Music Industry

New Fee May Hurt Small Clubs

The Calgary Herold reported yesterday that new fees for international performers have been introduced on July 31st, 2013.

Non-Canadian musicians, technicians, sound engineers, crew members and tour managers may now be subject to a $275 fee, per person, per venue. This amount is added to the $150 work permit fee that most of these people are required to pay to work in Canada.

Prior to the introduction of this fee most bands were subject to a maximum of $450 to play Canada’s smaller venues. But now the fees have quadrupled for some international acts resulting in extra expenditures that will be passed along to consumers.

This new fee will also hurt new and upcoming international performers who have not yet gained enough of an audience in Canada to play the larger venues, some of which are tax exempt.

A petition against the implementation of this fee is available at change.org. Please consider signing this petition.

Thank You.

PONO No Go?

In September 2012 Neil Young had introduced a prototype of his new PONO audio player during an interview on Late Night With David Letterman. And as an audiophile I have been awaiting updates on this new technology since.

This higher resolution audio technology promises to bring 24 bit or 32 bit recordings to consumers when most have only been exposed to the 16 bit recordings of CD or lower when it comes to mp3s. But some question whether it will sell because of the lack of sales in SACD and DVD Audio titles.

Personally I would love to have the depth of vinyl on a digital format. But even I would probably buy only a select amount of albums in this new format so I don’t know if it would get beyond niche market status. And though the PONO is portable I would probably only use it at home with higher end, noise cancelling headphones because I can’t stand headphones than sound like tin cans and strip the bass out of music or ear buds that don’t stay in and allow so much noise in that you need to raise the volume.

An interesting article on the possible pros and cons of this technology can be found at Evolver.Fm. But the article also concedes that little is known about the specific selling points of PONO other than it promises to bring high resolution recordings to consumers. The technology is still being worked on according to mypono.com and though most of the major labels have shown interest in PONO nobody knows if it will rely on a cloud service or not.

If this technology is deemed viable it will probably take some time to get it up and working so all we can do is speculate.

Alberta Flood Aid

A concert to help the victims of the flood in Alberta has been organized and will air online and via select Canadian cable and satellite providers today at 6 pm Central / 8 pm Eastern.

The four hour event will be hosted by Corner Gas star Brett Butt and feature performances by Jann Arden, Johnny Reid, The Sheepdogs, Corb Lund, Colin James, Tom Cochrane, Nickelback, Ian Tyson, Matthew Good, Randy Bachman, The Sadies and Loverboy.

    Where to Tune In :

  • Online on Youtube
  • Access Communications (Regina & Area)
  • Bell Fibe TV – Channels 993 (HD) and 994 (SD)
  • Bell Satellite – Channels 832 (HD) and 399 (SD)
  • MTS TV – Channels 801 (SD) and 1801 (HD)
  • Rogers Digital Cable – Channel 1 (Rogers Digital TV customers in ON, NB and NL)
  • Rogers TV – Channels 369 (HD) and 368 (SD) (Ontario)
  • SaskTel maxTV – Channels 605 (HD) and 602 (SD)
  • Shaw – Channels 4 (SD) and 214 (HD) (Calgary)
  • Shaw – Channels 11 (SD) and 214 (HD) (Edmonton)
  • TELUS Optik TV – Channels 675 (HD) and 135 (SD)
  • TELUS Optik – Channel 5 (SD) (Calgary and Edmonton)
  • TELUS Optik TV channels 997 (HD) and 9997 (SD) (Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge)
  • TELUS Satellite TV – Channels 832 (HD) and 399 (SD)

$10 Donations to the Calgary Foundation Flood Recovery Fund can be made by texting ABFLOOD to 20222 or via an online form.

Vevo/Youtube vs Buying Music Videos

As you may or may not know I like to purchase music video compilations.

I have been purchasing music videos since the late 80’s with the release of Def Leppard’s "Historia" on VHS and have since collected hundreds of compilations from various genres, my latest purchases being from iTunesicon. And I suspect that I will continue purchasing music videos and music video compilations regardless of the renewal of Youtube’s contract with Vevo.

I like Vevo. It enables me to preview music videos and watch videos that I can’t purchase. But I prefer owning music videos because I don’t want to be dependent on the internet and the site being online to watch music videos.

The adverts are acceptable and fund the site. But the logo in the bottom right can get distracting at times and they don’t carry every music video or allow me to every music video they have because of rights issues so I will probably keep searching eBay for that elusive DVD, DVD single and CD/DVD compilation.

Having watched music videos since the first airings of CBC programs Video Hits and Good Rockin’ Tonight, most of the music videos I am looking for are Canadian and from the 80’s, so quite a few music videos that I want are still unavailable on both Vevo and iTunesicon because they’re mostly interested in the most popular music videos. And the record companies don’t appear to be interested in releasing music video compilations until a certain profit threshold is reached, even when the compilation is already completed and mastered like Platinum Blonde’s "The Complete DVD Collection" and Honeymoon Suite’s "Bed of Nails".

I am definitely not a stranger to the pre-order delay and cancellation, having ordered dozens of video compilations that were eventually shelved. And though being able to access some videos on Vevo would be better than relying on low quality user uploads on Youtube, some of which are plagued with more intrusive logos, I would still prefer the ability to purchase these music videos individually.

Overall I’d say Vevo is a excellent service, when it has the videos you want and when it enables you to view them. And when the plug-in doesn’t crash !

Yes, I was listening to a Mylene Farmer video from Universal France while I was typing this and it crashed. And this happens from time to time on Youtube/Vevo as well. But I haven’t encountered these issues playing music videos I’ve purchased and downloaded to my drive or network drive.

I would of course purchase this particular video but it isn’t available on DVD or online yet. ARGH!

Oh well, time to check my European sources to see if Kate Bush’s "The Whole Story" was released on DVD or blu-ray. 🙂

Universal Records & The Resurgence of Vinyl

Universal Records has decided to start a new crowd funding campaign to address the resurgence of vinyl.

UVinyl, a.k.a The Vinyl Project, is proposing limited re-releases on vinyl from the Universal Music catalog. But few details have been made available yet and the official web site, which will be at uvinyl.com, has yet to have gone online.

All that is known is that donations may result in bonus content, like free music and/or video downloads and personalized art prints. But personally I’d like to see an artist / label partnership that enables donators to obtain rare recordings, like that of Eight Second’s “Almacantar.”

Eight Seconds is a rock band from Ottawa primarily known for Canadian hits “Kiss You When It’s Dangerous“, “Where’s Bula” and Sincere“, which were taken from this Universal Records album. And for “Tell Diane” and “No Picasso” from their subsequent release, “Big Houses” on ATCO Records.

A re-release of Almacantar may be imminent independent of this new project this year. But this could have been an interesting fallback, provided the band were consulted in an acceptable amount of time.

This being an American project I suspect most Canadian releases would take some time to be considered, not only because of popularity in the states but because of contractual and rights issues.

I suspect its success will depend on the compensation artists will receive for these re-releases, especially the lesser known acts. I’ve signed on to get more details on UVinyl and will post additional information, if any.

Canadian Musician Guitar Contest

Thought you’d like to know that Canadian Musician magazine and Erikson Music are giving away a guitar package. Details can be found by clicking here.

This contest ends August 31, 2013.