August 22, 2012 at 11:01 am

Report: Spotify To Launch in Canada (Updated)

spotify canada

We Americans had to wait years for Spotify to hit these shores. Now, the Swedish music service is taking a right turn towards our northern neighbors. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the world’s most popular on-demand music subscription will launch in Canada, as revealed by an April 23 management report filed by Spotify’s holding company, Spotify Technologies SA.

Even if it launched there today, Spotify would not be the first unlimited on-demand music service there. Last week, Livewire Mobile disingenuously announced a deal last week with cellphone service provider Public Mobile to bundle an unlimited on-demand music subscription with cellphone plans that cost C$40 or C$47, and also offer “talk, text, data, and other features” on Android handsets.

It’s one thing to bundle unlimited music with a monthly cellphone plan, tying the music to one particular service, and another to offer something like Rdio or Spotify, which run on any service provider, so long as you have a device that can run the apps. In addition, Livewire Mobile was lying when it claimed to be the “first unlimited music service [to] hit[ the] Canadian market.” Rdio has been there for a while now (not that much of the press seemed to know that).

[Update: Deezer, while still not available in the U.S., launched in Canada in April, and Sony Music Unlimited, Rara, SlackerYouTube, and Zune are all there too, casting yet more doubt in Livewire Mobile's claim. See our worldwide list for more.]

Today’s WSJ report also hinted at Spotify’s plans to expand into Asia and South America.  Because advertisers consider listeners in various countries to be worth different amounts, this could require some extra subsidy to bring Spotify’s brand of free, legal, unlimited music to these regions. On April 18 (five days before Spotify’s report was filed), the company announced a plan to partner with Coca-Cola, which will underwrite its global expansion in countries where advertising might not bring in what it does in other places Spotify is free.

Ever wonder why the free Spotify is unlimited in the U.S. but not elsewhere? It’s all about what advertisers will pay to reach one demographic versus another. As we put it, “Coke wants to buy the world a Spotify” — and we suspect the Asian and South American expansion would involve that partnership or one like it, in which one big advertiser brings the service to a new country.

Back to Canada! Our friends to the north will apparently soon enjoy several truly unlimited music services including top-dog Spotify, in addition to Livewire Mobile’s “unlimited’ offering, which is in fact limited because it ties you to a single carrier and the Android platform.

For more on Spotify’s future plans, see Evolver.fm’s exclusive interview with Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.