hypetree hint #1: Spotify Launches in the United States (UPDATE: Get an invite!)
Spotify, the crazy new all-the-music-you-could-ever-want-for-free music service, officially launched today for those of us in the US of A. For the time being it’s “taking invites for the free version,” but you can start using right now if you pay. We bit – the $4.99 package – and after using Spotify for several hours, we can say with absolute confidence that it’s going to change everything.
Spotify lets you listen to an absurd amount of music by streaming it – you don’t download the track, you hear it from their central source. So if you type “Mos Def” into Spotify, it gives you a bunch of Mos Def’s albums, and you can listen to the full song at streaming quality. If that sounds simple, that’s because it is – Spotify is basically just iTunes with no 30-second limit, and you don’t download the song, you store and stream it. For our $4.99 a month, we now have access to a ton of music
The insane thing about Spotify is not that it’s cheap/free, or that it actually works the way they say it does – the insane thing is that the labels went with this. The major labels have been struggling lately to compete with illegal downloading, and when we take Spotify and combine it with iTunes Match, it seems as though they’re just trying to squeeze every penny they can out of tracks people would steal anyway.
That’s all fine, but what does this mean for independent musicians? There are tons of indie artists out there who currently rely on low-selling per-track albums to generate income. And when we can hear that same artist’s music without paying them the dollar they were getting before, and they just get a fraction of royalties on Spotify, won’t this significantly affect their bottom line?
We don’t know the answer to these questions, we’re not the only ones asking them. One article cites the figure of $167 for a million plays; fine for high-profile artists that are already famous, but we can’t help but think that the independent musician is going to suffer.
UPDATE: So hot off our massive Google+ invite giveaway, we’ve come into a few Spotify Free invites, throw us a comment with your email and we’ll do our best to invite you! We’ve got a limited number ourselves so they might run out, but Â we’ve got a couple ways of getting them so we’ll do the best we can! :)