Back in the eighties, Vancouverites would frequently made odysseys across the border and visit the foreign temples of capitalism. At that time, there were a ton of brands which didn’t have a presence north of the border: Old Navy, The Gap, Banana Republic and so forth. People felt thrilled and sophisticated to be wearing clothes that you couldn’t buy in Canada.
Times changed, and we have more than enough of those once-exotic stores up here. However, there’s a new segregation in town, and it’s digital. Canucks can’t watch Hulu, the popular TV on demand service. Likewise for a lot of BBC programming.
Personally, I’m frustrated by the fact that I can’t use Rhapsody’s or Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 services. I’d happily pay ten bucks for an album, but not if it comes with DRM or in some proprietary format. So iTunes is out. I already subscribe to eMusic, but they often don’t have albums that I want (Hem, for example).
Canadians are second class citizens, I assume, because these services haven’t negotiated deals with Canadian rights holders. And they’re probably in no hurry–there’s only 30 million potential buyers up here.
In the meantime, my only alternatives are going to a store and buying a hunk of plastic (unreliable and not very green) or illegally downloading the albums I can’t buy on eMusic (sometimes unreliable). I trust we’ll get MP3s on Amazon.ca eventually, but hopefully it takes less time than for The Gap to come to Vancouver.