J’adore the weekly free music and music-video downloads on iTunes Canada, primarily by contemporary Canadian artists and in both the English and French languages.  I started availing myself of these free downloads almost as soon as I got my iPad, about nine months ago.  By now, mainly through free iTunes downloads, I’ve accumulated a fair-sized collection of Canadian digital music, with close to half of it being en française.  (I now have quite a collection of digital American and British music, too, acquired from other sources.)

I’ve especially enjoyed listening to la musique canadienne-française that, without these free downloads, it’s unlikely I would ever have known about living here in Vancouver, in a very unilingual environment.  Some of the music is, musically speaking, merveilleux, and I’ve also appreciated the opportunity to practice my French.  I’ve found it somewhat frustrating, however, that bien que je puisse lire français, and can understand most spoken French lorsque la langue est parlée clairement, I miss many of les paroles of these French songs–and sometimes I can catch only a few words ici et là.  Through trolling around on the Internet, I’ve found les paroles for some of the chansons françaises whose lyrics have eluded me, sometimes translated into English and sometimes just en française.  It would be so very helpful if iTunes Canada provided the lyrics, both in English and dans la langue française, to their free French downloads on their primarily-English site.  However, I recognize that’s a lot to ask of a business headquartered in the United States, that is not in the business of promoting Canadian bilingualism and greater harmonie entre Canada anglais et français: the cost of providing the lyrics would probably exceed any increase in revenue from paid French downloads.

Providing les paroles for la musique canadienne-française is much better suited for the on-line music program of the taxpayer-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, or CBC.  Thus far, however, despite the successful precedent of iTunes Canada, the CBC’s on-line music program hasn’t even made any effort to integrate English-language and French-language music on a single site: the music section of the English-language CBC website has virtually only English-language music (the few exceptions are individual artists and groups that perform in both English and le français), with la musique canadienne-française reserved for the website of the French-language counterpart of the CBC, Radio-Canada.  Lyrics, in any language, are not included on either of the fundamentally unilingual sites.

À mon avis, providing a relatively limited number of free downloads of English-Canadian music and French-Canadian musique, with accompanying lyrics in both English and le français, and possibly also biographical information about our Canadian musical artists in both English and le français, would be a far better use of Canadian taxpayers’ money than providing the hundreds of thousands of free unilingual downloads, and all the hours of free unilingual streaming, that the CBC now offers–that it may not be able to offer much longer if the courts agree with the various on-line music businesses that recently have accused the CBC of engaging in unfair practices.  (I tend to agree with the businesses.)

If the CBC won’t do it, it’s something I’d like to do myself–if I could get the funding, bien sûr.
















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