Spotify and Beats Music expanding to Canada — later

canada leaf canvasCanadian music industry outlet FYI Music News reports that Spotify and Beats Music will open their on-demand platforms to Canadian users, but not immediately. According to the report, Spotify will cross the border in October. Beats will give Canadians a New Year gift in January, 2015.

Most music services regard international expansion as important to their audience-building strategies. Executing that strategy is complicated by nation-specific music licensing regulations, costs, and stakeholders. Each territory (not least the U.S.) can present a challenging tangle of compliance requirements.

Canada recently imposed some order on its internal copyright complexities by setting streaming royalty rates for webcasters, retroactive to the 2009-2012 royalty period. The time lag illustrates how slowly law moves compared to technology. That royalty rate might set a standard for present and future rates in Canada, but that regulatory action applies only to non-interactive services — in the U.S. those include online-only Internet radio platforms like Pandora and iTunes Radio.

Spotify and Beats music are so-called interactive services, which enable listeners to engage in lean-forward music collection via personal playlists and downloads. Services like that (a cohort that also includes Rhapsody, Rdio, and Paris-based Deezer) usually negotiate directly with rights-holders for music distribution in countries where they operate.

Last month Google opened its All Access service to Canadians.

Brad Hill