So, just how much do music artists earn online?
Graphic shows ratio of income from online streaming vs. physical music sales.
Spotify: aka MP3′s PLAYERS ARE DEAD
First Impressions of the new music streaming service
So I downloaded Spotify today (http://www.spotify.com) if you don’t know yet, spotify is one of a host of new music apps which allows streaming of a virtually unlimited online library of music -any artist, any album, any time instantly. Spotify is only available in a select countries outside of America but it should hit the United States soon. What does this mean? Since I got my first smartphone and got to stream pandora I have dreamed of storing all my music online and accessing it from anywhere. At the studio I have all my mp3’s on a computer that shares it’s itunes library over the network, so as long as it’s online I listen to the music from other computers. Now with services like Spotify in the equation it’s time to ask: why do I have to download and store the mp3’s in the first place?
Who Needs Storage When You Have the Internet?
In my lifetime I have witnessed the death of the cassette tape, I have witnessed the death of the CD, and I believe that with computing and storage moving towards an “in the cloud” model we see the death of the mp3 player soon. Why carry around hundreds of gigabytes of mp3’s (IPOD) when you can simply stream any song to your phone or computer? Spotify is not only an mp3 killer, it is an Itunes killer.. with far superior interface and social media capabilities which I’ll get into later.
In order to download spotify I had to trick their website into thinking I was from the UK. To do this I went through a secondary proxy server here: http://www.daveproxy.co.uk. Upon registration I had to enter in a london zip code. I signed up for the free trial which gives you 20hrs of streaming for the month. After registering I downloaded the program downloaded and it installed fine. Upon installing the program it loaded up my itunes music library for reference. I was also asked to link to my facebook account so I could see the music libraries of my other friends that were on Spotify. Too bad I don’t have many friends in the UK!
Browsing through my library, and clicking on an artist name I could open up the artist’s spotify profile and listen to the artist’s entire discography including entire albums and compilations! Spotify also recommended related artists, and streams that shuffle all the available songs ala pandora. Playing unattended the program will simply move through the entire artist’s catalog, track-by-track. By now I’m pretty much like “whoah holy shit this is profound!” Music for hours, music for days! music for life! Keep in mind this is all free at this point, the program gives you a counter reminding you how many hours you have left and the streams are interrupted occasionally by ads for in British English that I actually find pretty amusing. The Program gives the option to buy and download the tracks, but why would I want to buy when I can listen whenever I want?
If I could I would sign up for the spotify subscription service today. Advantages include no ads and unlimited streaming and its only £10 a month. There is also an app for android and iphones that syncs with your library and account so you can stream tunes on the go – no more storage space! Unfortunately in order to sign up for a subscription I need a UK based credit card or paypal account. Why isn’t this program available in this country? No doubt it’s based on record label relationships and probably has something do with apple and their hold on the digital music market in America peddling their terrible 128kbps mp3’s.
I am convinced Spotify represents the future of music with a distribution system that is centrally managed and streamed to portable devices through the internet. As bandwidth increases, we will see no need for any removable media (CD, DVD’s ect.) everything will just stream on-demand. The next question is what kind of cultural implications exist when a music consumer presented with the opportunity to listen to any song in history instantly and readily?
Spotify, In Numbers: .00000000000.
Good little article here on direct artist compensation (or lack thereof) in regards to the spotify service