Galaxie Music Opens Doors for Other Streaming Music Services in Canada

by Jordan Richardson on August 17, 2011

Music streaming services for mobile devices have struggled to break into Canada for some time now, with high licensing fees proving a sufficient roadblock. Services like Pandora, Spotify and have run into regulatory hurdles from the Copyright Board of Canada, too, and that’s prevented some of the more popular music services from the United States from taking hold up here.

Galaxie Music was launched by Stingray Digital on Tuesday. It was previously offered as a part of satellite, cable and IPTV packages, so this next step in its evolution makes sense. Marketed as “the first Canadian-owned commercial-free mobile streaming music service,” Galaxie features 45 music channels.

Users can download a free app for Android and Apple and pay subscription fees of either $4.99 a month or $9.99 for three months. There are a number of interactive features available, including the ability to instantly purchase songs online and skipping unwanted tunes with the simple push of a button. These features may not sound like much, but when the country’s been shy on streaming media for so long they start to come off pretty well.

The previous incarnation of Galaxie Music was only available to customers over the Internet. The catch was that they had to be existing TV customers.

In order to understand why Galaxie Music is significant, one has to understand the regulatory climate in Canada.

There have been some services, like Rdio, that have been free to operate within the country. The catch with services like that is that they are on-demand, which means that it negotiates with the music license holders directly. When Slacker Personal Radio launched in Canada, however, they were on the hook for whatever charges the copyright board had in mine. Most competitors weren’t up for doing the same, so they steered clear.

In the case of Galaxie Music, Stingray Digital bypassed the above by going directly to Music Canada and getting them to put down a deal with license holders directly. Everyone involved went to the Copyright Board and got official approval.

There is hope that this method of price negotiation and licensing could open the doors for other streaming services to arrive in Canada soon, so the arrival of Galaxie could subsequently mean that Spotify, Pandora and other popular hits in the U. S. finally make their presence known in the Great White North.

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