Monday, 5 January 2009

2009 - the year of Spotify

Not sure if I missed some hype about Spotify in 2008, but one of the benefits of having 2 weeks off doing anything is the chance to catch up. What I really wanted to do was catch up on lots of music I'd not got round to downloading over the year, but what I found was basically all the music you could want (well, nearly) completely free. I'd intended to check out loads of bands I'd only heard on the radio to see if there was more to them than singles (and whatever the iTunes lovers say, a quick blast isn't enough). Turns out I just need to log in to Spotify and put a playlist together.

Looks like this is ad-funded (although there are hardly any ads currently - I've heard two in two weeks - expect that it would need more ad inventory once it moves public to avoid a purely subscription model), and currently in private beta (only took me a few days to get an invite though - I've got a few more, so email/DM me if you want a go). There are subscriptions available, but I'd need a lot more annoying advertising to make me think about paying. Buffering is quick and smooth, and the app is very low impact, even on my most underpowered netbook. This suggests that it will be easy to port to mobile: should see an iPhone version imminently. The software itself has an iTunes feel to it, only without the clunkiness and latency that you get running iTunes on a Windows machine.

The real beauty of this system is that the major labels are already signed up - EMI, Warners, SonyBMG & Universal already buy into the business model. I reckon the mobile version could be this year's killer app - question is whether it will be a partnership with a mobile brand or network (in a ComesWithMusic sort of way), or whether they will release applications for the huge range of devices that are going to be open to 3rd party software this year. The quick win (if ad-funding starts to fail) would be the first option. The killer app would be the second.

4 comments:

Andres said...

Hi Graeme,

Thanks for the nice post. I've added some invites to your account if you want to share Spotify with friends.

Cheers,
Andres
Spotify

Graeme Wood said...

Thanks Andres

As you can probably tell from the above, loving your work!

cheers

Graeme

andrew pascoe said...

The ad inventory seems to be up and down lately - I haven't heard many at all over the last couple of days, but typically it _feels_ like 1 about every 10 - 15 songs or so. You start to notice it only because the guys (for the UK market) have about 5,6,7 different advertisers running at once - the repetition is what makes you notice the ads.

Graeme Wood said...

I know what you mean - starting to realise that I picked up on Spotify during Xmas ad downtime - still, the repetition is no worse than on XFM

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