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I’d like to register a complaint

with 3 comments

For those of you who don’t know, I am a music fan. A HUGE music fan (the music library on my computer currently contains approximately 11,000 songs). When I was living in Toronto I spent entirely too much time (and money) at the large record stores downtown (and at some of the better independent and used shops looking for more obscure things).

When I left Toronto my acquisition of new music slowed somewhat because I didn’t have ready access to a large, well-stocked record shop. Along came broadband access to the internet and later, the iTunes Store and I once again had ready access to a large, well-stocked record shop.

To be honest, I haven’t gone bat-sh*t crazy on the store (unlike this guy who spent $8000 in ONE MONTH), but I’ve made some purchases that I’m very happy with (both full albums and individual songs). Overall, I’m very happy with the service.

However, in recent weeks I’ve been hearing a lot of positive news about subscription-based music services (like Rhapsody, Urge, Napster, etc). The basic premise is simple: you pay a flat fee (usually somewhere around $10-%15 a month) and you have unlimited access to the store’s complete catalog. As long as your account is maintained in good standing, you can continue to listen to all of the songs that you’ve downloaded.  I think it’s a great way to be able to sample music. Sometimes I hear a song on the radio, or read about a “great new album”, but am reluctant to purchase said song or album because, well, I’ve been burned many, many times in the past. With the subscription service, I can download said song or album, listen to it, and if I don’t like it I just delete it. Simple.

The problem is that I can’t access ANY of these services. They’re either restricted to US residents only or the ones that are available to Canadian customers require that I be using a Windows.

I know that there are licensing issues and that these companies have to negotiate deals with the various Canadian record companies and music publishing houses before they can start offering the service to Canadians. As far as I can tell, however, they haven’t even begun to negotiate. I find it hard to believe that I am the only person (out of 33 million Canadians) who would happily sign up for such a service (in fact, I’d gladly pay $20 a month).



Written by The Canuck

December 19, 2006 at 10:39 am

3 Responses

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  1. So do these work with an iPod?

    The Big Seester

    December 21, 2006 at 3:47 pm

  2. That’s something I forgot about when I wrote the post. A good number of the subscription services don’t work with the iPod/iTunes. On the software side, they either require a proprietary piece of software or Windows Media Player. On the hardware side of things, they work with most (but probably not all) non-iPod digital music devices. The reasons for the hardware compatibility come down to issues involving DRM (digital rights management) that are just too cumbersome and stupid to get into.

    Maybe Steve Jobs will hear my pleas and add a subscription feature to the iTunes store

    Joseph Tremblay

    December 21, 2006 at 3:57 pm

  3. So wait? I buy an iPod, and then I can only download music from the iTunes store? What if that’s the wrong choice? What if the good music is at Napster?

    The Big Seester

    December 21, 2006 at 4:10 pm

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