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Tag archive: Carly Rae Jepsen (5)

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Polaris Prize reveals 2016 Short List nominees

This morning, the Polaris Music Prize, which honours the year’s best Canadian album, revealed the 2016 Short List nominees. The list includes:

Black Mountain – IV

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Basia Bulat – Good Advice

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Grimes – Art Angels

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Carly Rae Jepsen – E•MO•TION

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Kaytranada – 99.9%

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Jessy Lanza – Oh No

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PUP – The Dream Is Over

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Andy Shauf – The Party

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U.S. Girls – Half Free

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White Lung – Paradise

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The winner will be determined at the Polaris Gala, happening September 19, 2016 at The Carlu in Toronto. The gala, which will be livestreamed via CBC Music’s Facebook page and YouTube channel, will be hosted by Tom Power, CBC Radio 2 Morning host and Polaris jurist, and Amanda Parris, host of CBC Radio 2’s Marvin’s Room and CBC’s Exhibitionists.

The winning artist will receive a $50,000 cash prize, while the nine other Short List artists will receive $3,000 courtesy of Slaight Music.

The Polaris jury consists of journalists, broadcasters, bloggers and programmers from across Canada, and the winning album is based solely on artistic merit, without consideration of genre or record sales. The prize’s past winners are Buffy Sainte-Marie (2015), Tanya Tagaq (2014), Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2013), Feist (2012), Arcade Fire (2011), Karkwa (2010), Fucked Up (2009), Caribou (2008), Patrick Watson (2007), and Final Fantasy / Owen Pallett (2006).

 

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Still Searching for Results in Google’s Wasteland of Illegal Sites and Takedown Notices

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

As readers will know Google announced in August that they were going to update to their search algorithm in an effort to push pirate sites down in rankings. While it sounded like a good thing I decided to periodically undertake a reality check. My early tests suggested that nothing had actually happened – there were no change in the rankings. It was starting to feel like Google has just made another empty promise to help creators. Later I blogged how Google let Grooveshark back into their App Store – a decision which seemed incomprehensible given their publicly stated desire to enhance the results for legal music sources. Then there came Google’s promise to remove pirate sites from Autocomplete returns; a promise that was also shown to be more talk than action.

So I took a moment to see how Canada’s Carly Rae Jepsen is faring a few weeks on. Where are the legal sites; is it easy to find legal sources for music? Well, you can see the mountains of DMCA take-down notices that have accumulated. By the second page, about half the returns are takedown notices. Is this Google’s way of helping?

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Google’s Transparency Report gives a glimpse into the problem – over 7.5 Million takedown notices in the past month. Here you will find the Vancouver-based isoHunt, ranked at #5 for most take-downs received – an ignominious distinction. Now, as an example, here is one of the DMCA notices sent by our British colleagues, the BPI. You can see they sent takedown notices to 20 sites on behalf of Interscope.

It is interesting to see how Google has chosen to handle these notices. Chilling Effects is a website that archives these takedown notices. Ellen Seidler has previously described this as a “clearly an ill-conceived attempt to intimidate those whose rights have actually been infringed.” A quick look at the sites that BPI was targeting shows that they clearly are not legitimate outlets – they are pirate organizations who distribute Jepsen’s work for their own profit.

CarlyRaeTakedownsUnfortunately the legitimate retailers are still hidden behind pages of pirate sites, plus the DMCA takedown links. Anyone interested in acquiring music legitimately has to wade through a wasteland of illegal sites and takedown notices. It is patently ridiculous. I would again compare the situation to that of someone interested in buying a Black and Decker toaster.

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Buyers are sent straight to a plethora of legal sites. Wouldn’t the web be a better place for artists, consumers, and digital entrepreneurs if search engines promoted legitimate sites instead of leaving them behind in the pirate site/takedown notice wasteland?

So, ten weeks in…Google’s promise to “help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily” has turned out to be as empty as we thought it was at the outset.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson Google Watch Week 3

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

As you know, I have been monitoring Google search results since the announcement by Google about priority ranking. Week 3 and no change in the results for “Call Me Maybe download”:  the iTunes link remains mired on page 2 behind a virtual bevy of links to illegitimate sites like beemp3, hulkshare and mp3skull.

Incidentally, the #1 song today in Canada, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift, faces a similar fate.

Ironically, while performing this weekly experiment, I discovered that previous Google anti-piracy announcements aren’t quite living up to their billing either.

In December 2010 Google proudly announced it would combat piracy through a variety of measures including eliminating piracy-related terms from auto complete. For instance, if you type in “Call Me Maybe” it won’t fill in “torrent”. However, as you can see, two well known pirate sites, “bee” and “sharebeast”, do appear in the auto complete options.   Good intentions but batting ‘O’ for ‘2″?

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Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Week 2 of “Google Watch”

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

In the light of Google’s highly controversial decision to reinstate Grooveshark in its app store for Android smartphones it is with renewed interest that I checked again this week to how Carly Rae Jepson was doing in the Google search rankings.

Well, the answer, perhaps not unsurprisingly, is: NOT SO GOOD! The highest ranked legal purchase link (iTunes) for the Carly Rae Jepsen single, ‘Call Me Maybe’, moved up in the search results but still appears behind many illegitimate links for “Call Me Maybe download”.

Last week I raised questions about what Google’s announcement regarding priority ranking really means. So far, based on our test query, it hasn’t resulted in legitimate links to music downloads being bumped up to the top of the search results. Nor has it eliminated pirate sites from the search results altogether with mp3skull, 4shared and other illegitimate links still leading results.

And now back to Grooveshark. Grooveshark has been the bane of label and artist efforts to establish a legal and legitimate marketplace for some time. It is the subject of multiple lawsuits from rights holders around the world.

Thorn in the side does not begin to describe it. In one of Google’s on again, off again ‘commitments’ to aid artists and labels in their efforts to establish legitimate markets, Google followed Apple’s example and delisted them last year.

But now, a year later, and with the aid of some truly tortured logic, Google has once again, opened access to Grooveshark. This seems to be a classic case of the left hand taking away what the right hand has given. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

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The Rambler by Graham Henderson: Searching for Results in Google’s Announcement

Graham_headphones3Blog ThumbnailThe Rambler is a column by Graham Henderson, President of Music Canada. Graham writes from time to time about developments in the music industry, new trends or just about music! Let’s face it, Graham has been around for a long time and has a lot to ramble on about.

The music world has been buzzing recently about the unexpected announcement from Google that in determining the priority for ranking search results, it will begin to take into account the number of valid copyright removal notices received on any given site. This means that sites that have been subject to a large number of removal notices (to Google) may appear lower in Google’s search results, with legitimate sites likely appearing higher in the results.

Music industry stakeholders have issued cautious statements praising the move. Mark Mulligan has weighed in on both the effectiveness of the move and Google’s motivation. Canadian IP Lawyer Barry Sookman has had something to say, as has Christian Castle. Castle, with his usual perspicacity and humour, has raised a doubt or two (see Mullets, Platform Shoes, Mack Daddies and Public Knowledge).

David Lowery, famed front man for Cracker and Camper van Beethoven, has also raised some interesting questions here, among other things wondering why Google doesn’t simply “delist the site completely”. He also raises the contentious issue of advertising. Pointing to a famously illegal site, he asks, “more importantly if Google knows that this site is full of infringing links why is DoubleClick (3 days later) still serving ads onto this site? Doesn’t this go against your stated advertising policies?” Finally David posed a question for Google, suggesting, “my data seems to indicate that this change took place a while ago, and you are only just now announcing it?” If this is true and the policy is already in place, it makes what I discovered in my search for Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” all the more egregious (see below).

So I guess you can put me with these folks in what I would describe as the “I will believe it when I see it” camp.

Google has been so slow to come to the table on the issue of piracy that one would be foolish not to entertain a scintilla or two of doubt about what their promises actually mean. If they actually follow through with this, it will mean that it will be much easier for music fans to find legitimate sources for music. And this is important because as the Atlantic recently pointed out, iTunes at the end of the day is how artists who are something more than hobbyists, make their money.

But it is also important to understand what this does NOT do. It does not banish the pirate sites from the search results. It merely pushes them down the rankings. So the motivated ‘freetard’ as Andrew Orlowski calls them, will be click or two away from free and illegal. Hey – The Pirate Bay says they’re not worried.  And who are we talking about here? Well, yesterday I decided to have a stroll down thievery lane. I initiated a search for Carly Rae Jepsen’s smash hit, “Call Me Maybe” with the criteria, “Call Me Maybe download”. The top hit for me, as a would-be music buyer, was Mp3skull.com. I don’t think you have to be a music industry insider to know that this is not likely to be a legitimate site. From there I was prompted to visit sites such as mp3raid, Hulkshare, mp3raid, isohunt, thepiratebay, beemp3, kat.ph; as well as at least a dozen sites that had already been removed as a result of DMCA complaints.

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The iTunes link to her 4-song Remix album appeared on Page 2 – but this was not what I was looking for, the remix does not contain the version most of us know and which my son loves. I had to click through another five pages until I found the hit version on page SEVEN.

What other product can you think of (apart from films and games I suppose) requires you to click through 7 pages of illegal pirated sources to get to a legitimate product? Well, try it. I tried Black and Decker Toaster Ovens and the top hit was B&D’s home page and the rest of the page was filled with legitimate retail sources.

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I think we all have to agree that this is utter fracking nonsense. But it was only this month that Google appears to have joined the rest of us in the realization that this is the case. So, good for them. For now I will give them credit for this ‘better late than never’ effort but I will also keep my eye on its impact.

Here’s what I will do. I am going to keep tabs on this. Each month I will select a smash hit song and look to see just how far down the rankings iTunes is. I will report on my results here in this space. Here’s hoping my skepticism is overplayed.

Graham Henderson is the President of Music Canada. He also writes on an eclectic range of topics on his personal blog at www.grahamhenderson.ca.

Editor’s note: if one types in the search box only the name of the song, Call Me Maybe, it is true that one turns up a link to iTunes on the first page; therefore one’s access to legitimate sources will clearly vary from search to search.

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