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Spotify Officially Launches in Canada. About Time.

Today. Canada finally joins the US, Europe and other territories in being able to access what seems to be the world’s best-known streaming music service. It’s certainly the one that we hear the most about in stories of out those 57 other countries. is live.

Having Spotify enter the Canadian market is a very, very good thing–and I say that was (a) someone who works for Songza; and (b) someone who does lots of work with Corus, whose sister company, Shaw, owns a big stake in Rdio.

Why? Because Spotify’s presence in the Canadian market should accelerate our adoption of streaming music services. Last time I checked, we ranked 86th in the world when it came to streaming.  That’s only slightly better than the FIFA ranking of our men’s soccer team.

Getting Spotify in the market –the addition of the industry’s 800 pound gorilla–will create competition, too. That’s always a good thing. Everyone will have to up their game. And it’ll be nice to finally be able to access all those Spotify playlists always being posted on US music and entertainment blogs.

Still skeptical about streaming?  Get over it. Streaming is the future of music consumption and the faster we get with the program, the better it will be for all music fans. Here’s the value proposition: for about 10 bucks a month–the price of ONE CD on iTunes–you can have access to 25 MILLION SONGS. Many services (Spotify and Rdio among them) allow you to download songs to your devices so you can listen while you’re not connected to the Internet.

(This is a the killer argument that I use for people who say they can’t stream because the data plans on their phones are too expensive. Connect via WiFi, download all the songs you want and you don’t need to tap your data plan!)

And even though streaming has been shown to cannibalize the sales of physical music and digital downloads (just look at what’s happening in the US for proof), all the Canadian record label executives I’ve talked to are very pro-streaming. They want to see Canadians catch up with the rest of the world.

What about artists? That’s a totally different story. It depends on how you feel about Tariff 8  (the royalty rate streamers pay in this country) and if you’re a musician who will soon make even less money from selling physical product. (Music Canada has this handy Tariff 8 royalty calculator for artists).

Yes, streaming is going to prove to be highly disruptive for a lot of people on a lot of levels. But it’s also going to take music to places we can’t even imagine right now. (See Mark Mulligan’s Music Industry Blog post on the disruptive power of streaming here.)

Bottom line is that there’s plenty of room in the Canadian marketplace for lean forward services (Spotify, Rdio) and lean-back services (Songza). It all depends on if you want to control the music flow yourself or get someone to curate it for you. Or both.

Either way, happy streaming.

Further reading:

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38573 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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