We all waited in suspense to get Apple’s verdict on the Spotify app and sighed with relief after it was finally accepted into the iPhone app store last week. Well, some of us were looking forward to a good battle, but it was a nice outcome nonetheless. The decision proved highly popular as Spotify became the top free app in the iTunes store within 48 hours of its release. The catch that it can only be used by subscribers, however, has raised complaints from folks objecting to paying £10 per month (sorry, that’s the going model…). In light of the Spotify/Apple drama and Napster closing down earlier this summer, we ask the question:
How do you currently consume music and how will it change in the future?
Bela: I think I’m slightly behind with the way that I consume music. I watch music channels on TV and I turn to Youtube when I’m on my laptop. When I’m in the mood to listen to music, I typically want to watch the videos at the same time. As an amateur dancer, I also want to put on music in order to practice dancing in which case I’m at home listening to music on my CD player. I tend to listen to the same stuff over and over….I’m not cool and I don’t keep up with new music. I don’t need huge variety so I go through phases and listen to things to death.
In the future…..I like Spotify but the ads bug the s**t outta me, so at some point I will consider paying the monthly subscription. I really should develop my musical tastes and explore different types of music, and I consider Spotify an inexpensive and convenient way to do this. As the visual element to music consumption is important to me, I will keep on watching music DVDs and Youtube videos.
Jess: I’m pretty easily pleased when it comes to music, so I’ve not spent a fortune on tunes in my life. The vast majority of the 3,768 songs in my itunes library were loaded by a friend four years ago, and they’ve kept me entertained for the last few years. Occasionally I stream hometown radio stations online when I’m feeling nostalgic, and that’s comforting. I’ve had short flings with Last.fm and Pandora, but nowadays I’m definitely a Spotify fan. I love accessing songs I’ve never bothered to download and listening to mixes without the effort of constructing them. I’d be surprised if I’ve purchased more than about 20 CDs in my lifetime (with Barenaked Ladies – Stunt, City of Angels soundtrack, and Now 1 being the first three) and I think the trend of enjoying music without owning it is here to stay. Consumers will continue to pay for concert tickets and band paraphenalia, but I think streaming on our laptops, ipods, or other personal music players is the way forward.
Kate: I currently consume music electronically via three channels. One is Spotify (Desktop), another is my iPod Shuffle (jogging) and lastly my Nokia N95 (on the move). My N95 has replaced my regular MP3 player – with 8Gb on it, you don’t really need anything else. I have a large library of mp3s (including, much to my ex-flatmates’ dismay, a 3Gb Dolly Parton collection) and I use spotify everyday. (Without Spotify, I wouldn’t have spent most of last month discovering all the amazing early MJ records.) I’ll be honest, as cool as Spotify is, it will NOT replace real mp3s. I think there will still be a big appetite for being able to download and have real files. I guess the only scenario where this is not the case is if RIAA and DRM are still dominant, but there are encouraging signs that the business case for DRM-ed media is buckling. I just think that the current network effects are too strong: MP3s forever!
Thomas: As a kid, I studied solfege, learned to play the piano and the harp, and sung in a choir at the Conservatoire. Interestingly enough, I did not listen to any music. Forward a few years, I stopped making music and started listening to it. First with the radio, and then MP3s when they started becoming more popular. For a few years, I joined a community of audiophiles who exchanged high quality music. Now music on demand has become reality with the help of Spotify, storage of music has become almost completely unnecessary. I like to think music, and media in general will tend to be stored on the cloud rather than locally. The development of wireless and cellular networks makes this change more likely than anytime before. It is an exciting time, innovation is driving the change, the past business models are obsolete, and early adopters are embracing the shift. t0ms@Last.fm