Weird Canada is setting up a digital music distro service

First they set up physical distribution, now Weird Canada is going digital. Image by Kyle McDonald.

After launching a Canada-wide distribution service for vinyl, cassettes and CDs in February, Weird Canada has now set its sights on the brave new world of streaming.

They're partnering with the National Campus and Community Radio Association to provide streaming of new, independent Canadian music to stations across the country. The project is just starting out (and they're looking for funding), so don't expect an Wyrd-ified take on iTunes in the immediate future. But it has some pretty promising potential to take down some barriers to bands that can't put together the cash for a physical release for every project.

It would also make things way easier for campus DJs to get their hands on new independent music if there was a centralized space where new stuff was hosted.

Their physical distribution service, Wyrd Distro, gets funding from FACTOR, which Canadians can apply to for cash towards their recording projects. FACTOR gets its funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage, private Canadian broadcast corporations and donations.

Want to get involved? Email digitaldistro@weirdcanada.com.

Weird Canada has a NXNE improvement plan

There's been some controversy over NXNE's decision to extend its no-play radius to 45 days, including one band being kicked out of the fest for playing a benefit concert. To get some documented opinion on the decision (and because it's pretty damn presumptuous for NXNE to think that 45 days with no gigs in the area can't hurt a band's momentum) Weird Canada is asking bands (and indie music fans in general) to fill out a Google form to seek out advice to improve the festival.

The form includes questions about how the fest should respond to unofficial shows, how it should give back to the community, and of course about the radius clause. They're tweeting the anonymous responses too, with the hashtag #NXNEimprovementplan (including choice quote "It's an ouroboros of self-loathing broken dreams. But, you know, Swans at Y/D Square. That's cool.")

"NXNE likens artists to gourmet cheeseburgers, but in reality they’re human beings," reads a petition against expanding the radius posted by Weird Canada on Change.org.

The showcase requires bands to apply via Sonicbids, a paid onesheet site used by artists and industry people. According to the first 50 odd responses to Weird Canada's form, that's not so popular either.

UPDATE June 20: NXNE has issued a statement that they and Canadian Music Week have reached an agreement to scrap the 45-day no-play radius for next year.

“Unintended consequences of our policy were pointed out. We are making changes that address these issues - changes that don’t hurt up-and-coming bands, and yet still protect the integrity of NXNE’s lineup,” says Michael Hollett (co-founder of NOW Magazine and NXNE) in the statement.