My favourite independent music retailer has announced that they will be closing their doors permanently next spring after 25 years of operation.
CD Warehouse had at one time been a major source for compact discs and DVDs in Ottawa with three stores in the Ottawa area and another in Kingston, Ontario. But sales of compact discs have of course dropped significantly since the commercialization of music downloads on the internet and although the retailer has started selling vinyl and renting DVDs/Blurays, the reduction in stores and the closing of the chain was an eventuality.
The chain’s online counterpart, MyMusic.ca, also faltered and failed to gain traction against the major music retailers online. And unfortunately the industry has not provided enough new releases or re-releases to keep customers like me going to the store.
This closure will unfortunately result in the loss of yet another source for vinyl in my city. And now residents of the city will need to either go downtown for their used and new LPs or order these albums online.
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.
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.