I remember very distinctly the moment when I decided that I would not only have my music collection on the server at home but also on my laptop. All of 800+ CDs at my fingertips, all the gems from my adolescent years. Tracks in the order of my Japanese import, as I remember it, not in the order the Walmart edition is archived.
Getting hooked up with the current version of Spotify was similar, though rather on steroids. I say current because when I tried it the first time my query returned no results (same as on other comparable services).
As you might know, I listen to music a lot and although mainstream is part of my mix, I’d say I go deep into my niches…
Having the Spotify catalogue at hand all the time all of a sudden is like having my CD collection back but on a much bigger scale. The options are endless and range from structured education to perfect serendipity.
Structured education: I recently read Nikki Sixx’ autobiographic book The Heroine Diaries and realized that I – although a big fan of Poison, Warrant, early Bon Jovi and the likes – never listened to Motley Crue. I went to Spotify and listened to the whole catalogue, wondering why they had so much success. Same with the Rolling Stones. I know the chart hits, sure, but not much more, we were a Beatles household. Reading Keith Richards’ ‘Life’ I follow the bands’ journey and especially his evolving guitar style.
And for the serendipity? Somewhere it was mentioned that Paul Butterfield was up for an award. You probably don’t remember this, but several years ago I interviewed network dinosaur Bring-Back-Track-Steve Gillmor about his musical past and he patiently explained the Jimi Hendrix connection, and his time with afore-mentioned Paul Butterfield. I hadn’t really known much about him and his Blues Band but thanks to Spotify I could catch up (no disrespect to Steve Gillmor btw, I love his stream-of-consciousness-writing and the Gillmor Gang).
Now that I am using Spotify – as a paying Premium member – I can’t understand how you can not use it. Check out any album you want, be it the new Alanis Morissette or No Doubt records or new American sensation Frank Ocean. Sure, some artists are not there, but the number is shrinking.
Now, is the business model hurting the company? On the surface, yes. But my hope is that more and more people will realize that 120 bucks/year is really less than they are spending on music right now – with infinitely more music to listen to. Spotify will be a great means to monetize the digital form of music, while many artists today rely on touring and merchandising sales to pay their bills anyway. I know that – status quo today – revenue per stream feels minuscule but if you read this article from SpotiDJ and this piece on HypeBot you get the impression that this will work. It might take two or three more years but he market will get there.
Having said that, at the moment Spotify for me means everything last.fm never delivered. All that’s missing is more social interoperability to drive more usage and new users, even more than the current Facebook open graph actions already do.
There’s more to be said, but for now try it, and hit me up.
UPDATE: Similar but different service Pandora just released a statement by its founder Tim Westergren that they have several artists who actually make more than 100,000 $ from it. Interestingly, Pandora streams more music per month than YouTube does video.
UPDATE: Great quote from SF Music Tech Summit:
“The average American spends 14 hours a week listening to music and 3.5 hours watching sports,” said Nada. “Yet, the sports industry brought in $441 billion in 2011, and the music industry only generated 70 billion worldwide. What the fuck? What are you guys doing? There is five times more engagement, and yet you can’t get fans to pay for your stuff. That’s fucked up.”
Read more at Venture Beat.