Media Beat: May 20, 2021

By David Farrell

Bill C-10 has heritage minister twisting in his own wind

Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault continues to be castigated very publicly over his fumbling of the government’s plan to update Canada’s broadcast act and bring social media websites under the purview of the CRTC. Toronto Sun columnist Mark Bonokoski shows his fangs in exposing another Trudeau cabinet minister bungling this portfolio.

Not all of Canada’s creative communities will benefit from Bill C-10

While some smile wryly at the notion that forcing the Internet into a 1980s-style straitjacket could be characterized as “modernization,” Guilbeault nevertheless sees it as so and has clearly been heavily influenced by those advocating on behalf of the status quo.

Had he not been in such a rush to please these groups, Guilbeault would have undertaken a proper public consultation that would have opened his eyes to those harnessed by this legislation — consumers enjoying their online liberty and Canadian content producers whose unfettered creativity is about to be fettered by the CRTC if Bill C-10 passes as is. – Peter Menzies, Toronto Star


Listen to the Canadian government’s official census soundtrack

The Canadian government put together a collection of playlists to listen to while you fill out your census. There are playlists dedicated to indigenous artists as well as Francophone Canadians; the classics like Neil Young, the Band, and Joni Mitchell to more modern rock like Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene; and of course, plenty of pop like Alanis Morissette and Carly Rae Jepsen, and The Weeknd. – Thom Dunn, boingboing

AI’s insidious move into the mainstream

An American company called Veritone has just introduced a new “service” they called This tech–which they called “Voice-as-a-service” solution for celebrities, brands, and media companies–creates “hyper-realistic” recorded voice performances. All it needs is a sample of someone’s voice and they and they can make that synthetic say anything. It can read a script and narrate a program, newscast, or any other voiceover using that fake voice.

Wow. What could possibly go wrong? We already have issues.


(1) Bev Standing, a Canadian voiceover artist, is suing TikTok because someone used the platform’s text-to-speech feature to mimic her voice without her permission. How is this legal? – Alan Cross, A Journal of Musical Things

Mapped: How much $$$ the world's most popular podcasts earn

The Joe Rogan Experience is the top-earning podcast in the US and the world. Rogan is a comedian with a political edge who got in early, starting his show in 2009. Today, his listenership rivals the top talk radio shows, with an average of nearly 5m plays of each of his 180 episodes per year. We reckon this means he’s good for US$72,287,456 in annual ad revenue.

The remainder of the top ten national big-earners is mostly divided between Europe and Asia. The UK is home to the second-biggest earner, Sh**ged Married Annoyed. The comedy show is described as the only way the married hosts “can have a conversation without being interrupted by a toddler or ending up staring at their phones.” We estimate their potential earnings at $10,563,670. – Top Dollar Financial Insights Hub

Tencent Music says facing increased China scrutiny, is committed to laws

Tencent Music Entertainment Group confirmed on Tuesday it is facing heightened scrutiny from Chinese regulators, adding it was "actively co-operating" with them and is committed to complying with all laws "including those related to anti-trust".


This is the first time the Tencent group has publicly commented on the matter.

Reuters reported last month that Tencent Holdings, which controls music streaming company Tencent Music, was told by Chinese anti-trust regulators to pay a fine, give up exclusive music rights and sell some of its music assets. Tencent did not comment then.

The action against Tencent came amid a sweeping anti-trust clampdown by China on its internet giants. – Reuters


News Bytes

- The Winnipeg Free Press’s Dylan Robertson captures the news of the day with the following headline: Social media news bill fades to background: Minister blames opposition wrangling for delay.


- There are a growing number of regional news sites popping up online in Canada, as Canadaland’s Tobin Ng reports.

From the Guardian (UK): Fifty new outlets, 250 journalists: Canadian startup unveils plan to revive local news. As local papers close their doors, a morning newsletter defied the odds. Now its founder aims to push the model nationwide.

Michael Burry of ‘The Big Short’ reveals a US$530 million bet against Tesla. Besides his “Big Short,” Burry made a killing from a long GameStop position recently as the Reddit favorite made Wall Street history with its massive short squeeze.

BBC journalist quits as investigation into his landmark Princess Diana interview wraps up. Martin Bashir has been accused of using forged documents in order to convince Diana to sit down for the interview, in which she caused a crisis within the royal family by detailing the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles.

– Once known primarily for viral dance trends, the video app TikTok has also become a key platform for sharing news. The Chinese-owned site has a vast, mostly younger audience, with an estimated 700 million active monthly users worldwide.

Prabhakar Raghavan Isn’t CEO of Google—He Just Runs the Place. In his first interview since taking a top job, Raghavan gets into the future of search, misinformation, employee ferment, and robots making phone calls.

Scientists are reporting that they have discovered what may be the latest coronavirus to jump from animals into people. And it comes from a surprising source: dogs. The patients in Malaysia had what looked like regular pneumonia. But in eight out of 301 samples tested, or 2.7%, Xui and Gray found that the patients' upper respiratory tracts were infected with a new canine coronavirus.


Phil Nimmons
Bill King

Phil Nimmons


Obituary: Phil Nimmons, The Dean of Canadian Jazz

The acclaimed jazz composer, educator and clarinetist died on April 5, at age 100, leaving behind a formidable legacy and inspiring musicians throughout multiple generations.

Phil (Philip Rista) Nimmons, a Juno-winning and highly influential Canadian jazz composer, educator and clarinetist, died on April 5, at age 100.

Receiving honours that included the Order of Canada and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award testifies to the impact Nimmons (often dubbed the “Dean of Canadian Jazz”) had on Canadian jazz over a long and prolific career.

keep readingShow less