CBC gets into web-based music

Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

With download sales increasing each month and physical copies of songs being sold less and less, the web is becoming the home of new music, away from MTV and broadcast radio. Even one of the most traditional of broadcasters has made a move into web-based music platforms.

CBC, the old, stuffy, boring father of Canadian broadcast media, has created a unique, user-friendly popular music centric website. CBC Music is similar to what MySpace has become, with pages for bands to put their music in an effort to share it with fans. Rather than the unfocused mess that can occur on MySpace, CBC Music is a more curated place with a goal.

It calls itself the new home of Canadian indie music and it’s understandable why it would make that claim. It provide space for musicians to post songs, bios and social media links, allowing fans access to bands, whether they are up-and-coming or long-time veterans. Fans can also sign up, listen to music and put together playlists of their favourite songs and participate in discussions on a variety of topics hosted on the site.

Colluding with the listener/participant aspect is the hosting. It’s not just a place for artists to show off their wares and consumers to pick through what they like. Online radio stations play music constantly and there are some hosted programs with semi-well known hosts and programs that are turned into podcasts. The most well known of these is probably the R3-30. R3 is a reference to the fact CBC Music used to be known as Radio 3, and 30 is the number of songs counted down each week; the classic look back at the popular songs of the week.

With a multi-faceted platform like this, CBC Music did get itself into some legal hot water with music and broadcast corporations who were upset that CBC was, in some ways, circumnavigating the established corporate industry, but the national broadcaster was victorious in court.

What makes this all so slick is the fact it’s very much directed at younger generations whose entertainment and lifestyle is based online. Young people aren’t turning on the TV or tuning the radio. When they do go out, activities often have a web-related aspect, be it people Tweeting, posting photos online, or organizing through Facebook. For media companies, finding a way to gain consumers online is the big battle for our generation and CBC Music is making a strong move.

Oh, and it’s free.