• Music Insights

    What Is CANCON?

    Canada’s music industry is the 7th largest in the world (2017 IFPI data), that is massive! Comparing ourselves to the likes of the United States, the U.K and other of the top exporters of music, Canada rubs shoulders with countries exponentially larger in terms of population. So how does Canada keep up with its many, and larger neighbors? There are many factors, like music infrastructure (concert halls, academies, performing arts centres), but also through regulation by the CRTC (Canadian Radio Broadcasting Corporation). With the help of the CRTC we are able to foster our very own songwriters, musicians, and creatives, rather than sourcing it elsewhere. We have been able to support and develop our own very unique sound.

    Broadcasting Act of Canada

    The Broadcasting Act of Canada was legislation that was enacted in February 1991, which imposed all Canadian owned broadcasting to include a certain selection of broadcast be “Canadian”. Although all broadcasters are expected to create their own programming, they are still obligated to meet the requirements set by the CRTC.

    What are the Requirements (MAPL)?

    MAPL Logo

    Although the Broadcasting Act of Canada was not active until ‘91, the CRTC did already put in regulatory measures to ensure music was considered “Canadian Content” or CanCon since 1971.

    The MAPL system, created by Stan Klees, used a 4 letter system to define what music can be considered Canadian. This includes the following:

    • M (music) — the music is composed entirely by a Canadian
    • A (artist) — the music is, or the lyrics are, performed principally by a Canadian
    • P (performance) — the musical selection consists of a performance that is:
    o Recorded wholly in Canada, or
    o Performed wholly in Canada and broadcast live in Canada.
    • L (lyrics) — the lyrics are written entirely by a Canadian

    Stan Klees

    Despite there being 4 different letters, content must meet at least two of the required four letters to be considered CanCon.


    There are seven different CRTC licences given for Canadian broadcasters:
    • Commercial station
    • Campus station
    • Community station
    • Ethnic station
    • Native station
    • CBC / Radio Canada
    • Other not-for-profit stations

    All have different requirements in regards to how their programs should be shaped, but they all fall under the same premise that a certain percentage of their programming must be for Canadian Content. This is measured weekly.

    For example,

    “English-language and French-language stations must ensure that at least 35% of the Popular Music they broadcast each week is Canadian content.

    Commercial radio stations also have to ensure that at least 35% of the Popular Music broadcast between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Monday to Friday is Canadian content.”

    To see the rest of the requirements and provisions made by the CRTC see here

    Canada is a vast country with many different sights and sounds, and all Canadians benefit from the CRTC’s regulatory requirements, allowing Canadian musicians to have a voice on the national, and world stage.

    Wondering how to set MAPL on your song on YANGAROO DMDS?

    Simply go to the Files page which is found under the Manage tab. Find the song you wish to update, and click on the Edit icon (pencil icon). You will see at the bottom the MAPL pie chart, simply select the slices that your song meets for requirements, and hit save. Voila! Broadcasters will now know if your song is Canadian Content, increasing the odds of airplay!