Music Technology

Get Your Security Updates !

A new Wi-Fi exploit has been discovered and you should update all of your devices a.s.a.p.

That includes anything that uses wi-fi, from your desktop/laptop to tablet/cell phone. And yes, some devices will not be patched immediately so keep trying.

Microsoft has patched their software, from Windows 7 to 10, and Apple is currently working on getting their iOS patches up and running, having already released them for developers. But Android users may need to wait until November 6th, 2017 for an update.

In the case of Linux operating systems and routers, OpenBSD systems have already been patched and patches are available for Debian-based systems. But most of the router manufacturers are working on firmware updates so you’ll need to contact your Internet Provider or Router manufacturer for details on that.

The problem is the KRACK wi-fi vulnerability, which is an issue to anyone that accesses non-secured websites online and doesn’t use a Virtual Private Network to do so. But it should be noted that Android and Linux users are more vulnerable to the exploit than anyone else because most of the other desktop and laptop operating systems are more complex.

The good news is that if you rent a cable modem from your internet provider, it will be updated by your internet provider soon (if it isn’t already updated). And if you don’t use your tablet and phone to browse the net outside your home, you will likely not have an issue.

If you use public wi-fi services in hotels or at your local coffee shop/restaurant, then I would recommend keeping an eye on updates and getting a virtual private network set up on your device to encrypt your internet, including those unencrypted sites you browse on.

By the way, there’s no point in changing your wireless password but you should change your router’s admin password, especially if it’s been left at default. :-/

Streaming Taxes In Quebec

It appears that streaming services like Netflix might be subject to provincial sales taxes in Quebec soon.

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said this could be a possibility soon, depending on the details of the $500 million Canadian Content deal the federal government has worked out with Netflix.

Some download and streaming services are already subject to provincial or harmonized sales taxes, like iTunes, Apple Music and other services that are based in Quebec or in Canada.

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Anti-Scalping Legislation Introduced

New legislation was introduced to the Ontario Parliament yesterday to prohibit the use of ticket bots, software that enables the mass purchase of concert and event tickets.

Schedule 3 of Bill 166, a.k.a the Strengthening Protection for Ontario Consumers Act, will enact the Ticket Sales Act, which will replace the Ticket Speculation Act and essentially cause automated ticket purchasing software to become illegal for events in the province of Ontario.

Also included in the Ticket Sales Act are provisions capping the resale price of tickets at 50 percent above face value, regulations in regards to transparency (mandatory disclosures of the identity of the seller, number of tickets in the seller’s possession, and original ticket price) and regulations in regards to mandatory residency and/or incorporation in the province of Ontario for ticket sellers.

Click here to read the proposed legislation, in full.

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Piracy in Streaming

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has released a report (PDF) this month and although it appears that the majority of consumers use legal streaming services to listen to music, 40% stream music from sites that are illegal.

These illegal sites, unfortunately, do not give royalties to the artists and also appear to be promoted by Google via their search engines.

This has become a concern because 85% of music consumers from the age of 13 to 15 stream music and video according to this report and the IFPI believes the issue is compounded by the popularity of music videos on Youtube, which “accounts for 46% of all time spent listening to on-demand music”; The IFPI believes upload services like Youtube “are not returning fair value to the music community”.

More people are listening to legal streaming services though, which is up from 37% last year to 45% this year. But the IFPI wants to obtain more revenue from Youtube, comparable to that of Spotify, whose royalties are estimated to be $20 per user, per year; The report claims less than a dollar in royalties are collected per user per year from Youtube.

The IFPI is also concerned about stream ripping, which involves the capturing of audio from streaming services.

This report estimates that more users are stream ripping, up from 30% last year to 35% this year. But advancements have been made to end this practice with the dismantling of YouTube-MP3.org earlier this month.

That site enabled its 60 million plus users to rip audio from Youtube videos but the Recording Industry Association of America sued and the owners of this site settled by closing it down.

RIAA had also successfully closed Sharebeast as well this month, a site that “averaged 14-16 million visits per month at its height in 2013” according to the Official RIAA press release.

Netflix Update

A few minutes ago I got an email from Netflix Canada saying I will be paying more this month, in line with the previously announced hike in fees.

The new rates are of course as follows :

$8.99 for Basic subscription (inc. SD broadcasts on one device only)
$10.99 for Standard subscription (inc. HD broadcasts on up to two devices)
$13.99 for Premium subscriptions (inc. both HD and 4K broadcasts on up to four devices)

Lately, they’ve been adding more films, music documentaries, and concerts so I’m probably going to continue subscribing for the time being. The second season of Stranger Things is coming up in late October.

Although I am somewhat concerned that Disney will be pulling Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar films from Netflix soon, I already own my favorites from these film companies on Blu-ray and DVD (thanks to the Disney Movie Club) so I don’t think I will miss them.

Discounted Gift Cards

Select Rexall stores are offering a $5 discount on $50 iTunes gift cards until September 14th, 2017. Please consult your local flyer for details.