Music Technology

Who wants to pay more for basic cable?

Yes, Telus has been charging a 1.5% fee whenever their customers use a credit card since mid-October and now Bell Canada, Cogeco, Eastlink and Sasktel applied to start upping their rates every year “based on the annual consumer price index for the period ending December 31 of the preceding calendar year”, which means everyone will likely be paying way more for something that gets less and less appealing every year.

I currently stream most of the television programs I watch on a Roku television or watch over the air broadcast using a digital antenna and LTE/5G filter so I question the logic of hiking basic cable when most people are cutting the cord and starting to watch the Canadian networks online.

Some of them still charge fees for some of their programming but when it comes to news and weather, these are available free from CBC, Radio Canada, Global, CTV and The Weather Network via their apps, which are available for mobile devices and on smart televisions. And I suspect they will eventually offer advertisement sponsored streaming and time shifting, like CBC and Radio Canada have.

When it comes to comedy and drama that also airs on television, I now find myself watching them on Youtube, Prime Video and Disney+, basically viewing cable as a bonus in a discounted package with cell service, where I occasionally record programs that are unavailable online.

I also binge watch series on Netflix and Prime Video, the latter making Global and multiple other networks available for relatively affordable rates, so I believe these hikes are not conducive to the retaining of subscribers.

Bell just recently upgraded their fibre network, allowing some to download and upload at speeds up to 3 GBPS. And these occurred in multiple cities where over the air broadcasts are strong and readily available to most residents of these cities, so what could stop an independent provider from offering basic cable packages at less than $20.

I suspect most subscribers would be happy paying less for 1080p broadcasts, which is what one finds over the air, and prefer tuning into 4k primarily for films and sports. And Netflix is also still loosing subscribers so I think this hike is not fully thought out.

Is Bell trying to nudge people towards Crave, a streaming service that has just recently dropped prices to attract more subscribers? Who knows. But you have until October 28th, 2022 to comment on the proposal to hike basic cables rates from $25 to $28 “with subsequent yearly adjustments based on inflation“.

Sennheiser (Canada) Inc.

Debit Down @ Many Retailers

Interac is still down in some areas due to the Rogers outage after issuing this notice on Facebook:

“There is a nationwide Rogers outage that encompasses all their business and consumer network services. This is impacting INTERAC Debit and INTERAC e-Transfer. INTERAC Debit is currently unavailable online and at checkout. INTERAC e-Transfer services are unavailable at most financial institutions, impacting the ability to send and receive payments. We are waiting for updates from Rogers on their time to resolution.”

Rogers and Telus have outages through-our Canada but mostly concentrated in Ontario, where some credit card services are also down. But some service has been restored and will be restore shortly according to this statement from Rogers.

Those choosing to use free wi-fi service using their mobile devices should use VPN services to secure their devices.

UPDATE – July 9th, 2022 : The following was just posted on Twitter:

Best VPN Service (English Banners)

Canadian Tire/Apple Offer

Participating Canadian Tire stores are offering $5 in CT Money for every $50 Apple Gift Card purchased in their stores until June 30th, 2022. Please consult your local flyer for details.

Jack White Appeals To The Labels

In 2021, vinyl sale revenue grew by 61% in the states to a Billion Dollars according to the Recording Industry Association of America. But the major labels don’t have their own pressing plants, regardless of vinyl’s ever growing popularity. And unfortunately album pressings are delayed here in Canada as well.

Hopefully there won’t be any delays for Record Store Day on April 24th.

Early Shopping Recommended

Shipments of certain products are being delayed by multiple factors so most retailers are recommending that people shop early to get what they want for the holiday season. And unfortunately the domestic production of certain goods has also been hindered by the delayed importation of certain components, so you might want to consider shopping early.

This unfortunately also includes vinyl LPs due to a worldwide shortage of polyvinyl chloride, which is causing a backlog in vinyl manufacturing. And certain electronics that play music are also being delayed by the shortage in semiconductors.

Yes, deals can still be had at retailers like Amazon Canada, which decided to spread their Prime deals out over a longer period instead of having a Prime Day this year. And other retailers, like Microsoft Store Canadaicon and Sennheiser Canada, are offering discounts early to accommodate customers. But they may run out of certain items soon.

Your best bet would be to shop around to find the best deal and to buy or order your items immediately, especially if it’s being purchased from a retailer outside Canada.

Alibris: Books, Music, & Movies

Happy National Vinyl Day!

I was born in the 70’s so I grew up listening to my parent’s vinyl record collection; Some ABBA here, some Simon & Garfunkel there, and The Carpenters, Louise Tucker and a few greatest hits albums from pop artists in-between. But most of their collection comprised of opera, trumpet music, and classic recordings from Beethoven, Mozart, Albinoni, and Dvorak, which is probably why I tend to lean towards vinyl for those genres.

By the time I was buying music on my own in the late ’80s, I bought 45s and cassettes, the latter being more convenient for me when it comes to albums.

They were portable and you could compile your favorite 45’s to cassette. But I rarely bought full-length albums on vinyl because the high fidelity equipment was just too expensive in the sparsely populated area of New Brunswick I grew up in. And although compact discs were available, they were $25 or more so most of my collection ended up on cassette, which sounded comparable to vinyl to me.

Years later when I moved to Ottawa, I continued to purchase both cassettes and vinyl. And when compact discs started becoming available at reasonable prices the only reason I purchased vinyl was that the album wasn’t released on compact disc at the time, like Eye Eye’s “Just In Time To Be Late” and One To One’s “Forward Your Emotions

I had stopped buying full-length albums on cassette, buying only a few cassette singles on the side, and preferred compiling my favorite recordings off LP not only because it was cheaper but sounded better on cassette, CD-R, and higher bit rate WAV and MP3.

Coincidentally, one of my very last cassette purchases was Metallica’s self-titled “Black Album“, which was released 30 years ago today. And with that purchase I paused my vinyl collection, other than the rare backup recording, and having upgraded to compact disc and DVD audio, this collection pretty much remained in my basement and gathered dust until 2010 when I finally dusted off the record player and started to make copies of my rarer recordings to play on my Sony mp3 player, which had better bass than most of the other players I had tried.

I am now back to collecting vinyl reissues of my very favorite albums, like Fleetwood Mac’s “Tango In The Night” and Talk Talk’s “Natural History” because these have yet to be released in high fidelity formats like DVD audio or Blu-ray audio. And are not likely to be because streaming is what the industry appears to be interested in now.

The remastered 180 gram vinyl of the Black Album will be released in September and I’m still eyeing the 30th Anniversary remastered vinyl of Def Leppard’s “Hysteria“, both of which are clearly not going to be re-released on the aforementioned digital formats, regardless of their popularity, although quite frankly, I would have probably purchased the LPs had they been available on those formats anyway.

I’m probably going to bring a few home when I eventually go out and shop in the fall, when everything calms down.

Would any of you have a copy of the Japanese pressing of Platinum Blonde’s “Standing In The Dark” LP? 🙂