Canada

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.

Vinyl : Good News / Bad News

The Good News – A new 20,000 sq. ft vinyl record pressing plant will open in Burlington, Ontario in a few days and it will be the second largest plant in North America. Precision Record Pressing Incorporated will be handling independent releases, including some from Isotope Music, and major releases from Universal and Sony Canada.

The Bad News – Music blogger Pitchfork has reported that some independent records stores in the states have had their accounts closed by WEA, Warner Music’s distributor, because they’ve had less than $10,000 in orders per year. If this continues smaller retailers in the states might have issues keeping albums from Warner and their subsidiaries in stock.

It’s International Record Store Day !

Drop by at your local record store and browse for exclusive releases and merchandise.

PonoMusic Now Online In Canada

Canadians can now purchase high quality music from the Pono store and the PonoPlayer from Amazon.ca in either black or yellow. And don’t forget to check the Black Friday deals at Amazon.ca.

Shomi – First Impressions

Now that Shomi has been made available to all Canadians I thought perhaps i’d give you my first impressions on this service.

I started using Shomi a few months back when I switched from Bell to Rogers and I currently get it for free with my cable package. But I don’t think if i’d pay $8.99 per month for the service.

Although I can access the service conveniently via by set top box and view content without it counting towards my download/upload limit, I still have issues with the service in regards to content.

Like the Canadian version of Netflix, Shomi has a limited catalogue of television series and film. And I happen to already own the vast majority of my favourite films on the service.

On the other hand Hollywood Suite is being offered to me at $5.95 per month and features quite a lot of films, including some on demand. And Crave TV has a significant amount of television series i’d be interested in at $4 per month, but the later would count towards my download/upload limit.

If Crave TV was offered via Roger’s set top box i’d go for it, in a heartbeat. But Crave TV is operated by Bell Media, Roger’s competition. And they’re only going to start offering the service to the rest of Canada on January 1st, 2016.

I’m hoping Shomi will expand their selection considerably to compete but I seriously doubt it will happen for some time because of licensing.

Netflix Canada have been plagued by licensing issues that have kept them from offering as many titles as their American counterparts and i’m guessing that both Shomi and Crave TV will be subjected to the same limitations.

I’m definitely going to keep checking Shomi for new content. But I suspect Crave TV will win me over by February because it has South Park, Little Britain, Monty Python and several music documentary series like Classic Albums and the INXS television mini-series.

International Record Store Day 2015

It’s International Record Store Day and many independent retailers in Canada will be celebrating the event with sales and other promotions.

This is of course a great opportunity to find the vinyl you’ve always been looking for, or that rare CD that has yet to make it to iTunes. But you can also find memorabilia at some of these local stores like posters, hats, embroidered patches, etc. Or DVD/Blu-Rays featuring live concerts or music videos.

Click here for a listing of participating stores in Canada.