Music Industry

Canada Post Honours Canadian Country Stars

Canada Post have recently issued stamp collections honouring five of Canada’s top country music stars : Shania Twain, Hank Snow, Tommy Hunter, K.D Lang and Renée Martel.

The Shania Twain Limited Edition Framed Prints went rather quickly so don’t delay on placing your order for the framed prints dedicated to the other artists.

Click here for more details.

Songza Joins Google

Music streaming service Songza has announced that they are joining Google on a July 1st, 20014 blog entry. Google confirmed this purchase on a Google Play post, stating it will add the best features from the service to Google Play.

Excellent News For Music Fans

I have just received word that the “Tour Tax”, a prohibitive fee that international artists were subjected to when performing in Canada, has been scrapped.

This counterproductive fee kept newer artists out of Canada, especially independent and unsigned artists, and has caused many clubs to stop featuring live acts altogether. 

Over 143,000 signatures had been registered on a change.org petition promoted on this blog in 2013, which was presented to Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister for Multiculturalism.

Oh What A Feeling–The Next Generation

Fans of Canadian music and Canadian History will love this book.

Oh What a Feeling: The Next Generation includes the vast majority of the information found in its 1997 predecessor, which listed the major events of the Canadian music industry chronologically from 1886 to 1995, and extends this history further to 2013.

Additional events from 1886-1995 were added to this version as well as birth and death information, a chronology of Canadian hit songs since 1900 and profiles of the members of the Canadian Music Hall Of Fame since 1978.

This book is available from Amazon.ca and Chapters/Indigo.

Competition For The Pono ?

Another portable high resolution music device has made its way onto Indiegogo and surpassed their crowd-funding goal.

Geek wave promises the highest resolution audio available with a 32 bit/384 kHz plus DSD 128 component whilst being compatible with all music formats.

This music player “uses both a dual core MIPS32 MPU from Microchip Technology and an eight core 500MIPS CPU from XMOS” and features a user accessible lithium ion battery that can be swapped once the battery surpasses its expected two year lifetime.

Four devices are expected to be released in March 2015, ranging from a 160 mW device with 64 GB of internal storage to a 450 mW device with 128 GB of internal storage. And all of these devices have an external SDXC port to extend their storage capabilities by an additional two terabytes.

Incredible !

The Indiegogo campaign for these devices will end in 34 days and individuals can purchase one of the four devices at a significant discount by donating. Additional technical information can be found by clicking here.    

Google Play Music Comes To Canada

Google Play Music is now available to Canadians.

Canadians can now purchase music from this service and store their music library online in a cloud that can be accessed from computers and Android devices. But users of this service will of course be required to confirm their eligibility by using a credit card or debit card and will be required to install software on their computers and Android devices to access their library, Google Play music purchases and Google Play music subscription.

The price of individual track downloads range from $1.29 to $1.50 on this service whilst their music subscription service costs $9.99 per month ($7.99 prior to June 30th, 2014).

The initial set-up is relatively pain free though I suspect some individuals with low upload speeds will find it a bit time consuming.

Basically the Google Play music software scans your library for items Google doesn’t already have in their catalogue to download from your computer for your cloud and if you happen to have a significant number of these recordings the setup process may take some time.

Of the 2700 or so mp3 and iTunes recordings I have in my player ready directory, the directory where I store my very favourite music for easy transfer to my mp3 player, it recognised about 700. And the program didn’t accept a hundred or so DRM protected recordings so the process took about less than an hour using the highest bandwidth setting.

This means that people with a low upload rate will need to give the program time to download their recordings. But they shouldn’t have a problem doing something else while this happens in the background on a four core computer. And I listen to obscure French recordings so this can account for a large portion of the recordings that were not recognised.

I should also note that most of my recordings have a bit rate of 320 and the average mp3 has a considerably lower rate of 192 or 256. Google Play will likely recognise more of those 192 or 256 bit rate recordings and take less time to download the remaining lower rate recordings. 

Errors in cataloguing were rare in my case. I had issues with a David Foster recording and a duplicate entry for Bjork’s catalogue, both of which included characters that were replaced with Asian fonts. But the rest of my library appears fine. And like on iTunes purchases are automatically added to the cloud when purchased on Google Play.

I will of course be testing the Android software on my tablet over the next few days and posting an entry if I encounter any issues.