Spotify: revolutionary step for music industry

Created in 2006 by Swedes Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, Spotify has played a huge role in combatting digital piracy. Since 2009 the number of people who pirate music has dropped by 25 percent in Sweden. According to, “the sharp decrease coincides with a massive interest for the music streaming service Spotify.”

The streaming company tweeted the following on Nov. 30, 2011:

Spotify’s mission was simple: Give people access to all the music they want all the time – in a completely legal & accessible way.

— Spotify (@Spotify) November 30, 2011

Because of the 30 million high-quality songs that are available on Spotify, the occasional ad is very tolerable. One of the many unique selling points of Spotify is its appeal to many different types of people. It allows the particular users to search for their favorite artists, songs, and genres, and it allows those who don’t necessarily have favorites to simply listen to a variety of different radio stations.

Spotify treats every mood that you can possibly be in with its "Genres & Moods" section.
Spotify treats every mood that you can possibly be in with its “Genres & Moods” section. Photo by Anthony Sadler.

In addition, each user can create playlists consisting of their favorite songs. “On Spotify, I find playlists to fit my mood, like bus playlists, sleep playlists, workout playlists and even study playlists,” said senior Toorjo Mishra.

The app is seemingly identical to iTunes, allowing you to listen to  music on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. The only difference is that it’s free. Of course, like any legal streaming application, you cannot play a song on repeat on your mobile device. This is where the business aspect comes into play. There comes a point where a song must be bought if you want to listen to it on demand and without Internet connection. With Spotify’s premium membership, you are given the ability to download any song for just $10 a month.

Senior Danny Hong says that his favorite part of Spotify is the fact that it “allows people to listen to songs before they decide to buy them.” This is another advantage of Spotify. Unlike iTunes, which only allows its users to listen to one minute and 30 seconds of any song that is not purchased, Spotify users can listen to each song in its entirety. This gives the listener the best idea of how willing they are to upgrade to a premium membership and actually have the ability to download any song.

Spotify currently has 12.5 million paying subscribers, and since its launch in 2008, it has received $2 billion in revenue. That number shows how profitable it is to allow users to listen to full songs. It first gives the listener an idea of how much they truly enjoy a particular song, which can inevitably lead to the desire to listen to that song at any given moment. This of course, can only be accomplished with a premium membership.

A student on his mobile device listening to the newest music on Spotify. Photo by Anthony Sadler.
A student on his mobile device listening to the newest music on Spotify. Photo by Anthony Sadler.

Another unique aspect of Spotify is the ability to follow your friends’ playlists. This seems to be very popular at SAS. Senior Claudia Krogmeier said: “My friends and I typically listen to the same types of music, so I love being able to just follow their playlists and not have to deal with downloading or anything like that. It’s just very convenient.”

With its interactive platform and remarkable simplicity, Spotify has drawn the attention of very successful businessmen. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, said, “Daniel (Spotify C.E.O) just saw the opportunities of streaming music before anyone else.”

The digital music service has been coined “the Netflix of music sites” and it continues to rapidly grow. With constant investments from firms such as Goldman Sachs, it is rumored that the company may eventually have an initial public offering. This would bring in even more revenue, which would allow for further market expansion.

If you are someone who relies on piracy to listen to songs with mediocre quality, make a Spotify account and check it out. It is truly a revolutionary step for the music industry and it gives credit where credit is due.

Author: Jack Albanese

Jack Albanese is a Senior and has been at SAS for 8 years. Activities include varsity golf, basketball, and football. He is also the co-writer of "The Media Lab." This is Jack's first year with the newspaper.

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