Spotify has crossed the pond! Finally the US get to share in the musical love that is Spotify! To UK based audiophiles, Spotify is old news. In fact, Spotify has around 1 million paying subscribers across UK, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Spain. In Europe, we love the Spotify – I for one can not praise it enough.
The US version launches in pretty much the same way it did here all those years ago – via invite to the free version. However, users also have the same option as us to sign up to the ad-free unlimited service ($4.99) or the mobile version ($9.99). (At current exchange rates that means they pay less than us!)
Spotify’s launch in the US is big news because it’s THE market to crack, and it’s been a tough nut too. Record companies had originally been sceptical about Spotify’s business model and were resistant to signing up their catalogues. So Spotify changed the model to a more comprehensive subscriptions service that benefits the major labels. In an industry flawed by piracy, Spotify plugs the gap between purchasing music and downloading it for free, and illegally, from torrent sites. Now you can pay your subscription and download all the music you want, anytime, anywhere (sorry, that sounds more like a strapline than a sentance). As Ken Parks, chief content office for Spotify, says – “Spotify is simply a better experience”.
Spotify’s move into the US market also fuels rumours that a Facebook/Spotify streaming service is close by, rumours dismissed by Parks.
Ultimately, this looks like a change in the wind for the majors to. As mentioned, piracy has dogged the industry for many years now and has lead to major cut backs in staff and also artist rosters. But the music industry is starting to dictate the rules again. Spotify may have changed their model to suit, but so has Limewire and Apple (iCloud). Have the major four started to adapt to new technologies? It’s yet to be seen, but they appear to be working it out.