Spotify: The Future of the Music Industry (?) - OurVinyl
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Spotify: The Future of the Music Industry (?)

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Coming from an avid music fan it may seem bias to say that Spotify is one of the greatest things to ever happen to music, but it’s true. This simple application is a sincere game changer, and is making music more accessible to the internet-connected masses than ever before.

Free music has always been a dream of many music fanatics, the ability to snag the latest album or hottest new track from their favorite artists without even making a dent in the wallet is obviously an attractive idea. Illegal downloads and torrents used to be people’s only option to getting access to the free music that they wanted. Artists, however, have no way of making money off of torrented music from sources like LimeWire and FrostWire.

The truth is most people don’t want to throw down $10 for every single new album released, but plenty of people also don’t want to continuously cheat the artists they love off of the little royalties they make off the tracks.

Often torrent offenders justified their freely-downloaded music by claiming that the artist makes all of their money touring and off merchandise like t-shirts and posters. However, many artists may not tour or they want to keep their ticket prices down so they rely on much of their revenue from album sales. Pirating tracks removes the royalties generated, which leads many artists to feel concerned about their profession not being lucrative enough anymore.

It could be argued that this fear artists have, created by rampant piracy, has already stopped many great albums from being as successful – or even produced in the first place for that matter. It’s possible many incredible future artists were turned off from the profession due to the popularity and damaging effects of piracy. The music industry did began combating the issues of online music torrents, but still they appear to be fairly ineffective against the sheer numbers of offenders.

Some really well known artists and groups tried to join the free music revolution. Groups like Radiohead left labels and recorded albums like their “pay what you want, even if it’s free” albums like In Rainbows. There are many artists still who release the free music, but it’s less common in more popular groups except for mix tape releases or promos that artists will release.

As an answer to this conundrum Apple created a useful music organization software called iTunes that offered music fans an easy alternative to torrents and piracy via the iTunes Store. At first, listeners could purchase single songs for 99 cents or whole albums at varying set prices. Since then the prices have moved up on many songs to $1.29, but also others have been cheaper. The tracks are then downloaded automatically onto people’s iTunes accounts and become available for listening. The software also worked seamlessly with the extremely popular Apple’s iPod and iPhone products, but there are some downfalls, and at $1.29 for most tracks, it can get quite costly quickly. This is why iTunes may have changed the conversation, but hasn’t stopped the reality of plenty of free downloading tactics still being available and used often.

Technological geniuses Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon saw the issues with services like iTunes, Napster, and music torrenting sites, so they went to work with a software that would open free music to the masses and gain artists and labels the royalties they deserve for their music.

By offering free music with commercials and advertisements, or pay subscriptions per month (each plan varies) which offer both ad-free listening and the ability to play music offline and stream music via smartphones.

Formed originally in Sweden in 2006, Spotify has really begun changing the music industry. They offer hundreds of thousands of artists from labels like EMI, Sony, Island Records, and Universal Records. The application was officially launched in 2008. Recently it began to take hold in markets like the United States, where it has quickly taken off to new heights.

Within Spotify users have the ability to create personal radio stations off of similar artists or favorite genres, which is another popular aspect of the application. Users are also able to share playlists they create, listen to other playlists, and view the current popular songs in many different categories. Often albums are promptly released and sometimes there are even exclusive tracks and mixes released only for Spotify users. Spotify then differs from other services by offering full album listens, not assuming any control over what the next song to be played is, like their main competitor Pandora.

Facebook also saw the potential this music application holds, so they formed a partnership with Spotify. Facebook users can link their social networking profiles with their Spotify accounts. By doing this users can see what their friends are listening to, share playlists, and allow others to track the music that they find enjoyable. The joining of these two powerhouses is making music even more social for people, in a novel and intriguing way.

Needless to say Spotify is already turning heads and impressing users. Its user-friendly interface, social networking aspect, and endless free music truly make this application a game changer. It will always be interesting to see how Spotify continues to change, and how the new approach to music will affect the music industry and the music that is being released by artists.

Written by Denny Ganahl