• Hi Guest: Welcome to TRIBE, the online home of TRIBE MAGAZINE. If you'd like to post here, or reply to existing posts on TRIBE, you first have to register. Join us!

Spotify arrives in Canada

The Truth

TRIBE Member
By: Raju Mudhar Tech Reporter, Published on Tue Sep 30 2014

After months of bombarding music fans and technology enthusiasts with prelaunch invites, Spotify officially enters the Canadian market on Tuesday.

Considered the global leader in music streaming, with more than 10 million subscribers in 58 countries worldwide, the company enters a market where some of competitors, including Rdio and Deezer, have been operating for years. That said, the company should benefit from curiosity and pent-up demand for a product that has long been available around the world.

“We spent a lot of time studying the market in Canada, and we know that Canada in terms of a music market is one of the most vibrant in the world, so we were really keen to treat this as not just another launch,” said Ken Parks, chief content and managing director, Spotify, in an interview last week. “We’re going to be launching with the most comprehensive Canadian music catalogue in the world.”

Parks cites deals with smaller local labels like Arts & Craft, Dine Alone, Nettwerk and several French-Canadian labels to appeal to the Francophone market. Signing those deals is one of the reasons the launch here was delayed, he said.

There was much speculation almost two years ago that Spotify was close to launching in Canada, signing deals with many of the major labels, but for some reason that process was put on hold.

“No comment,” said Parks asked to confirm the speculation. “I’ll tell you this ... It takes time to get into markets like this, and to make sure you have done everything right. When we launched in Europe in 2008, we had been negotiating for the better part of a year and a half, when we launched it the U.S. in 2011, we had been negotiating for 18 months to two years.”

Music streaming still faces criticism for the relatively small payout that artists get from services — on its site, the company said it pays between $0.006 and $0.0084 for a single play of a track —Parks combats the negative publicity by saying that Spotify has paid over $1 billion (U.S.) to artists, and reportedly 70 per cent of its total revenues go to royalty payments.

The company’s argument is all about volume, in that as more people pay for subscription services, the payouts will get higher, and recent numbers show that streaming is growing. Last week, the Recording Industry Association of America reported first half numbers for the year, with U.S. revenue for streaming-music services rising 28 per cent to $859 million compared with $673 million in the same period last year. In that same period, digital download service revenues, like Apple’s iTunes, were down 12 per cent in the U.S. to $1.3 billion.

Those growth numbers include all types of streaming services. The market includes subscription players like Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and streaming radio services like Sirius XM, or free services like Songza and Pandora, or in Canada, CBC Music as well as on-demand services like YouTube and Vevo. It is a crowded market, and those in the industry argue that many consumers don’t yet fully understand the benefits of these services.

“Increasingly, the lines are getting blurry between theses companies, especially as the services have offered more free options. That has helped to build more awareness about what the benefits are,” says Russ Crupnick, managing partner, MusicWatch. “But, I still think for many of them there still needs some education to be done. I think the real challenge is how you get somebody to pay the first dollar.”

With illegal downloading and free competitors out there, Spotify, which also has a free, ad-supported version, charges $10 for its premium subscription product, like many of its competitors. Recently one analyst suggested that perhaps a lower rate, closer to $3-4 a month might be necessary for wider adoption of subscription services.

“Whether or not this is the right price point still remains to be seen,” says Parks.

“We think we have a great value proposition — all of the music in the world with you, anywhere on any device — for what it is really the price of couple of pints. At the same time, we do live in a world where there is infinite supply of music and where you can get it for free, be it radio, online or YouTube, or certainly, pirate sites.

But we want to make sure that we are pricing this in way that entices people away from those bad places, so whether that is $10 U.S. or Canadian is an open question.”

Streaming giant Spotify arrives in Canada | Toronto Star
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
I would be interested to see how well this works for me. My telus coverage in Ottawa is shit... I stream CBC radio all the time and it always cuts out on me.

Plus, I don't get much of a signal at all at my cottage.


TRIBE Member
You bring up a good point: streaming vs owning.

I love music services like this until my 'net dies.

Would be nice if for an even additional fee you could own music, certain % of what you stream for example.

Like nextissue - you "own" the digital version to the magazine, and it does not disappear (until the app does).

But I can read nextissue copies offline after I d'l/d them.


TRIBE Member
Spotify has basically replaced mp3 downloads for me. The main thing they have going is the streaming is really seamless. I've only had it stutter when my internet connection was REALLY really bad.

The desktop client will cache songs you add to playlists so if your internet goes down, it will not prevent you from playing those songs. The mobile client does the same, but you need to explicitly tell it to download the playlists to your device. Once done, they will play without using data. You can easily restrict it to auto-download new playlists and to only do so over wifi.

The main downside, some of the more esoteric stuff people here listen to might not be available. However, you will be surprised by how much is there.

It's also a hit at house parties. Instead of people taking over your laptop and searching for youtube videos of songs, they can use spotify.


TRIBE Member
Had Rdio, now testing Spotify. Both seem the same.

I have mixed feelings. It's great for mainstream new albums. It's worth it alone for this reason.

On the other hand, the search algorithms employed seem to direct users to cheaper songs. Some tracks have links to full albums while other tracks are left without links, forcing a new search to find the entire album.

And then there's the cheap versions of popular songs that seem like the same thing but just sound off. Like that horrible version of "212", which has now disappeared and been replaced by the real deal (on Rdio, not Spotify).

Albums that I had planned to listen to mysteriously disappeared. Then they reappeared when I signed up again.

As these services get popular, I suspect they'll start to employ other annoying marketing tactics to reduce cost.

Also, I STILL can't find the Berlin cast of Oklahoma! sung in German. Same goes for the Canadian cast of "Showboat", and a rather large list of oddities that usually happen to be my favourite.
tribe cannabis accessories silver grinders


TRIBE Member
Had Rdio for couple years and quite liked it, making playlists was quite easy. Let it lapse this summer and then Google Play offered 3 months free which I'll let lapse. I find it inferio to Rdio- show me all the damned new releases not just what you're pimping, although I guess they have an option for uploading your collection which I never bothered with.
Spotify - I signed up for the email years ago and got an early invite this summer but couldn't be arsed.
Truth of the matter is I got to a point this year where I just didn't feel good anymore about the absolute bullshit royalty rates artists are getting paid from these streaming outfits. Majority of the artists I like aren't swimming in dough. Justified it for awhile based on the few hundred shows and several hundred CDs/cassettes/LPs I've shelled out in my life, but no more. I'm no scold or puritan - I'll probably still occasionally d/l something to fill in gaps to my collection - but I bought a nice lossless MP3 player earlier this year so I'll just go back to the "work" of actually seeking out something I want to listen to.


TRIBE Member
You bring up a good point: streaming vs owning.

I love music services like this until my 'net dies.
You can download to your mobile using Rdio for when you're offline. You just select that option for whatever album/song you're listening too, then, when you're on WiFi, it downloads it.

How does Spotify compare to Rdio? I can't go back to not having any album at my beck and call. It's just too convenient. Easily worth the $16 a month. I do feel back that artists get somewhat shafted, but that's the game.


TRIBE Member
I started paying $5 a month for Rdio recently.

I got a Sonos speaker at home and tried Rdio out on it and that's what prompted the decision that the $5 is worth it.

Haven't tried Spotify yet but will give it a go.

I still download my music predominantly, what I like about Rdio (especially when using Sonos) is the ability to basically avoid youtube whenever I want to hear a tune I don't have downloaded to my phone or tablet.

and the selection on Rdio is pretty fantastic. I don't really listen to much mainstream music at all but I've rarely looked up a track that I couldn't find.