The LA Times has said “It blows the doors off anything on the market.” Wired called it “a magical version of iTunes.” Billboard says it “makes music fun again.” And the all-mighty Zuckerberg says it “is so good.” What has earned such high praise? Spotify, the music streaming service that has taken over in Europe, and it is soon coming to us lucky ol’ Yanks.
Launched in 2008 by a Swedish start-up company, Spotify has quickly garnered much credit where credit is certainly due. Many labels like Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal have signed deals with the software to allow users to access their clients and artists. Running on graduated paid subscription plans, which run from free to 10 € a month, users can choose which type of plan suits them best.
As it is run in the UK, free plans come with limited listening hours per month and no premium features while for 5 or 10 € a month one can get unlimited listening without or with premium features, respectively. Music is also available for purchased download at .99 € a song. To pay for those free subscriptions, Spotify does use advertising to gain revenue; ads are said to last for about 15-30 seconds.
Spotify works more like Rhapsody than it does iTunes in that it is subscription based and not completely download based. This formula clearly has been increasingly popular in Europe as the service currently has over one million paying subscribers. Social networking opportunities have certainly helped this as Spotify allows users to connect with friends on Facebook. They can share their playlists, collaborate on new ones, and view favorite artists and songs.
Of course, the best part about Spotify is its ability to play the same account’s music across multiple devices when using a premium subscription. Applications have been made for the iPhone and Windows Mobile devices and have been in the works for Blackberry devices as well.
Unfortunately it is not known when it will arrive, but Spotify’s transition to American could be fairly well-received considering how easy to use the service seems. Popularity across the pond won’t hurt either, as a growing client base means more paying subscribers, more money, more development and more music. Although an uber-popular subscription music service has not been as big as iTunes in the US, the game could be shifted once Spotify lands.