Blog Archive

Is This the Anti-iTunes?

February 10th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Browsing through iTunes can be a pretty intimidating thing, especially when it comes to trying to discover new music.  I


Canadians Rule the International Concert Industry

February 10th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Yes, Americans know that we export a lot of comedians.  They're also familiar with our musical exports (Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Nickelback, Justin Bieber--OKAY!  WE'RE SORRY!).  But they probably have no idea that Canadians pretty much run the global touring business.

There's Arthur Foegel, a former manager of Martha and the Muffins.  In his role at Live Nation, he was instrumental in planning, constructing and executing U2's 360 Tour as well as world jaunts by the Police, Neil Young, Madonna and Lady Gaga.

There's Michael Rapino, a Thunder Bay boy, who has risen to the postion of president and CEO of Live Nation.  Also in his office is Joey Vendetta, whom Toronto fans will remember from Q107 in Toronto.

And then there's Elliott Lefko, a guy who spent countless hours in dark smokey Toronto clubs shepherding gigs by indie bands.  


This is Promising: Hope for Cooperation in Licensing Songs

February 9th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

If there's one thing that's been holding back innovation in the online music space, it's the issue of licesning music for things like streaming and downloading.  Want to know why we don't have Pandora?  Why is Spotify not here yet?  Why can't Canadian-based online streaming stations offer all the songs listeners want?

In a word, licensing.

It's not enough just to rip something and stick it in a player.  The music has to be sourced from, well, the source. Buying it off iTunes won't work, either, because under the current streaming rules, the music has to be tagged with all sorts of specialized metadata. It's been so frustrating for me and some of the projects that I'm involved in that I've almost gnawed off an arm.


POTUS’s New iPod Playlist

February 9th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

So what does the leader of the free world chill out to when he's listening to his iPod?  This, according to Politico, is what you'll currently find on Barack Obama's playlists.  (And yeah, there's some Al Green here.)

“Different People” - No Doubt
“Got to Get You Into My Life” - Earth, Wind & Fire
"Green Onions” - Booker T & The MG’s
“I Got You” - Wilco
“Keep on Pushing” - The Impressions
“Keep Reachin' Up” - Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators
“Love You I Do?” - Jennifer Hudson“No Nostalgia” - AgesAndAges
“Raise Up” - Ledisi
“Stand Up” - Sugarland
“This” - Darius Rucker
“We Used To Wait” - Arcade Fire
“You've Got the Love” - Florence and the Machine


Paul McCartney Webcast Tonight

February 9th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

I remember trying to watch a live webcast back in 1999.  Paul McCartney had returned to the fabled Cavern Club in Liverpool and wanted the whole world to be able to watch.  This relatively new thing called "the Internet" seemed to be the way to do it.

So on December 14, 1999, they turned on the cameras and the encoder and tried to make it happen.

It was awful.  The video was murky, choppy and intermittent.  Compression and resolution issues reduced the picture size to something I could almost cover with my thumb.  The audio was in mono and below lo-fi. But at least the attempt proved that it could be done.  Maybe there were possibilities involving the merging of live performances this Information Superhighway.


Steve Albini’s Cooking Blog

February 9th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Steve is known as one of alt-rock’s most uncompromising producers.  His clients have included Nirvana, PJ Harvey, Veruca Salt, Killdozer,


A Visit with The Band’s Levon Helm

February 8th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

[Special correspondent Julia Wallace took a little roadtrip recently and ended up with Band drummer Levon Helm.  No, I don't know how she did it.  But it makes for a good story. - AC]

Winding along highway 206, deep in the Catskills, we prayed that the GPS maintain reception and the car not run out of gas. After three hours of breathtaking scenery, all of the (released) music from Big Pink, one gun boutique, and no other cars, it became clear that it ain’t a trip to Woodstock unless it feels like a pilgrimage.


Auto-Tune for Guitars?

February 8th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

More than any other technological development in music, I hate Auto-tune the most.  But I haven’t quite made up my


Weekly Music Sales Report: 08 February 2012

February 8th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

With January mercifully behind us, the recording industry has an extra day this year to sell what they can in February.  And with both the Grammys and the Junos coming up, hopes are that people will do a little more shopping than they otherwise would.

Sales are good in Canada, pacing a full 6% ahead of 2011.  Physical CD sales are down, of course, dropping 8% over the same time last year.  Digital tracks continues to do well (+32% from last year).

Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas debuts at #1 with a solid performance, moving 38,000 copies.  That's his first-ever #1 album in this country.  Good for him.


iTunes Accounts Hacked?

February 8th, 2012 | by Alan Cross

Apple’s iTunes store has always been considered one of the most secure and impenetrable e-commerce sites in the world.  And



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