Music Technology

The Taxman Cometh

The Canadian government is again considering a digital services tax on foreign services like Google Play, Netflix, Prime Video and Spotify, whose operations are not based in Canada.

Unlike Cineplex and Apple/iTunes, these companies are not compelled by law to collect taxes on their services because they have no physical presence in the country, no Canadian subsidiary, and simply broadcast services to Canada.

The CRTC had ruled against a Netflix Tax in March 2015 and in June 2018 the federal government had passed on implementing the tax. But the provincial governments of Quebec and Saskatchewan have collected provincial sales tax on these services since January 2019 and British Columbia followed suit in July 2020, setting a precedent that could ease the introduction of a federal tax.

Monthly subscriptions could get costly for some but I suspect these services will continue offering incentives and promotions to keep their clientele.

Discounts and bonus rewards are usually offered on gift card purchases throughout the year, some of which are considerable.

For example, Shoppers Optimum points users will get 7500 points when they purchase $50 iTunes cards from select Shoppers Drug Mart stores until December 11th, 2020. And the same offer will be made available to some users who purchase $50 iTunes gift cards at select Real Canadian Superstore locations from December 10th to December 16th, 2020.

I occasionally encounter similar offers for discounts and bonus points for Google Play, Netflix and Spotify gift cards. And in regards to Prime Video and Prime Music, these services are made available free to Amazon Prime members.

Apple TV is also offered free for a year on new Apple product purchases so some relief can be had on some digital purchases and subscriptions. But I don’t think the tax will be implemented for some time.

The provinces that have yet to implement a provincial sales tax on these services will likely wish to discuss the possibility of a Harmonized Sales Tax so I suspect our foreign digital services won’t be taxed until July 1st, 2021 or January 1st, 2022.

SpaceX Starlink Update

CNBC has reported that the SpaceX Starlink internet service is now beta testing and that rural Canadians will have access to this service soon.

This service uses interconnected low earth orbit satellites to provide wi-fi access to individuals who have an outdoor mounted antenna. And although the estimated US$99 monthly fee is rather expensive, this service will give access to smaller communities that are much too remote for regular access.

The initial speed will be 50Mb/s to 150Mb/s, with latencies from 20ms to 40ms. But SpaceX expects to improve its systems further.

The current Federal government is also hastening its high-speed internet expansion plans in response to the pandemic according to CTV News so rural Canadians should hopefully be able to get more reasonable monthly rates in the future.

New Music Streaming Service

Amazon Music HD is now up and running and offering millions of tracks at 2 to 10 times the bitrate of other services.

New users from Canada that live outside of Quebec will be able to take advantage of a limited time offer to listen for free for 90 days.

RIP Gerry McGhee 1962-2020

Brighton Rock lead singer and record executive Gerry McGhee has passed away from cancer at age 58.

Known primarily for ’80s glam rock singles “We Came To Rock“, “Can’t Wait For The Night” and “One More Try“, Brighton Rock had disbanded shortly after the release of their third studio album, 1991’s “Love Machine. But had occasionally regrouped for concerts and tours in England and Canada from 2001 to 2014, releasing a live album entitled “A Room for Five Live” in 2002.

In 1996, Gerry McGee had founded music distributor Isotope Music Inc and in 2016 became vice-president of Precision Records, North America’s second-largest vinyl pressing facility.

App & iTunes Card Offer

PC Optimum members that purchase a $50 App & iTunes gift card at Shopper Drug mart stores on or before August 28th, 2020 will get 7500 points, which is basically a $7.50 value.

Additional information on this offer can be found by clicking here.

Newegg Canada

Live Music for 60 days

Canadian iPhone and iPad owners now have access to 60 days of live music via the #beapp, thanks to Coca Cola. Click on the icon below to download this app.