After years of wondering whether Spotify would ever brave our winter climates, Canadian audiophiles can now roll out the welcome mat for the streaming giant as it makes its northern debut on Tuesday. The service, a Swedish start up, launched in Europe in 2008 and swept through the US three years ago, but was never quite able to make it in Canada.
But now our anxious wait is over and we’re all set to fall in love with Spotify to a cool, new soundtrack. How much do we love it? Let us count the ways:
Sure, if you’re anti-commercials you could easily shell out the $10 per month for an ad-free subscription, but for those of us who are a bit more patient for the sake of our wallets Spotify also has a free version. And since free seems to be the allure music listeners can’t resist these days, this might just be the way to keep everyone happy (and musicians fed).
2. It pays
We do have to give the company big points for one major thing: it pays the artist when their song gets played. While there has been plenty of mumbling that the rates are incredibly low, reports also say the streaming company spends nearly 70 per cent of its revenue on royalty payments. And as plenty have pointed out before, very few labels can make the same claim.
Usually a foreign giant coming into a Canadian market is bad news for the locals, but Spotify has gone out of its way to make sure it’s still supporting the local industry. The company has already signed deals with Canadian record labels Arts & Crafts, Dine Alone, Nettwerk along with several French Canadian labels to make their artists available on the streaming site–and rumour has it their Canadian entrance was delayed two years ago because they were trying to get these labels on board before launching. That’s good news for Canadian listeners and musicians.
Spotify’s other big claim to fame has to be the amount of music available, giving users access to some of their favourite artists thanks to deals with Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal. That translates into over 20 million songs that you can track down with a basic search. It’s the sort of availability that makes die-hard audiophiles swoon.
We’ll be honest, as amateur listeners sifting through 20 million songs to find our new jam is a bit overwhelming (not that we have any intention of letting this stop the fun). But Spotify’s radio function lets you get the ball rolling and then sit back and hear what comes up next. Is it lazy? Yes, and we love it.
We’re talking about the ability to put together your Top Ten songs for midnight mopping (don’t even pretend this isn’t a thing), sharing said mix with friends (or maybe not) and finally being able to listen to any number of playlists your favourite shows and movies have been putting together. It’s time to audibly revisit The O.C., guys.
There are, admittedly, plenty of ways to track down and get a catchy song you’d like to keep on permanent repeat for the week and the free version of Spotify can get in the way of that ambition. But if you’re already logged into Spotify when that song comes up you can easily opt to download it without going anywhere else–or depriving the artist of some cash.
8. Joining the club
It might seem like a silly reason, especially when the music industry prides itself on going against the norm. But when 58 countries, including the US and Europe were all using the same streaming service to share music while Canada sat on the sidelines we ended up missing out. No more!