music

My Thoughts On The Throne Speech

There were quite a few music related  issues mentioned in the throne speech that I’d like to discuss, so here they are in the order presented in the speech :

Government assets

“Our Government will review federal assets; when it is in the best interest of Canadians, they will be sold.”

Unfortunately that may include the CBC/Radio Canada, which has been in the cross hairs for years.

The CBC/Radio Canada has remained a constant for the promotion of Canadian music so its loss to another major network would be felt through-out Canada. And I’m hoping that the support shown during the recent CRTC hearings will keep the CBC/Radio Canada going. But I suspect the current government will cut into this public broadcaster’s budget again soon.

Heather Conway will be the new executive vice-president of English-language services at the CBC in a few weeks so we should know CBC’s fate soon.

Cable/Wireless

“Our Government will take steps to reduce roaming costs on networks within Canada. Our Government believes Canadian families should be able to choose the combination of television channels they want. It will require channels to be unbundled, while protecting Canadian jobs.”

A deduction on wireless roaming fees would be great. But I have some doubt in regards to the reduction of cable fees through unbundling.

Yes, it would be more convenient to choose which channels you want. But will choosing individual channels result in lower monthly bills for the average consumer ?

The providers have been hiking their rates significantly higher than the rate of inflation, claiming the expansion of their services justified these rates. And I suspect they will fight any reduction tooth and nail until their industry is eventually decimated by online broadcasting.

The CRTC will be holding public hearings on the future of Cable and Satellite television, starting on the 24th of this month, and I’m sure Canadian consumers will make it abundantly clear that it’s time to move on.

I, for one, will probably only have an antenna and internet access in four to five years if they don’t get their hikes under control.

Rural Internet

“Our Government will continue enhancing high-speed broadband networks for rural Canadians.”

Good news but I just hope the rates will be more reasonable. There definitely needs to be a reduction in price to make these services more affordable to the average Canadian consumer.

I would hate having to download music and stream music videos using the very limited speeds found in some rural communities. And with cutbacks at Canada Post access will become essential.

At Par Purchasing ?

“And our Government will take additional action to protect Canadian consumers. Canadians are tired of hidden fees. They deserve to know the real cost of paying by debit or credit card. And they should not be charged more in Canada for identical goods that sell for less in the United States.”

When I purchase books I mostly purchase music biographies, industry books and sheet music. But I’ve pretty much given up on purchasing books in my local book stores because of the higher Canadian sticker prices.

I don’t think the industry can be helped now because of the e-Book, which is much more convenient. But it could help people who prefer paperbacks, like yours truly.

My most recent paperback purchase was Belinda Carlisle’s Lips Unsealed: A Memoir, whose regular price is $17 in Canadian book stores but $15 in American book stores.

The difference in price is usually attributed to higher labour and transportation costs but many consumers have been questioning whether this is a valid argument since our dollar got strong.

Seriously, if it weren’t for the shipping costs I’d probably buy more from the states and several Americans companies have already started offering free shipping to Canadians. The Canadian retailers definitely need to get their prices down.

The prices on compact discs and DVDs/Blu-rays are o.k but when it comes to imports I can still find better deals outside of Canada, even with shipping & handling.

For example, I just imported Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven On Earth" and "Runaway Horses" CD/DVD boxed sets from England for $35, shipping and handling included. These British releases would have cost me at least $42 to purchase in Canada, with free shipping but taxes not included.

I don’t know what measures can be taken to help this situation on the federal level. But as a consumer I’d appreciate lower costs.

I’m sure rural Canadians would enjoy an elimination of the fees associated to paper billing proposed in this speech. But I’m guessing public consultations will probably be required for most of these changes.

I will of course post additional details on these issues as they come along.

Apple To Introduce New Radio Service In Canada

iTunesicon Radio is on its way into Canada, offering iTunesicon users on Macs, PC and Apple mobile devices the ability to create their own stations.

Funded by advertisements, the service will stream music from pre-set and customizable stations to iTunes icon and may be ad free for iTunes Matchicon subscribers.

The service will feature an extensive selection of recordings from iTunesicon’ catalogue.

Where is Puretracks ?

Puretracks and several Puretracks powered sites appear to have gone down over the weekend.

My brother made me aware of this problem last Friday and I had assumed they were updating or were subject to a glitch. But I am still unable to access the sites as of 1 AM Eastern Time on September 3rd, 2013.

Complaints about the inaccessibility of the site also appear on the service’s Facebook page. But I have not been able to find much of anything else online.

They haven’t posted anything on their Facebook or Twitter account about an issue, though the latter has entries from the 30th of August that imply Puretracks is gone, allegedly from people in the company.

A new version of Puretracks had gone online on June 14th, 2013. But apparently customers weren’t satisfied with the new site according to several Facebook entries and I’m guessing that some of their customers were lured elsewhere with lower prices.

More and more cell providers are also offering unlimited streaming of music so I suspect Puretracks may be gone, though I have no confirmation of this other than a few rare scattered pieces of information on the internet.

I’ve contacted Pizza Pizza in regards to this issue because they seem to be having problems as well with chooseyoursongs.com, a Puretrack powered site where their customers can redeem Peel ‘N Win music downloads.

I will of course update this entry if I find something else.

UPDATE: Pizza Pizza has moved their Peal ‘N Win music download code redemption to Universal Music Group’s Getmusic.ca.

More Memorabilia

Amazon.ca had just activated the beta version of their Toys and Games Store, which features Action and Toy Figurines, Die Cast Vehicles, Games, and various other memorabilia from from music, film, television and internet.

Their selection is limited compared to their American Store but I suspect they will expand quite significantly in or by October or November.

Canadian Musician Guitar Contest

Thought you’d like to know that Canadian Musician magazine and Erikson Music are giving away a guitar package. Details can be found by clicking here.

This contest ends August 31, 2013.

Legal Music Download Listing Updated

I’ve just added a few entries to my Music/Video/Book Downloads listing. Hope you enjoy it.