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« A Shilling for Your Thoughts | Main | the economics of American Idol - based upon your experiences, does the music industry operate like this or not? »
Wednesday
Aug052009

Spotify isn't available in the states yet. Can someone please tell me what's so earth-shattering about it?

I have never seen something that you can’t get (in the states) that has received so much positive attention. What gives? Is Spotify that great? Does Spotify matter to artists? Is it game-changing for the industry? Is there room for five more companies just like it? How are new songs discovered on Spotify?

Thanks in advance for the comments.

 

Reader Comments (21)

I like Spotify. I load it up, I type in the artist I want to listen to, about 70% of the time, they turn up. Usually with the whole of their back catalogue available.

I can listen to any of it, occasionally I have to endure a short advert. The adverts aren't very obtrusive, but neither does there seem to be a huge variety of them, which makes me think Spotify needs to find a lot more advertisers (no idea if that is true, just my impression).

Unlike say emusic, which has very effective ways of suggesting new artists, Spotify only gives me what i ask for. There is an 'artists you might like' window on the homepage, but it appears to be a random selection of artists unrelated to what I'm listening to.

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterTom Slatter

I can't describe how good it is. You'll just have to wait and try it to understand.

Imagine your iTunes contains all the music in the world (not quite but you know what I mean). Bingo. It's that simple but the implications are huge.

If and when their app gets approved by the iTunes store I will pay my £10 a month subscription, buy the app and then be able to cache playlists for offline playing. I'll also miss out on the adverts then as well.

As more and more people use Spotify and other services like it P2P file sharing of music will die for all but the most obscure music. The music available on Spotify will also increase as more artists realise how important it is to be there. I still use some mp3 download blogs to hear some new music but I'm doing this less and less so.

I'm self releasing my bands debut full length later this year and getting it on Spotify is one of the most important parts of my release plan.

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterChris West

The interface is quite iTunes like, pretty intuitive, and you can make and share your own playlists. So while the discovery element is quite limited in Spotify itself, blogs, journos etc. around this neck of the woods (Ireland/UK) have started putting together playlists. So there's your discovery, via an old-style filter I suppose.

It is weak on brand new music, as in, stuff released in the last couple months. Roll on some sort of quick upload or other. I would have put that 70% a little higher myself, but maybe that's just luck of the draw.

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterBill

Hey Bruce.

Yeah, Spotify is really something. It has solved all my problems with music consumption. The out-of-the-box experience is amazingly intuitive, and their ever-growing catalog is mind-boggling.
It has replaced all the p2p/music streaming service I have been using these past years the second I tried it out.

I would say that 90% of my searches came up with at least one to two albums (full-length of course) of my desired artists, and probably a solid 60% of those searches displayed every single album (with bios, album art etc) (their jazz catalog is breath-taking)

No buffering, instant load of the entire song (meaning you can skip to any portion), perfect play-list creation process, possibility to easily share those play-list with the spotify community...

Yeah, its pretty damn amazing, and its free here in France for now.

Audio ads started appearing about a month and a half ago - moderately annoying and intrusive. I listen to a lot of jazz, and having say, a Coltrane concept album being interrupted by this loud ad promoting some formula-driven dance pop artist really gets on my nerves - they are pushing users to subscribe - which is perfectly understandle to some extent.

Ads start popping up very regularly after 30 minutes of music - sometimes after every one or two songs.

I'm concerned Spotify will be able to maintain this incredible pace, as I'm not sure digital music distribution legislation will keep up with this new music streaming model. You guys in the states might get a rawer deal then we do here in Europe.

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Well lets release it in the State already. What exactly are they waiting for?

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterKevin English

As Spotify isn't yet available in the US, nor in the country I'm currently staying in for a while, I use the service via a proxy server. (You could do the same). After all the hyped up stories on almost all tech blogs, I just had to check it out for myself. The verdict: It's great, almost perfect.

You want to listen to some old blues, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee? It's there. The Byrds, The Doors, The Kinks? All albums are instantly available. Newer artists? Bon Iver, Neko Case, Fleet Foxes. Their albums are right there. One or two clicks... Lesser known artists, like folkies Joe Crookston and Danny Schmidt? You can listen to them right now. Full album streams. Free. Maybe it's because I'm on a proxy, but I'm still waiting to hear my first ad.

Not everything is there yet, but that will change. Haven't fired up iTunes in the last couple of weeks. I could easily save 100 Gigs of local storage space on my PowerBook. The service is much better than iMeem, LastFM or any other streaming music site out there.

From a business perspective, I can only conclude that Spotify could easily mean the death of download sales and ultimately of iTunes as we know it. Why pony up 99 cents for a track if you can listen to a full album for free whenever you feel like it? The playlist function is great to store and share your favorite tracks or albums.

I don't think it's necessarily good for artists. The money they will make will likely be far less than they used to make from selling CDs or downloads. Even when Spotify succeeds in convincing millions of people to pay the monthly subscription fee.

If the company manages it's growth well, it could be a billion dollar business in a couple of years. Even if Apple rejects their iPhone App. (That makes offline streaming possible). But before that happens, I think they will be acquired. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook could put up a couple of billions to make that happen. We'll see...

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterHans

If I had both Spotify and Rhapsody on my desktop, is there any reason (other than price point) why Spotify would be preferable to use? I realize that with its mobile/ Iphone Apps, Spotify has created a better solution for mobile than the current Rhapsody-to-Go service (that only works with pre-loaded content or via wi-fi transfer) but I would guess Rhapsody's limitations for mobile are more a function of licensing restrictions with labels rather than there being a huge technology gap.

I'm looking forward to trying Spotify when/if it comes to the U.S., but I'm curious whether what people are excited by is really more the business model (free / nearly free) or if I'm missing something about Spotify's user interface that actually makes it better than Rhapsody.

Thoughts?

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterT

There's a post that answers your question here bruce
http://musformation.com/2009/08/lifehacker-shows-you-what-is-so-earth-shattering-about-spotify-with-a-tour.html

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

Hi!

Since I didn't paid for Last FM and can't listen to it anymore, I listen to Spotify quite a lot. I don't like Spotify radio at all but you can listen to a lot of whole albums and the audio quality is quite good! You can find the whole discography of some artists and even some really recent albums. It's easier to use than Deezer and it can record what you listen to on Last FM, so you have the best of both worlds :)

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterAnaon

Spotify is still engaged in the enormous task of working out catalog licensing with the labels getting licenses for millions of songs and compositions for the US. This is why it is yet to be available here.

The goal of Spotify is to have the entire history of recorded music available at your fingertips. I find that an incredibly awesome thing to look forward to having. HOw this will benefit artists, in general, is that consumers will gain access to ofttimes unavailable or out of print tracks. How it will benefit independent artists is that "all" artists, on major labels, on indie labels, and on no label will have the same opportunity to have their music licensed and available to customers. A true level playing field. I find this to be a very good thing.

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Has anyone compared Spotify to lala.com? I've been using lala for awhile and LOVE it, BUT I have to be online to listen, not always practical.

Jeff

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterJeff Shattuck

One thing earth shattering about it: they have managed to get people to suspend disbelief in a widely loathed product category. I don't know how they did it, but they did.

Their software is much better than anybody else in this space so far, which isn't nothing. It's usable, reliable, and good looking. Cool! But not hype worthy.

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterLucas Gonze

Spotify is just like Rhapsody (and other subscription services).

Except Spotify has a free option (there are some ads) as well as a paid version. And it is a much simpler implementation

Spotify also lacks reviews, bios, detailed metadata, Sonos support, Squeezebox support, etc. I'm sure they'll get there eventually. Limited portable device support.

Re: the hype. Go dig up early raves for Rhapsody and Napster 2.0. Same ideas.

Spotify's main advantage is a clean design (because there are few features) and the "free" option

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterJinsai

Spotify streams 160Kbps Ogg Vorbis audio, i.e. not gonna replace my FLAC collection anytime soon.

August 6 | Unregistered CommenterSuperfly

Spotify does indeed use 160Kbps Ogg (q5) but has recently upped it it 320Kbps for paid members.

I've been using Spotify for a while, and so have everyone I know, it's incredible how fast it has become a household word. At this point I'd be surprised to get a negative answer from someone if I ask them if they're on Spotify and want to check out a track. Like people have said above, there's an incredible selection available and every track starts instantly. You can share playlists that can be editable by the people you share them with, and it's easy to send links to playlists, albums, tracks and artists.

That was the good part. The bad part is that I have a growing concern for the fact that we're all getting used to receiving our music this way. I remember reading about the 15 year old kid who got to use a cassette walkman for a week; it took him long to figure that the tape had two sides. So we all forget quickly about older formats. My concern with Spotify in that regard is that if this (streaming) is the way we start expecting to hear music we quickly get used to the fact that we don't own the music ourselves - it's available only for as long as Spotify supplies it. Sure, others will, and has (Wimp for example) come around to compete but wether music is available from one company or ten does still not change the fact that once they close, you have no music to listen to.

I've been a paying Spotify subscriber for a while, but I'll stop in favour of supporting artists online by buying higher quality music from the ones I trust.

August 7 | Unregistered CommenterTerje

Spotify is great sure.
Free version got too many adverts now but ok, what is 9.99€ per month to get such good music (at good quality on top of that).

I made a spotify recommandation playlist based on 6 months usage and the result is hum strange (so many folk while i mostly listen to rock). But not as bad as it is for most of the other services and at least it si real discovery to me (http://www.bcommeboxsons.com/sound-in-the-box-4-100-recommandation-spotify)

And the interface is just that simple and easy. Great service.

August 8 | Unregistered CommenterValoche

Spotify is not legal in the US yet due to the ironing out of some licensing issues with the labels & performance rights folks I believe, but if you do the right search on Google, it's pretty easy to set up a "work around" and use Spotify right now, in the US. It really is great. The sound quality rivals iTunes imho, and you can instantly stream just about anything. And I do mean instantly...there's no lag whatsoever if you have a fast connection. You can create and save playlists. The interface is elegant, seamless, and perfectly intuitive. It is basically just like iTunes, but you have access to EVERYTHING. Use this for awhile, and you realize that the future is probably in streaming, because "owning" the mp3 will be pointless. Hard to believe, but try it for yourself...

Spotify is great when you know what you want. For a streaming radio type of app that will introduce you to some great unexpected stuff, try out http://www.Slacker.com. Kind of like Pandora, but much better imho. I'd love to see both of these apps dominate. I love 'em both.

August 10 | Unregistered CommenterRich Whiteley

I'm a paying Spotify customer, and love the service. Good sound, no waiting or downloading when you want to listen, easy to check out new artists. I discover lots of new music through Spotify, but not directly through it. I use several of the websites that has been created for Spotify recommendations, and there are also several great playlist-sites. I especially like the possibility to share playlists with other users or through the web. For me, Spotify is not something I use INSTEAD of other music options. I still buy lots of music, but now, I usually check it out on Spotify before I buy it. I like taking music with me on an mp3 player or in the car, and Spotify still doesn't give me that option. I see there are iPhone and Android apps available (?), but that's not an option for me at the moment. It's a great music tool in addition to several others.

For those of you who like indie pop, modern folk or electronica, you can check out my own spotify recommendation site On The Spot (http://onthespot.eardrumsmusic.com) and my spotify tweets on twitter (@onthespotify). There is a HUGE list of resources for recommendations and other Spotify-things on this website: http://pansentient.com/spotify-resources/
So, Americans and others, - Spotify is worth waiting for!

August 12 | Unregistered CommenterKnut

Spotify is amazing! Vast back catalogue of 60-70% of the artists I go on look for, clean and fast service and non-obtrusive ads (one every hour i would say) With the extra of CD-like quality that the service is about to launch for its premium users will definitely position ahead of every other streaming service.
However the joy of Spotify is only transitional (at least for me) as considering the amount of hours that I spend (and most of us) outside home/office. A mobile/portability angle is the piece missing from this adventurous model jigsaw.
Interestingly, a recent survey reveals a potential blow to Spotify’s model – 78% do not want to pay for a streaming service, an increase from last year‘s 65%, despite the emergence of the fashionable model. The number of people who would pay for streaming has crashed from 35% last year to just 7%.
Follow this story by Wayne Rosso HERE: http://www.themusicvoid.com/2009/08/stream-on-or-not/

ps. Great blog!

August 12 | Unregistered CommenterTheMusicVoid

It seems that Spotify has launched a brilliant campaign of hype. Bob Lefsetz seems to be in their back pocket, too. As said in an earlier comment, these are the same reviews that came out about Napster and Rhapsody in the early days. So far, I haven't seen anything exceptional about this new service except the marketing campaign. Kudos.

August 15 | Unregistered Commenter@musicianconnex

Spotify is a cleaner iMeem, easy to use a large repertoire of legal songs.

Even when it makes it to the US I still like to have a copy in my hands just iin case (1) Spotify goes out of business or for some the music cloud is buffering.

August 27 | Unregistered CommenterBombtune

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