The Definitive Guide to Streaming Music Services in Canada

If you’re not aboard the streaming bandwagon, you should get started. Accessing music instead of possessing it is the way the world is going — and it doesn’t have to cost much. Or anything, for that matter. Here’s a look at all the services that are currently available in Canada — or not.

 

Google Play Music

Google Play Music for Android

The skinny: The ability to stream millions of songs, create your own “radio-stations”, and skip songs as many times as you’d like. The service is ad-free as of now. All Access is an added algorithm that recognizes your style of music over time to recommend new music to you.

 Man or Machine? Both

The Canadian Story: Launched in Canada in early 2014, Google Play Music now lives side-by-side with its sibling  Songza.

Offline Storage? Yes.

Cost: $9.99/month, after the 30-day trial period

More Information: Official Website 

 

 

Deezer

Deezer Screenshot

The skinny: No service is available in more countries than France-based Deezer. Users can scroll through prepared playlists or create their own.

Man or Machine: Both human- and algorithmically-recommended music.

The Canadian Story: Deezer did maintain a Canadian office for almost a year, but when the parent company was merged with another entity, that control was centralized back to Paris, shutting down the branch office. For a while, Deezer was one service that was available in Canada and not in the US,

Offline Storage? Yes 

Cost:$4.99/month for a web-based version, $9.99/month for mobile devices

More information: Official Website 

 

 

iTunes Radio

ITunes_Radio_Screenshot

The skinny: Designed as an adjunct to the iTunes Music Store, iTunes Radio rolled out with much fanfare in the US  after many months of intense licensing negotiations with rights holders. Reception seems to have been tepid at best. And what’s going to happen now that Apple also owns Beats?

Man or Machine? Machine.

The Canadian Story: It’s not legally here. Yet.

Offline Storage? Yes.

Cost: Free for three months. Somewhere around $10 bucks after the three months are up.

More information: Official Website 

 

 

 

 

Galaxie Digital

screen568x568

The Skinny: You might know these guys from being the top 100 or so music-only channels on your cable box. They’ve got a mobile app now that works on both Android and Apple.

Man or Machine? You can access the 100 available channels that are programmed by Galaxie.

The Canadian Story: Available in Canada if you are a cable subscriber. Offices in London, the US and Quebec City.

Offline Storage? No

Cost: $4.99/month, $9.99/3 months, $39.99/year.

More Information: Official Website 

 

 

 

Slacker

SlackerScreenshot1

The Skinny: Has 10 million songs and can be personalized. Stations are curated by music experts including artists. There’s a tiered subscription service with the higher-featured tiers costing more.

Man or Machine? Curated programming.

The Canadian Story: Although operated out of San Diego, Slacker works with a number of Canadian-based programmers.

Offline Storage? In the pay-subscription services.

Cost: Free for basic features; $3.99/month for offline stations, unlimited song skips and no commercials; $9.99/month for full offline listening and unlimited on demand access to the full library of songs.

More Information: Official Website 

 

 

 

Spotify

Screen-shot-2010-07-02-at-20.13.57

The Skinny: Probably the best-known of all the streaming music services, this Swedish-based company is burning through cash but is also doing much to set the agenda for the future of streaming music.

Man or Machine? Machine

The Canadian Story: Soon. Very soon. Local people are currently being hired.

Offline Storage? Yes.

 Cost: Probably $9.99 a month, but we’ll see.

More Information: Official Website 

 

 

 

8-Tracks

unnamed-2

The Skinny: is an internet radio and social networking website revolving around the concept of streaming user-curated playlists consisting of at least 8 tracks. Users can create free accounts and can either browse the site and listen to other user-created mixes, and/or they can create their own mixes. The site also has a subscription-based service, 8 tracks plus, although its features are still evolving.

Man or Machine? Human curated

The Canadian Story: Available, yes, but there’s some friction regarding the rights fees.

Offline Storage? There doesn’t appear to be any offline storage at this time.

Cost: Currently, a $25 payment purchases a 6-month subscription, during which time advertisements are removed from the website interface while subscribers are logged in. Specific DJ-focused features are in the works, but will likely include profile customization, mix analytics, and unlimited uploads.

More Information:   Official Website 

 

 

 

Pandora

mzl.zmopgaxy.320x480-75

The Skinny: Pandora Radio is only available in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The service plays over 800,000 musical selections of a certain genre based on the user’s artist selection. The user then provides positive or negative feedback for songs chosen by the service, which are taken into account when Pandora selects future songs.

While listening, users are offered the ability to buy the songs or albums at various online retailers. Over 400 different musical attributes are considered when selecting the next song. These 400 attributes are combined into larger groups called focus traits. There are over 2,000 focus traits. Examples of these are rhythm syncopation, key tonality, vocal harmonies, and displayed instrumental proficiency.

Man or Machine? Curated

The Canadian Story: Not legally available in Canada but you can access it here.

Offline Storage? Yes

Cost: The app is free to download but for the Pandora One, the annual option was eliminated as of March 2014, and the $3.99 monthly plan was the only way to get Pandora One. As of July 2014 the price of the monthly plan was $4.99.

More Information: Just forget it for now, okay?

 

 

iHeartRadio

screen568x568-2

The Skinny: Owned by Clear Channel Broadcasting, iHeartRadio now functions as both a music recommender system and a radio network that aggregates audio content from over 800 local Clear Channel radio stations as well as hundreds of other stations and various other media. iHeartRadio is also available on select video game consoles such as the Xbox 360. You can’t rewind, fast-forward or record from iHeartRadio. You also have to sign up first if you just want to test it out.

Man or Machine? Human-curated

The Canadian Story: In the fall of 2016, Bell Canada announced their partnership with iHeart Radio. They promised to “harnesses the strength of Bell Media’s radio stations in addition to more than 100 exclusive, curated digital music stations, placing them all conveniently at the fingertips of every Canadian”

Offline Storage? No

Cost: Free

More Information:  Official Website  

 

 

Soundcloud


The Skinny: SoundCloud is an online audio distribution platform based in Berlin, Germany that enables its users to upload, record, promote and share their originally-created sounds. In July 2013, it had 40 million registered users and 200 million listeners.[2]

Man or Machine: Both. Mostly, Man.

The Canadian Story: Available in Canada.

Offline Storage: Nope.

Cost: Depending on artist. You might have to spend a few bucks on tracks.

More InformationOfficial Website 

 

 

TuneIn Radio

ongoing history

 

The Skinny: TuneIn’s website and mobile apps offer users the ability to listen to streaming audio of thousands of radio networks and radio stations in the United States and worldwide,

Man or Machine: Both

The Canadian Story: Available in Canada.

Offline Storage: Nope.

Cost: Free.

More Information:  Official Website 

 

 

 

Tidal

The Skinny: The first high fidelity music streaming service with High Def music videos and curated editorial.

Man or Machine: A HD Machine.

The Canadian Story: It is now available in 43 countries, including Canada.

Offline Storage: Nope.

Cost: $9.99 or $19.99 a month. Both pricing levels come with the same access to exclusive content and experiences, and the $19.99 tier has the added benefit of high-fidelity sound.

More Information: Official Website 

 

 

 

Digitally Imported

 

The skinny: Digitally Imported is an Internet radio broadcaster playing various types of electronic music including house, trance and progressive across 91 hand curated channels.

 Man or Machine? Man

The Canadian Story: Available in Canada.

Offline Storage? Yes.

Cost: Free, but go premium for $5.83, $6.67, or 8.00 a month.

More Information: Official Website 

 

 

 

Eearbits

 

The skinny: Earbits is a commercial-free music streaming service. Its service is available online and on both iOS and Android.   Earbits currently has 550 labels, 10,000 artists and 100,000 songs in its library.

 Man or Machine? Man

The Canadian Story: Available in Canada.

Offline Storage? No

Cost: Free.

More Information: Official Website 

 

Tunesnapper

 

 

The skinny: Tunesnapper uses API’s from other providers to offer a free music streaming service which is supported by advertisers.

 Man or Machine? Machine

The Canadian Story: Available in Canada.

Offline Storage? No

Cost: Free.

More Information: Official Website 

 

 

 

Did we miss anything? Leave a note in the comments!

Liked it? Take a second to support Shane Alexander on Patreon!

Leave a Comment

17 Comments