Spotify is an incredible little application that appeared from nowhere with a big ambition which it seemed unlikely to succeed but so far has been a pretty big success here in Europe.
I discovered Spotify in the early days when it wasn’t open and when it was invite only, unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get hold of an invite. So I waited and waited until it was available openly and downloaded it and have been using it avidly since. The problem with this was, it was avid listening that ended up with me using up the 20 hours I had been given free pretty damn quickly. This was the first problem, then came the second, Adverts. It was fine at first to think that Spotify was ad supported, in fact it was like running your own litte radio show with your music and a few adverts here and there, I actually quite liked it to start off with and then came the last few hours of my 20 hours. I started to get annoyed at the fact that soon I would not be able to listen to the music that I had put into playlists without paying £5 a month to remove the limit and the adverts when many of my friends were getting as much music as they liked although still receiving adverts. Then there was the other option of having a £10 a month deal in which I could save the music to my iPhone and have the playlists offline on my mac, essentially giving me unlimited mp3 downloads. Yet again this is restricted, in a year I could buy 120 mp3’s from iTunes for this and that would be music I want to keep, granted there might be a few albums in there too bringing the mp3 count up. They would work no matter what on my iPhone, Mac, PC, PSP, PS3, Netbook and DS. But with Spotify, the moment I stop paying the £10 a month this music becomes worthless and un-usable. When compared to microsoft’s zune pass which is currently US only though would convert to about £8.99 over here, you get the spotify experience with 10 free mp3’s to keep a month which seems like a much better deal straight away. So with that I could be getting the iTunes experience of 120 MP3’s a year and the spotify experience of streaming any music I wanted, wherever and whenever.
The problem spotify currently has is it’s pricing strategy is all wrong, at the moment there charging you £5 a month just to get rid of adverts and a limit, for this I could go make a youtube playlist, hide the window it’s playing in and have the exact same experience without ads for free. Then there is the £10 a month just to use it with all the devices I need to use my music with and that doesn’t include keeping any actual music. It just doesn’t seem right.
For casual listeners I definitely recommend Spotify but for someone like me who listens to music for hours a day whether that be in the car, on my phone or just about the house it just isn’t worth the subscription. There’s better deals out there and these music companies are not gonna get anywhere in the battle against piracy unless they drive there prices down. Artists are still in these dreamy days where people are willing to pay good money for a CD but it’s just not like that any more. People can store millions of tracks on a computer, thousands on a device thats smaller than your average wallet and music is changing and growing faster than ever before. People will buy music if the price is right and at the moment there still isn’t necessarily a great way of owning music or buying it. iTunes is the best solution for a lot of us and they are charging £1 for a song that’s popular and less for ones that aren’t. Who listens to a song that isn’t popular? why are we still being ripped off for music?
I will continue using Spotify until my hours run out each month but I’m not subscribing until the music business isn’t overpricing itself. I’m not making any choices on my main source of music. The other day I listened to an hour of spotify, bought two songs off iTunes and bought James Blunts new album on CD. I should be able to get all the stuff I need in one place at a good price. Until then music industry, you will be at war with the pirates.