June 06, 2008

CBC fumbles negotiations on Hockey Night theme: A lowball offer by the CBC to buy the Hockey Night in Canada theme song from its composer prompted the temporary collapse of year-long negotiations and a national furor Thursday over the future of the iconic anthem, the man in charge of its copyright says. For many Canadians, the stirring “dunt-da-DUNT-da-dunt” that has opened each broadcast of Hockey Night since 1968 is pure Canadiana — as deeply woven into the national fabric as Tim Hortons and the great game itself.

posted by tommytrump to business and law at 10:08 AM - 24 comments

Bring us this Saturday our old-style version of the theme, and deliver us, o lord, from any more Nickelback than we already have to endure.

posted by chicobangs at 12:27 PM on June 06, 2008

I don't think it's fair to say they fumbled negotiations. From the story I read yesterday, the distinct impression I get is due to the legal action in 2005 I think it was, CBC decided to take their ball and go home. Pretty sad when a bloody TV theme causes such a fuss. And "national furor" is a bit much. Certainly nobody I know here gives a flying fuck. Even my hyper-Canadian mother-in-law. (Who wanted "Juno" to win the Oscar, purely because it was Canadian. I guarantee if she knew what it actually was about she wouldn't have since it goes against her core beliefs.) Note to those who are part of this "national furor". It's a TV theme, get over it. It's not like we're adopting "The Star Spangled banner" as our national anthem. (Yet. I'm sure Harper has plans once he's moved his vile "turn tens of thousands of Canadian's into criminals" copyright legislation through. It's the logical next step after whoring Canadian consumers rights to the American conglomerates.) Edit: In relation to the above post, on behalf of Canada, I would like to apologize for Nickelback.

posted by Drood at 12:27 PM on June 06, 2008

If they have a Nickelback theme song, I'm not watching until the start of the second period, just to be safe. As an added bonus, I'll get to miss Windbag S. Cherry that way too.

posted by fabulon7 at 01:39 PM on June 06, 2008

I don't think it's fair to say they fumbled negotiations. From the story I read yesterday, the distinct impression I get is due to the legal action in 2005 I think it was, CBC decided to take their ball and go home. According to those who hold the copyright to the song, the theme was offered to the CBC at exactly the same price they've been paying -- $500 per usage. However, the CBC insulted them by offering to buy the rights outright at about one-third the value (admittedly, the value assigned by the current rights holders). Also, Scott Moore is apparently an idiot. Example #1: Mr. Moore said the song is worth less than Mr. Ciccone believes because its value is drawn almost entirely from its association with Hockey Night in Canada. Yes, but you're airing HNIC, which means when you buy it, it will be worth a ton. Anyone else, maybe not. You, a gold mine. Example #2: But a bigger stumbling block, Mr. Moore noted, is the ongoing lawsuit Ms. Claman and Mr. Ciccone's firm filed against the CBC in late 2004. The plaintiffs argue the network was using the song beyond the scope of the contract. “You wouldn't do business with someone who's suing you. So we've offered many different ways to settle that litigation,” he said. Except that the CBC has already said it made an offer to buy the song. So, in other words, you were attempting to business with the rights holders, and now the optics are that you made a crappy offer, ticked off the other side and are backpedaling like crazy. I also know I have the option to buy that song as a ringtone. If the rights holders are suing partially for that reason, I think I can figure out who's pocketing the profits. Pay the nice people, Scott, and make the bad publicity go away. Here, by the way, is a really lousy column on the subject.

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:41 PM on June 06, 2008

Couple important points to consider: CBC is a crown corporation - meaning it's virtually a public owned entity. One should not look at it as a privately operated TV station like others. It has a federal mandate and gets a vast amount of funding from government coffers. So it has to be responsive to public sentiment. I would imagine a threat to remove the song resulted in a flood of angry emails. The HNIC theme song is a national treasure. I think it would be folly to underestimate the negative feedback that would accompany such a move. And would CBC be okay with TSN then buying the song and using it for their broadcasts? It's not just a "theme". It's an institution. (Ever want to identify the amount of Canadians in a foreign place? Simply begin the song - we'll just join in.) I think this is just a minor pissing contest and there is no way that the CBC will allow that song to walk.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 03:12 PM on June 06, 2008

It's an institution. Absolutely. I bet someone has done psychological experiments where they show 100 Canadians the opening to HNIC with the song, and 100 Canadians the opening to HNIC with some other song. My guess is that the people who saw the opening with the wrong song had a strong feeling of uneasiness and were more likely to turn the channel, or kill the person next to them. It would be like watching the opening to Star Wars with the music from Star Trek, or Superman with the music from Saturday Night Fever. You can do it, but it ain't right.

posted by grum@work at 04:19 PM on June 06, 2008

Can anyone send me to a link where I can hear this anthem....without paying 450$

posted by scuubie at 05:46 PM on June 06, 2008

After you get past the Nickleback/Kid Rock cover of "Saturday Night Is Alright (For Fighting)", you get the HNIC theme.

posted by grum@work at 07:12 PM on June 06, 2008

After you get past the Nickleback/Kid Rock cover of "Saturday Night Is Alright (For Fighting)", you get the HNIC theme. Not a fucking chance, chief. I'd be vomiting before I could hit the mute.

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:48 PM on June 06, 2008

Try this one instead. It is from the 70's but still has the recognizable “dunt-da-DUNT-da-dunt”. Old version of HNIC theme HNIC Theme by some high school band

posted by Miles1996 at 09:53 PM on June 06, 2008

And a better symphony version at Hockey Night in Canada - Kanata Symphony.

posted by Miles1996 at 09:58 PM on June 06, 2008

That music is as awful yet strangely, goofily endearing as the BBC match of the day intro music.

posted by holden at 11:37 PM on June 06, 2008

I say just stick with the classic CBC Sports intro and leave it at that. I'd rather have that than an open contest for people to submit their shit -- knowing HNIC's love affair with super-rural Canada, you're going to get nothing but shitty wannabe rockbands from places like Wawa or Moosomin, Saskatchewan.

posted by mkn at 12:18 AM on June 07, 2008

How much would it cost CBC to pay Lee/Lifeson/Peart for the rights to use Fly by Night? That would make hockey even awesomer than it already is.

posted by HATER 187 at 12:45 AM on June 07, 2008

I also know I have the option to buy that song as a ringtone. Thank goodness I don't have to pay per use for every incoming call during the lengthy NHL playoffs!!!

posted by Spitztengle at 07:19 PM on June 07, 2008

Somebody surely can speak to this better than me, but I'm just trying to put this debate into context. Compare this to other sporting "institutions" such as, say, Monday Night Football. Or the Chicago Bulls pregame show (Jordan era). [Maybe not the "best" examples, but] These have all changed from what they were at their peak of popularity, no? Yet people have seemed to get over it. But there's also something about the consistent audible identification of a program. Consider any other television (sitcom) theme song: M*A*S*H, Magnum, P.I., Cheers, etc. ... timeless. So what I'm trying to say is (a) I think that if the tune was dropped/changed ... people would still remember the “dunt-da-DUNT-da-dunt” and say, "remember this one?"; and simultaneously (b) I can't believe they (CBC) didn't lock this thing down ages ago.

posted by Spitztengle at 07:32 PM on June 07, 2008

The difference is that Hockey Night in Canada is a national institution (literally). It's run by a government corporation, it's broadcast on the most available channel in the nation, and is the longest running show in the history of prime-time Canadian television, and the subject matter (hockey) is considered one of the defining characteristic for this nation. When people refer to the theme song as the "second national anthem", it's only partly in jest.

posted by grum@work at 10:18 AM on June 08, 2008

I am totally going to enter the contest. I am totally not going to win.

posted by fabulon7 at 07:55 AM on June 09, 2008

grum's right. I don't think there's a true Stateside correlation to the original HNIC theme that matches how much emotional & sociological weight that music carries with Gordon & Sandra Canada.

posted by chicobangs at 09:47 AM on June 09, 2008

In breaking news, Toronto lawyer Gord Kirke has now been asked to help mediate in this crucial matter. Good grief.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:37 AM on June 09, 2008

Looks like TSN bought the rights. CBC loses.

posted by fabulon7 at 02:58 PM on June 09, 2008

CBC shoulda hired hockey attorney Gordon Bombay.

posted by irunfromclones at 05:31 PM on June 09, 2008

Looks like TSN bought the rights. CBC loses. This is a freakin' awesome turn of events! First the CFL, now the HNIC anthem ... all that is Canadian is (once again) CTV/TSN.

posted by Spitztengle at 12:14 AM on June 10, 2008

Looks like TSN bought the rights. CBC loses. And boy, did TSN ever trumpet their acquisition of "The Hockey Theme Song", as it is now known. It was the LEAD STORY for their broadcast, and they played pretty much the whole thing in the background while talking about it. They also mentioned that CTV/TSN/RDS now owns the rights to the song in perpetuity.

posted by grum@work at 09:04 AM on June 10, 2008

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