It’s the question I’ve been asked at least once a week for the 15+ years I’ve been in the promotion game. “Is my single Can-Con?” The answer I generally give is. Possibly.
The reason I’m always hesitant to simply concede an affirmative Can-Con status based on the loose information a manager or label provides me stems from a general misunderstanding of how that status is reached within the music industry. My misgivings are generally rebutted with “it’s close enough, no?” But in the Con-Con game, close enough doesn’t cut it. Here’s why. If you tell a radio station that a song is Can-Con and they play it under that guise, they’ll count it as such in their “promise of performance” report to the CRTC. As you know, the very existence of the Canadian Content law is for radio stations to play a minimum of the percentage of Can-Con they promised in their broadcast license application to the CRTC (which is renewed, on average, every 7 years). If a station fails to meet that clause in their license they face fines and possibly revocation. As you can imagine, like any of us with laws in society, stations generally play exactly the required amount of Can-Con, with perhaps a razor-thin buffer. Just like how you drive faster than the speed limit, but not quite fast enough to get you a ticket (hopefully).