusXM’s internal team and update some of the channel’s programming.”
Since then, SiriusXM has launched a handful of new Canadian music channels. In an email to CBC this week, a company spokesperson said the new channels “allow us to further deepen our commitment to Canadian music.”
“There needs to be an overhaul”
But at this point, Louder said he’s not sure if their music will be picked up by other SiriusXM channels.
Louder and Toner both hope that this sudden loss of satellite radio royalties will serve as a wake-up call for the music industry.
“Streaming is the most popular platform right now,” Toner said. “He took over most of the stuff, and I don’t think artists get paid fairly for that. There needs to be an overhaul, because if that’s where the majority of people consume their music, unless you don’t ‘get millions of streams, you don’t get any real income from a streaming platform.
“We shouldn’t have to rely on one contract, one form of income. But all of our other forms of income that we seek as artists don’t work,” Louder added.
“We’re running on empty here as an industry, and it’s going to get to the point where the only people who can make music are those who can afford it, and I hate that.”