Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spotify not too good to be true anymore

Apparently I’ve been using Spotfiy for over two years. Funny, it seems longer than that. It was the perfect music service for me, unlimited music of my choosing on my PC, which is where I listen to music most of the time, with the only minor downside being some adverts that play occasionally between tracks. But it looks like it won’t be quite so perfect anymore. Free users can only listen to a track a total of five times and total listening time will be limited to 10 hours a month.

As a frequent user of Spotify I can see why they are doing this. First, it’s obvious that advertising revenue is not what they were hoping for, most of the ads are still for Spotify itself. Second, using it has had a perhaps not unexpected effect on my music buying behaviour. First example, U2 put their last album up on Spotify before its official release. I had a listen and realised it was rubbish, so as a marketing exercise I doubt it was a huge success. Second example/s, quite a few new releases are put onto Spotify Premium upon release. On a couple of occasions I’ve then purchased the album before it’s become available on the free version (Elbow, Arcade Fire if you’re wondering). I’m guessing this isn’t what Spotify wanted me to do, they were presumably hoping I’d pony up the Premium version. And then when those albums did become available on the free version (generally only a few weeks after release) I was hit with a mild feeling of regret for spending money that I didn’t really need to and deciding to think twice before making another purchase. Again, probably not what the music industry sponsors of Spotify were hoping for.

So now I’ve got a choice, sign up for a tenner a month and continue on as I am at the moment or spend that tenner on a CD every month. I guess the music industry don’t care too much which way that ten quid gets to them, so it’s purely a personal dilemma. But the people who can’t or won’t spend a tenner (teenagers, students mostly I guess) will probably rediscover the skill of searching for pirated albums on Google. The music industry is still caught between a rock and a hard place.