Spotify Is Awesome! But Is It The Death Of The Music Industry?
I don’t know what I would do without Spotify.
If your not sure exactly what Spotify is, then go here. tl:dr: It’s essentially a music streaming service with a huge library that is free (with an invite) or costing £9.99 a month. I have been using it for around a year now, since it was released as free to the UK in Feburary 2009. I didn’t know much about it, but I decided to sign up anyway cause I was curious that it all sounded a little to good to be true. And since then…well, to say it has revolutionised the way I listen to music would not be an overstatement.
I can roam around blogs and music sites, and whenever I want to check out a band, around 8 times out of 10, Spotify will have a good chunk of their discography. Granted, this is better when dealing with older bands on bigger music labels. But as of the past few weeks, I have been rocking new albums by The XX, Julian Casablacas, Passion Pit, Hot Chip, Animal Collective, Mastodon and Alice In Chains amongst many, many others.
The only (minor) problem with this method of listening to music is the ads. If, like me, you refuse to pay the tenner a month, then Spotify will play a 30 second ad for something-or-other, most times slightly louder than the songs. This is a tolerable problem for me. I would much rather hear a random ad around twice or three times per album as opposed to paying £120 a year. Fair enough, this can be a problem when listening to bands like The Mars Vola or Explosions In The Sky where the songs tend to bleed together, and the ads are a jarring interruption. The big question is: what’s next? The creators of this wondrous program (the same dudes who began the awesome uTorrent) have outlined their plan to take it to the place that will make or break it: The USA.
It will be very interesting to see how the program goes over in the states. I, for one, feel like a corner is going to be turned at some point soon. How long can the music industry handle the idea that people like me are listening to hundreds of albums without paying a cent? How does this affect DJ’s and nightclubs, as great lumps of music is now available freely/cheap? (I was in a bar on my birthday and the barman was just letting Spotify run on and on without a care) And how will small bands survive if people can access their albums for virtually nothing? The music industry will have to realise sooner or later the very sad fact that has been staring them in the face ever since Napster got big: the old ways are over, and paying for CD’s in shops is a dying habit.
I will say that if I hear a good album on Spotify, I will then head to Amazon and buy it. But in general, this god-like program has curbed my illegal downloading/physical music shopping and raised my musical awareness. The day before my birthday Norton Antivirus suddenly incorrectly recognised Spotify as a virus. It was a simple mistake that was quickly rectified. But for that day, I had to deal with my iTunes alone. And it was scary. I’m just wondering how much longer will Spotify be free/cheap? We shall soon see. I’m gonna leave you guys with some songs I discovered through Spotify, that I perhaps wouldn’t have found time to find otherwise.