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Taylor Swift, Sears Canada, & Rogers' hockey fight: Business Week Wrap

11/21/2014 06:00 EST | Updated 01/21/2015 05:59 EST
Retailers always have a lot riding on a strong holiday shopping season. But if there's one store that's especially true of, it has to be Sears Canada.

After a year of rough headlines, the retailer is facing a battle not just to turn the business around and post a profit, but also fight the growing perception that they're just running out the string.

Nothing could be further from the truth, executives from Sears told the CBC's Dianne Buckner in one of our most-read stories this week. The chain's books are stronger than most, and Sears is looking forward to many more years as an iconic name in Canadian retail, spokesman Vincent Power said this week.

The latest quarterly numbers show the chain is still losing money — $118 million in the past three months, in fact. But as an ad with Canadian Mike Myers airing only in Canada says, the chain remains confident Canadians will keep seeing their "softer side" for years to come.

Offside call for Rogers' hockey move

Canada's three biggest telecom companies are used to fighting with each other on many fronts to maintain their market share. But the Big 3 took their fight to the ice this week, when Telus joined rival Bell in complaining about one of the fancy new camera options that Rogers now offers on its comprehensive hockey package.

Rogers offers bells and whistles like the ref cam exclusively to its own mobile and online customers. But that's not fair, Bell and Telus say, because it violates Canada's broadcast rules for a content distributor to withhold its own content from rivals.

The fight is still working its way through the dispute resolution process already in place, so it's anyone's guess who's ultimately going to end up in the penalty box.

$1,200 bill for airplane download

Air travelers are getting used to being nickel and dimed into paying for everything from an on-board drink to an extra bag. But one Toronto man got more than he expected when Singapore Airlines billed him $1,200 for downloading data while on a London to Singapore flight recently.

Jeremy Gutsche said he signed up to pay almost $30 for the right to download a relatively paltry 30 megabytes while on the flight. He said in an email to CBC News that he figured he would hit the limit, but didn't think he'd blow past it — or that the airline would keep charging him for doing so.

More troubling still is that Gutsche says he wasn't doing anything you'd think would be heavy on the data use, like streaming video. He racked up that charge from only 155 page views, mainly checking his email, he said.

His story's certainly a cautionary tale for anyone taking off in the near future: put your seatbelt on, lock your seat tray in the upright position — and don't forget to shut down your phone.

Streaming mad

Speaking of downloadable content, ​it was a pretty eventful week in the music industry. Pop dynamo Taylor Swift told streaming music company Spotify to take her new album and Shake It Off their service this week — along with her entire back catalogue of music.

Next, Pharrell's manager showed how not Happy he was by demanding that YouTube stop playing the star`s latest earworms — along with 20,000 of his other clients' songs — because the company doesn't have a licence to use them.

Last week we told you about Aloe Blacc, a U.S. singer who, despite being the creator of the catchy summer anthem Wake Me Up, says artists can't make money any more from the pittance that online streaming services pay them for their services.

If artists at the top of the music food chain aren't making any money, what hope do smaller ones have? That's an issue that the CBC's Peter Armstrong delved into in his report on the story this week. Have a listen here.

Other stuff

Those were just a few of the stories we told you about this week. For more, be sure to visit our website often for more, and remember to follow us on Twitter here.

In the meantime, here's some of our most-read stories this week. See you in seven days.

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday:

Friday

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