Spotify – too late to the party?
May 22, 2012
Posted by on
Spotify has finally been released in Australia as part of this year’s push to spread the streaming service globally. However it is a bit late to the party; even when there were rumours of a March release I thought that was a bit late considering how many of Spotify’s natural competitors had already launched in January 2012 as Rdio or RaRa.com. Of course there are the long standing streaming services such as Zune Music Pass, BBM Music, Samsung Music Hub, Sony Music Unlimited, JB Hi-fi Now, Songl and I’m sure there may be a few more. So clearly the market for streaming services is heavily saturated yet at the same time there is no dominant player a the moment so it probably was imperative for Spotify to jump in before a clear market leader emerged.
However the Spotify launch has not been without some quirks. Firstly it is a requirement to sign up to Spotify that you must use a Facebook account. Now I’m sure a lot of people have Facebook but considering all the 3rd party privacy issues with Facebook some people might be sceptical about giving Facebook even more information for datamining. For example, you have to give out information such as email addresses, home town information, and other miscelanous information such as political and religious leanings; because of this my inbox is already full of spam from people who have just joined Spotify and I assume there is some sort of algorithm which uses the mined information to target like users.
Secondly the price tiers once again demonstrate the price gouging of Australians. Even accounting for GST the price of the Spotify service in Australia as compared to the US price are ridiculous – Australians are paying 9% more. Of course the same thing happens with the iTunes store; something which prompted a parliamentary inquiry, so it is not like Spotify is unique in this circumstance. Nonetheless such blatant price gouging really represents the bad state of affairs for the consumer in Australia. Especially when you have local retailers creating exclusivity agreements with clothing brands in order to prevent people from importing from overseas; since obviously the best response when you can’t compete is go for draconian protectionism.
Is Australia even ready for a streaming service? Consider how backwards we are in the music industry with music charts. You would think that something be gold or platinum would be based on the number of sales; in reality it is based on the number of orders for the album or single by retailers and these orders are just based on perceived sales. This leads to the curious situation where gold albums can outsell platinum records. Hopefully if Spotify is successful we might get an official streaming which was launched in the UK this month where instead of using an anachronistic charting system based on anticipated sales we have a chart based on the number of times played on streams.
Anyway if you still want to sign up for Spotify; which is backed by Commonwealth Bank, Carlton United Brewers, McDonald’s, and Triple J (quite an eclectic bunch), there are essentially three services – free, no ads ($6.99 a month) and premium ($11.99 a month).
If you do get Spotify here is a guide to stopping it posting all the songs you are listening to on Facebook, trust me it is really annoying. http://lifehacker.com/5843847/how-to-keep-spotify-from-broadcasting-your-music-taste-to-all-of-facebook
If you want to avoid all the hassle perhaps just get Grooveshark which is also free and has a bigger library although this is a legally grey area….