Friday, 15 April 2011

spotify's upcoming changes

Spotify is a beautiful idea. A world where you can share music with friends (both publicly or privately), peruse albums of pretty much any artist, whether hugely popular or tiny tiny up-and-comers. In fact, the smaller the artist, the better. The program allows all us music fans to share all our tiny discoveries with each other. So let me come clean - I do find myself using up to my limit of twenty free hours of music a month. And in most ways, it has helped me to support these artists, publicise them on this blog and buy into them (both music-wise and gig-wise).

So it comes as a bit of a shock (even though I did have some suspicions, considering I am slowly learning the art of business) that Spotify will be adding new, tighter limitations to all users of Spotify Open. Daniel Ek, the founder of Spotify, released a blog today informing all us Spotify Open users of these changes, in which, he encourages us "heavier users" to buy into Spotify Premium. Nice tactic, and nice persuasion skills, except it seems all too clear that Spotify is shifting its vision from popularising music to making money from it. By putting forth limits on current customers suggests our loyalty is not of much value to them, even if we do put up with those irritating adverts every five or ten minutes.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but those customers who were invited into the service still receive their unlimited usage, even after Spotify Open's terms changed in the past? This only skews the unfairness further (perhaps an immature view, but if we are all free users, we should all be treated the same. If changes are put in place, and they did not affect previous customers, why are they now going to affect customers from before November 2010?)

In my opinion, only new users of May 1st should find themselves with these new limitations.

Another startling idea is the ability to only being allowed to play a song five times per month. Where is the ingenuity in a service with such harsh limitations? For a service which has collaborated listening to music via YouTube (limitless) and MySpace (limitless for members), finding new artists on Bandcamp (again, limitless to listen to entire albums) and sharing music directly on Facebook and physically, Spotify is effectively making itself redundant.

I appreciate the idea behind it all, and the enjoyment I have gotten from the program in the past. However there will always be a certain resentment come May 1st, one which will discourage me further from buying Spotify Premium.

Read the blog post "Upcoming changes to Spotify Free/Open" from Daniel Ek here.

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