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Google Launches Streaming Music Service in Canada


First it was European-based streaming service Spotify Canadians were jealous of, especially when rumours that the company was coming to Canada turned out to be false. While Canadians have options such as Rdio, we have always been second-class citizens in the new digital revolution. We play the wait-and-see game far too often with changes in technology. We tend to be late adopters because we don't get a lot of these disruptive technologies right out of the gate.

Now, a year after Google's streaming service was rolled out in the United States, Canadian music collectors with huge collections of MP3 files, Android users, or even devoted Apple customers can finally get a chance to try out Google Play Music after it launched last week as part of Canadian Music Week.

Google's newest online streaming and subscription service is available for a free trial (you can upload 20,000 songs from your existing collection) then runs at $7.99 per month after that, which gives you access to Google's growing online digital-music database along with anywhere/any-device access to your own music.

These are the kind of significant strides helping to change the way people locate, purchase, listen to and interact with music in their lives. Google offers all-you-can listen access to 25 million songs, digital radio channels featuring a range of genres and playlists curated by experts, both via webstream and offline. With the shift over the last few years towards radio-like streaming services such as Songza and CBC Music, along with the increasing acceptance of overarching on-demand subscription services like Rdio in Canada and Spotify and Beats Music in the United States, Google seems to be in a good place to carve out space in the burgeoning Canadian marketplace.

Considering the success Netflix has had in reshaping the way we identify and watch TV and movies, the same will probably be said about Google Play Music if Canadians are willing to shift the way they value and perceive music.

Video of the Week: Greys -- Guy Picciotto

Noisy post-hardcore outfit Greys is on the cusp of releasing its anticipated debut album, If Anything. Guy Picciotto, named after one of the founders of seminal act Fugazi, is the first single and new video from the band.

The Toronto four-piece will hit the road this summer, with a stop in Winnipeg in the works. A devastating live band that will renew your faith in the power of music, this will be one show not to miss. If Anything is set for release June 17 on Carpark Records.

Stream of the Week: Juliana Hatfield -- Needle in the Hay

If you're a fan of Wes Anderson, the release this week of a two-disc set featuring songs from his films covered by acts such as Juliana Hatfield, Mike Watt and Solvents should be on your must-buy list. I Saved Latin: A Tribute to Wes Anderson is available on American Laundromat Records. Stream Hatfield's version of Elliott Smith's Needle in the Hay, which was featured in the director's 2001 favourite, Royal Tenenbaums.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 15, 2014 C16

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