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Spotifying the next ‘big thing’

Posted by Danny Whatmough on 8th March 2009

One of great things about technology is that it never stands still. There is always something new, something different to try out. Some make it, others don’t.

One new shiny piece of tech that seems set to become the new darling of the industry is music service Spotify.

If you have tried it already here is a brief catch-up:

– Spotify is an application that you download to either Mac or PC (iPhone et. al. rumoured to be along soon)

– It allows you to instantly stream specific tracks or albums (a bit like for free, from its fairly big (and growing) library

– You can’t download the music but you can set up playlists and share these (and/or individual tracks) with friends, family and colleagues

Its like the iTunes store, but free (and without the ability to transfer to portable devices, yet). The only catch? Every 20 minutes it plays you a short advert. It’s like radio but with less ads and only with the tracks you want/choose.

A Swedish startup, the service is only available in western Europe (which is probably why publicity has been slightly slower), but expect other countries to be included soon (although royalty deals etc. make this process complicated).

Spotify makes money through the adverts and through it premium, no-ad version at £9.99 per month.

A new music model

Spotify heralds in a new way for consumption of music and media (in an interview on Channel 4 this weekend, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, suggested that streaming films in the same way was not out of the question). This advertising-supported model is obviously not new, and Ek has been quick to say that he feels the service is complementary rather than competitive with services like iTunes.

Time will tell.

For me, Spotify’s success is down to the fact that it is so easy to use. Peer-to-peer services have always been available, but they have been cumbersome (and illegal) and this has limited adoption.

It just goes to show, when technology is easy-to-use and fulfils a need or desire, you have a winning formula.

picture credit

Danny Whatmough