Spotify

So the biggest of the all you can eat streaming music services has arrived in America. You can read a mountain about Spotify everywhere so I’ll just chime in with my own opinion.

I feel a little old. I like owning my music. I have a giant record, cassette and MP3 library. It’s stupid I know. And now what? Everyone can just have everything for a monthly fee? That’s unfair! But wait do they have everything? What about Scarecrow “Black Door”? I bet they don’t have that. If they do I will probably join. Can anyone verify that for me? I hear the social sharing stuff is good. Although I think it’s pretty easy to post a Youtube link into Facebook these days. On a positive note I do think it’s pretty futury to have access to all the music ever made anywhere you are. Funny that last part should carry a lot of weight with me.

As a musician it seems this is another blow to making income from music sales. I do make some nice “buy a new synth every now and then” money from my iTunes sales. But the streaming services? You really have to have a mega hit for all those fractions of pennies to add up.

So what do you think? Are any of you loving members of Rdio (the Spotify like competitor)?

“The award-winning music service that’s taken Europe by storm has now come to U.S. shores. Millions of tracks ready to play instantly, on your computer and your phone. Any track, anytime, anywhere. And it’s free!” – spotify.com

For more info: spotify.com

18 Comments

  1. hopefully it’s not gonna hurt my sales on bandcamp.

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  2. Been getting into it lately as signed up up for the paid monthly service. As long as you have a mobile that supports the mobile client (ie an iPhone), it’s genuinely changing my approach to listening to music.

    For someone to be able to recommend an album, and for me to be able to start playing it within 10 seconds is just nuts. And when you add the ability to access and DOWNLOAD 13 million songs per month for (in the UK) £9.99 vs. only be able to buy one album for £9.99, it’s pretty unbeatable. But you definitely will want the mobile client in order to use ‘Offline Mode’.

    The iPhone app definitely takes some getting used to, some kinks working out. But the underlying service is too good for this to ever be a deal breaker.

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    1. Thanks for the review. And via Twitter I’ve been notified that Scarecrow Black Door is available so it passes the “has a lot of weird obscure stuff” test. See the Tweet here: http://goo.gl/N9E4J

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  3. Here you have it Oliver…

    http://open.spotify.com/track/7FhLndZGbA4zXdkRPmR5Cw

    Black door by Scarecrew. Believe in Spotify!

    Greetings from Spain

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    1. Ah posted at the same time! :)

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  4. On the subject of “obscure stuff”, for the time I’ve been using it, I’d say 95% of what I look for is there (ie they’ve got a bunch of Raymond Scott, including the new Manhattan Research compilation, but they don’t have Soothing Sounds for Baby, which I want. It didnt have Coltranes “Ascension” but has loads of others)…but its true value is coming from trying out stuff I’ve heard of, but never heard. The old model penalises you for buying an album on good faith and finding you actually wasted your money. On Spotify you just pay a flat fee for access to everything.

    It’s worth mentioning that they are obviously expanding the catalogue but I’m sure there’s all kinds of licensing nightmare deals they’re trying to work out. A good example it’s going in the right direction is a year ago they had very little Aphex, (like basically nothing) now they have several albums and an EP or two. It’s evolving. And the US getting into it is so good, because the truth is that the more people who use it, the more labels will have to get on there.

    Whether or not it’s a good thing for album sales? Can’t say. But I’m certainly discovering new bands in a way very similar to what proponents of filesharing put forth. Except at least the artist is getting a tiny bit of money, and stats. There are certainly some bands I’d like to see having heard them on Spotify.

    Quite enjoying Scarecrow btw…

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    1. Good to know they have obscur stuff you were looking for too. Funny… I think I made Scarecrow a little less obscur today!

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  5. I signed our band up for it even though I see it as a further devaluation of music. It seems more and more that everyone makes money from music except the artist. Spotify will earn upwards of $50 million or more this year (by some estimates) on the backs of musicians but the compensation to the artist is small to the point of being absurd. The advantage of services like this and Rhapsody are heavily in favor of the listener, who is perhaps reluctant to buy in the first place). We signed up for the sake of availability being a new band with only one EP out so far. Moving forward with any kind of loyal following we would certainly be a lot less likely to blast the music out to any vendor that will take it.

    There’s an excellent chart that shows the comparative earning potential of various vendors here:

    http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/how-much-do-music-artists-earn-online/

    After seeing the chart I’ll be taking down my tracks from Spotify and Rhapsody.

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    1. Wow Darren that chart is very damming. I hope it changes.

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      1. No that chart is well known and its not going to change. Spotify is an exceptionally bad deal for musicians, we get nothing, the amounts even with thousands of plays are tiny.

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        1. As far as I understand the economics here, the payment issue is not really with Spotify but with the labels. The deals between the label and the bands to be more precise. Can someone verify or disprove this hypothesis?

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    2. Yeah I can relate. I’m going to be putting out an album sometime during the next year and I have to admit that it sucks to think you’ll basically get nothing financially from Spotify plays, however with that said, I strongly believe the real enemy of the artist is obscurity, more so now than ever, and Spotify is definitely opening my ears to bands I’d never have heard any other way.

      I think Spotify needs to work a great deal on its browsing systems as it’s actually not particularly enjoyable to browse at the moment (although worth noting you can put in google style search modifiers – eg. “genre:house years:1991-1994″).

      It’s safe to assume you won’t make any money by being on Spotify – but they DO share statistics with labels (and artists in turn I assume)? With this in mind – you could plan a tour knowing which cities listen to you the most, for example. Now that IS valuable knowledge, unattainable in any other way, and would likely have a direct result in attendance figures.

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  6. I am greeted with “Why is spotify not available in my country?”. Internet in germany sometimes feels a lot like what it must feel in china.

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  7. Some Spotify pointers, first off try the hidden contextual search which saved my day like artist:scarecrow title:”black door” find all the types in Spotify.com under FAQ section

    There are many other sites that generate suggested songs in a playlist from any artist you enter and also one (truShuffle) that generate suggested songs from what you play in Spotify. :)

    Here’s a few links to truly awesome Spotify tips:
    1. http://pansentient.com/2011/02/ten-top-spotify-tips/
    2. http://pansentient.com/2011/05/another-ten-top-spotify-tips/
    3. http://pansentient.com/2011/07/ten-more-top-spotify-tips/

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    1. Thank you very much for the tips!

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  8. Worth noting to all indi bands are that the labels that have signed on with Spotify have tools (Spotify Analytics) that enable them to at any given time check how many times a artist have been played (to date or within any time frame), which song and where the listeners have been located in the US. This will make indi bands attractive to labels if they get played allot which then help to get labels to fund them :)

    It also help the bands plan tours as they know where in the US there followers are located.

    Another thing worth mentioning is that the payment per stream atm. is higher from Spotify that Rhapsody

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  9. (Context: I live in the UK, have listened to music with Spotify for a while).

    I use Spotify a LOT to listen to lots of new music that somebody else has recommended or to follow the “Related Artists” links to find yet more new stuff that I’ve never heard before. I also listen to internet radio channels from the likes of Soma FM and when I hear something I like, I chase it down on Spotify and listen to the rest of the album. I take a few listens, and if it continues to grab me I’ll go and download it from the usual channels (iTunes or Bandcamp if available). To me, it’s a great way to audition new music and get a feel for an artist that the 30 seconds of clip on iTunes would never allow. I’ve bought dozens of albums from using this route from artists like Kiln, Lusine, Ametsub, Bugge Wesseltoft & Henrik Schwartz, Helios, Luke Abbott, etc. I don’t know how I would have “discovered” these artists without the social media trifecta of Twitter / blogs + Spotify + Bandcamp / iTunes.

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