Google Play Music has expanded to Canada, the online radio streaming service posted to its blog on May 5, the eve of Canadian Music Week. In doing so, Google's digital distribution platform makes its bid for a subscription-based music streaming platform market formerly occupied by Rdio and Deezer.
For $7.99 a month before June 30 ($9.99 after) with the first 30 days free, subscribers get an ad-free radio subscription service with access to Google Play's 25-million song catalog, along with up to 20,000 of their own songs that can be uploaded to Android and iOS devices and online for web listening. Both collections can be "pinned" for offline listening.
"What it means for consumers," technology journalist Carmi Levy told CBC News of the development, "is they have another choice, but the truth of the matter is we haven't been buying these services en masse. I think we're still at the very early stages of streaming music."
Streaming services have had a difficult time breaking into the Canadian market due to exorbitant royalties -- in 2010 Pandora declined to launch in Canada because Re:Sound, the country's royalty collection agency, wanted to charge 45 percent of the site's gross revenues -- and the fact that internet access in Canada is expensive in general.
Google Play is currently available in 26 countries worldwide.