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Monday, November 21st, 2005

In A Song

So I’ve been doing the iPod thing for a while now, that’s going well, but I’m ready to dip my toes into the world of iTunes this week – assuming that the releases I want are going to be available in Canada. Now while I still have no interest in buying a regular album in electronic format when I can buy the physical media, their exclusive iTunes sessions do have my interest. Case in point – this Tuesday will see the release of the David Bowie/Arcade Fire single recorded at the Fashion Cares thingee this past September. I’ve heard the mp3s circulating online, but hope that the “official” release has a better mix. It came out in the UK last week but is slated for release over here tomorrow. There’s also an iTunes-exclusive live EP from Trespassers William out tomorrow, featuring two songs from the forthcoming Having (out February 28), “Weakening” and “Ledge”, and two from their last album, Different Stars (“Lie In The Sound” and “Love You More”). And looking ahead to next month, there’s that Belle & Sebastian live performance of If You’re Feeling Sinister in London this past September which goes on sale December 6. Again, I hope that there aren’t territory exclusives to this stuff – I’m perfectly happy to shell out for these tracks if given the opportunity.

And it figures that just as I’m prepared to dip my foot in the water, they’re talking about variable pricing for downloads – Coolfer reports. I wonder if Canadian prices will remain lockstep with the US? With the exchange rate, Canuck iTunes is actually cheaper than the Yankee version. I like that.

The Bangkok Post talks to Peter Svensson of The Cardigans about Super Extra Gravity. I got a copy of this on Monday, and while I was initially a little disappointed that there’s nothing else as instantly awesome as the first single “I Need Some Fine Wine…”, their promise of a more eclectic album actually does hold true. Compared to the polished alt.country style of Long Gone Before Daylight, SEG is all over the map but the melancholy undercurrent remains. Think of it as the downbeat cousin to First Band On The Moon. It took me a little while, but I’m liking it now.

The Guardian talks to the #1 artist in America, Sufjan Stevens. Illinois has sold over 100,000 copies? Holy smoke.

Gemma Hayes talkst to Billboard about making The Roads Don’t Love You, which will get a North American release next Spring, probably May. While that’s a longer delay than I’d like, I will still wait for the domestic issue. I want to hear the album, but not $30 worth of badly.

Bradley’s Almanac has photos and a complete recording of American Analog Set’s final Boston show last Wednesday.

New York Magazine talks to Brian K Vaughan about Ex Machina.

Robocop will be joining the cast of 24 next season! Peter Weller will play Jack Bauer’s mentor while Julian Sands will step into the role of villain Vladamir Bierko – I guess it’s time for the villain pendulum to swing back to Euro-trash. Also new will be everyone’s fattest hobbit Sean Astin as a new addition to the CTU staff (presumably as the donut delivery boy). More details at StarPulse. Season five kicks off with four hours over two nights, starting January 15 and 16.

Odd question – I saw a pretty significant traffic spike this weekend for no reason I can identify. Um, was there a print media mention somewhere or something? Just curious.

np – Wilco / Kicking Television – Live In Chicago

By : Frank Yang at 8:20 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. the pants says:

    you were in "the pitch" in kansas city a couple of weeks ago…thats how i got here…maybe other people are catching on too…word of mouth homes…word of mout

  2. Gary Campbell says:

    You’ve obliquely hit upon one of my big concerns moving into the digital music realm — this notion of geographically limited exclusive releases. There are a ton of "exclusive" tracks available on the US iTunes store that are not available on the Canadian one, and because iTunes doesn’t offer the ability to purchase a digital "import" of the song from another store, you’re essentially locked out. It would certainly be great if you could buy iTunes tracks from ANY of the iTunes stores, even if there was a small per-song surcharge to do so.

  3. Frank says:

    so even though I can change what country I’m look at through the iTunes store, it won’t let me purchase anything? Or do I just not see the stuff that’s not available? I was on the UK store yesterday and couldn’t see the Bowie/AF tracks even though they were supposed to have been released there last week.

  4. erik smith says:

    The traffic was due to the Eastern CFL final between Toronto and Montreal, at the same time as a Miami Heat vs Toronto Raptors game, and the Santa Claus Day Parade was Sunday as well..

    That’ll mess up traffic.

  5. Frank says:

    oh yeah, I got caught in the Santa Claus Parade aftermath up at Bay and Bloor yesterday afternoon. Not pretty.

  6. Chris says:

    I know that Apple would like to keep the prices low (and in fact probably lower than they currently are), as they merely use it to supplement and encourage the sales of their hardware. The major labels are constantly threateneing to sue them and try to get prices up, but Steve Jobs is trying to hold his ground!

    I highly recommend that anyone interested in this type of stuff check out the book "The Future of Music – Manifesto for the Digital Music Revolution" by David Kusek and Gerd Leonard.

  7. John the cover guy says:

    There is a way to buy from itunes.com. You will need to buy a prepaid download card from one of MANY US retailers. When you do sign in to itunes.com you will need to create a give them a US address; then you laughing. Thats what I did this weekend and it work like a charm.

  8. TS says:

    Yeah! 24 is back – thanks for the update – sounds like all very cool people joining the show. Can’t wait.

  9. Gary Campbell says:

    Here’s how Apple’s license agreement works: You may only buy tracks from the country where your credit card bill is sent. So, as a Canadian, you can only buy tracks on the Canadian store. You can browse other stores, but no purchasing. Basically, this is because Apple deals with the music distributors rather than the artists, so if your band/label doesn’t have distribution in a given country, you’re screwed.

    As an aside, I’ve been told that the Canadian Apple store is often slow to add new tracks because they’re still required to meet CRTC guidelines — in other words, XX percent of the content must be Canadian, so every time they add a Death Cab record, they also need to have a Celine Dion album to add to keep the percentages correct. While there might be a ton of international stuff to put up on the store, they need to hold it back until they have an equal amount of Can Con to include as well.

    As I said, they really need to introduce a "buy an import from any store" function.

  10. Frank says:

    well, I just bought both the Bowie/Arcade Fire and Trespassers William tracks from iTunes, no problems. Hopefully the B&S will make it 3 for 3.

  11. Sandra says:

    I dunno, I have a bit of a problem with digitally exclusive media in general. It seems just another measure to coerce people into switching over to digital media. I’ll listen to mp3s but there really is such a huge difference in sound quality, and I’m not even an audiophile.

    On the subject, Futureshop for example no longer carries cd discmans (even ones with mp3 options) in their stores (at least the Yonge street location), saying that they’re obsolete. Hold on a sec. So you can still buy them online, but what about people who don’t have computers and internet access to online shopping, aren’t they exactly the people who would still want a discman. I just worry that soon enough those who’d rather have cds than mp3s won’t have a choice.