music

Canada Day – Recommended Reading

It’s Canada’s 150th and Montreal 375th anniversary this year so I thought I’d recommend some of my favorite Canadian music history books:

– “Oh What A Feeling – The Next Generation” by Martin Melhuish

Originally released in conjunction with a four-CD compilation to commemorate the 25th anniversary of The Juno Awards, “Oh What A Feeling – A Vital History of Canadian Music” featured a year by year chronological account of Canada’s music history as well as information on the Juno Awards from 1971 to 1996.

“The Next Generation” is an updated version that was released in 2014, with additional information relating to upcomming artists, notable births and deaths, Hall Of Fame inductees and Juno Award Winners. Available from Amazon.ca / Amazon.com / Chapters-Indigo

– “Music From Far and Wide” – by multiple authors

This official Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences book was released in 2010 to celebrate the Juno Award’s 40th Aniversary and provides an in-depth history of the organisation and creation of the Juno Awards, with a list of Juno Award winners up to 2010 as well as a listing of Board of Directors from 1975 to 2010.

This book can be found at some local book stores, at Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

– “Is This Live?” by Christopher Ward

As the Nation’s music station, Much Music had been the epicenter for music in Canada from the mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s. And this book by VJ and songwriter Christopher Ward not only discusses the history of the station but makes notes of many events that occurred at the infamous 899 Queen Street West.

This is a must for Canadian fans of 80’s music. Available from Amazon.ca / Amazon.com / Chapters-Indigo

– “Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia” by Jaimie Vernon

Originally released as the “Encyclopedia of Canadian Rock Pop & Folk Music” in 2004 by Rick Jackson, this artist by artist account of Canadian music history has now become a multiple volume compilation, the first two listing artists alphabetically from “A Thru K” and “L thru Z“, respectively, and a recent celebration of the country’s “Vinyl Years“.

Published in 2011, the first two volumes include information on specific artists (brief history and discography) up to 2010 whilst the third volume concentrates on artists whose vinyl releases were popular up to 1996. All three volumes are available from Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

– “Top 40 Hits” / “Top Albums” by Nanda Lwin

These reference guides list the chart activity of domestic and international artists in Canada up to 1999 for singles and 2003 for albums. These are of course a must for people who are interested in Canadian music history and altough they are out of print, you can still find “Top 40 Hits” at Alibrisicon, Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. And other chart information can be obtained from the RMP database on Library and Archives Canada and from a blog simply entitled “Canadian Music Blog“, which also contains a wealth of chart information including the best selling singles and albums by year and decade.

Make Speakers or Headphones Wireless

The Roger is a new wireless Bluetooth adapter from Hong Kong that you can plug your headphones and speakers to make them wireless. Click here for more details on this product’s Kickstarter campaign.

Goodbye HMV Canada

HMV Canada is closing all of its over 100 retail locations and everything is being sold at 30% off original ticket price at these stores.

They will be closing these stores by April 30th, 2017, permanently.

The Boxing Day Sales Are Online

The Boxing Day Sales have begun and here are the retailers I usually shop at :

Amazon.ca has Boxing Week specials on various item, notably film boxed sets, drones and various other products.

Best Buy Canada is offering quite a few items on sale, including a large amount of televisions. Not many blu-rays or DVDs but there are a few turntables.

The Brick is offering discounts of Home Electronics including televisions and home audio, including a Sony USB turntable and Sylvania Nostalgia 5-in-1 Music Centre. The latter is discounted, considerably.

Chapters / Indigo is offering up to 50% off various books and merchandise, with an additional 20% if you use Masterpass. This offer ends on the 31st.

HMV Canada is pretty much Canada’s largest remaining entertainment store chain. They offer good deals on blu-rays, boxed sets, vinyl and film/music memorabilia. But always do some comparison shopping. And if you find something today, don’t forget to use coupon code HMV2016 to save $5 on shipping and handling on orders over $25.

Henry’s is a chain that primary sells cameras and accessories. But they also sell drones and video camera accessories. Youtubers may find a deal or two here.

Ikea Canada doesn’t sell televisions or home theatre or audio items. But they do sell shelves and accessories. They are currently offering free shipping on orders over $50 that are placed today, December 25th, 2016. I particularly like the Gladsax picture frame, which is used to frame LP covers.

Like many of Canadian’s major retailers, Leons is mostly offering discounts on televisions. But there are deals to be had in Home Theatre & Entertainment. Shop around for the best deals.

Long & McQuade is a music instrument and accessory store. And they are will be having specials on quite a few item from December 16th to December 31st, 2016. If you’re a musician, you might want to check them out.

Microsoft Canadaicon‘s Boxing Week sale features PCs, the Surface, the X-Box and various accessories.

Newegg.ca had quite a few Boxing day discounts on computers, computer accessories, gaming systems and home entertainment systems. And like Chapters/Indigo they are offering a discount on purchases made with Masterpass, this time $25 off purchases over $200 using coupon code MPBOX25 until Midnight PST December 28th, 2016. Vinyl fans should note that they offer a considerable amount of turntables and accessories.

Sears Canada is offering quite a few items on sale, including headphones ((12/25 – 12/28) Beats By dre headphones – white $129.97) and other daily discounts on specific products. Look for specials in the Portable & Home Audio and Home Theatre, especially on the 26th.

The Source has televisions, computers, tablets, cameras and accessories on sale. But i’ve seen better prices for some of their sale items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. And their record players are pretty much the same price as Newegg Canada.

New Streaming Service For Canadians

Amazon Prime Video is now available to Canadians.

The service can now be accessed via multiple devices and is free for Amazon Prime and Amazon Student subscribers in Canada.

Free trial subscriptions are available for both the streaming service and aforementioned shipping services – Click here for details on the 30 day trial subscription offered to the general public or click here for details on the six month trial subscription being offered to Canadians college and University students.

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.