MuchMusic Doc '299 Queen Street West' Pulled From Crave's Schedule

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Fans hoping to watch the MuchMusic documentary this past weekend on Crave were left waiting without an explanation.

Described by Bell Media only as a "scheduling change," the much-anticipated 299 Queen Street West never made its way onto the company's streaming service, which had scheduled to premiere the film on Friday (January 26).

Directed by Sean Menard (The Carter Effect), the two-hour film features a wealth of footage from the MuchMusic archives, including artist interviews and performances from the 1980s, '90s and '00s. Menard also interviewed a number of one-time MuchMusic VJs to tell the history of the "Nation's Music Station" from its humble start in 1984 to its collapse in the early 2010s.

Menard took the original version of the film on a roadshow tour across Canada last fall to present the film to fans along with some former MuchMusic VJs. However, it appears to have hit a snag in its bid to stream on Crave.

Last October Universal Music Canada reportedly attempted to halt the cross-canada screenings, claiming the film used music from its artists without permission. According to the Canadian Press, the film includes an early performance by Avril Lavigne, as well as Seal unplugged and Noel Gallagher singing outside of the building at 299 Queen Street West. 

Universal said at the time that it was in negotiations to license the music with the filmmakers. In a statement, Universal acknowledged that the doc uses 12 tracks owned by the label, which offered a licensing fee for "a reasonable rate of $500 per track."

"At present, we are in active and good faith negotiations with the film’s legal and production team on the licensing of Universal’s recorded music," a label spokesperson said. "No legal action has been pursued at this time."

Menard told the Canadian Press that he believed his documentary followed fair dealing laws in Canada by using snippets of songs that were no more than 10 to 15 seconds long. Fair dealing allows copyright-protected materials to be used in certain cases without licensing, such as news reports, critical assessments, reviews and seemingly, documentaries.

The filmmaker consulted with a U.S. law firm during the film's post-production and was told what he was using fell under fair dealing law. "I licensed a huge chunk that doesn't fall under the fair use guidelines," he told the Canadian Press. "But there's a lot of the music and music videos shown that fall under that guideline."

Crave has yet to provide an update on if or when it will be adding the film back to its programming schedule.

Bell Media (parent company of this website) owns Crave.