Music Technology

Au Revoir MusiquePlus

Quebecois music video broadcaster MusiquePlus will go off air in August.

This is one the channels I use to watch alternatively with Much Music in the 80’s and 90’s, which introduced me to francophone rock and pop from Quebec/Canada, France and Belgium, through music videos and live performances.

Unfortunately, like most music channels they started diversifying their content in the late 90’s, slowly leaving music videos behind and i’ve stopped watching it because it had been flooded with “reality” programs.

When Youtube came along in 2005, this was the beginning of the end for these stations, the coup de grace being Vevo, which came online in December 2009.

I will miss it, especially Claude Rajote’s “Le Cimetière des CD”, one of the channel’s longest running music critique program.

A Sad Day In The U.k

The last remnants of HMV are in trouble in the United Kingdom according to Sky News, a year and a half after closing in Canada.

Founded in 1921 in London, this music store flourished and became Britain’s largest music retailer until running into financial issues in 2010 due to the shift towards digital music and film, which resulted in the closure of the World’s Largest Music Store on Oxford Street on January 14th, 2014 and Irish chain in August 2016.

Today the chain has entered administration for the second time since January 5th, 2011 and at risk are 130 stores and 2200 employees.


Gift Card Offers

Select Real Canadian Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart stores are offering 10% discounts on Google Play gift cards, whilst select Sobeys stores are offer 15% discounts on $50 and $100 App Store and iTunes gift cards.

The Real Canadian Superstore and Sobeys offers will end on December 19th, 2018. But the Shoppers Drug Mart offer will end on the 21st of December, 2018.

Some Uniprix stores are also offering $3 discounts on $50 App Store & iTunes gift cards until the 19th as well. 

Please consult your local flyers for details. And don’t forget to keep an eye on them for future offers. 

News For Echo Owners

Amazon and Apple have come to an agreement in regards to the streaming of Apple Music on Amazon’s Echo devices and Echo owners will be able to stream music from the service as of December 17th, 2019.

Last month Amazon had also agreed to carry official Apple products and accessories.

Netflix Canada Price Hike? Really?

Netflix has decided to raise their monthly subscription plan prices by three dollars, days before the departure of Disney, Pixar and Marvel films from their service.

Yes, I am as baffled as you are in regards to this timing. But apparently they think they have enough material to keep their current customers, which in my case is quite the risk.

I already have my favourite Disney, Pixar and Marvel films on blu-ray thanks to the Amazon and the Disney Movie Club. And Prime Video has just recently expanded their catalogue, although it needs to expand further to be compatible with Netflix, especially when it comes to concerts and music documentaries.

My previous relationship with Netflix was on and off due to their lack of material and they’re basically keeping me on with the odd film, stand up comedy program, concert and the American remake of The Office. And unfortunately for them I own quite a few films from their catalog on DVD and blu-ray already.

It would be nice to be able to just store these away and use the service to view them but they’re still not up to par with the American service and they don’t appear to be interested in foreign language films from Europe.

For example, where are the great French performances by Louis De Funes, Gerard Depardieu and Pierre Richard? Where’s the Gaumont film catalogue?

Netflix Canada need more films like “The Train To Busan”, on top of the mainstream classic Hollywood productions. And I suspect that if no major improvements are made that I will be leaving the service again, especially if they subject me to yet another $3 hike within two years.

It should also be noted that DC Universe is also starting its own streaming service in Canada shortly, which will likely cause additional material to disappear from Netflix Canada’s catalog. But I guess all we can do is wait and see what will happen in 2019.

Another Cash Grab?

The Copyright Act is being reviewed by the Canadian Government and some Canadians are of course concerned that this will include an extension of private copying levies to cell phones and the possibility of websites being blocked for minor copyright violations.

Unfortunately the government has been pretty quiet about this since their December 17th, 2017 press release and I didn’t want to speculate. But a line in the sand needs to be drawn, regardless of what is and isn’t being considered in the closed door meetings they might be having with foreign lobbyists.

I don’t think cell phones should be subject to the private copying levy because streaming is the preferred method of obtaining music on this device according to Music Canada, some customers listening to radio on these devices. And the possibility of having my site blocked because I accidentally linked a site that decided to offer pirated music is just absurd but these kind of proposals have been made in other countries.

This isn’t about giving artists more of their dues but giving labels more money. And streaming is where the improvements are needed when it comes to royalties for artists, so I see no point in levying cell phone storage.

The Copyright Board proposed levying hard drives and microSD memory cards in 2014 but that propose was rejected because a “recording audio medium” is defined by Part VIII, Section 79 of the Copyright Act as “a recording medium, regardless of its material form, onto which a sound recording may be reproduced and that is of a kind ordinarily used by individual consumers for that purpose”.

A cell phone’s primary function is communication, not the receipt, storage and playback of music. And this device is also used to take and view photographs and videos.

It makes no sense to levy this device for royalties for music and nothing else. And this slippery slope is not advantageous for consumers, who would object to paying levies for storing photographs, video and games on their new smartphone, or tablet.

I don’t like being gouged on data fees so I don’t listen to music, watch videos or play video games on mine now. And I seriously doubt i’d enjoy paying more for a newer model, for services I wouldn’t use.

Do we really want to burden the cell phone industry with this? And when it comes to blocking, this can be bypassed with Virtual Private Network services, so is the government going to go after those as well in the name of copyright?

VPNs are used by people who travel and use public wi-fi, for security reasons. Do we really want to loose access to this service over piracy? When a sharp decline in music piracy was observed in 2017 by Music Canada?

A form has been made available by Open Media to provide comments to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology on these issues.

Please submit this form and share this link and your opinions on social media before September 17th, 2018. Thank you.

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