So, most of you are probably aware of the recent changes that Spotify has made in regards to opening up its platform for developers to build apps upon. In March, the social music service will be opening up an app store to help app developers get paid for their hard work. Last week, I read a really interesting article on the Guardian titled Spotify: ‘We have to turn ourselves into the OS of music’.
As a heavy user of the free version of Spotify , I really love what they are doing for social music but there are few major problems that I feel will prevent it from becoming the OS of music.
The first, being its relationship with Facebook which forces users to have to login via a Facebook account. Even though just about everybody that’s breathing uses Facebook, people are still a little apprehensive about sharing their listening habits and having to login in to one system to use another system. And, while some may argue you can easily switch to private listening mode, it still will continue turn a lot of people away. With VEVO’s new deal with Facebook, it requires the same process and this is the reason why I won’t be using VEVO as much as I have in the past.
This seems to be the way that Facebook does business, all or nothing. If Spotify is to ever to become the OS of Music, it must separate from Facebook or create a version that doesn’t require users to login via Facebook. Jay-Z had an album to come out a while ago called “The Blueprint 2: The Gift and The Curse,” and in my opinion an all in deal with Facebook is definitely a ‘gift and a curse.’
Second, Spotify and the recording industry must figure out a way to compensate artists more fairly for streaming music play. Major record labels love Spotify, because they own shares and the artists, well…While people argue that listening to streaming music increases physical album sales, I have been using Spotify since it launched in the U.S. and I have yet to purchase one album because I heard it on Spotify.
Third, services like Itunes and Rhapsody still are the most dominant digital music services in the U.S. and they both operate independently of Facebook. Both services will continue challenge Spotify as they are adding more social features. Rhapsody recently topped 1 million paying subscribers making it the most popular premium music service in the U.S. Itunes failed to get a warm response from Ping, but in my opinion they will leverage their mobile platform to offer a socially integrated service that will challenge Spotify’s dominance in the social music spehere.