02 October 2005

CanCon in the Coffeeshop

OK. I like Starbucks, same way I accept Microsoft. Let's just say the folks down in Seattle have me by the short and curlies that way.

Now, it appears I missed one of Starbucks' manouvers below the border: Hear Music -- Starbucks' entry into music retail and satellite radio. [This happened in 1999, and now I think about it, it does explain all the coffee-bar-CD sales... guess I was sleeping. Meh.] Anyway, now it appears they want to open a Hear Music outlet in Toronto [link to Newsday story].

Canada has set its culture police to the task of ensuring "adequate Canadian content." Really? We're still worried about CanCon in 2005? I mean, Hear Music includes music bars where patrons can pick and choose and burn custom CDs -- and they are worried about CanCon? Canadian artists are all over the Billboard charts. and they have been for years. Music is not the area Canada needs to worry about.

TV? Now there, we have an issue. Sure Canada puts out some quality shows (a few less right now since the CBC is still in negotiation deadlock), but most get buried beneath mountains of crappy sitcoms and weak dramas, to say nothing of "reality" TV. CTV is climbing all over itself to run so many US-imports this season that its primetime blocks are starting at 7 p.m.

I'm all for Canada having a distinct culture, but someone ought to tell the government how to pick their battles.

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