Canada is one of the countries that has offered most support to its own musicians with quotas for radio stations, to ensure they play domestic repertoire. Meanwhile, Australia has in recent times been the genesis of a new debate about whether those kinds of quotas should be extended to music-streaming services: for example, their big programmed playlists. So it makes sense that the topic should come up when Australian site The Industry Observer interviewed Terry McBride, boss of Canadian firm Nettwerk Music Group. And he had a sharp reply.
“I think it’s a terrible idea. A playlist on a streaming service is not limited to that country. Terrestrial radio is, playlists aren’t. Some of the best playlists in the world, the consumption pattern comes from five or six countries, not just one,” said McBride. “If you start putting quotas in, what’s going to happen is some of the most popular playlists might become popular in Australia but nowhere else. And that is plainly stupid.” That said, McBride isn’t a fan of radio quotas either. “Initially it might have been helpful but now it’s a detriment. To try and apply that to playlists, which are more community and mood based, people just aren’t thinking right. Or they don’t understand how the ecosystem works. Algorithms don’t work on cultural identity…” Read the full interview here.