Music Industry

Ontario Wants Help To Curtail Ticket Bots

The provincial government of Ontario is now consulting the public in regards to ticket bots.

“Ticket bots” enable companies and individuals to purchase large numbers of tickets to popular events almost instantaneously, requiring many regular consumers to pay significant more to see their favourite team, musical act or theatrical performance, as seen on CBC’s Marketplace.

A survey can be found by clicking here until March 15th, 2017.

Sunrise Records To Expand

Ontario music retailer Sunrise Records is planning on expanding into several former HMV locations through-out Canada this spring.

This chain’s nine stores are currently located in the province of Ontario and the company has been negotiating to take over 70 former HMV locations according to the Globe and Mail.

Unfortunately this will not include the flagship store at the corner of Yonge and Dundas in Toronto and several key street level locations in Canada. But the retailer is hoping to become profitable in 2018 regardless of their inability to secure these locations.

Goodbye HMV Canada

HMV Canada is closing all of its over 100 retail locations and everything is being sold at 30% off original ticket price at these stores.

They will be closing these stores by April 30th, 2017, permanently.

Sad News For Vinyl Fans

Canada Boy Vinyl has closed their manufacturing plant in Calgary after only sixteen months of operations.

This plant had just opened in September 2015 and had expected to take advantage of a resurgence in vinyl’s popularity. But there weren’t enough orders to make the plant sustainable so Dean Reid, the founder and chief operating officer of Canada Boy Vinyl, decided to cease its operations.

Burlington, Ontario’s new Precision Record Pressing plant is now the only vinyl pressing facility in Canada.

Hopefully sales will grow to make a domestic industry in Canada viable.

Tales From Much Music

From August 31st, 1984 to the late 1990’s, Much Music was truly Canada’s Music Station.

In its heyday this 24 hour television channel featured music videos from both major and independent labels, interviews with both popular and new artists, and live performances from multiple genres. And it introduced Canadians to both domestic and foreign performers and songwriters, causing the relatively new Canadian music industry to flourish and gain international notoriety.

Written by songwriter and former VJ Christopher Ward, “Is This Live ?” chronicles this network’s early history through excerpts of interviews with former Much Music staff members, on air personalities and popular recording artists from that period.

Christopher Ward had been one of the first VJs on Much Music and was a regular host on the channel until the late 80’s, occasionally hosting programs on the channel though-out the early 90’s, so i’d say this book qualifies as being the most definitive account of the stations early history.

As an avid watcher, I had always been curious about some of the finer details that were not included in the newspaper and magazine articles I had read on Much Music and Musique Plus’ history. And I believe this book pretty much covers it all, with a few extras about some of the station’s most popular Canadian music videos.

I highly recommend this book. And yes, it is available in hardcover and in digital format from Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, chapters.indigo.ca and iTunes Canada.

No to Internet Tax !

Apparently Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly is considering an Internet Tax to fund Canadian content, according to University of Ottawa professor Micheal Geist. And unfortunately for Canadians this tax may make internet access more expensive.

There are currently two taxes being considered ; One on content providers like Netflix and iTunes and another general sales tax on internet access. And although the previous tax may sound better than the latter, one has to wonder if all music, television programs and films purchased or rented online would be subjected to this tax, including those that are made available through the internet television providers.

SiriusXM subscribers are already subject to taxes and a “Music Royalty and Regulatory Fee of 14.2%”. But would the service also be subjected to this additional tax ? Will Apple Music subscribers need to pay for this additional tax ?

We currently pay nothing to listen to radio and to watch television offline. We also already pay taxes on compact disc, DVD and blu-ray purchases, which would not be subject to this new tax. It therefore makes no sense to charge people more taxes for the same content, especially when it involves the streaming of purchases matched or uploaded to a Cloud service.

Why does the government not fund Canadian Content by taxing Canadian broadcasters that run adverts online, when they stream foreign content ?

I’m sure Rogers and Bell would likely oppose this because they’d likely rather see the foreign services taxed instead. But the foreign services have no legal obligation to collect these taxes and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement would disallow this requirement, if passed.

We also currently pay taxes on our internet provider subscription fees so any additional tax would simply make it unaffordable for many Canadians.

Canadians spent on average $203 per month on communication services in 2014, according to a CRTC Report released in 2015, an increase of approximately 6% from 2013 ($11.92). And according to CBC News, there was a 10% increase on wireless and internet services specifically from 2013.

To dissuade use of foreign services like Netflix and iTunes, Canadians are also already subject to data caps and the proposed tax would simply make the unlimited internet plans less affordable.

Many Canadians also still pay a “Digital Services Fee” on their cable, satellite and television subscriptions, a fee that cannot be justified now that an analog service has been fazed out.

Could the government not demand this fee be replaced with a Canadian Content Improvement Fund fee instead ? Or will this obsolete fee be buried like that of Bell’s $2.80 Touch-Tone fee, which netted Bell $80 Million in 2013 according to CBC News ?

At the moment Bell is claiming the Digital Service Fee is collected to improve their services. But isn’t that what their investors are paying for ? Why their customers are being asked to pay more per month for television ?

Prior to September 2014, cable and satellite television subscribers in Canada paid a monthly 1.5% fee to the Local Programming Improvement Fund, which netted $106 million in 2011 for television stations in markets smaller than a million. And although this fee was discontinued, these subscribers barely noticed because they were asked to pay more for their television subscriptions shortly after.

The average monthly rate for television services paid by Canadians climbed from $65.25 in 2014 to $66.08 in 2015, according to CBC News ; A difference of 83 cents per month when the average monthly rate for Canadians for the Local Programming Improvement Fund was 50 cents. And with the mandated “skinny package” changes some have seen their monthly rates rise significantly since the spring of 2016.

I believe it makes more sense to apply a Canadian Content fee of a dollar or two to the sale of television antennas, digital converter boxes, digital television receivers/set top boxes, satellite/internet radio receivers and streaming media players in Canada, although some members of the public would likely not enjoy the prospect of paying it in addition to a Provincial environmental handling fee and having both fees taxed.

Perhaps a monthly fee of 1.5% on unlimited internet packages or bundled packages over $150/month would be the path of least resistance because it would likely be negligible to the subscribers of these specific bundles or packages.