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SPOTIFY VS. ALL THE REST
Topic Started: Jul 25 2011, 07:39 AM (1,265 Views)
mouser
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You've got nowhere else to go. Netflix killed Blockbuster.

The music industry should be paying close attention to the Netflix brouhaha. Every analyst says the same thing, this is about killing the DVD rental business. Imagine if the music business killed the CD? But you can only do that if you have a reasonable alternative in place.

For those who say people will never rent music, remember people rented videotapes, bought DVDs, rented DVDs and now stream movies. Don't tell me what the people want, they don't know. Furthermore, what made streaming so appealing was two breakthroughs, Netflix-compatibility in television hardware and the iPad. Yes, imagine if the music industry had enabled tech innovation instead of thwarting it, maybe it would have been prepared for the future.

In case you've been under a rock, yesterday Netflix split streaming from renting, instead of one low price you got a whopping increase if you still wanted both. People are complaining, but as stated above, what is their alternative? They could go back to buying DVDs, but that's still a bad deal compared to Netflix. As for renting, where you gonna do it? The video shop has evaporated and yes, we've got coin-operated rental machines, but inventory is limited and you've got to leave your house.

So I'm laughing. It's the cheapskates revolting.

But they've got an alternative, streaming.

Now don't say the alternative is BitTorrent. The people stealing don't have Netflix subscriptions, it's not worth their while. If you think DVD renters on Netflix are suddenly going to fire up their P2P client and steal you probably call your grandmother for tech advice. Furthermore, they're afraid to steal. The MPAA and RIAA shenanigans just kill the incentive of those already paying, same deal with copy protection. Harming those who already pay is like making you wait in line for lousy overpriced food at the concert venue...oh wait, they do that!

This is Clayton Christensen in action, from the "Innovator's Dilemma". You build a new, technologically up-to-date business across the street from your old enterprise, and when the time is right, you shift everybody over, both employees and users. Netflix has been building streaming and the time is nigh...to get everybody streaming so they can get as much money as possible to negotiate with rights holders. And their leverage is incredible, since there's almost nowhere to rent physical product, never mind buy it, and rights holders need that revenue. This is the same way Apple gained leverage over the labels. It paid, and then became the only game in town.

Furthermore, Netflix teaches us that once you get people to pay, you can always raise the price. The music business is about maintaining price points. Huh? Have they never gotten a cable bill? It starts off small and then goes up. Few disconnect, they grumble and pay up. Yes, the increase at Netflix is substantial, I'd go up a buck or two at a time, then again, the company's goal is to kill DVD rental by mail. Hell, why buy all the discs, establish warehouses, mail them, incurring postage, when you can stream movies without any of this at all? The music business never got comfortable with the cost savings of digital, too busy placating Wal-Mart it got caught in the past.

Today's big announcement is the launch of Spotify. For those pooh-poohing it, stating there's little name recognition, you're just showing your ignorance of Internet word of mouth. Yesterday nobody knew about Turntable.fm, today everybody but your grandma does. Then again, your grandma still reads the "New York Times"!

The labels crippled Spotify, making the free offering unclear. It should have been unlimited and then slowly cut off, or maybe you pay a little bit of money for a little more access. But the music business only believes in half steps, it can't go all in, it likes to play it safe. Funny for a business that used to be about the cutting edge, and breakthroughs.

As for those complaining you can't stream everything at Netflix... Don't you get it? Netflix is consolidating its position, killing the DVD to ensure studios allow them to stream, they'll want the money!

As for those complaining of streaming costs... Yes, it's a problem for Netflix, but not for Spotify, because over 2,000 tracks live on your hand-held, there's no streaming of them at all.

Then again, you'll understand this when you use it.

Spotify got one thing right that no other subscription site has. Usability. That's been the key to Apple's success. Spotify looks like iTunes and playing the tracks, due to underlying P2P software, is indistinguishable from owning them.

It's a brand new world.

Unfortunately, the movie business is leading.

The music business could have killed the CD, could have driven people to subscription, but afraid of the future and wedded to the past it refused to do so to its detriment. We'll see what happens now.


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THE DATA

SoundScan revolutionized the music business. It not only said what was sold, but where it was sold, allowing targeted marketing campaigns and tours. Spotify is SoundScan on steroids:

"Without Spotify, labels know only when an album is sold. If a CD is ripped for a friend or borrowed for a party, they know nothing. Spotify gives them a record, by location, age and gender, of every single time a track is played. Jay-Z used to think he was big in London, based on U.K. album sales; it turns out he's big in Manchester."

http://bloom.bg/oCXJci

I've lambasted the old acts for selling their new projects in the old way, using ancient broadcast media to reach so many who just don't care. The key to selling in the future is knowing who your customers are. Streams will tell you what market to visit, where to grow from, what songs are popular...

Furthermore, the arc of a project will change. Now it's all about front-loading, getting a big first week so the physical retailers that are left will reorder and media will cover your sensation. With Spotify the lifespan of music will be much longer. Furthermore, you can visualize what traction you're getting and build from there:

"On Spotify, whenever an artist appears on a talk show or releases a single, plays of her entire catalog increase on Spotify, then plateau at a higher level. Albums follow a bell curve. Spotify is a ratchet, a step function. 'LOP,' Sundin says, 'life of product, it used to be six months. Now it's 10 years.'

http://bloom.bg/oCXJci


COMPARING SPOTIFY TO PANDORA

Is like comparing your music collection to radio.

You listened to radio for discovery. Once upon a time, radio was a club, you felt a member, now it's just jive deejays and the hits of the day. You can get this information online, what the station is playing, and check it out yourself, instantly, on Spotify.

In other words, believing Pandora has got a chance against Spotify is believing that everybody's going to sit at home and watch television in real time without a remote as opposed to employing their DVR, on demand, Hulu and other online options.

The future is about what I want now. And if anything, the window is only going to shrink. This is what the movie business doesn't understand. We're going to day and date home release, it's just a matter of when, protecting windows is a waste of time, unless you're employing a sunset philosophy, timing their extinction with the adoption of new viewing modalities.

As for music discovery, it's primarily done through friends. This is where Spotify's Facebook integration and playlist sharing comes in. We trust our friends and just about nobody else. Pandora is not our friend, it's a for profit company making us expend effort to winnow a playlist that requires a ton of time to create. Huh?


SPOTIFY VERSUS RHAPSODY, MOG, RDIO, ETC.

It's the interface.

Spotify does not operate in the browser, it's its own special app. Therefore, functionality is much higher.

Also, Spotify looks like iTunes, you already know how to use it.

And Spotify mimics ownership. By employing P2P technology (legal, which is why those who wanted to kill it were so wrong), you can hear your track instantly. If you came to my house and I told you I owned all the tracks in Spotify, you'd believe me, functionality is just that high, there's instant startup and the ability to fast forward and reverse.


SPOTIFY ADOPTION

Forget the surveys speaking of name recognition. If everybody knew about Rebecca Black in a week, why can't they know about Spotify? The straight media is last on this, don't believe it when it speaks to various analysts and gets a variety of opinions. Speak to a user, who will say Spotify is AWESOME! And it's these users who are the marketing team for Spotify, they're the ones who are going to grow the user base. This is how the modern world works. Focus on the product, not the marketing, fans will do all your marketing for you. Worked for Google, Facebook, Turntable.fm...


TRACK AVAILABILITY

Of course there are holes. But just like the Beatles came to iTunes, eventually everybody will be on Spotify. If you're complaining about the holes, you're still listening to CDs. Or you're a thief and weren't planning on paying anyway and we're ignoring you.


MOBILE

2,000+ tracks live on the hand-held, playlists synch from the desktop application. So not only do you not need a cell signal, you incur no streaming costs. Of course you can stream what you don't have in a playlist too.


PAYMENTS

Spotify pays more than Rhapsody. But I wish it were a percentage of Spotify's revenue as opposed to payment per stream. And eventually the majors will try to scam the streams. But to complain about revenue is to live in the past. Streaming is here, argue for more from Spotify as opposed to the death of the service.


USER BENEFITS

This is what we've been waiting for, everything at your fingertips at one low price. This is user nirvana.


PIRACY

It doesn't pay to steal if you've got what you want at your fingertips. And stealing on a mobile is an insane experience. Why not pay a low price to save time? In other words, do you want to use a dial phone or a touch tone?


ACT BENEFITS

The barrier to entry to hearing your music just disappeared. You no longer have to focus on distribution, just music and marketing. And the best marketing is good music.


INDUSTRY BENEFITS

More people listening to more music results in more people wanting to go to the show and buy merch. MTV created a world of few winners and endless losers. The universe is much bigger now, and that's to everyone's advantage except for the old fat cats overpaying to get themselves heard and keep you out.


APPLE

It makes very little on music but if it doesn't have a streaming application in the wings, it's stupid. Ownership will survive, just like vinyl records, but it will become an ever-decreasing piece of the pie.


COMPETITORS

Usually only one site wins online. It's not like the brick and mortar world where one store is far away from another and prices vary. The best wins. There's one iTunes, one Amazon, despite billions spent by Bing, Google still dominates. Facebook killed MySpace and there will be Spotify and a bunch of also-rans. Then again, just like Google+ is scaring the bejesus out of Facebook, Spotify is not forever. We live in an evolving world, and if you don't keep improving, you're history.


HOW THIS HAPPENED

1. Spotify started small in a country deemed almost irrelevant to the music business, Sweden, riddled with piracy. iTunes did the same thing, starting in the small at the time Mac universe.

2. Users testified.

3. Public opinion was against the naysayers. It was hard for Warner, the last holdout, to stay out with the deafening cry from within the community.

4. Facebook. Once Spotify aligned with the social network giant it gained a sense of inevitability. The music business is afraid of Facebook, they see it as an indomitable juggernaut.


WINNING

We always knew someone was going to win in the music delivery sphere online, it was just a matter of who and when. A lot of money was wasted on the way, but there was always going to be an inevitable victor. Too bad the music industry didn't push the future instead of holding back, maybe all those people wouldn't have had to lose their jobs.


PAYING

Forget that Spotify is free on the desktop. The iPad has put a dent in PC sales, it killed the netbook, it's all about wireless and hand-held. There's no free option for mobile. To think people won't pay is to believe they're going to stop texting.


DRUGS

That's what music is, a drug. That's what Spotify is. And the way you get people hooked is to give them a taste for free.


SHORT TERM

Ignore the numbers, which will be significant. Online it's all about tipping points. No one has a computer, then everybody gets one to play on AOL. Then people suddenly start burning CDs. Then they sign up for broadband to steal music and watch YouTube clips. The streaming train has left the station. One day, everybody will do it. It's not tomorrow, but it's not as far away as you think, and it is inevitable. Ownership will survive, but rental will be king. And the music industry should take a tip from the Republicans, it's all about the moniker. Don't call it rental, call it ACCESS!


FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES

He who tells us what to listen to will make a ton of money. And it won't be done by computer, only people can choose what's worth listening to.


MONEY

Spotify is geared to make a ton. I'm not gonna get a cent.


CONCLUSION

It's over. The majors lost. The users won. Play to the users. Build a fanbase. There's a ton of money to be made. It's easier than ever to reach everybody but harder than ever to get people to pay attention and stay focused on you. That's your challenge. Daniel Ek is an engineer, a businessman. You're an artist. It all depends on you.


CONCLUSION 2

Don't be a cheapskate. If you can't score an invite, sign up for five bucks. It's all about early adoption, being able to speak intelligently about what's happening now. You can always cancel after a month. Or you can pay for Spotify on your iPhone and be the envy of your friends...for a month or two.


--
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www.spotify.com/lefsetz

WHAT TO DO

Click on the above link, enter your e-mail address and wait for an invite in your inbox.

I've got a ton, but I don't have one for everybody. So I'd suggest signing up right now, telling your friends, telling your mother, because these are gonna evaporate.

I'm gonna hold off for a couple of hours putting the link on Twitter, because then they'll dwindle like Lady Gaga ducats on Ticketmaster.


WHAT YOU GET

Six months free. Streaming on your computer. With ads, although there aren't many at this point. If you upgrade to a paid tier the ads disappear, and with Premium you get not only mobile compatibility, but 320kbps quality. After six months there will be some restrictions as to overall quantity and plays per track with the free service, but I won't bore you with the details right now.


WHY YOU SHOULD SIGN UP NOW

Because you're a cutting edge superstar knowledgeable about all things hip and you don't want to be left out, you want to be the first on your block to demonstrate the coolest music service ever to all of your friends.

Furthermore, Spotify is the future. You're in this business. Don't make the mistake the labels did with Napster, refusing to use it and shutting it down. Fire this baby up and see how it all plays out, with everything available to everybody, benefiting users and players, democratizing not only the distribution of music, but the consumption thereof.



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mouser
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FREEMIUM

Rhapsody, MOG, Rdio... Features don't matter, the barrier to entry was too high.

This is EXACTLY like music. This is the power of free.

Get people to listen first, charge them thereafter, once they're hooked.

Don't play the rights holders game, don't give people what they want, don't play in their sandbox, but stretch them into yours.

Subscription services have existed forever. If you've got a Sonos system, and you should, they're essentially interchangeable. But no one checked them out because the barrier to entry was too high.

Apple taught us with iTunes that's important to know who your audience is. Apple's strength is it's got everybody's credit card information, it can sell to them with one click. Spotify now has everybody's e-mail address, it knows who its customers are, it can reach them.

And once you've lowered the barrier to entry what is selling your product is quality, it's just that simple. This is the opposite of twentieth century marketing, whereupon once you've broken into a limited universe, you've won. That's thinking there's only twenty five songs on the radio and yours is one of them and people will get it and buy it based on repetition. We don't sit through most YouTube clips. You've got to catch us immediately and keep us. Don't launch before you're ready. You don't have to be perfect, but pretty damn close.

Spotify launched for free and now everybody is talking about it and it's converting free users to paid users. It killed the competition overnight. Got people to embrace rental, which conventional wisdom said they would not, overnight.

You're selling Spotify. Each and every one of you. The company created the product, but you're the marketing team. You're incentivized by nothing so much as a desire to turn friends on to something incredibly cool. And since all of us are networked, we all live in a virtual high school, word spreads immediately and can become gargantuan overnight.


USABILITY

You need no tutorial. It's not about additional features, it's about being able to jump in and experience the greatness immediately.

Don't frustrate users. Don't listen to techies who say what you don't have. Apple's products don't have plenty, but Apple's poised to become the most valuable company in the world. Beware of feature creep.


COMMENTARY

I find the analysis in so much of the straight press hilarious, they just don't get it. It's like sending a Carpenters fan to a Metallica show. These same bozos comment on every news story that comes down the pike. Yesterday it was Spotify, today it's Murdoch, tomorrow it will be their pets. We only listen to trusted advisors. The straight media is last, generalists are passe in a world where the words of true experts are easily available online.

Spotify got this right by seeding tastemakers, getting them on their side, and allowing these trusted sources to spread the word, to get you to pay attention.

Daniel Ek can be cerebral, Shakil Khan is equally smart, but fun. He's got a gleam in his eye, he gets you on his side.

In other words, if you're launching a company that depends on persuasion of intermediaries, that is not going directly to the public, you need a consigliere.


MUSIC DISCOVERY

The number one complaint of the uninformed. That's like complaining a Formula One race car doesn't have cupholders.

I'm gonna let you in on a secret. Music discovery is a completely different animal. And it won't be based on logarithms, but human choice, trusted sources.

Build the platform that tells us what to listen to and you too can be rich.

This is an opportunity for old music business denizens. Techies are usually soulless. They think in ones and zeros. Music is about emotions, about feel, something no machine can quantify.

Future tastemakers will realize they can sell no tuneouts. Because of myriad options, you've got to gain people's attention and keep it, via quality. After you gain their trust you can expand their horizons, but not before.


DAVID HYMAN/MOG

I've got no investment in Spotify, it does not need to win. The future lies with the company that knows access/streaming is the future, understands freemium and has a superior product. This is what David Hyman, head of MOG, e-mailed me:

From: David Hyman
Subject: for the Lefsetz mailbag...

Hi Bob,

I highly recommend you use our mobile app for 10 minutes. Then use the Spotify mobile app. Mobile is critical as it's the service people are actually paying for!

And on web, be sure to use our latest player at http://mog.com/m

We're giving our users options of using this new html5 player, or our older one which has more features, but isn't as blazing fast as this one.

NIckel Summary Breakdown on MOG versus Spotify

Spotify makes you work, MOG works for you.

Spotify demands users make playlists. You can search for stuff, sure, but unless you want to do a LOT of searching every time you want to play something, you'll be making playlists for the things that matter.

You can't, however, search playlists other users have made. They can only send them to you.

Spotify's "Starred" tracks have minimal organization, which also makes managing any kind of personal collection a hassle.

Spotify has a decent social integration as long as your friends are on Facebook, are into music you like, and are using Spotify. Even then, if you want to share, you do work. If your friends want to share, they do work.

Good things about Spotify:

Fast playback start times on desktop. Try MOG. A hair slower.

Robust "Free" offering. Watch this space. MOG rolling out our own version of freemium soon.

Spotify allows local file playback in its desktop client and mobile apps

Spotify is basically a pile of music with a search engine and some Facebook links on it.

MOG works for you.

MOG Users can publish playlists which every other user can search for and find (this functionality is coming soon to MOG's mobile apps). MOG's playlists are also available right from relevant artist pages.

MOG has better than pandora radio powered by our mobius technology, providing users with a slider that let's them blend in similar artists based on a seed artist. Listen to true artist only radio or a blend with similar. Save songs to favorites from radio. Nothing comes close to this.

MOG's "Favorites" and "Downloads" are viewable and sortable by artists and albums - the way users expect. Spotify gives you flat lists. Use our new player at mog.com/m . I think our favoriting user experience is unmatched and is far ahead of the competition.

MOG makes downloading easy on a mobile phone. Search for an album, press the download button.

Spotify makes you work - search for album on the desktop, add to playlist, go to playlist, "sync" playlist.

MOG's new "Just For You" and "Inspired By Your Friends" instant personalization features when logging into MOG via Facebook Connect has no analog on Spotify. Again, MOG is working for you, Spotify is making you work.

Spotify's search doesn't do typeahead, MOG's does. Compare Search!

MOG's radio feature is tightly integrated in ALL MOG clients, including mobile apps. MOG works to bring you new music.

MOG is now built into all new LG, Samsung, Vizio lcd tvs and blu rays, as well as Roku and Sonos. And soon all BMWS and Mini's.

MOG has full catalog in 320kbps. MOG lets you stream 320kbps and download 320kbps files in our mobile apps.


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Spotify or Pandora: Who Will take the Reins


July 16, 2011 9:25 PM EDT

Spotify, the Swedish music site launched in the U.S. last Thursday, allowing American users to stream music across the nation on something other than Pandora, Rhapsody and Last.fm. Spotify had been in a long negotiation process to allow U.S. access to the popular music site. Spotify has been a huge success in the U.K. and other European countries, and has catalogued 13 million songs.

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CEO and Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, says "Spotify is so good," and Wired says of the music Web site, "Those who have tired Spotify know it's like a magical version of iTunes in which you've already bought every song in the world."

Others are equally as excited about Spotify's U.S. launch, as Billboard.biz said of the latest U.S. music virtual world, "Spotify makes music fun again, just like the iPod did nearly 10 years ago."

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What this means for U.S. based users is that there is a larger selection of music to choose from, which openly streams on the Web.

But, Spotify is not completely free. Like in Europe, the U.S. Spotify will have a three-tiered price structure, which ads the benefit of ad-free listening. $5 a month can grant a listener "Unlimited" access; $10 per month will grant a "Premium" subscription.

With the "Premium" package, members will be granted Spotify access on "Mobile Music" and "Offline Mode." These options allow listeners to play any track on their mobile phone, live over the Internet, or save a playlist for off-line access .

And to work along with Spotify are 5 Web sites to make listening even more enjoyable.

Spotimy recommends music to listen to, shows the latest releases, what is hot, music ratings, reviews, and playlists. The Web site also gives Spotify Playlists with the former and current week album releases.

Biblify "mashes up the latest album reviews with Spotify to create awesome playlists," by searching the Web each night for the latest album reviews from reputable sources such as The Guardian, BBC, Uncut, and more.

Playlistify "enhances and simplifies" music for the listener by combining iTunes playlists, Last.fm and YouTube playlists.

Tubufy offers a way to create a music video channel via Spotify playlists and albums. By copying the URI of your Spotify playlist or album, Tubufy will automatically select the relevant music for the music selected.

New releases on Spotify shows the latest albums released within the last 7 days. The list is sorted by popularity. Beneath the album, song, or artist the site tells you where the song is available. For instance it will say "Available to all Spotify users," or, "Only available in France."

Pandora Radio was named in LEad411's "2010 Hottest San Francisco Companies." In February of 2011, Padora filed to become a Public company, and began trading under the ticker symbol "P" on the New York Stock Exchage in June.

http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/181570/20110716/spotify-united-states.htm
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Spotify Receives Nod From Experts;
By Simon Saavedra | Christian Post Correspondent
Text Share RSS Print E-mailSpotify made its debut on Thursday in the U.S., giving other media streaming biggies, such as Pandora, Grooveshark, and Rhapsody, some serious competition.

(Photo: Reuters)
Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek are founders of Spotify
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TechnologyOffering more than 15 million songs in its music catalog and providing three plans – namely the Free (available by invitations only), the Unlimited, and the Premium plans, which follow a "listen as much as you want" model – Spotify is posing to quickly become the best music streaming service in America.

The Swedish company has captivated the music consuming industry in just a few days for its wide selection of songs – from classical to the new music by Beyonce and Lady Gaga – with very competitive prices, $9.99 per month for the Premium service.

Tech experts have been busy giving this hot new product a test drive while some companies like Fortune have remarked that Spotify "already promises to potentially transform the way U.S. listeners consume music."

So far, it has received strong reviews in the U.S. from firms and analysts, but what exactly have experts said about it?

The following are the top reviews and comments, in condensed form, for the recently launched Spotify:

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The program isn’t shockingly new from things we’ve seen before –sites likes Grooveshark and Pandora gave us access to tons of songs for free, as well –but Spotify has an easy, Facebook-compatible system that encourages sharing. Structured around playlists, it allows users to build their own, pass them along to friends, and then trawl through those friends’ collections for songs they like. Keith Staskiewicz - Entertainment Weekly

...I do decide to continue using Spotify, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be purchasing music anymore. When it comes to music I really like, I still find it satisfying to own the tracks. However, there are plenty of tracks, especially when it comes to top hits, that I do enjoy when I hear them on the radio, but I really don’t want to shell out money to purchase them on iTunes. That is where Spotify comes in for me. Helena Stone - Chipchick.com

From the point of view of a new user Spotify is doing a lot right: lots of content and the ability to instantly select a track and play it as many times as you want being the main things. The only real complaint is a lack of help for new users, and I could certainly see how an introduction video or ‘How-To’ post on the site would be beneficial. Dave Parrack - Tech Blorge

The interface is clean and easy-to-pick up – even for an easily-confused tech guy like myself – and Ek's (founder) promise of a snappy user experience is accurate. Songs stream instantly whether over WiFi or 3G. If you create a music playlist on the desktop app, it's automatically added to your mobile device (and vice versa), and stays synchronized when you add or drop songs. And the ability to make songs available for listening offline (read: store them on your mobile device) without having to purchase each and every track individually is great for someone like me who relies a lot on public transportation or just runs into crappy AT&T reception all the time. JP Mangalindan, - CNNMoney

A free membership gets you access to this endless CD library for 10 hours of streaming per month with advertising interruptions; for $5 a month you can lose the ads and the time limits; and for $10 a month you can actually download the songs to your cell phone or computer or tablet or whatever and listen to them even when you don't have the Internet. Jason Gilbert - HuffingtonPost

-Extra Comments-

No other U.S. music subscription service offers anywhere close to this much free music. Rhapsody, MOG, and the rest suddenly look like ripoffs. Matt Rosoff - San Francisco Chronicle

"One challenge for Spotify will be whether the licenses it has include "everything" and are not overly used by majors as part of a windowing strategy, where new releases are not completely available in order to encourage purchases. The major US labels will most be licensing similar services and Spotify is starting from a low base. They will require considerable marketing to establish the brand." Music Week staff


http://www.christianpost.com/news/spotify-impresses-and-receives-approval-from-experts-top-reviews-52409/

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Spotify - Changing the Music Game?


Author: Rose Hunter
Published: July 17, 2011 at 6:58 am
It has arrived! Online music giant, Spotify, has finally launched in the United States and is causing quite a frenzy. Being touted as a "game-changer," the service promises to change the way we enjoy our music. But how?

First, a hypothetical... If given the choice between paying $10 or more for a single album that you own and can listen to anytime, anywhere or paying that same $10 monthly to listen to that album and any other 15 million or so songs anytime, anywhere - which would you choose?

Spotify, a self-proclaimed "on demand music site," has entered the U.S. with a bang; inking deals with four major record companies (EMI, Warner Music, Sony Music and Universal) and boasting a music database of over 15 million songs. But in an industry riddled with piracy and falling record sales, how do they do it? Simple - royalties. Spotify creators, have teamed up with the biggest record companies in the U.S., and in exchange for their catalogs, the service will pay a small amount of royalties each time a song is played. The service offers three product levels - free, unlimited and premium - with the highest package making all music from the database available for streaming on any device.

So what makes this a game-changer? It crushes the competition and changes the way music lovers get their fix. Spotify blows services like Pandora Radio out of the water by allowing users to choose the songs they want to listen to and create their own playlists. The service even rivals Apple's iCloud, because not only do paid users have the ability to upload and stream their own "local music," but they can stream any and all songs from the 15 million song database on any device. Because Spotify changes the way music lovers access their music, it is possible it will even curb Internet piracy. Although the free service is by invitation only at this time, it's possible that instead of illegally downloading a song, more people may simply use Spotify instead.


All-in-all, Spotify sounds like an amazing innovation in the way we enjoy our music. But what about the long-term effects on record sales and the music industry? The service really is changing the music game by changing the way people access music. This service makes it possible for people to consume as much music as they'd like (granted, for a small fee) without owning it. Sure, the record companies/artists will be receiving their royalties, but will it be enough if people stop buying albums in favor of streaming online? It's definitely something to consider. Spotify is taking the music industry in a very different direction, and, either way, it'll be interesting to see where it leads.



http://technorati.com/entertainment/music/article/spotify-changing-the-music-game/




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Spotify: holy grail of online music?

By David Pogue / New York Times News Service
Published: July 28. 2011

Everybody seems to think that record company executives are big greedy dunderheads. “How dare you charge for music?” the college set shouts. “Music wants to be free!”

Well, the recording executives may, in fact, be big greedy dunderheads. But over the years, little by little, they’ve tried to make online music sales fairer and more convenient.

Today, Web music services are spread across the entire price/convenience/permanence matrix. Some offer music that’s free and legal, but you can’t choose exactly which songs play (Pandora.com). Some let you download songs to own forever for 79 cents to $1.30 each (iTunes and Amazon.com). Some let you rent music — that is, listen to all you want for a flat monthly fee, but you’re left with nothing when you stop paying (rdio.com, Napster.com).

And some services are illegal.

This month, though, the world took a great step toward the holy grail: free, legal, song-specific and convenient.

After years of pulling out its corporate hair in tufts while negotiating with the music companies, Spotify has finally brought its service to the United States.

If that means nothing to you, then you’re clearly out of touch with the Europeans. For three years, they’ve been going crazy over Spotify. It’s a beautiful, polished, iTunes-like program that offers access to 15 million songs — according to Spotify, a bigger catalog than Napster’s, Rhapsody’s, MOG’s or Rdio’s (but there’s a footnote — see below). All the big record companies have signed on to this crazy experiment: Sony, Warner, Universal and EMI. (The usual “we’re afraid of the Internet” bands are missing, like the Beatles, Metallica and Led Zeppelin.)

The sound quality is excellent. (It’s 160-kbps Ogg Vorbis format, if that means anything to you.) The music starts playing almost instantly. With a click, you can share your playlists with friends on Twitter or Facebook, or see what they listen to most. A whole ecosystem of websites has cropped up where people can share, rate and recommend music and playlists.

And there’s one more big attraction. Let’s see ... what was it? Oh, yes — it’s free.

It’s true. For the first time in Internet history, you can now listen to any track, any album, right now, legally, no charge. No wonder it took a while to persuade the record companies.

The catch


Now, there are some restrictions. The big one is the ads: For two minutes of each hour you hear ads spliced in between your songs (usually for Spotify’s premium plans, described in a moment). And you see banner ads in the Spotify software. If you sign up now, you can listen to all the music you want this way for the next six months — but after that, you’ll be limited to 10 hours of free music a month.

The final footnote on the fantasy of free music is this: You need an invitation to join. That, obviously, is a speed bump intended to prevent Spotify’s computers from blowing up when 300 million hyperventilating Americans arrive simultaneously.

You can request an invitation at Spotify.com, or you can get one from someone who has one of the paid plans. Various corporate sponsors will be giving away invitations to the free service, too (Coke, Motorola and Reebok, for example).

Even so, for millions of people, that’s still a better deal than anyone has offered before. Like some new song on the radio? Go home and listen to the whole album, or that band’s entire catalog. Tired of your hipster Facebook buddy talking about the latest buzz band and leaving you clueless? Fire up Spotify and listen to his playlists. Considering seeing a musical? Listen to the cast album first.

For penny pinchers, this free and easy way to call up any song, instantly, is a giddy new entertainment option.

Better yet, the Spotify software on your Mac or PC automatically recognizes and displays your existing music collection stored in iTunes or Windows Media Player — even your playlists. You can manage your own songs, and incorporate them into playlists, right alongside the millions offered by Spotify. It’s not as full-featured (or as cluttered) as iTunes, but the essentials are here: You can search, sort, organize and get recommendations for music.

Premium plans


Now, in Europe, 84 percent of Spotify’s 10 million listeners do it the free way, tolerating those occasional ads. But it’s easy to imagine that there are some people who say, “Jeez — I’d happily pay, say, $5 a month to get rid of those ads, that 10-hour limit and the invitation waiting list!”

That’s why Spotify offers the $5-a-month, no-ads, no-limits, no-invite plan (called Unlimited).

And surely there’s another group of hardcore music lovers who say, “That’s great, but I’d pay even more if I could listen on my phone. Preferably even when it’s offline, like on a plane or the subway.”

That’s why Spotify offers the $10-a-month, no-ads, no-limits, no-invite, sync-to-your-phone, download-too plan (called Premium).

Sure enough, with the Premium plan, you can download music to up to three computers or phones, ready to play back even when you don’t have an Internet connection — up to 3,333 at a time. (Yes, 3,333. The music companies work in strange and mysterious ways.) Also with Premium, some of the tracks are available in an even higher-quality format (320 Kbps).

The mobile app (for iPhone, Android, Windows 7, Symbian or Palm) can play Spotify right on your phone — in the car, at work, while you’re running, anything. The music flows in over either a 3G cellular connection or a Wi-Fi connection. (Use Wi-Fi if you have it; Spotify will eat up your monthly cellular data allotment in no time.)

Good, but not perfect


If Spotify had a suggestion box, it wouldn’t be completely empty. It’s great that Premium members can send music to the phone for listening offline (even wirelessly, over Wi-Fi), but you can do that only by playlist, not by song or album. There’s a good assortment of classical music, but, as usual with online music services, it’s not always easy to search, and there’s no option for “gapless playback” between movements.

Only Spotify offers a free plan. But once you’re paying $5 or $10 a month, rivals like Napster, MOG or Rdio offer packages with very similar, and sometimes superior, features. And most let you listen right there on the Web, on any computer; Spotify requires that you first install its free player program.

Furthermore, Spotify maintains that its song catalog is bigger than any of its rivals’ — but Napster asserts that Spotify’s “15 million tracks” is its global total, and only a subset is available in each country. In the United States, Napster says that its catalog is actually bigger. (Spotify got weirdly noncommunicative when I tried to pin it down on this point.)

Now, all subscription services have certain advantages. You never have to fool around with 30-second previews of songs, or pay extra for the most popular songs, or fill up your phone’s memory with huge song files. And because there’s no per-song price, you enjoy a freedom of exploration that’s much harder to achieve when you buy songs one at a time.

The traditional downside of subscription services, though, is that you’re only renting music, not buying it. When you stop paying your monthly fee, you’re left with nothing.

The real Spotify breakthrough, therefore, is that it makes that gotcha disappear. You get all the advantages of a subscription service, but you won’t feel like a sucker when you quit the service (or when the terms change, as they have before). After all, you won’t have paid a penny for all those months or years of musical enjoyment.

Almost everybody hopes that Spotify will succeed. If Spotify, and the record companies, and the musicians, can make money the Spotify way, more power to them. Who knows? It might turn out that the record companies aren’t such big, greedy dunderheads after all.

http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20110728/NEWS0107/107280360/
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MCDM Flip the Media

Spotify Encounters a Spat of Bad Press

Posted by Jonathan Cunningham on
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011 at 3:51 pm
http://flipthemedia.com/index.php/2011/08/spotify-encounters-a-spat-of-bad-press/

Surprise surprise, it’s not all cake and roses for the hippest music streaming site around right now.
Last month, European digital music site Spotify arrived in the U.S. and has already made a large splash among early adapters. If you haven’t heard of it yet, Spotify allows users access to more than 15 million songs for free. Their ability to do this is supported mainly by audio and banner advertisements although the main goal is to get users to trade up for paid subscriptions. There’s a $5 per month computer-only version sans advertisements or a $10 per month package that can be used on mobile devices. If you are just tinkering around with it, there are a ton of upsides to Spotify.

Up until recently, the only drawbacks of the service seemed to be figuring out the interface or the pesky audio advertisements. However, over the last seven days, Spotify has come under fire for several reasons including a patent-infringement lawsuit filed against them several days ago and more recent news that they were caught using an indestructible cookie for the sake of tracking their users. I won’t be pedestrian and say that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, but it shouldn’t be shocking that Spotify has dirt on its shoes. It is a little surprising, however, that the dirt was discovered this early into its U.S. tenure.

Last week, San Diego-based software maker PacketVideo sued Spotify in both the United States and the Netherlands claiming that the Swedish-based music subscription site is violating a patent for a “device for the distribution of music in digital form.” Digital news site Electronista was first to report on the issue. That lawsuit will now have to play itself out in courts on two continents but it sure isn’t a welcome hello to America. There always seems to be intellectual property lawsuits with cloud music services these days so it’s not entirely shocking either.

Beyond that legal dust-up, just yesterday, news broke that researchers at UC Berkeley discovered Spotify was using a vicious cookie in its software that can’t be deleted no matter what the user does to disable it. The purpose of the cookie is to track users habits and, inevitably, to be used for marketing purposes. The ill-intentioned cookie is powered by tech company KISSmetrics and is the same one that Hulu was caught using as well. Spotify quickly suspended use of the cookie but one has to wonder why they wanted to start out playing dirty.

The latter situation seems worse than their problem with PacketVideo. At the core, the allegation is that Spotify intends to spy on it’s own users. That’s no good and consumers consistently push back against measures like these. Spotify was smart to halt using the cookie. But we’ll see if the bruise to the music streaming site’s reputation has lingering damages.

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What makes Spotify different? A brief guide to online music


By John D. Sutter, CNN
August 5, 2011 7:48 a.m. EDT

http://www.cnn.com/2011/TECH/web/08/05/why.spotify.different/

Ever since online music service Spotify launched in the United States last month, it has caused about as much confusion as it has excitement.

Partly that's because, at least on first glance, it doesn't seem entirely new. Spotify looks like iTunes -- only with greener colors. It wants Pandora-level popularity.

And it's built on the assumption that people want to rent music instead of buying it, much like Rdio, Napster (the legal version), Rhapsody and a host of others.

So what exactly makes Spotify different? And how do other services compare?

Here's a quick look at the current online music lineup:

Spotify
It's a streaming music service, meaning you play tunes from the Web instead of your personal hard drive or phone. Premium subscribers can download songs, but Spotify has gotten so much buzz in part because it offers a robust service free.

Its catalogue of music is among the largest, with 15 million songs. Essentially, Spotify wants you to rent songs rather than own them. And, unlike on some other sites, you can choose exactly which tracks you want to listen to on this service -- instead of picking a genre.

Pandora
With 100 million users, Pandora is one of the most popular online music sites in the United States. Visitors to Pandora.com choose a song title or an artist they like, and then Pandora's computers create a radio station out of songs that are musically similar.

So, if you create a station for Arcade Fire, you might hear some obscure indie artists mixed in with Coldplay and U2. Pandora is free up to a point. If you listen to music on the site for more than 40 hours per month, you have to pay $1 for the rest of the month. Yearly subscribers also get to skip the ads that are mixed in with Pandora's songs.

Turntable.fm
This one's big with the Silicon Valley crowd at the moment. Turntable.fm tries to emulate the concert-going experience -- you pick a venue and then listen to music of a certain genre, which is selected in real-time by real people. Users also can become deejays and select songs of their own.

So this free site is kind of a cross between Pandora and Spotify. You do get to choose some songs, like on Spotify. But you also spend lots of time listening to music that's chosen by other people who are online at the time -- like Pandora, except on Pandora, those people are online robots.

iTunes
Apple's music player. It looks a lot like Spotify (or rather, Spotify looks a lot like iTunes), but there's an important difference: iTunes plays music you purchase and download; Spotify and others play music that you rent from the Internet.

(Apple also will launch a Web-based service, iCloud, this fall that will allow users to store and play music.)

Grooveshark
Like Spotify, Grooveshark is a music streaming service, and one that gets good reviews from tech writers because it's easy to use and doesn't require an account for you to get started. Users upload their music into the company's library, and then listen to what they want for free -- if they don't mind hearing ads as well -- or pay a monthly fee for ad-free listening or to use the company's mobile app.

Google Music
Google Music -- and, for that matter, Amazon's cloud services, too -- is designed to let you hear music that you've purchased on any computer, phone or Internet-connected gizmo.

The service, which is only open to those who have been invited, lets users store 20,000 songs in the cloud -- meaning on Google's servers.

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More SPOTIFY in detail


Spotify in the US – a review: Is it a Pandora & last.fm killer?
Posted on August 15, 2011 by Paul Riismandel


Spotify is an online streaming music service that has been available in parts of Europe since 2008. It differentiates itself from popular US music services like Pandora and last.fm by permitting users to actually select the specific artists and songs to hear, rather than only relying upon an algorithm to choose music similar to a particular artist, song or style. In that way Spotify is more like a big online jukebox or iTunes, also permitting users to create playlists which can be shared with other users.

American music lovers who’d heard about the service waited anxiously to experience the kind of instant music availability enjoyed by listeners in Sweden, France and the UK. It took nearly three years, but after long negotiations with the major record labels Spotify became available in the US on July 14.

At first blush it certainly looks like Spotify poses a significant threat to streaming music services like Pandora, last.fm or Slacker, as well as subscription services like Rhapsody which also let listeners choose specific artists, albums and songs. I managed to swing an invitation to try out the free version of Slacker right after in launched stateside. After taking it for a test drive I can say that Spotify indeed does give these other services a run for the money, but I’m not certain that Spotify is ready to top them all.

As a free service it’s too limited to become someone’s go to music source the way that many people rely on Pandora, last.fm or internet radio. And I’m not yet convinced that Spotify’s paid service is complete enough for a lot of listeners like myself. Furthermore, it’s not really a radio service, so much as a very big jukebox in the cloud. Certainly there’s a lot to recommend that idea, but it’s also difficult to live up to.

Continue on to read my full detailed review of Spotify and find out what’s great, and what’s not.

Will it scale?

Most importantly, Spotify isn’t ready to become #1 because the service isn’t ready to take on enough free users to match the scale of Pandora or last.fm. Right now a free account is only available by invitation, whereas a free account with Pandora or last.fm is open to anyone. I presume this is because Spotify wants to scale carefully, rather than deal with a deluge of millions of new users crashing their systems. In fact, while free Spotify accounts were available to anyone for a while in the UK, the service is presently still only available by invitation there as well.

Prior to its US launch Spotify had 10 million users worldwide, with about 9 million of them free, ad supported accounts. By comparison Pandora has 80 million users and last.fm has 40 million. By user count alone Spotify has a way to go to beat the big two.

The Spotify difference

If you’re lucky enough to score a free Spotify account the experience indeed is different than Pandora or last.fm in several significant ways. First, Spotify requires its own application to run on your computer, with versions available for Windows, MacOS and Linux. For many users hoping to listen to music at work or school, places where one might not have the permission to install an application, this will be a barrier to using Spotify right away.

Pandora and last.fm both work inside your web browser. Now, this doesn’t mean that these services are available everywhere. Some schools and employers restrict access to streaming audio and video services. But if you’re currently a Pandora or last.fm listener at work or school it’s possible you won’t be able to install the Spotify app to enjoy that service.



MacOS Spotify app
At the same time there are advantages to having an app for Spotify. The app itself is pretty intuitive to use, borrowing quite a bit from the iTunes experience. Anyone who has used that nearly-ubiquitous Apple app or other music management software should have no problems getting started with Spotify’s quickly. Also, by not working in a browser Spotify minimizes the changes of dragging down your system or crashing your browser. The app also integrates with your iTunes library, giving you access to these tracks and playlists, too.

It’s very easy to search for artists, songs and albums. Just type in your search terms and hit enter. You’ll receive your results nearly instantaneously. Double-click on a track and you can be listening just as quickly. Compared to the web interfaces of Pandora and last.fm, Spotify is downright speedy. I’ve certainly been frustrated with Pandora and, especially, last.fm taking a long time to load a station, or failing to load altogether, sometimes requiring multiple page reloads.

Building a playlist is as easy with Spotify as in iTunes. Just click “new playlist” then select and drag songs to that playlist. It really seems like having a nearly limitless iTunes library at your fingertips. However, while Spotify has some 15 million tracks, it is not truly limitless.

A deep, but not bottomless, catalog

Just like other services there are some artists who are notably absent. Search for the Beatles, AC/DC, Frank Zappa or even King Crimson and you’ll only come up with covers by other artists. Bands like The Who or Pink Floyd have only a couple albums or a smattering of tracks available from their deep catalogs. These gaps aren’t limited to major artists either. In searching across many different genres I found that many artists only have some of their albums represented, or in some cases just a few songs from certain albums. I tried to see if missing albums were all on the same record label, but found that wasn’t necessarily the case.

Complaining about the catalog gaps in Spotify feels a bit like looking gift horse in the mouth, at least when you’ve got a free account and not paying a dime for the access and convenience. I must admit it’s nice to easily check out artists, albums and songs I’ve been interested in hearing rather than making do with thirty second clips.

The ad experience

Of course, just like its competitors (including commercial radio), Spotify isn’t really free. That free account is paid for by advertising that displays in the Spotify app and plays during the music stream. I was jarred by the first few ads I heard because they were for artists and albums that had no relationship to the music I was listening to. I just heard a whole different song start playing, making me think I’d accidenally clicked something. The first one I heard had no voiceover either, just a song snippet accompanied by display ad in the Spotify app. But because I had Spotify in the background I didn’t realize it at first.

I’ve gotten more used to the Spotify ads, but still find them to be more jarring than the last.fm and Pandora ads. On balance, the ads on the latter two services sound more like ones you hear on radio or television than the ones on Spotify.

Spotify has its (listening) limits

Like Pandora, Spotify’s free account sets a limit to how many hours you can listen to in a month. However, Spotify only offers 10 hours while Pandora offers four times as much. Especially if you listen while you work on other things, those 10 hours can run out before you know it. Last.fm does not limit listening time at all, giving it an advantage over the other two services.

Spotify offers unlimited listening on a computer in its Unlimited plan for $4.99 a month. At $9.99 a month the Unlimited plan offers “enhanced” sound quality and mobile access (more about that below). Pandora’s limitless listening is less expensive at $36 a year. This plan also includes higher quality audio, no ads and a desktop application rather than a browser-based player. Alternatively, for just 99 cents a user can keep listening past the 40 hour limit for the rest of the month, but without any of the other subscription benefits. There is no paid last.fm service — it’s completely free.

You can go mobile, for a price

Mobile devices are an area where the free Spotify service doesn’t compete at all. The mobile app is only available as a paid service with the Premium account at $9.99 a month. With that subscription you also get unlimited listening, higher quality sound files and an offline mode that lets you cache playlists on your computer or mobile device so you can listen without internet access.

Both Pandora and last.fm have free mobile apps. Pandora’s free mobile listening limits vary depending on your device and mobile service. Its $36 annual subscription removes any limit. Again, last.fm doesn’t have any limits in mobile, either.

It’s good to share

Despite the paranoia of the recording industry, sharing has been an important aspect of experiencing recorded music for decades. While Pandora and last.fm allow you to share a station that you’ve assembled, it’s not like sharing a mix CD or mix tape, since you can’t pick all the songs and artists. Spotify, on the other, let’s you share a full playlist with other Spotify users.

I think this is Spotify’s killer feature, because it most closely emulates the experience of a mix tape, as easy to assemble as making an iTunes playlist. Certainly there are other ways to share a playlist of tunes online, but most require you to either just share the list of songs which the other person would have to assemble herself. Otherwise you have to upload the song files yourself, which is something that exists in a legal grey area, at least in the US.



Share a Spotify playlist
Every Spotify playlist has a big “share” button underneath the playlist name. Click it and you can send a link to facebook, twitter or Microsoft Messenger with one more click, or just copy and paste a URL that you can send in email or post to a blog. For an example, click here for a playlist of Weird Al Yankovic polka medleys I created.

I really saw the appeal of this feature when a few of my friends first started posting playlists to facebook. It really was like distributing a mixtape to all your friends simultaneously. Well, all of your friends who have Spotify accounts, at least.

And therein lies the limitation of Spotify’s sharing. Since not everyone who wants a Spotify account can have one yet, you really can’t send that playlist to everyone you know. Also, there will probably be songs you wish to include–such as anything by the Beatles–but aren’t available in Spotify’s catalog.

The Spotify experience: a little too limited, not quite radio

I have been a Pandora and last.fm listener for about two years. I don’t use either service every day, or even every week, but there are times when I want background music with a minimum of effort and a minimum of interruption. This is when they fit the bill. I’m not a Pandora subscriber, and have only run into its monthly limit a few times. In these few cases I’ve just switched over to last.fm, even if my stations are different due to each service’s unique algorithms and music libraries.

So far Spotify has become part of my mix of services. However, I use it differently, since I can create playlists of artists and tracks that I specifically want to hear, rather than the more randomized selection I can expect with Pandora or last.fm. In that way I’m likely to use Spotify more like I use my own iTunes library. Of course, I can choose to listen to Spotify’s artist radio and get a similar experience. But as a free user I’d rather not use up my 10 hours getting an experience similar to Pandora or last.fm which have a higher and no limit, respectively.

The big question, of course, is, would I buy a Spotify subscription? I can see the attraction of the service. Having that enormous library of music available on demand, online and off, is appealing. Yet, for someone like me, that library isn’t quite enormous enough. The missing artists, albums and songs are quite tolerable for a free service, but less so when I’m coughing up a monthly fee.

Frankly, if I’d wanted a paid music service I’d already be Rhapsody subscriber. That service costs the same as Spotify Premium, offers similar desktop and mobile features, and has been available in the US for much longer. However Rhapsody also has gaps in its catalog, missing artists like the Beatles and AC/DC which aren’t found on Spotify, either.

Is it radio?

Pandora and last.fm are most appealing to me because they are radio-like and free. If I want to control the playlist, I’ll build one from my library. I listen to Pandora and last.fm when I want to relinquish some of that control and maybe be surprised. But I’m not particularly ready to pay for the experience.

I will admit that Spotify’s free service is nice to use, but 10 hours is a pretty low limit. Based on that alone I think it will have a tough fight to unseat Pandora or last.fm from a lot of music lovers’ daily listening routine.

Spotify shows promise, but is not ready to be a mainstream service accessible to most internet users. It also doesn’t quite scratch that radio itch. A jukebox is not the same thing as a radio station. For me the radio music experience is marked by a combination of predictability and surprise. I know the genre of the stations or the specific show, but I don’t know what song will come next; often it will be something I’ve never heard before. Both Pandora and last.fm provide something much closer to that radio experience, combined with a level of control that lets you filter out sounds you don’t want to hear.

While Spotify has a radio option that resembles Pandora and last.fm, there isn’t much reason to use it compared to its unique playlist building feature. There are times when you want a jukebox, and for many of us our iTunes library is actually pretty satisfying, given that it contains only music I’ve selected and acquired. Spotify comes close, but not close enough for me.

There may be many music lovers ready to just rent their music through a paid Spotify account, provided their tastes don’t stray too far from Spotify’s catalog too often. However, I truly do not know how many. I do know I won’t be one.

http://www.radiosurvivor.com/2011/08/15/spotify-in-the-us-a-review-is-it-a-pandora-last-fm-killer/comment-page-1/
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Bob Lefsetz opines about SPOTIFY



Information is Beautiful.

But it's not always right.

The problem with the Internet is anybody can post information and if it's outrageous enough it'll be forwarded ad infinitum without fact-checking, without scrutiny, and a plethora of people will believe it. Used to be information was funneled through responsible media and after being scrubbed of falsehood it was disseminated to the public. Today even the mainstream is untrustworthy...can you say FAIR AND BALANCED? And it's great that the information available is not only that which is fit to print, or that fits, but even though more people know more things they're often wrong.

Spotify is the number one source of digital revenue in Scandinavia, a paragon of illegal downloading in case you've never heard of the Pirate Bay. It's number two in Europe. Countries with Spotify had an increase of 43% in digital revenue, compared with 9.3% in those without it.

But Spotify's the problem because some Website published a sexy graph with no context a year and a half ago and those who just heard of the streaming giant are still passing this info around, with the truth trailing behind.


The truth is piracy dwarfs legal acquisition. And despite what the RIAA says, it's still burgeoning. Suing didn't solve the problem. It's about a viable legal alternative. Spotify is such.

But what's even more flabbergasting is that Spotify is not a new concept. Although it sports an interface the public is inured to, having employed the look and feel of iTunes, the basic model has been around for nearly a decade, with Rhapsody then the legal Napster and now MOG, Rdio and...

In other words, despite all the hot air that no one wanted a subscription service, that no one wanted rental, most people had never experienced such and didn't know how great it was.

Yes, the genius of Spotify is the marketing. Allowing a free trial.

Funny how a business built on dope can't understand this. Imagine if no one ever got to try marijuana for free, how big would the market be?

So streaming is the future and Spotify puts a dent in piracy.

But we've still got Luddites lamenting the passage of the physical media/album model. Yup, that's right. Apple's on the verge of eliminating the disc, and those in the music industry are still crying about a half century old model disappearing. If the sixties were so great, how'd you like to drive a Plymouth Satellite? Cars got better and so did music delivery systems.

Spotify doesn't mean you can't buy the track. But you're gonna find out no one wants to. It makes no sense. Look around at all those CDs in your house, losing value as I write this. When was the last time you played one? Oh now my inbox is gonna fill up with people who refuse to use a smartphone, decry the iPad and just can't wait for liner notes to return. You're a market, but like the one for vinyl, it's extremely tiny. That's how the music business got in trouble, appealing to dinosaurs, like the now-troubled Best Buy. And isn't it funny that Wal-Mart closed up its MP3 shop. Yup, the Arkansas company notorious for driving down costs, screwing manufacturers in the process, lost out to a tech company with retail stores grossing the highest per square footage amount of any establishment and they don't even sell music in the physical store, only in the virtual world. Isn't it funny that Apple is the number one valued company in America and Wal-Mart's stock is struggling.

It's music. How we hear it is secondary to what we hear. And although I agree that a higher quality digital file would be better, the problem is with Washington, D.C. and the cable and wireless companies. Yup, South Korea trumps us in broadband speed, we're so busy cutting expenses that we can't even invest in infrastructure that pays dividends. There's no YouTube without broadband and there's no high quality files without ultra-fast broadband, but it ain't coming fast.

Why own if you've got everything at your fingertips?

To lambaste Spotify is to believe we should live in a world where overpriced CDs with one good track are the only way to consume music. Turns out people didn't like that model, and once they got a chance they abandoned it. And now they're abandoning ownership for streaming. But it's not only music, it's movies too. Ever heard of a company called Netflix?

And as backward as the record companies are, the artists are even worse. So ignorant, dreaming of future stardom that will never come or daydreaming about the good old days, they're completely uninformed regarding reality.

1. No one knows how much money people will make in the future for making music. But that's not a reason to prop up the past model. That's like making it illegal to innovate, like having to replicate Dr. Luke's compositions over and over again. Wait, that's what's happening! And you're pissed your music can't be heard! Don't you get it, the future is about venturing into the unknown. Record labels won't do it, radio won't do it. You know who does it? MTV, which doesn't even call itself "Music Television" anymore. That old MTV with wall to wall videos? If it existed today, it'd be bankrupt, killed by free distribution online. MTV changed, can you?

2. With streaming, income is pursuant to plays. If someone plays your record forever, you'll continue to get paid. Not so in the old days. People bought it and that was the last money you ever saw.

3. The barrier to access being lowered is a good thing. In the old days, if you weren't on the radio, your record was a stiff. Now, people can hear everything for free. The old system is avoided. This works for you, don't you get it? You're going directly to fan. And if people don't like your music, tough noogies.

4. Stop bitching about wireless bandwidth costs. Playlists sync on all these streaming services. In case you can't understand that, if you've got a subscription, your playlists live on your mobile handset just like they do with an iPod, there's no streaming bandwidth involved. And it's even better! With Spotify you don't get mobile unless you pay! Which drives subscriptions. And if you don't know mobile's the future you still think desktop computers outsell laptops and that both aren't threatened by the iPad.

5. It took us a decade to get to here. How much longer do you want to prevent the future? So long that music is entirely free forever more? To the point that no one ever pays? History is littered with devastated business models. Either you adapt or die. IBM did and survived. Microsoft is trying and not doing so well. Smith-Corona is unknown to most readers of this screed.

Do I wish Spotify paid more?

OF COURSE!

But that's like saying everyone will buy a Mercedes-Benz, especially when cars are free, which is what we've got in the music world.

Do I wish the majors didn't own a slice of Spotify?

OF COURSE!

But without this model, it wouldn't exist.

Do I believe that all development stops and Spotify wins for all time?

Google+ threatens Facebook which killed MySpace. Innovate or die.

Do I believe you're entitled to get rich for making music?

No, I do not. If I had my druthers, more of you would give up and it'd be easier to separate the wheat from the chaff. But just like posting online, just like that Information is Beautiful graphic, anyone can distribute their music online. Meaning the real money comes to he who can extricate the winners from the losers and serve them to the hungry public. This person is going to make all the money, just like MTV did in the last century. And it won't be based on algorithms and it'll look simple after the fact, you'll say you could have created it, but you'd rather bitch than get your hands dirty.

Listen to me. The ability to hear all of recorded music for a low price is a good thing. It enriches the lives of listeners and benefits creators if they'd just shut up and give it a chance.

We're gonna have new superstars. Not because the system creates them, but because the public demands them. We need rallying points, we need social icons.

And those who fulfill this role will be so rich, your jaw will drop.

Wanna win?

Then record this music. Which appeals to more than your mother and musos. And just like the Beatles, it will not be lowest common denominator. It will be great.

And most music is not.

Spotify is just a distribution scheme. Just a tool, like a computer.

If you're bitching about the computer, wishing we'd all go back to paper and ink, I feel sorry for you, life today must be very hard.

People want access.

He who grants access for a low fee, making tons of revenue by charging everyone a little, the cell phone model, will win in the future.

WE'RE FINALLY PLAYING THIS GAME IN MUSIC AND YOU WANT TO KILL IT?


--
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5 reasons Spotify poses a threat to iTunes








August 27, 2011
Spotify is every music pirate's dream made legal. It's free (sometimes), open sharing of music from around the world with peer-to-peer exchange of playlists (via Facebook) in a format that also compensates the artists (if only a penny per play).

Feel the symmetry: Sean Parker, a founder of the pirating pioneer Napster, is an investor. Spotify, a force in Europe with more than 10 million users and a global arsenal of 15 million songs, recently made a soft, by-invitation-only opening in the United States.

If Americans are anything like European listeners, U.S. subscribers overwhelmingly will choose Spotify's free, limited-access configuration and accept advertisements between tracks like Pandora's free-service model. Some may pay $4.99 a month for ad-free, unlimited access. (Close to 1.5 million reportedly registered in the first three weeks of Spotify's invitation-only U.S. rollout, with fewer than 200,000 opting for a pay plan.) Spotify's Premium service, at $9.99 a month, is the potential game-changer with unlimited music available beyond the desktop, on up to three mobile devices, higher-quality audio streams and offline playlists. If most Spotify subscribers choose this service, unlikely though it seems, it would immediately threaten the sanctity of Apple's iTunes.

Here are five reasons:


1. Spotify looks like iTunes, works like iTunes and, most important, doesn't need iTunes. Spotify automatically searches your computer for streamable music, whether on iTunes, Windows Media Player or stored in any folder. Once installed, Spotify reduces iTunes to bloatware — unnecessary software.

2. Spotify's Premium subscribers pay $9.99 monthly, or about $120 a year. For that, subscribers access a library whose size rivals the entire iTunes Store. No Beatles, but everything from Lady Gaga to Madagascan guitarist D'Gary, country singer Ashton Shepherd and guitarist Steve Cropper's latest album, a tribute to 1950s R&B group the 5 Royales.

Stream songs or entire albums and listen in the moment, or store them on your iPhone, smartphone or iPad for mobile listening. Up to 3,333 can be downloaded at a time for offline play. Hear what you want, whenever you want.

For that same one-year investment, an iTunes subscriber gets 120 songs, at 99 cents each. The consolation prize: Unlike Spotify, an iTunes subscriber owns those songs forever.

3. Airplay, Apple's wireless technology for streaming music between devices, also works with Spotify. During a trial with the Premium service, I streamed music from an iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad to a kitchen audio system connected to Apple's Airport Express, a $99 wireless base station.

Yes, tap the screen and suddenly the music is playing, virtually indistinguishable from the original source, in front of you.

To find Airplay while a song is playing in Spotify, tap the informational "I" icon in the upper left of the screen, then look down to the volume slidebar for "dock connector." Tap the AirPlay icon, a triangle injected into a rectangle, and select the name associated with your Airport Express or Apple TV.

4. Audio quality. Spotify, which uses the Ogg Vorbis audio format to stream at 160 kilobits per second and up to 320 kbps, is a match for the iTunes Store's 256 kbps AAC downloads.

5. Social media. In Spotify's we-are-the-world moment, users can share a song via Facebook or Twitter and load entire playlists for other Spotify subscribers to view, and listen to, through Facebook. Ping, iTunes' social-networking extension introduced almost a year ago, has been a royal dud.

Prediction: When iCloud debuts this fall, Apple can compete with any cloud service it wants — including Spotify. Apple now classifies iCloud as an online storage locker for users' data and music. But watch how rapidly it expands into movies, perhaps with the Hollywood-approved Ultraviolet format. If Spotify reaches a projected 3 million paying subscribers in its first year in the United States and becomes a powerful alternative to iTunes' download-it, buy-it-now approach, Apple can almost instantly turn itself into a streaming-music competitor. Spotify might not dethrone iTunes, but it could change the way we listen to, and store, music.

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San Francisco Chronicle




Snoop Dogg, Sean Parker Celebrate Spotify


.Though we’ve yet to figure out Spotify, let alone adapt to a fierce flurry of Facebook changes, if, as announced yesterday at the social network’s F8 Conference, this music-sharing website, is as spectacular as the party hosted Thursday by tech titan Sean Parker, we’re all in.

Set in a graffiti-clad, Potrero district warehouse, an excloo conclave of 300 music industry insiders, venture capitalists, tech-heads and assorted bold-faced names partied like old-school dot-commers during Parker’s rollicking “A Celebration of Music.”


On the docket: a Q&A with Parker and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, a “state-of-music” panel discussion and spirited sets by The Killers, Jane’s Addiction, Snoop Dogg and DJ Kaskade.

As the co-mastermind behind Napster, Plaxo and founding Facebook president, the 31-year-old Parker is not only Forbes’ October cover boy. But for the first time, he’s landed at #782 on the money mag’s Billionaires list clocking in with a net worth of $1.6 billion.


“This is the most important one for me. It feels like everything I’ve done has come full circle,” said Parker, Spotify’s first U.S. investor, at a reported $15 million, via the San Francisco-based Founders Fund where he serves as a general partner. “Now what we’ve been working on the last two years is finally real to the world.”

However his swell shindig — masterfully designed by Stanlee Gatti — took even less time to pull together.


But within 48 hours of receiving Parker’s call, Gatti & Co. corralled an army of artisans who transformed the cavernous, empty warehouse (future home of industrial designer Yves Behar’s fuseproject) into a den of delights flanked by a large stage and filled with intimate groupings of sleek, nightclub-style lounge areas.


By the time guests arrived via shuttles from the F8 conference, the warehouse exterior was almost dry following a rainbow-hued painting frenzy by graffiti artists Geso and Nemel who plastered the place with their signature style.

“Our planning conversations usually happened around 2 in the morning. Within ten minutes, it was like I’d read Sean’s mind,” said Gatti, who maintains a similarly hectic and peripatetic schedule. “But I didn’t know until later that when Sean became president of Facebook, he had their walls of their office covered in graffiti.”



The graffiti theme continued inside the warehouse where soaring Rye Bar cocktail stands and bars teemed with every top-shelf tipple imaginable. All the better to pair with the bounteous McCall Associates buffet stands groaning beneath sushi and lobster bars, spit-roasted suckling pigs, pounds of fresh-sliced proscuitto and Parker’s personal favorite, Mac & Cheese copiously sprinkled with just-shaved truffles, six pounds of the pungent tuber which McCall Executive Chefs Lucas Schoemaker and Josip Martinovic had flown in from France.


Among the revelers: Angel investor Ron Conway; Parker’s fiance, singer-songwriter Alexandra Lenas; Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning; CODE Advisors co-founder Fred Davis; author and music lyricist Danielle Steel; Playfish founder Sebastien de Halleux; Driverside.com co-founder Trevor Traina and his wife, Swanson Vineyards Creative Director Alexis Traina; Eminem manger Paul Rosenberg; Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, making a fly-by following his own F8 post-party.

Yet amid the exhuberant extravagence, a few whispers about a potential bubble burst wafted upward to the warehouse ceiling bumping into towering chandeliers.


“This isn’t old school because the first tech boom was never this good,” observed one partygoer, with a joking aside. “This is about kings and artisans of the court. So it’s more like medieval school.”

Opposite his unflattering portrayal played by Justin Timberlake in the film, “The Social Network,” Parker, the person, was so charming, genial and engaged with his guests that none could deny his haute hospitality. Not even members of the fourth estate for whom reserved seating in front of the stage also provided tables stocked with a crystal ice bucket and bottles of Delion tequilla.

Before the whole evening turned into one giant dance party with the ladies swarming the stage for Snoop Dogg’s finale, Daniel Ek made note that Parker had been photographed at a costume party dressed as an early-edition of Justin Timberlake, the musician. And wondered if Parker could name a musical artist or group which he might be embarrassed about being a fan of. Such as ‘N Sync.

“I actually owe a debt of gratitude to Justin Timberlake,” he admitted, with a laugh. “Because if it wasn’t for the fact of that movie, I suspect a lot of the artists here tonight weren’t entirely clear that they were actually coming to hang out with a bunch of nerds.”

http://blog.sfgate.com/missbigelow/2011/09/23/snoop-dogg-sean-parker-celebrate-spotify/
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Lifehacker


Spotify Is Now Open to Everyone, Gives You 6 Months of Unlimited Listening for Free


Happy day! Music-streaming service Spotify no longer requires an invitation for everyone in the US. Also, for the first six months when sign up—whether you live in the US or elsewhere—you can use the service unpaid without any limits.
Essentially, you get a free 6-month trial of everything the service offers, and then after that you'll be kicked to the free plan which gives you up to 10 hours of listening a month. The $4.99/month unlimited plan eliminates ads, and the $9.99 premium plan gives you mobile access, offline mode, and enhanced sound quality.

Here's the catch: To get past the invite system, you'll have to go through Facebook (Spotify also announced yesterday its integration with Facebook, just in time for Facebook to announce its upcoming new features).

You'll start seeing new music posts and play buttons in your Facebook newsfeeds. Keep in mind that after your 6-month unlimited access, music you listen on Facebook will count towards your Spotify monthly limit.

http://lifehacker.com/5843210/spotify-is-no-longer-invite+only-gives-you-6-months-of-unlimited-listening-for-free
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With Facebook, streaming music lowers barriers

5:58 AM, Sep 27, 2011 |


San Francisco (CNN) -- When Spotify debuted in the U.S. two months ago, the streaming-music service was starkly different from its competitors.

For one, Spotify was the only clearly legal service that let people listen to every song in its digital catalog on demand for free, without making them jump through hoops by signing up for some kind of time-limited trial run.

It's well designed; integrates with iTunes, the most popular jukebox from Apple; lets you blast songs to friends via Facebook; and did we mention that it's free? To quote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a 2009 status update during Spotify's Europe-only days, "Spotify is so good."

So, naturally, when Zuckerberg first took steps to design a music section for Facebook, he went to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek and Sean Parker, the former Facebook adviser who now sits on Spotify's board of directors. But ultimately, rather than reaching an exclusive deal with Spotify, Facebook chose to partner with more than a dozen companies, including other music services such as MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody.

These deals may have another, indirect consequence: bringing more free music to more Internet users on multiple sites, not just Facebook.

MOG and Rdio announced just hours apart last week in advance of Facebook's conference that they were adding more robust free music offerings. Rhapsody, which has been in the game the longest, will offer an extended trial of 30 days to Facebook users. (In other words, to just about everyone.)

MOG's free service grants users a sort of gas tank that can be filled by completing tasks on the service, such as creating playlists or referring friends to sign up. The viral-marketing program was inspired by another cloud service called Dropbox, and MOG will also have advertisements to offset some of the costs of offering free music, MOG CEO David Hyman said in an interview on Thursday.

"This massively lowers the bar for what you need to do to get free music," Hyman said.

Rdio's free service, which is coming "in the very near future," will provide access to its 11 million tracks without ads, a spokesman said. He declined to elaborate on how this will make financial sense for the company.

What all of these services have in common is that they'll work with the new music hub that Facebook unveiled on Thursday. This means they likely will give users the option to automatically alert Facebook about every song they listen to, and then let the social networking giant create reports about their listening habits.

Facebook is attempting to bring this same concept to news, video, books and other applications. Whether people actually want to let Facebook log every news article they read is uncertain, to say the least. When it comes to video, giants like Google's YouTube and Vimeo are missing from Facebook's new platform; Hulu's offering appears unchanged; and Netflix is launching Facebook integration everywhere except for in the U.S. for now.

In other words, Facebook's stab at hosting music looks the strongest, despite lacking deals with giants iTunes or Pandora, neither of which are on-demand song-streaming programs. Zuckerberg introduced his new music product by saying he wanted to "rethink the whole music industry."

Bringing personal recommendations to some 750 million Facebook users introduces a new variable to digital music. People may look to music reports on their friends' Facebook profiles -- "Fred is listening to the new OK Go album" -- for suggestions instead of the radio or stores.

Considering the major shift in recent months from walled online music subscriptions to extensive free listening, and the comments from executives at the streaming companies, everyone appears open to the idea.

While torturous record-label negotiations were once like a trip to the dentist, "it gets a little bit easier dealing with them every day," Hyman said. Spokesmen for two of the major labels didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Rhapsody, which has been around for nearly a decade, is taking a relatively cautious approach with its 30-day trial. Digital music has never seen a scenario quite like the one now, with so many options for free music, Rhapsody President Jon Irwin said in an interview. The few that have tried something similar, like iMeem, iLike and Lala, "have come and gone," he said. These services have to pay performance royalties each time someone starts playing a song, which can add up very quickly.

"At some point, the economics have to balance," Irwin said. "Somebody has to pay for that."

MOG put at least a year of investigation into the likely costs associated with its free service, Hyman said. Engineers plan to continue tweaking as more people sign on through Facebook, he said. This "Facebook experiment," as some in the music industry are calling it, may still prove to be less costly than other vehicles of marketing and advertising, executives said.

"One can say it's an experiment, but we've certainly done a ton of research," Hyman said. "It's still cheaper than me buying search engine marketing, display advertising or traditional marketing."

Spotify appears unfazed by the mounting competition. The service recently passed 2 million paying subscribers, Ek, the CEO, said this week. People who use Facebook are more likely to sign up for Spotify's paid service, executives said on Thursday, citing its own research.

"Ours is the best free service there is," Kenneth Parks, Spotify's content chief, said in an interview.

But that free offering won't stay golden forever. Around the end of the year, Spotify will impose more limits on U.S. users, in line with per-month listening restrictions and ads that Spotify users in Europe already see.

Thanks to recent sizable venture-capital investments, Spotify certainly doesn't appear to be hurting for cash.

After Facebook's announcement on Thursday, Parker and Spotify hosted an extravagant party in San Francisco for conference attendees, with tequila bottles stationed at tables and concerts by such artists as Killers and Jane's Addiction. Everything, of course, was free.

http://www.wtsp.com/news/national/article/212691/81/With-Facebook-streaming-music-lowers-barriers
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Is Spotify the next evolutionary step for music?

By Andrew Abramson | Music Feature | October 14, 2011

http://www.pbpulse.com/music/music-feature/2011/10/14/is-spotify-the-next-evolutionary-step-for-music/

Every so often, a revolutionary idea transforms the music industry. Mass-produced records in the 1930s brought music to living rooms. Blank cassette tapes in the 1980s turned music fans into producers.

Napster, and its illegal brothers and sisters like Kazaa, gave us a glimpse in the 2000s at how the Internet would change music forever. But it nearly derailed the industry. Why buy an album for $15 a pop when you can steal it with minimal to no risk?

Apple, Amazon and others have attempted to legitimize the Internet music industry, allowing consumers to buy songs for under a dollar and full albums for less than $10. But in a recession with no end in sight, paying for music isn’t a priority for many fans when they can still illegally download a full album for free in less than five minutes.

Enter Spotify, the first company to understand that the future of music isn’t in buying songs or albums. Spotify, a downloadable program, puts music past and present at your fingertips. A vast majority of the record companies’ catalogs are available by doing a simple search, and it could save the music industry.

Spotify, based in Sweden, has been available in many European countries for three years. The American music industry had no choice but to give in this summer, realizing this is the only way to combat illegal downloads.

At first glance, Spotify looks like iTunes. But unlike iTunes, you don’t have to buy the 15+ million songs to hear them. All you need is an Internet connection, and you stream the songs for free. Other companies, like Rhapsody, have offered streaming music, but never for free. Pandora offers free streaming music, but you can’t select specific artists or songs.

In addition to its free service, Spotify has two pricing levels. With a $5 per month unlimited subscription, you eliminate the 30-second ads that pop up every few songs. With a $10 per month premium subscription, you can listen on a mobile device and sync the songs to your hardware, eliminating the need to listen over an Internet connection. You lose the synced songs if you cancel your subscription.

A paid subscription is still a tough sale for music fans who feel the need to own music. But as more and more people use smartphones and 4G becomes the standard connection, there won’t be much of a difference between owning a song and streaming it.

Spotify has tapped into the social network, partnering with Facebook. Think back to when you made your best friend a mix tape – now you can create mixes for all your friends, and they just have to click on your name. A few people were freaked out when Spotify began listing the songs they were listening to on Facebook’s feed. You can turn off that option in your preferences while still connecting through Facebook. You also can eliminate the Facebook connection altogether.

Spotify has its flaws. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan are among the most noticeably absent artists because of licensing restrictions imposed by the record labels. Perhaps that will change as Spotify explodes in popularity.

You’re limited to syncing 3,333 songs offline, although you can stream any song from your mobile device if you have an Internet or 3G/4G connection. You can import an unlimited number of songs from your own personal collection, including iTunes, to Spotify.

If Spotify catches on, and considering the growing number of Facebook friends I see popping up on Spotify every day there’s no doubt that it will, you have to wonder if iTunes will be forced to follow suit and allow users to stream music for free.

It’s the best model for an otherwise crumbling industry. A guy like me is now paying $120 a year for the premium membership. While I frequent concerts, I probably haven’t spent $120 on albums in years.

The casual music fan will stream for free, but Spotify – and the record companies – will make money with lucrative ad sales.

Independent bands have complained that they are barely compensated by Spotify, and some bands have pulled their music. That’s a problem Spotify will have to address, but hopefully it can figure it out without increasing fees. In today’s economy, $10 a month for unlimited ad-free music anywhere you roam is reasonable. Anymore is a stretch.

Related articles
◦Media Decoder Blog: Spotify Loss Widens Despite Higher Revenue (mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com)
◦Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio: When Will Subscription Music Pay Off For Artists? (fastcompany.com)
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Make It In Music Blog

How to promote music on Spotifyby Ian on November 4, 2011


http://www.makeitinmusic.com/promote-music-on-spotify/

I’ve been looking at how to promote music on Spotify.
There’s a couple of things that I needed to sort out for artists that I work with relating to their presence on Spotify. That led me to start to make some decisions about the basics of using Spotify for promotion as a musician – so this is what I have uncovered so far as it applied to the issues I was having.

This is just about getting the basics right to start with – I think I’m right, but it’s a work in progress, so let me know what else you know!

The obvious issue is that with Spotify getting serious traction in the UK and the US, any artist would be a fool not to use it, have their music on there and work out how to maximise that exposure.


I know some people think the royalties are too low and you’re better off not being on Spotify – that might work for Coldplay looking to maximise their ‘week one’ sales, but I see no justification for a DIY or indie artist not being on there. Exposure = fan attraction and relationship building. I don’t care about the ‘missed sales’ or low revenue from those plays. I want to see an artist build a long-term sustainable fan base who will pay for the ‘fan experience’ in a multitude of ways – downloads and streaming of the artist’s music being just one of those!

Get your music on Spotify
In order to use Spotify to promote your music, the first thing you need to do is get your music on there!

It’s actually pretty easy to get your music on Spotify. See their own page about that here.

If you have a deal with someone that gets your music on iTunes, then you’ll likely be able to get on Spotify easily. For example, Tunecore have you covered.

Spotify Artist Profile page

All Music Profile with biography and images

The most obvious issue that I had was that some of my artists don’t have a biography or pictures on their Spotify Artist Profile page. As far as I can tell, the Artist Profile page is generated from the metadata that is supplied by your digital distributor (or aggregator) to Spotify and then added to by pulling information from the All Music Guide.

If you have a biography and images on the All Music site, these will be pulled wholesale into Spotify. If you don’t, it looks like you need to go to All Music and submit information (although they will write the bio themselves rather than using what you submit directly). This can take a month or so but will then be pulled into Spotify. If you have any evidence that this can be done directly with Spotify, please let us know!

Send fans to your Spotify Artist Profile
I then realised that I wanted every artist site that I work on to have a prominent link in the sidebar (where you have your links to Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc) direct to the artist profile on Spotify. I’d suggest that this is now a ‘de facto’ addition to the networks that you should link to.

To find the URL of your artist profile in Spotify, search for your artist name and click through to the Artist Profile page. Directly under the band name you’ll see a ‘Share’ link. Click on that and if you select the Twitter option it will bring up a pre-prepared tweet including the URL. Just cut the bit that begins with ‘http’ and that is the direct link to your Artist Profile page. (Don’t bother with the actual tweet!)

Find a Spotify icon by searching for that in Google (image search), download it and add it to your sidebar. If that makes no sense – time to ask your web nerd to help you out again!

Why do you want people to go and check you out on Spotify?
Well, it’s another place where they can listen to your music and with the addition of Facebook integration, everything they listen to on Spotify will show up in their Facebook Ticker feed (unless they bar it, which I know a lot of people have!). That could be a lot of exposure for your music to their friends.

People tend to highlight (star) or add to a playlist music that they discover on Spotify – which should encourage them to keep coming back to it. As I said at the start of this piece, I’m not bothered about the small royalty (although you will earn a little by people listening to your music on Spotify) but I am interested in them becoming fans!

Nonetheless, an obvious advantage of being on Spotify is that people can buy your music from within Spotify with one click and add it to their library.

Promote using Spotify playlists
There’s already been a lot of stuff written about how you can use Spotify playlists to promote your music once you have it on there. It’s a simple idea and one that you ought to be trying to see if it works for you.

Creating the link to share a playlist works the same way as we set out above for finding the ‘http’ link for your Artist Profile. Just go to the playlist that you’ve created in your Spotify account and ‘click ‘Share’ to get the URL.


My Chemical Romance using a Spotify playlist in a blog post

You’ll notice that the playlist will be from your personal user profile. Now that you must have a Facebook profile to open a new Spotify account, it might be worth setting up a ‘fake’ Facebook profile using your band name as the first and last names of your new Facebook profile. That way your Spotify account will have your artist name and that’s what will appear in your playlists as ‘Created by…’. NOTE – Facebook frowns on fake profiles…a lot! So, you’re probably better of just having the playlist come from the Spotify account of one of the band members. As with Facebook, this problem is obscured for singer/songwriters who perform under their own real name!

Simple playlist rules are that, unless you’re already very successful, you don’t want to just make playlists of your own material. Make up lists of your influences, your genre or your local scene. They don’t necessarily have to have your music in at all on occasion. Just having music to talk about by referencing a playlist can give you something to engage your fans with. For example, a short blog post on your influences with a short playlist for your fans to listen to as they read could prove very popular.

Then, of course, you can leverage other online coverage by offering your playlists to other sites. How about what you’re listening to on the tour bus that you send to all the local ‘what’s on’ blogs for each town you’re visiting on tour?

There’s plenty of other ideas for promoting your music on Spotify if you have a quick search – such as ‘piggybacking’ and recording covers as discussed in this article on Ditto Music.

Advertising on Spotify
One other option is to advertise.

You can do this to people who you know have Spotify by using a Facebook ad that is additionally targeted to Facebook users who ‘like’ Spotify.

Or, you could advertise on Spotify itself. This can be surprisingly cheap and you’ll no doubt have noticed how an element of Spotify advertising is now de rigueur for all major label releases, whether that takes the form of the audio ads that non-premium Spotify users hear or the various banner placements that you see within Spotify. You can learn more here.

I’ve been lucky enough to see what Spotify can do with their in-house promotion when working with major label acts. They post on their blog, mail to their newsletter (over 2 million strong), post to their Facebook page and so on. It can drive awesome amounts of traffic and interest to an artist.

Of course, that’s generally available to internationally recognised acts, but they do offer this ‘Platinum promotional package’ to bands that they take a shine to. Remember that Spotify is run by music lovers and they want to be seen to be helping grass roots acts.

How can you get spotted by them and offered this kind of help? Well no-one says that’ll be easy but do the things we always recommend – get some great music locked down, build a presence online and offline with a live following and drive attention to it. If you add a little bit of focus to Spotify’s blog and their Facebook page (by commenting there etc), who knows if that might help you get lucky!

Before you count on that though, get your music on Spotify, send your fans to your Spotify Artist Profile and creatively promote your music and your scene through playlists.

That’s the basics of how to promote music on Spotify. More as it develops!

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Bob Lefsetz chimes in on Spotify


The goal of the rights holders is to create competition. They believe leverage is greatest when you can play one retailer off another. This is true, but it's a complete misunderstanding of the digital landscape.

Please read this article:

"Don't Believe Facebook, Spotify's The Only Open Graph Music App Winning": http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/08/music-app-stats/

At the end of last week, stats were revealed showing that MOG was the fastest growing music service on Facebook:

http://evolver.fm/2011/11/01/mog-grows-fastest-among-facebooks-on-demand-music-apps/

The only problem was, the numbers were in percentages.

And when you go from one to two, that's a 100% increase. Whereas when you go from 1000 to 1100, that's only a 10% increase.

The devil is in the details. And the story, as told in the TechCrunch article linked first, is that Spotify is killing its competitors on Facebook.

Spotify has 2.4 million daily users and 7.4 million monthly users.

MOG has 10,000 daily users and 170,000 monthly users.

Rdio has 4,000 daily users and 60,000 monthly users, but just 6.6% of its users return each day, as opposed to 32% at Spotify.

So what did we learn here?

1. There's an early mover advantage. It pays to be first. Spotify pioneered free streaming of millions of tracks and built up a critical mass that cannot be undercut by me-too products. Spotify won this war, it can only lose if someone comes up with something better. In other words, Bing can't compete with Google unless it's superior by a huge margin, which it is not. Most of Bing's market share has been purchased, by deals with Yahoo and mobile carriers. And Bing has hemorrhaged billions and profitability is nowhere on the horizon. It's not only record labels that are ignorant, even Steve Ballmer couldn't see that only one site wins online. Sure, scraps are left for iconoclasts, but those scraps don't generate huge profits.

2. Network effects. Once everybody starts using something, it makes it damn near impossible for a competitor to enter the market and win. There's word of mouth, everybody wants to play with the cool people. But most importantly, this is where social comes in. When other systems are incompatible, everybody gravitates to the winner, because that's where everybody is.

3. Online is not like brick and mortar. All shops are right next door to each other, a click away, online. You might have overpaid for convenience at your local record shop, not wanting to drive further, but this is not an issue online. Notice that Spotify, MOG and Rdio don't differentiate on catalog, they've all got essentially the same tracks. And functionality is good enough with Spotify that no competitor can win on that basis. We saw this with Palm, supposedly functionality was a bit better than the iPhone. Didn't make a difference, Apple had already won. As for Android... It has triumphed because of costs. The software is free and so are some of the handsets. Apple might be able to stop the juggernaut with lawsuits, but if not, this is Windows versus Mac. But in online music services...you can't get any cheaper than free! It's impossible to compete on price!

4. Facebook trumpets the percentage increases of Spotify's competitors because just like the record labels, it wants competition, if one company wins, it has the leverage. If Spotify gets big enough, it dictates to Facebook.

5. Spotify has traction. So much of what gets hyped online is a fad, like turntable.fm. Heard anybody talk about that lately? You must separate the fads from those with sticking power. But just because a site is a winner today, that does not mean it will be a winner tomorrow. Either Apple has an all you can eat streaming service in the wings or it's going to lose out in music. Purchase is in decline. Because it's hard to rationalize paying for a little when you can get a lot for free. As for the sunset of all you can eat for free, cheapies won't gravitate to purchase, they'll just keep their money off the table. Either people will pay for mobile access or music will end up being baked into other services and will feel like free.

These are tectonic changes. And when they happen, they create instant winners and instant losers. The computer triumphed and the typewriter died. AOL burst open the online world but didn't change fast enough, was married to a dialup walled garden for too long, and the World Wide Web and cable/DSL killed it. Just because you win today, that does not mean you win tomorrow.

Moore's Law tells us that computing power doubles every two years. This increased power allows unforeseen innovation the same way broadband adoption ultimately begat YouTube. The more innovation enabled by technology, the more the old world is shaken up. Sure, you can make music the same old way, but how it reaches the marketplace and what the compensation is is totally up for grabs.

That's fact. And you can't argue with facts.

You can lament the passing of the past, or try to ride the new wave into the future.

And it's just like surfing. It's easier to watch from the beach. Catching a wave ain't that easy and riding it in can be even more difficult. But you can't win unless you wade into the water.

Music is no longer separate from the online world, it's fully integrated. To think you can keep people from mashing up music with other media is to believe you can stop people from having sex. Your best bet is to try to figure out where it's all going and instead of complaining, ride along.

CONCLUSION

It doesn't matter what Spotify pays. The power has shifted from the creator to the consumer. If every rights holder pulled his music from Spotify the service might die, but the public would remember it, the same way it remembered Napster after it was shut down. You lead the public, you don't take away from people. If you take away, people get pissed, no matter what your rationalization. They no longer believe you're on their side, they steal and negatively impact your business.

If you're planning a music distribution site, know that only one wins, there's only one iTunes and one Spotify. If those odds appeal to you, go for it.

If you do compete, you can't be a little bit better than the winner, you've got to be a lot better. Otherwise, people won't switch.

The rights holders believe that's what they've got, the rights, that they hold the ultimate trump card. Didn't work so well in the P2P world and there's a whole generation of musicians who've grown up tech-savvy and oppose restrictions, they see the benefit of sharing. This speaks negatively to those playing by old rules.

We're gonna continue to have winners and losers. Many of these companies will appear to rise out of nowhere. People laughed at Amazon, Facebook went from nothing to everything. Facebook could kill MySpace because MySpace was an inferior product. Spotify is not lame, you can only improve on it a little, that's not enough to differentiate yourself. So, to all the other streaming services...good luck!


--
Visit the archive: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/
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Spotify's plan: get users hooked, then ask them to pay for music


The head of Spotify's U.S. operations explains the Swedish company's strategy for making money from a music service that is initially free for subscribers.
By Alex Pham, Los Angeles Times
November 10, 2011

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ct-facetime-spotify-20111110,0,5785666.storyFour months after Swedish digital music sensation Spotify launched its music service in the U.S., the company has amassed more than 4 million users who can play any song they want from Spotify's catalog of more than 15 million songs — absolutely free.

For Spotify, however, those songs don't come cheap. Every time a user plays a song, Spotify must pay an undisclosed royalty to music labels and publishers.

Like a high roller who keeps doubling down, Spotify is optimistic it can eventually make money, even if it means giving away music at the outset. The hope is that customers, once hooked, will open their wallets for premium features, such as being able to listen to music without commercials, or on their mobile devices.

It's not a bad bet. The market for subscription music services is projected to grow from $532 million this year to more than $2.2 billion in 2015, according to Gartner Inc., a media and technology research firm. Among those who hope to share in the pie are Rhapsody, MOG, Rdio and Slacker.

Spotify has been operating for years in Europe. But the stakes in the U.S., the world's largest music market, are far higher. For Spotify, success in the U.S. means opening its service to an unprecedented number of listeners, many of whom won't pay Spotify a dime.

Spotify isn't saying how many of its 4 million U.S. users have sprung for the paid services, which cost $4.99 for subscribers who want to listen to commercial-free music on their computers or $9.99 for those who want to listen on smartphones and tablets.

What makes Spotify so confident it won't lose its shirt? We spoke with Kenneth Parks, Spotify's chief content officer and the head of the company's U.S. operations.

Parks started his career in the late 1980s as an electrical engineer designing integrated circuits for AT&T, then became an intellectual property attorney at Weil Gotschal & Manges. He went on to become chief technology counsel for Reuters Group, and senior vice president for strategy at EMI Music. He joined Spotify in 2008.

Parks explains how his company plans to make "free music" pay off.

What has to happen before people start paying for a music subscription service?

It starts with a great product and a great user experience. Spotify is extremely fast and extremely engaging. That's because we think the key to getting the business model to work is to have an experience that people want to invest in.

There have been lots of great services here before Spotify. Why haven't they taken off?

The barrier to entry is too high if you have to pay $9.99 right upfront, without the ability to try out the experience for a substantial period of time. You need to lower the barrier for potential customers. This is the free part. It gets people who have been totally lost to illegal file-sharing services away from piracy back into the music industry.

So you start by giving it away. Then what?

You get them to build playlists and libraries. When people invest 500 hours into their music, building their collections and making playlists, they look at music in a different way. The equation changes when you get them to invest in the experience. After spending several months, you ask them to pay the price of a couple of sandwiches a month, the answer is likely to be yes. It's a no-brainer.

Spotify now requires users to have a Facebook account in order to listen. Why?

We know from experience that people who are engaged socially are much more likely to become subscribers. Their own behavior is influenced by the social aspect. It drives a deeper level of engagement. That's important to us. It's also a great way to get the word out about our service when people see that their friends are using us.

If people are getting the music for free, whenever they want, won't they end up buying less music?

There's no evidence of our service cannibalizing music sales. On the contrary, there's evidence that we're generating new revenue from a demographic that hasn't purchased a lot and are now reengaged. The [International Federation of the Phonographic Industry] does an annual survey of the European market. It shows that in all the places where we operated, the market for music purchases actually grew.

When people listen to more music, they also tend to buy more music. We're starting to rebuild a healthy recorded music business. It's all about reengaging a demographic that was lost to piracy and giving them an experience that they're willing to invest in.

[email protected]

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Google Music launching without Sony and Warner From ZDNet

By Greg Sandoval , CNET News on November 14, 2011


Summary
Google Music lines up largest record company Universal Music Group, for new download store but has not obtained agreements from Sony and Warner.

CNET has learned that Google has signed a licensing agreement for the new service with Universal Music Group but does not have deals in place with Sony Music Entertainment or Warner Music Group, according to multiple industry sources. It is unclear whether EMI would participate. Talks between Sony, Warner and Google continue, sources said.

The negotiations between Google and the labels by and large haven't gone well for either side. The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor to emerge and believe Google has the technological know-how, money, and Internet presence to give iTunes a run for its money.

On the other hand, Google wants to offer first-class music and movie services to users of Android, the company's powerhouse mobile operating system.

Google has a tense relationship with some of the record companies. In general, the search company's past dealings with media companies has at times been acrimonious. Most notably was Viacom's accusations in a $1 billion copyright suit it filed against Google that the company encouraged YouTube users to post pirated clips to the site.

For the past two years, Google has attempted to improve relations with content creators. Managers boosted antipiracy efforts and helped Vevo, the Internet music-video service, get off the ground.

Despite that, Google is once again launching a major part of its music service without acquiring licenses and this may serve to widen the rift between the company and some of the labels.

Google launched the test version of its cloud music service earlier this year without licenses.

The labels argue that for Google to challenge Apple and offer a feature-rich service, the search company needs music from all the top record companies as well as all the licenses. Google apparently sees it differently and next Wednesday we will learn more about how Google plans to compete without songs from some of the the top labels.

What could also aggravate record-company execs is a disagreement over a request by the labels' trade group to remove a popular but controversial music app from the Android Market.

The Recording Music Industry Association of America has alleged, according to PCMag.com, that MP3 Download Pro enables users to download music to their mobile phones and is being used for piracy.

http://www.zdnetasia.com/google-music-launching-without-sony-and-warner-62302861.htm
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Spotify Boosts Paid Subscribers by 25% After Music Service Joins Facebook

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-23/spotify-paid-users-jump-25-since-music-service-joins-facebook.html




By Andy Fixmer - Nov 23, 2011 1:37 PM ET .

Spotify Ltd., the music-streaming service, increased paying customers by 25 percent after allowing Facebook users to share and stream music.

Spotify has 2.5 million subscribers, a gain of 500,000 since September, when the service became available on Facebook Inc.’s social network, Ken Parks, chief content officer and managing director of North America, said in an interview.

Daniel Ek, Spotify’s founder and chief executive officer, has scheduled a press event in New York on Nov. 30 to announce new plans, without offering specifics. Spotify, which charges $4.99 to listen on personal computers or $9.99 for both PCs and mobile devices, separately counts more than 10 million users of its advertising-supported service.

More than 4 million Facebook users signed up for a Spotify account within six weeks of the service becoming available on the social network, Mountain View, California-based Facebook said Nov. 8 on its website.

Spotify, based in London, is available in 12 countries including the U.S., U.K., France and Sweden, and has a music roster of 15 million songs from artists signed to Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group, Sony Corp. (6758), Warner Music Group and EMI Group, among others, the company said in September.

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Spotify: Enlisting developers to help spread the music?

November 29, 2011 | 3:10 pm 510
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2011/11/spotify-to-reach-out-to-developers-with-api.html

On Wednesday morning Spotify will announce that it is open for business with Web developers and publishers who want to plug into the company's vast music library of more than 15 million songs, according to two people involved in the pending press event.

Spotify, which has garnered more than 2 million U.S. users since launching its popular streaming service here in July, is hoping that Web publishers, such as music blogs, will use Spotify to stream songs on their sites -- and help Spotify reach even more potential customers, said one executive, who did not want to be named because the announcement is confidential.

Readers of an online article about new strains in bluegrass music, for example, might click on a Spotify module to listen to songs referenced in the story. Those who aren't already Spotify customers would be prompted to register for its free service. Spotify would then have the opportunity to wean its new users off the free service, partially supported by advertising, to premium options that include a $4.99-a-month plan for ad-free service and a $9.99-a-month package that streams music to mobile devices.

Spotify officials declined to comment in advance of the company's news conference in New York, scheduled for 9 a.m. Pacific.

Announcement of the Wednesday morning event has sparked widespread interest among the music digerati. Already there are a number of theories and guesses about what the Swedish-based company will unveil, including an option to buy song downloads, which is available on Spotify's European service but not yet on its American counterpart.

If Spotify does decide to press play on the "buy" button Wednesday, it would certainly help buttress the company's argument that its service, which lets listeners stream all the ad-supported music they want for free for the first six months, does not cannibalize music sales. Instead, Spotify executives have insisted that music sales have gone up since the service's launch in most of the 12 markets where it operates.

Executives familiar with Spotify's event, however, said an MP3 store, similar to Google's music store launched two weeks ago, is not the current focus. Spotify is much more concerned, they said, with getting as many people as possible to try out its music service. And that means seeding the service in as many places as possible for Web surfers to encounter Spotify and try it out.


-http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57333480-93/spotify-to-launch-api-for-its-music-catalog/

Spotify to launch API for its music catalog?


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

by Steven Musil |November 29, 2011 9:39 PM PST Spotify may announce tomorrow the addition of an open app platform to its popular music service.

The "app finder" may include the ability to read reviews of the music as they listen to songs, people "in the music business" tell the Wall Street Journal. One app will reportedly display lyrics to the songs playing, while another will list upcoming concerts of artists in a user's play list and link to ticket sales sites.

The apps are expected to be free and available to users of both the free and premium versions of the service, the Journal reported. Wired reported in October that the Stockholm-based service would unveil a commercial API (application programming interface) that would allow third-party developers to build apps on top of Spotify's song catalog.

The announcement could come tomorrow during a press conference that Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of Spotify, has called for 9 a.m. PT. Speculation has suggested Spotify would unveil an online-video service or a download music store in the United States.

Spotify, the largest paid music subscription service with 2.5 million paying customers worldwide, has been looking for ways to stave off free music streaming sites such as MOG and Rdio. The company recently announced it was partnering with Facebook to integrate their services in an effort to get users to listen to a wider selection of music.


Note: CNET will begin its coverage of the Spotify event starting at 8:45 a.m. PT. As usual, we'll be using Cover it Live to bring you updates and photos from the press conference as it's happening. Just go to this page Wednesday for all the action.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"Today, Spotify Becomes a Music Platform..."
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
by paul
"Today, Spotify becomes a music platform," Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told a small audience in New York. "We're launching truly integrated apps from the best developers inside Spotify. We turn Spotify into this platform, and third-party developers can make HTML5 apps that are seamlessly integrated, beautiful apps."

This is a family of Spotify-based apps, contained within the Spotify player. It's all based on the core Spotify collection, and here's the first-generation of partners...

RollingStone - not Pitchfork - was trotted onstage first, and publisher Jann Wenner just couldn't stop gushing. "If Spotify has had any issue up to this point, it's that it's been too much of a good thing," Wenner said. And here's what the RollingStone integration will look like.

Ek also noted that both free and paid consumers will have access to this. "It really doesn't matter," Ek relayed, though free limitations will mostly likely get translated into apps as well.

And make no mistake, the greater vision is about total ubuiquity, brought to you by your friends at Spotify. "I hope it's pretty obvious why we're doing this," Ek said. "We want music to be like water: available everywhere, and shareable seamlessly," the CEO continued. "The ultimate goal is to be as ubiquitous as the CD, with all the obvious advantages of digital. We're even in cars, so now there's all these places where you can listen to the music you want to hear. The web isn't silent anymore, and we really want to turn up the volume."

So what will the artist and rightsholder communities think? That's a complicated and ongoing debate, but Ek always goes back to the slam dunk. "We've already become the second biggest revenue source for all the labels in Europe, second to iTunes. And we've paid more than $150 million back to labels so far,' Ek noted. "Here's what happens when our model gets to scale. Spotify is used by one-third of the Swedish population, and piracy decreased by 25 percent."

And of course, everyone's on board. "Professionals are really embracing Spotify, and there's really awareness that Spotify is helping the industry growing once more."

...or something like that!

http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2011/111130spotify









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