BBC BLOGS - dot.Rory
« Previous | Main | Next »

Spotify: 'We haven't given up on the US'

Rory Cellan-Jones | 15:33 UK time, Friday, 7 January 2011

Is Spotify giving up on its ambitions to launch in the United States, and does that mean the music-streaming service is doomed in the longer-term?

Screenshot of Spotify site

After years of pretty positive coverage, the great digital white hope of the music industry is now dodging rotten eggs from the media on a daily basis.

First, on New Year's Eve, there was the cruel mockery of the top US blog Techcrunch which laughed at Spotify's repeated failure to hit its promised target of an American launch.

Then it was the UK's Daily Telegraph claiming the agonisingly slow negotiations with record labels had led the company to "pause" the talks and think again about whether it was even worth going to the States.

Now I've been talking to some senior figures at Spotify, and they insist that this is not the case - the talks are continuing, albeit slowly, and they are still confident of reaching a deal soon. "We're close to signing on the dotted line...we've just got to get over it," was how one person put it.

The big mistake, the same person told me, was to have saddled themselves with a target of launching by the end of 2010. ""We should never have answered that question about a launch date," he lamented.

The real puzzle is just why an industry which had seemed desperate a year or two back to laud Spotify as its saviour from the scourge of illegal file-sharing now appears indifferent to its fate.

What does seem clear is that the same record labels which did deals with the "freemium" service in Europe are a lot more wary about doing the same in the United States. Just why Warner, to name one, should sign up with Spotify on one continent but be dismissive on another is a bit of a mystery.

Unless the ageing tycoons of the music business think it's about time they took charge of their own digital destinies. Having watched Apple create and then control the paid digital download business, maybe they think they can exert more control over the new model, where users pay a fee to stream unlimited music rather than own it.

One label, Sony has unveiled plans for its own streaming service in the United States, so its rivals may think it's worth waiting to see how that pans out before signing with Spotify.

But given the news we've had from the UK music industry this week of falling sales in 2010, and a disastrous Christmas for the last big retailer HMV, you'd think there would be a sense of urgency.

And what if the US deal doesn't happen - will the European market be enough to keep Spotify afloat? With around 850,000 paying customers, its owners think it may already be the world's biggest music subscription service. They are confident that they can continue to persuade a greater proportion of the millions who try the free ad-supported Spotify to upgrade to the premium service.

But fewer than a million people paying for music across the continent does not look too good when you compare it with the 10 million who pay Sky in the UK much bigger sums for premium television channels. If Spotify is to have a viable future, it either needs to get a lot more people subscribing in Europe - or to get access to the vast American market.

Off the record, the music labels grumble that they are getting miniscule revenues from their licensing deal with Spotify. But surely they ought to be asking themselves what it will say about their industry's digital future if the service which once excited both music fans and the labels is allowed to fail.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    compare to TV content industry - if Google cannot make the deals with (many of the same) media companies to stream their content, it seems unlikely that Spotify is remotely in with a hope.

    more generally, it seems that the media companies remain intent (as you say) on controlling their own markets, working under the delusion that digital markets work the same as shops. (How long will it be before Murdoch realises?)

  • Comment number 2.

    When will the labels learn and get with the modern internet age?

    The difference between Spotify in places like Europe and the US is that in Europe they deal with organisations - such as the BPI in the UK - to make the deal. Whereas in the US they have to deal with the labels direct.

    Surely the labels understand that as consumers we're looking for a single central place to find music. If Sony and Warner and EMI and others all set up their own services I don't want to have to register with them all and then when I want to listen to some music figure out which label the artist is signed with so I can use the right service. That's just ridiculous!

  • Comment number 3.

    It's because Spotify is pointless for most people. Look, I can buy - and keep - music digitally from iTunes, Amazon and Ovi for very little money (Ovi is £0.79 a track and typically £7.99 for an album) so what does Spotify really offer me that makes it compelling?

    Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

  • Comment number 4.

    I really enjoy using Spotify for a bit of casual listening without needing to pay for it, or to hear new tracks before buying deciding whether to buy them. Yes, I'm one of the millions of free users but frankly I don't mind the adverts - it's just like listening to a commercial radio station in that respect.

    If the industry is as desperate to clamp down on illegal downloads then it needs services like Spotify, especially where there's a free-to-use service level available. Compared with a service like Limewire, Spotify offers music instantly (rather than needing to download it), at consistent sound quality, with some rare music as well. And you won't get sued by a music label if caught using it. So it potentially offers distinct advantages over illegal downloads.

  • Comment number 5.

    As a premium subscribe, Spotify offers me "access" to millions of songs, and thats what it is about access not ownership. I have many CD's I really play. Spotify has got me listening to a lot more music and I can take it with me on my iPod. My play Lists I have for Bach and Handel alone would cost me a couple of grand if I had them on CD's. For me Spotify is the best thing since slice bread.

  • Comment number 6.

    @Mark_MWFC - forgive me but I don't understand the argument that Spotify is pointless for most people. You argue that you can pay £7.99 for an album, yet you can pay Spotify at most £9.99 a month for 10 million songs. Isn't that compelling enough?

  • Comment number 7.

    I wonder if this opens or closes the door on the vapourware that is the iTunes cloud?

  • Comment number 8.

    The idea of separate subscriptions for every label (cf Sony's plans) doesn't appeal at all.

  • Comment number 9.

    @larome

    And if I don't buy any music in a month I don't have to pay my subscription and I can keep anything I've listened too, right?

    Oh wait, I can't. That's why it's pointless.

  • Comment number 10.

    Have been a Spotify user from day 1... listened to 1000s of hours of music & never looked back...

    CDs.. Can't remember the last time I used one...

  • Comment number 11.

    #9

    Why would you need to buy a track when with a Spotify type deal you can listen to it when you want as many times as you want?

    On demand streaming makes actually owning music pointless.

    Downloads are the same concept as buying CDs, but more convenient. Spotify and its ilk are removing the need to actually have to "buy" a specific piece of music, as whenever you want to hear a track, you can.

  • Comment number 12.

    There's more to this, the Swedish company X5 Music group is launching A music store spotify style in the US, so it looks like too much competition for spotify :(

  • Comment number 13.

    @9 Mark_MWFC

    "And if I don't buy any music in a month I don't have to pay my subscription and I can keep anything I've listened too, right?

    Oh wait, I can't. That's why it's pointless."

    How is that any different from other subscription services such as television, your internet service, satellite radio in the UK, e-mail provision, football clubs radio and video services, newspaper websites etc. etc?

    I don't think you thought that through.

    Also, in general I find TechCrunch to be one of the biggest sites on the internet for trolling. They are masters of writing attack pieces and conveniently forgetting their own massive failings like CrunchPad, a story so ridiculous it makes any failings Spotify have had in regards to communication and sealing a US deal seem minuscule in comparison.

  • Comment number 14.

    MyVoiceinYrHead wrote:

    "There's more to this, the Swedish company X5 Music group is launching A music store spotify style in the US, so it looks like too much competition for spotify :( "

    In America the real legal competition is iTunes, Amazon, Pandora, and even satellite radio. Those are my sources for music.

  • Comment number 15.

    The difference is that as soon as you stop paying your subscription you either have to use ad support or you've just lost your entire music collection, manly because you didn't have it in the first place.

    You don't buy the music, you just rent it. Given how cheap music is to buy these days it just doesn't make any sense.

  • Comment number 16.

    As a student studying a technology degree I am sceptical of Spotify's business model. The majority of my friends use Spotify, however they choose to use the free version. I would say that a very high proportion of Spotify's customers do likewise too. How can Spotify therefore justify their service as a profit-making business model when artists/recording companies must be paid for their material?

    I choose to pay Spotify £5 a month for their "Unlimited" service package, which means I can listen to my account without advertisements. The difference between this package and the £10 "Premium" package is that I can not use my account on my mobile phone. I have an Mp3 player so I made the decision not to.

    I can honestly say it is the best and most worthwhile £5 (equivalent to approximately 2 beers? - I am a student!) a month I have ever spent. I have my speakers attached to my laptop in my room and use Spotify as my music player of choice, thus meaning I have a nigh-unlimited music library at my "disposal", which I most probably spend too much time utilising.

    Long may the Spotify service continue. It would be a sad day if it were to disappear, especially after giving music fanatics a taste of what the future holds.

  • Comment number 17.

    I use the free version of Spotify, primarily for the radio function. I keep a playlist for all the songs that I hear and like so that I can then go back and listen to that specific artist's collection of music. Then, if I decide that I like said artist, I will go to Amazon and purchase an album or two by them. I like having CDs as it gives my music collection a physical form. Plus, since I listen to a lot of metal and alternative music, the artwork on these albums often looks interesting in itself.

  • Comment number 18.

    "15. At 08:56am on 08 Jan 2011, Mark_MWFC wrote:
    The difference is that as soon as you stop paying your subscription you either have to use ad support or you've just lost your entire music collection, manly because you didn't have it in the first place.

    You don't buy the music, you just rent it. Given how cheap music is to buy these days it just doesn't make any sense."

    Again, how is that any different from my digital TV and PVR? I could record lots of films from the ad supported movie channels that also require a subscription on top of those adverts, and as soon as I stopped subscribing I wouldn't be able to access those recordings.

  • Comment number 19.

    @peekjerton

    What part of "you can't keep it" are you having difficulty with? I'm not arguing against streaming services in general, I'm saying for music, particularly if you want a collection that:

    a) You want to keep even if you never buy anything else.
    b) Even if you do is not dependent on one company's commercial model.

    it's a poor choice.

  • Comment number 20.

    @ 19.

    Surely the point is that, in the future, most people won't want or need to have 'a collection' of music. (Perhaps some afficiandos who want to keep the hard copy Japanese 12" from 1982 excepted). Whether it is Spotify or someone else, it can't be too long before a/several streaming services provide all the music one could want, available online or offline, at almost perfect digital quality, available on any device anywhere. Spotify is getting pretty close to that position. Why would the vast majority of music consumers want or need to 'own a collection' in such circumstances? They won't.

  • Comment number 21.

    Spotify blogged again with no mention of Napster. You know, the subscription service that led the way, has a larger catalogue, greater depth, and that has had a presence in both the US and the UK for years longer than Spotify's been around.
    There are things that Spotify does better than Napster, sure, they can stream to Androids and iPhones (Napster has this in the US but not in the UK), but with Napster's "To Go" service you can download subscription music to your mp3 player - probably a better system for sound quality and preserving the battery charge on your phone.

  • Comment number 22.

    @19.

    Back in the days before I subscribed to Napster I would buy a pile of CDs every month. There's be some duff ones in there that I would only listen to once, a few that I'd listen to regularly for a month or two, and the occasional album that really grew on me and I'd still pull out and play years later.

    When you subscribe to a streaming service you listen to all those albums each month and more - far more - for the price of just one or two. As the months pass you filter out which albums are the real classics - the ones you really want in your collection. There's nothing to stop you buying those and having them to keep; you're still well ahead in cost compared to buying that pile of CDs or downloads each month that you grow tired of.

    Another great advantage of a service like Napster or Spotify is being able to work through a musician's back catalogue. You probably don't want all those tracks in your collection and would never get round to buying them all. A subscription service lets you follow your musical whims.

    Think of the monthly cost as a subscription to a library, not as 'paying for tracks I can't keep'. I've never understood why this criticism is raised time and time again, when I never see complaints about Lovefilm or Blockbuster charging for lending you DVDs - which is a far more limited model.


  • Comment number 23.

    Spotify has been a great boon for my autistic daughter. From long before Christmas she added playlists of album after album of Christmas music. The downside was being bombarded with umpteen versions of Frosty the Snowman!

  • Comment number 24.

    I've a Playlist of music (Which is most of the stuff i listen too), much of which I may never have listened too, or only listened to through youtube, of 706 tracks, 2 days of music. Now, please correct me if my maths is wrong :), but:

    Now I have music from over 67 albums on the playlist. On average, i think, an album will cost (a full album, not single) about £8 (please correct me if I'm wrong). 67*8=536. Meaning I could have spent over £536 pounds on this music. But maybe i could have downloaded all 706 tracks. I think the average price for downloading music is £0.99 . 0.99*706=698.94 . If I had downloaded every song on my main playlist (i have many others too) then i would have spent £699...

    Remember, this is where most of my music listening happens. (no Mp3 player or music playing phone)

    So, how much has this cost me? £0.00... win :D

    I've had spotify for about a year so even IF i was subscribed to the full on premium, with phone stuff and high quality etc, (and no adds) then i would have only spent £120 . Now maybe if i stayed listening to the same music for about 6 years, with a subscription, it wouldn't be good for money, but i'm constantly listening to and discovering new music on spotify. So even a full subscription is (as i see it) cheaper than buying the albums. It would cost a relatively expensive album a month (ish), but i get so much more music....

    So to sum up:

    I have saved potentially hundreds of £ . (though I would never have discovered much of the music, also meaning Spotify has generally improved my life). Even if I was subscribed with premium, i still would have saved money.

    From a customers perspective, i see no downfall, except maybe if you have an mp3 player(which i don't), but then again it has phone compatibility. Also it doesn't have ALL music on. Yet. And of-course the adverts are annoying, but after a while you learn to ignore them, and its ok.


  • Comment number 25.

    Spotify is a brilliant service, and subjectively it seems to be better audio quality than any other streaming service. I'm a free user, but I have been specifically using it to search for new (and old) music, and then buying the CDS - from the companies who provide their albums to the service!!!! I'm now spending MORE MONEY on music since starting to use Spotify.

    It's unfortunate the music industry is run by stupid, greedy people that can't see the wood for the trees. With a decade (at least) of austerity before us the industry had better start getting grateful for smaller pickings as people re-evaluate the worth of services and products they buy.

  • Comment number 26.

    It's very simple why the US companies don't buy Spotify's flawed business model. I quote:-
    "Look at the number of subscribers--you have some 700,000 subscribers, but you have more than 10 million users. That's not good math," explains the exec. "Say they have a 10% conversion rate. If you pour 1 million users into the top of the funnel, you'll get 100,000 subscribers paying you $10 a month. You're earning $12 million a year from those consumers, and then you have 900,000 consumers that are not paying anything. Those 1 million consumers are worth an average of $50 to $60 at retail. So you've invested about $50 million in consumer value to generate $12 million."
    Quoted from a recent article on fastcompany.com
    Sweden:- dodgy rape laws and flawed business concepts. Remember boo.com anyone?

  • Comment number 27.

    @Mark_MWFC It would appear to me that you view music in a rather odd way. Surely the primary aim is to listen to music? Or, have I indeed missed the point and it is really there for collection and storage in whatever form, either as vinyl/CDs on a shelf or as bits & bytes on a computer? Strikes me, that it can only be music if it is actually being listened to. Then again, I always thought stamps were used for posting letters and have never had a desire to collect them. Do you envisage collecting ad infinitum with and endless supply of storage? Have you ever belonged to any form of library? Yes, yes, I know they may have provided the books free, but I am sure you would have been fined if you tried to collect the books! Notwithstanding, you would not suggest that a Library was equally pointless and we should all own every book we wish to read.

    Ah well, each to their own! Yikes, what an idea, choice!

  • Comment number 28.

    I am always staggered by the music industry and why they do not learn from bread & wine. No, I am not barking mad, well I may be, but why is there not the same drive to make your own wine as there was in the 70's, and why don't more people get a bread machine and make their own bread? Simple, the value for money makes it more attactive for the majority to pop down to the supermarket and buy it! Price music cost effectively and Joe public will not think twice about buying it, in whatever form, but preferably not sliced!! Yes, the music industry may need to scale back on what it lavishes out on its pop stars, but hey ho, one less Ferrari ain't going to hurt!

  • Comment number 29.

    I dont often comment on these but as a Spotify premium convert i had to add my two pence worth.
    I used to have a modest music collection, maybe 25 - 30 cds mostly compliations held on my ipod. To be honest I never had the time or the inclination to travel to the nearest town and spend time looking through cd store shelves to find new music. I also didnt want to take the risk of paying £5 - £10 for something I would listen to once.
    I signed up to Spotify as soon as it was available. Free legal access to 1000's of tracks was a real draw to me. Some of my mates critisied it for not having the songs they wanted but I thought it was brilliant.
    Since then I have bought a Android phone and upgraded to a premium subscription. Along with Tweetdeck it is probably my highest rated and most used app. It is fantastic. Last night I heard a song on an advert, I used Shazam to find out what it was and Spotify to find it. Not only that song but the whole album. I was listening to it before the add break finished. Show me someone that would write down the artist and go and buy the cd from a shop...
    I can understand the anti-subscription argument - thats the reason I havent signed up to sky, why I shyed away from a subscription phone contract for ages and why I would never subscribe to a magazine. For me though access to almost any song I can imagine anywhere (wifi or 3g required of course) is a big draw.
    I havent even started on the social aspect to it - you can see your facebook friends music libraries, my mates and I regularly send each other songs and albums and make collaborative playlists. Plus I can subscribe to public playlists that have started poping up on twitter and blogs - how can I do that on Itunes? For those still thinking buying phyiscal cds: your living in the dark ages. I bet you don't print things out and send them in the post, you email them. Why is this any different?

  • Comment number 30.

    "We should never have answered that question about a launch date," duh in business you don't make claims until you can quantify them. Lesson for next time i hope

  • Comment number 31.

    Since Spotify started I have bought more CD's/ SACD's (and music DVD's) than I ever would have before, simply because you can hear the entire tracks. You cannot make a decision on 30 secs of music sample. Music Industry - you HAVE benefitted.
    Download quality simply isn't good enough when a decent quality CD/ SACD exists. You might as well sit in a tin can. I'll stick with CD's until ITunes et al start to bring in 24/96 SACD quality and higher, then we'll really hear what music is about.

  • Comment number 32.

    As a Spotify Premium convert, the actual ownership of the music is something I don't really consider, because it's simply irrelevant to my ability to actual listen to and enjoy the music. I can discover hours of music on my computer and shove it all in a playlist which I can then access on any computer I want. My Android phone automatically syncs selected playlists so I know when I'm out and about, all those tracks are instantly available, without me having to even think of syncing my iPod. The social side of Spotify means that checking out what your friends are listening to is simple, and sharing tracks has never been easier, because you are merely sending a URL rather than a whole music file. I personally used to "own" so much digital music that the only way to realistically store all of it was on an external hard drive. Recently that hard drive, as they commonly do after a few years, died, and I now have no way of listening to all that music. Similarly, the lifespan of a CD is limited. As Spotify continues to add more and more premium features relevant to a wider audience, more people will subscribe. But for now, open and free Spotify will continue to expand the "Spotify URL" as a standard music format, which will further cause more people to pay for this brilliant service, which I can honestly say is the best £10 I spend a month.

  • Comment number 33.

    The record labels are scared. The feel that not enough people in Europe have migrated to the pay service. They feel that they are almost entitled to an amount of income when the who economic basis of their industry is moving from ownership to access. So they won't license unless in the US they get agreements that if too many people use the freemium service then they will pull the plug.
    In the meantime You Tube offers a service on which many of the tracks can be accessed.
    Because any service can't launch without one of the majors each can effectively use their power to stop any launch happening.
    Meanwhile the American ownership market is drastically falling away. Fiddling whilst Rome burns.

  • Comment number 34.

    Mark_MWFC: what does Spotify offer you? How about discovering new music. I recently downloaded a playlist with the top 100 albums from Rough Trade. I can flick through 100 albums and find new artists who I may never have heard of or have been willing to spend £7.99 buying their album. I can then transfer these to my phone to listen to for as long as keep paying the £10 a month.

    Even though the labels don't get much money, I have gone to many more gigs as a result of listening to artists on Spotify. Maybe they should factor that in?

  • Comment number 35.

    I like Spotify but the music market is still wide open.

    Sony should have been the company that launched ipod and itunes. They created the portable music market with the walkman and they own massive amounts of music. They're big, they have the manufacturing capacity, they have the technology, they have the intellectual property. So why didn't they do it? Somewhere along the line their management became risk averse so now instead of innovating they just copy. I don't hold out much hope for innovation in any of their products and without innovation they will decline.

    These days a media company must also be a technology company and a technology company cannot survive without innovation.

  • Comment number 36.

    Record labels only existed as a means of getting an artist's music into the ear of the consumer. Now there is no need to buy a physical product, the record label is superfluous. The artists themselves should sign with Spotify, and leave the labels behind.

  • Comment number 37.

    As a non buyer of music (I would tend to get my music via swaps cough cough) I refused to pay the amount that labels are requesting for CD's and down loads, I remember seeing a Album on Amazon where it was 37pence more to buy the CD and have it shipped to my house than to download load the mp3's it from their store, I mean seriously, are they telling me postage packaging, CD, Case etc etc is only worth 37 pence? No just a case of music industry Rip off (in this case the merchant)

    Next lets look at Itunes selling the Beatles for 2 or 3 pounds more than buying the CD/download else where.

    It appalled me that the BPI is so set in its ways that it is not willing to look at itself for its failure to sell xfactor /glee cheese music. And why would I pay almost full price for a 10/20 year old CD/download, Seriously wise up!!

    Which leads to Spotify... It's Free unless you choose to pay for more services, its stopped me swapping, its stopped me downloading, the artists are are earning... and more importantly to the BPI so are the Labels are getting money too. I know its not as much as selling a song, but its money that wouldn't have been handed over before

    The BPI are all for pointing fingers at us and saying 'this is your fault' but they never ever look inwards, The music industry needs to get over their greed and start thinking about survival me thinks, with the internet in 90whatever % of homes its now a consumer market and when the supplier tries to bite the hand that feeds it then we will go back to P2P, Torrent, USB hard drives, memory sticks etc etc etc

    Great image here on commission breakdown for artists depending on how their music is paid for

    http://www.cultofmac.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/selling_out_550.png

    Interesting part is how the label earns more normally than the artist (seriously look how much the label earns via itunes!!) and maybe this is why they don't like the Spotify model.... oh and the only other thing missing is , P2P downloads at the very end.... income = ZERO

  • Comment number 38.

    @31:
    A real audiophile does not listen to SACDs, since the SACD players are so much worse than the high end CD players. Your high horse isn't so great when you realise you don't know what you're talking about.

    @Spotify:
    Keep up the good work. As far as premium service goes, great. As far as free service goes; try Grooveshark instead. Much less hassle.

    @Everyone:
    Music collection or not, different people have different opinions on how music should be listened to. I personally like having access off the cloud, which is why I purchase all of my music from reputable online retailers...

  • Comment number 39.

    Having been a premium subscriber for some time, I can't imagine why anyone would choose to go through the hassle of downloading and storing music. Before Spotify I had to worry about organising, tagging and backing up my music collection. Since Spotify I haven't played a single CD or mp3. All my music is a quick search away and plays quicker than if I was to search for the CD or a file on my computer/media player. It has also been the entertainment hub at every party I've held in the last year and I have often used my login at my friends parties as well!

    Also many people are now used to HUGE collections of music because of illegal downloading and swapping of files. You hear of people having music collections in the 100Gb's. I can't imagine any business model other than those like Spotify that would allow access to this amount of music legally. I just want the same for Films and TV now.

    However there is an issue here in that long standing music fans have specific (and often more obscure) tastes missed by Spotify (and the like) and have already invested large sums in a carefully crafted collections of CD's/downloads. These people will never 'get' Spotify for anything more than discovering music. The big market is in attracting people who don't already have large collections or are just starting to discover music (especially the young). The collecting habit will not be passed on to the next generation.

    Spotify also really needs a way for new artists to create profiles and upload there music like with MySpace. How great would that be for a new band to get there music out there by sharing links to their music and getting instantly paid for every listen. I do think the amount paid to an artist per play should be higher for the first few plays and then tail off (eg, their 1st 1,000 pays earns 10p per track, while there 10,000,000th earns a fraction of a penny. This would really help new artists and would be a good reward for them adding their music into the system).

    Long live Spotify and many systems like it to follow

  • Comment number 40.

    The media companies were told by the internet gurus that content is king so they thought they could sit back and receive their royalties without having to adapt. How can content be king when the public can easily get music for free?

    The music companies need to understand that money is not the only cost that consumers pay. When consumers go online for music they pay a cost in time and they have to navigate the complexity of various web technologies. They also want to easily access their choices from multiple devices in a convenient way. Music companies can only add value for consumers if they embrace technology and develop new products. Consumers will only pay for a product if they gain something that they don't already have so the music companies need to be brave. Media on the internet is fundamentally about information discovery, information management and information communication. Music technologies must address all of these issues in an exciting way.

    MadAlien's parallel with Murdoch is correct because all media companies need to get the message (granted that a few of them do). I also agree with rkjm @ 28.

  • Comment number 41.

    I love Spotify, it's the present and the future. Period. Cultural media should be considered up there with electricity, water, heating....you pay your monthly fee and you get your music, films, etc...

  • Comment number 42.

    I hesitate to mention what appears these days to be considered the "Great Satan", but there is an alternative offering from Microsoft which offers the best of both worlds, in my opinion anyway. Since the launch of Windows Phone 7, Microsoft Zune Pass subscriptions have become available in the UK, which offers access to the Zune library of songs as long as your subscription is current, but also allows you to download and keep 10 tracks per month. the subscription is £9 per month and the software client is one of the nicer media players on the go.

    BTW, I don't work for MS :)

  • Comment number 43.

    @Alex
    The keeping 10 tracks a month thing is only available with the US version of Zune Pass. The british version of Zune Pass doesn't get that part of the deal.

  • Comment number 44.

    @39 New artists can get their music onto Spotify quite easily using an aggregator site (which will take a cut of course), but depending on the deal artist chooses they will get the money after the first £X pounds per track goes to the aggregator. These aggregators are trawled by Spotify and included in their library hence made available for listening.

    From my point of view I still buy CDs if the album in question is truly exceptional. This I judge by listening on Spotify first. I still like having the physical product whether I use it or not afterwards (normally not as I rip to MP3 immediately).

    I reckon there are quite a lot of people like me, and this is forcing the artists and labels to up their game regarding quality since people no longer by albums on the strength of a single heard on the radio. How many times did we do that before and regret the purchase? Loads in my case.



  • Comment number 45.



    What I've noticed is that all posts assume you have decent quality broadband available wherever you go. In many parts of the UK this still isn't the case

    If my internet drops for whatever reason then I still have a significant local collection I can use, my portable media player can play vorbis, mp3 and flac which are easily ripped from CDs and by and large youtube will do for pre listening to a track.

    I don't use spotify largely for two reasons
    A) They don't have a linux client
    B) I like to own my music

    Nearly all digital downloads include restrictions on what you can do with the copies (compare with sharing CDs with friends) which really means you're renting the music.

  • Comment number 46.

    @SuperSonic4

    To be fair to spotify, it doesn't need a great internet connection to work. Although I do take your point about the internet dropping out (is the offline playlist feature available for the desktop?)

    Also, the Windows client works perfectly on Linux using Wine.

  • Comment number 47.

    @19 Mark_MWFC
    And what part of "its the same as any subscription service" aren't you understanding? I can't keep the movies they show me on Sky Movies, and people listening to music on XM/Sirius in the US can't keep the radio shows they're listening to either.

    Its quite simple. Pin your eyes open and read.
    Its not to build a collection to keep, and its interface is built in such a way that makes it clear. You can build a list of playlists. No subdivision or folders for those, on purpose.
    Its whole purpose is to listen to music as the disposable commodity the vast majority of it ultimately is these days.

    If I want to keep something, I go buy it. If I don't want to keep it. I use it on the subscription service. I can listen to it ad free for as long as I subscribe, with ads should I decide to go for the free option, or pay 99p for it from a download site if I wish to keep it.

  • Comment number 48.

    Spotify is the best way to discover new music, make playlists, share music and store your music.

    my hard drive packed up on me recently and I lost all of my mp3s (dating back to Napster 1999 so quite a few), but I wasn't too hung up about it because with Spotify I have everything I need. There's an extensive music database, offline mode, inbox, an iphone app and all your playlists are saved in your online profile. It may be missing a few artists such as the Beatles, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin but its only a matter of time.

    In 10-15 years time mp3 archives will be obsolete and everything will be streamed.

    Long live Spotify.

  • Comment number 49.

    @supersonic4

    I have been using the Linux client for some time.
    http://www.spotify.com/uk/download/previews/

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.