Things have remained relatively quiet when it comes to the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association).
Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes
After undergoing a public relations battering when it came to lobbying for copyright legislation in Canada, it seems this currently quiet organization has found its way into the spotlight of another disagreement. This time, the differing point of view appears to be with HMV, a major music retailer which generates a third of all Canadian music sales.
It all started with a news release by HMV which discusses a move to drop prices of its products. “We asked our valued customers their opinion on the cost of CDs in Canada and they told us they wanted lower prices,” said Humphrey Kadaner, President of HMV Canada. “This move is another step in HMV Canada’s ongoing commitment to making music accessible and affordable.”
It seemed simple enough. Drop the prices to make music more affordable. The move attracted the attention of CRIA’s president Graham Henderson who told CBC that this move was actually to stem the number of baby boomers from turning to things like file-sharing and keep them buying CDs. “Canada has the highest rate of illegal downloading in the world,” he told CBC News. “It’s affecting our ability to build a digital industry.”
“HMV has not indicated that the reduced prices has anything to do with downloading […] these latest claims may drive a wedge between CRIA and one of its most important retail channels.” Michael Geist said in his latest blog entry, “In this case, HMV generates millions in free publicity for sale prices and CRIA jumps in with misleading copyright claims that only serve to undermine the goodwill created by HMV.”
Last year, several major Canadian music record labels broke away from CRIA to form their own coalition to oppose their views on the future marketplace. One of the views include the rejection of DRM (Digital Rights Management). Earlier this month, Universal, one of four major members of CRIA, announced that they would start selling DRM free music. This came on the heals of another major CRIA member, EMI, making a series of similar moves.