Thursday, 14 April 2011

Spotify - The Rant

Today, it was announced that Spotify would be reducing the amount of music people could listen to with free accounts. The limit is to be slashed from 20 hours to 10 and a song can only be listened to 5 times for free. The changes are to take place from 1st May so if you like having Gang Bang by Black Lace on repeat, you better make the most of it while you can.

This news came just as I'd finished a report about online music streaming services. I was writing about how Spotify offered little extras when one purchased a premium account outside of improvement in audio quality (which wouldn't make much difference since we're all going deaf from music being too loud) and getting to hear albums before they're officially released. Once I found out this change, I had to change my position on Spotify. Of course, these changes are intended to make people buy premium accounts but isn't this a bit extreme?

The reaction to these changes has obviously not been positive. There's a feeling that Spotify has conned users by trying to get people to buy premium and going against their initial aims for trying to provide music to people for free. During my time researching for my assignment, I learnt that Spotify has previously received a lot of flak from people in both music and business for not giving enough money in royalties and the concept of 'freemium' not being viable. Perhaps these new changes are a response to these criticisms.

While I'm annoyed that I am only allowed to enjoy music for 20 minutes per day (I think!) with the new set-up, I can see why it's being done. Artists want money for their songs being streamed and Spotify needs to get it somehow. At least the free option hasn't been eradicated altogether (although it could still happen). If music piracy suddenly increases, I know who to rest the blame on.

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