Spotify is a music streaming service launched in Sweden in October 2008 by ‘Spotify AB’. It streams selected music from a range of major and independent record labels, including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal.
A six month free trial period is activated upon initial login with a Facebook account, where a user can listen to an unlimited amount of music supported by visual and radio-style advertising.
Music can be browsed by
After the trial, Spotify has a listening limit of ten hours per month.
An ‘Unlimited’ subscription removes advertisements and time limits and a ‘Premium’ subscription introduces extra features such as higher bitrate streaming, offline access to music and mobile app access.
An active Facebook account is required to use Spotify, unless the user has registered for a Spotify-only account before 22 September 2011. Subscriptions are restricted to people with credit/debit cards or PayPal accounts registered in certain countries.
By September 2010 there were approximately ten million users, with about 2.5 million paying members.
As of March 2012, the service is available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Spotify’s Jim Butcher said recently:
“Spotify has 3 million paying customers. It also offers an advertising-supported free service, boosting its user base beyond 10 million…the free service is an important tool for winning people back from illegal downloads.
When the web came along it changed everything in music. Napster was born and a lot of the young generation just stopped buying music..
When Spotify was launched our biggest goal was to combat piracy by being easier than stealing music. We want to re-engage people with legal music again. I’d say a big differentiator between Spotify and our competitors is the strength of our free service. I think it’s an important tool to migrate people away from piracy, rather than expecting them to start pay $10 to $15 per month from day one.”
Spotify is already negotiating rights with Australian record labels in preparation for a local launch. Jim says:
“First impressions count and Australians won’t be impressed if they go on to Spotify and can’t find their favourite songs..
We’re working hard to make our music library as broad as possible. Meanwhile the rights holders are beginning to realise it doesn’t make sense to have territory by territory services. People can find the music they want on The Pirate Bay, so why not let them find it on legit services such as Spotify where the industry is getting paid?”
Good thinking all the way through