Well we have now moved into the ranks of the first world TED talkin’ digital elite, with Iceland’s cultural Illuminati collectively jizzing at the new yesterday that Spotify has now arrived in Iceland!
It was eventually going to happen. i remember asking STEF board chairman Jakob Fríimann Mangússon about it last year, only for him to dismiss it as “The last gasp desperation by the major labels in Sweden to do something about downloading,” while at the same time they were looking to trump up the fact that they had allowed Deezer into the country. Well alas no one seems to have taken them up on that offer, so it seems that with some deals were done and Spotify can now be allowed on these shores.
Naturally of course everyone is jumping on it like kids with a new toy. My local social media feed over the last 24 hours alone has been buzzing non stop with bands stating that you can play their music and people churning out quick makeshift playlists.
As for me I’ll give it a shot next weekend, but right now I´m struggling a little to find an actual use for it. To date I’ve heard many things about Spotify, both good (Massive database, allows access to a LOT of obscure music/playlists, the premium service allows Mp3 downloads) and bad (Lousy metadata searching, its suggestions algorithm is poor, shitty usability, ALL THOSE ADS!). But for me it´s all about portability. In an ideal world i could use a Spotify app for a smart phone as right now most of the music I listen to is at work on an Mp3 player, where i have minimal access to a PC/laptop. But because I apparently lead a fairly rugged life, I’ve sworn off smart phones as they cost a fortune to buy, and a fortune to replace when I inevitably break them in my pocket. So I fail to see where Spotify could help me there.
This means I’ll probably use it at times at home as a possible Youtube replacement. There have been many arguments about how much spotfy pays artists (it’s not that much in real terms), but many of the arguments seem have been based on a real lack of knowledge of how the models work when compared to more established areas such as radio (which many people seems to be using spotify as an alternative for), I suppose that this is a side product of breaking open the radio model of steaming (each play = ‘000s of compulsory listens) to one where you can open up the playlist to your own devices (1 play = 1 listen only)
There are, still, some legitimate concerns about how Spotify splits up its proceeds between major labels and indies, since the majors have an equity stake. So there is a reasonable concern about fairness. There’s also the small fact that Spotify is still losing money after it pays out in royalties, so questions may need be asked about how long their investors can shoulder the losses in the long term. It doesn’t help that Spotify are experiencing a huge amount of churn in it subscription base, although that seems to be happening to other services across the streaming market.
In the end, I think I´m most likely to use it as a searcher/testing ground to see if there is something that interests me enough to buy it.. I still think that for small level/obscure musicians, it´s still important to buy their stuff, as the money they will get from the likes of Spotify, YT et al, will amount to barely penies. I suppose in time, I’ll likely find myself becoming more and more reliant on Spotify, but considering my listening tastes still consist of going to podcasts and mixes on places such as Mixcloud and Soundcloud, it looks like it will be a little while before I join in the communal jizzing of my contemporaries…