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Canadian Music Downloads

The following services provide legal downloads in Canada.

The three below are all Windows-only, using WMA files.

Sympatico, Telus, FutureShop ("Bonfire") and Aliant use PureTracks for their music services. Telus is also providing something they're calling PureRadio.

Canadian Music Sites

Canadian Law

Personally I have thousands of tracks that are either from my own CDs, or legally purchased from sites like Emusic and iTunes Music Store.

US and International Music Downloads

Although not located in Canada, many of these services are available to Canadians.


I used to recommend EMusic.com for MP3s. I have used it from Canada. It was great, but now it has some limitations.

EMusic changed their terms so you can no longer get unlimited downloads. EMusic is currently owned by Dimensional Associates, LLC.

On the plus side, it has a good library of music, and the MP3s are unencumbered (no digital rights management). They changed from encoding at 128 Kbps fixed to using higher quality Variable Bit Rate (VBR) encoding. You have to use their download manager software, but there are versions for Windows, Mac and Linux.


Smithsonian Global Sound has folk and world music for U$0.99, you get both an MP3 (128 Kbps?) and a FLAC (uncompressed) file.

A recent (2005) entry onto the scene is MP3tunes.com

AllOfMP3 is cited now as a popular alternative to EMusic. It is based in Russia. It was under investigation, but apparently has been cleared.

Here are some more:

The following are US-only and may have additional limitations. This is just a selection; there are more services than I have listed.

In Europe, OD2 (On Demand Distribution) provides a secure distribution service for music over the Internet. The company was co-founded in 1999 by Peter Gabriel and Charles Grimsdale (IT executive).

Online Downloadable Music Store Reviews and Info


Articles and News

The online music scene changes every week. Here are some articles that may help you to figure it out.

CIRPA - the Canadian Independent Record Production Association has good news items.



2004-11-22: The iTunes Music Store is definitely coming to Canada. In Apple press release Apple Launches EU iTunes Music Store they state Apple ... will launch the iTunes Music Store in Canada in November.

2004-05-09 At some point in the recent past, CNet launched music.download.com as a free music download service, and relaunched MP3.com as a metaservice with MP3 resources and ("coming soon") the ability to search across multiple music download services.


2003-05-31 The latest news is in two parts: Apple's iTunes Music Store, which is currently only available in the United States, and Roxio, who purchased the Napster "brand" and then recently purchased PressPlay.

In terms of the iTMS some people think Apple Finds the Future for Online Music Sales and others think you're still paying The Man. Highway To $0.99 Hell - Apple's iTunes music store: A rockin' revolution, or same ol' corporate song and dance?

Real is offering something called RealOne Rhapsody on Windows only in the US only, which is just a branded frontend onto Listen Rhapsody. They lowered their price to burn to CD to US$0.79, but you still have to have a subscription.

The Major Labels

The 5 major labels have consolidated into two groups (and then cross-licensed everything):

Canadian Major Label Sites

Note that these companies are perpetually buying, merging and de-merging with one another.

Searching for Music

There are lots of ways to do this.

Music Recommendation Services

Radio and Music Streaming

If you have a broadband connection, rather than going to the work of picking and choosing files and downloading them, you might enjoy just listening to streaming radio stations on the net. Note that you will probably require some support software (listed at the bottom of the page) in order to access all the content on these sites.

(Free) Support Software

Some of these also have built-in net radio features.

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