THE BRITISH LIBRARY

In through the outfield blog

06 April 2009

Will Spotify kill iTunes?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01359/spotify_logo_web_1359370c.jpgThis is the heading for an intriguing article in the latest issue of gadget obsessed Stuff magazine.

I have to admit that I only heard about Spotify for the first time two weeks ago on Leo Laporte’s net@night 91.

However, since then the mainstream press has started to pick up on it as a potential iTunes killer - Spotify declares war on iTunes.

It seems hard to believe that Spotify can already have six million tracks (including the very latest albums in full) and over a million members signed up to either its’ free advert supported service, or the ad-free subscription of £9.99 per month. Although the fact I am listening for free to the brand new album from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs as I write, proves the case.

Now it has gone one stage further by linking up with London-based online music store, 7Digital which has four million individual tracks.

This is yet another indication of just how revolutionary the Internet can be when it comes to both established and even novel business models. It took iTunes just six years to become the dominant player in music sales, currently accounting for 70 per cent of all online music sales, and selling six billion songs along the way.

However, Spotify was only launched in the UK in October last year and already has more than a million customers.

The lesson, is that if you are going to operate a web based business you can’t afford to stand still for a moment.

Comments

Seems to me that Spotify haven't so much declared war on iTunes as decide to roll out a service which, in typical Web 2.0 fashion, was always there for the taking.

The difference between their model and typically 'corporate' ideas is the fact that they fundamentally understand how the typical internet user consumes music.

The software is simple to install and navigate - and free at the point of entry.

What they have is massive consumer buy-in and support.

Where other free 'personal radio' stations have failed to monetise their models Spotifty seem to have managed the transition from free to fee-paying.

Spotify is:

a) very simple to install
b) aspirational
c) free to enter
d) simple to navigate and find what you're looking for
e) packed with features
f) truely interactive

In short, many of those things which iTunes isn't.

I use it almost every day to discover music which I wouldn't usually listen to or find on commercial radio stations.

The only thing which threatens its business model is the reliability on shared revenue and traditional advertising.

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