Saturday, 31 January 2009

Spotify: Not losing a battle but winning the war

For all the love that Spotify has had from the tech and music community in its 4 months of beta, this has seemed a pretty tricky week. Basically some bands have been pulled from the service, mainly due to geographic issues with rights in different countries. From what I can see there isn't one particular label that has thrown toys out of the pram: user comments from the Spotify blog suggest that this mainly at individual bands' requests (in the same way that bands like the Beatles and Rolling Stones are particularly anti C21st music distribution) - Led Zeppelin are one of the quoted parts of the archive that has been removed. However most of the unsupportive comments appear to be from fans of niche genres - Spotify is a Swedish company, and there are a number of references to Scandinavian synth music and metal being removed. As no-one could have predicted the rate at which Spotify has grown in the UK (200k subscribers) since December, you can understand that international rights will have become an issue that bands may not have considered. If these bands find that after consideration that they would prefer not to reach an audience growing at quarter of a million music lovers a month, then that's fair enough. It's clear from the blog comments that people will go back to Piratebay rather than Amazon if Spotify is taken away from them though.

None of this should detract from the fact that this application is adding tunes at a rate of 10,000 per day, and is on the verge of mass appeal in the UK with hugely positive Guardian and NME features this week. The most important news for Spotify is not in its content though - it is a distribution platform, and has taken a huge step this week in becoming a viable competitor to iTunes by employing a Head of Mobile,
Gustav Soderstrom from Yahoo. Mobile is the ultimate destination for music content, and the speed that which the application spreading makes an ad-funded business model viable. Could a tech startup really save both the music and the mobile industry from Apple?
(thanks to Zia George at Spotify for audience data)

Written whilst listening to Airborne Toxic Event, MGMT, Killers and Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, who are all still available on Spotify)


Anonymous said...

Airborne toxic event gone :(

Graeme Wood said...

Think I might of been tempting fate! Spotify left anything in playlists for another week apparently. And just in time for the album release as well :(

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