downloads

Apple Ending Music Downloads?

Since mid-March there have been rumours that Apple may be ending music downloads on March 31st, 2019 to promote their Music Streaming services. But contradictory statements have been issued so I don’t personally believe Apple would shut down such a lucrative service.

Yes, the streaming service has become quite popular with iPhone users and streaming accounted for 65% of the music sales in 2017 according to the Recording Industry Association of America. But digital downloads still accounted for 15% of these sales last year, regardless of their 25% reduction in sales from the previous year and iTunes retains a good percentage of these sales.

I support artists by buying music and music video downloads from iTunes, Google Play and CD Baby because artists generally get more royalties from these download services than their streaming counterpart, although it should be noted that SOCAN did confirm a hike in streaming royalties in their 2016 annual report.

I don’t own an iPhone and I am not interested in owning one, preferring to listen to my music on an older Sony digital music player instead of draining my Sony Xperia smartphone’s battery to listen to music. And iTunes has been my primary source of music since Puretracks closed, on both the Windows and Apple operating systems, so i’m hoping they will continue the service because I am not that interested in streaming services.

Although I have installed Spotify and several other streaming services on my desktop and tablets, the vast majority of the music I listen to was copied off compact discs and I don’t want to need an internet connection to play my music.

I’m not willing to pay extra to listen to music I already paid for and I occasionally visit areas with little to no internet access so paid streaming is not the best option for me.

I guess we’ll see what they’re planning my March 31st, 2019 and I will definitely contact them with my concerns if they ever choose to bow out of music downloads.

Loyalty Program Update and Tips

Air Miles has decided to cancel their plans to expire points that are five years old. And although that news is good, members may now need to keep an eye on the amounts they need to redeem for rewards.

Apparently the company that owns and operates Air Miles, LoyaltyOne, has stated in a document for stockholders (Form 8-K – Alliance Data dated December 1st, 2016) that they may adjust these amounts :

LoyaltyOne will adjust the value proposition to collectors to offset the lost economics resulting from a reduction in the breakage rate estimate and to maintain, as closely as possible, the economics of the AIR MILES reward program prior to cancellation of the expiry policy“.

I like Air Miles and will continue to collect them. But unfortunately I can’t use them to pay for music downloads anymore and have been using up my miles on groceries, theatre tickets and gas.

They do offer turntables, headphones, speakers and other electronics to members that collect Dream Rewards. But I chose the Cash Rewards program because it’s more convenient for me. And if ever I want a reward offered on the other program, I can simply take the money I would have spent on my groceries, theatre tickets, gas, etcetera and save it to purchase the reward elsewhere.

From time to time gift cards are discounted at grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations, so you could always buy those with your savings instead and save more.

With a bit of research you can find better deals, especially at this time of the year. And nothing stops you from using cash back rewards programs like eBates.ca and cash back credit cards to save more.

In regards to cash back credit cards and purchases made on credit cards via the rewards programs, it is always more advantageous to pay those amounts in full, before their high interest starts gobbling up your savings.

If you are able to pay these in full, you can always maximize your returns by using a cash back credit card on your eBates.ca purchases. And there are also bonus points offers out there.

For example, Air Miles collectors can purchase gift cards at participating Shell gas store locations can get up to 50 Miles by purchasing them in five separate visits this month (click here for details). These cards can then be used on purchases either for bonus Air Miles (via airmilesshops.ca) or a cash rebate from eBates.ca.

Unfortunately neither Netflix or iTunes is on eBates.ca but you may want to also take advantage of several offers on gift cards for those film and music download services this week.

Participating Rexall stores are giving 55 bonus Air Miles on $60 Netflix gift card purchases until December 8th, 2016 whilst participating Shoppers Drug Mart stores are giving 3000 bonus Optimum points on $50 iTunes gift card purchases until December 9th, 2016. Consult your local flyers for details.

In regards to other loyalty programs, note that Esso Extra reward point members can redeem 4,500 Points for $25 gift cards at Esso Gas locations (which includes card for Indigo and Cineplex) and Aeroplan members can redeem 3,500 Miles for a $25 iTunes gift Card or 13,000 miles for a $100 Indigo gift card or 68,500 miles for a $500 Best Buy gift card.

It should be noted that Aaroplan had decided to cancel their plans to cause their points to expire in 2013 and that Private Members Bill 47, the Protecting Rewards Point Act, is expected to pass in the Ontario Provincial Legislature next week.

Gift Card Offer : Real Canadian Superstore

Select Real Canadian Superstores are offering coupons for 10% off $50 iTunes gift cards, which can be found in their latest flyer.

This coupon will expire on August 27th, 2015. Check your local flyer for details.

Gift Card Offers & More

Paypal is offering 10% discounts on iTunes digital gift card purchases until 10pm Eastern on December 30th, 2014. This offer is only valid on $25, $50 and $100 demonitation cards. Click here for details.

BTW, there is also a boxing day sale on this year’s top films on iTunes. Enjoy.

Gift Card Discount

Participating Rexall Pharmaplus stores are offering 10% discounts on iTunes gift cards valued above $25 until October 30th, 2014. Please consult your local flyer for details.

Some Staples locations are also offering $100 iTunes cards for $85, a $15 discount. That offer ends on October 28th, 2014.

Spotify Coming Soon

Spotify is now taking requests for invites from Canadians.

This Swedish advertisement funded music streaming service will be available on most devices and platforms shortly in Canada.

Click here for details.