Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

Summary: Spotify is officially live for U.S. customers. But to compete, it has to appear to give more back to pirate music users than Apple's iCloud.



Words used by Apple at the launch of the white iPhone 4. Words used by me to describe the relief that my American counterparts can now use a game-changing music streaming service, already open to so many in Europe.

Gallery Tour: Why Spotify is music to my ears

Spotify is installed on the very vast majority of student computers in the United Kingdom. From Mac's to PCs, Spotify is always on hand to thrust a party in the right direction, or make that 'special mood' a little more 'Barry White'.

Granted, an audible advert half way through a stream of his greatest hits can somewhat ruin the mood. But on the most part, Spotify has saved many from a music-less situation when filler is all but essential.

But is it enough to prevent the masses away from free, albeit illegal downloaded content?

(Image via Flickr)

Many of you will come to this column and consider piracy on a practical level. How easy is it? I can tell you that without doubt, it is far simpler and quicker than fumbling around for a debit card -- which has nothing on it because students are poor and impoverished -- and entering in a stream of details, to only be locked in by digital protection.

If you have never seen the pirate DVD versus legit DVD comparison, take a look for yourself.

Tempted to say, "good point"?

For Spotify to succeed in the U.S. -- and by succeed, to turn a generation of pirates into legitimate and legal content downloaders from authorised sites -- the cost has to be low, and the gain has to be high.

But with Apple's iCloud announcement earlier this year, the gain seems to be higher, but the wait is to be longer until later on this fall.

Does this make Spotify a temporary solution to iCloud's inevitable success?

Apple's iCloud is, without doubt, a game changer in view of their pirated content nullification wizardry.

The theory goes that one could download illegally as much music as one wants to, and by sending it to the iCloud, legitimises it. At $25 a year, distributed back into the record industry by Apple, does Spotify's payment model even stand a chance?

The very basic for-fee package Spotify offers is £4.99 a month for UK users -- which will roughly translate into around $5-10 for the pleasure of uninterrupted and unlimited streaming of music with no audible adverts.

Over time, however, Spotify users are all but forced into buying a premium package when streaming hours are raised and suddenly dropped.

Though Spotify is late to the game, competing with other already established brandsas Pandora, Rhapsody and even Napster to a degree, alignment with Facebook as a social network could rank it on par with that of Apple's iCloud.

Nevertheless, whilst Spotify is a preventative measure to Apple's hands-on 'cleaning up the mess' solution, it goes without saying that Spotify alone will have a dramatic negative impact on the music black market.

Related content:

Topics: Cloud, Apple, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Piracy, Security, Software

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  • No it does not.

    "it goes without saying that Spotify alone will have a dramatic negative impact on the music black market."

    I'm afraid this is just wishful thinking. The sad fact is that no paid-for service will have a meaningful effect on file sharing because it is easy, the methods are well-known, and the results are more flexible and convenient for the user.
    terry flores
    • RE: Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

      @terry flores: It's not as easy as Spotify though. Type in, play. That's it. No waiting for it to download and find the ID3 tagging is screwed.
  • Zune Pass seems to be the better deal

    When compared to Spotify, Zune Pass gives you far more for the same price. Zune Pass is obviously not a problem for Spotify in Europe but in the US, Zune Pass trounces what Spotify is offering.

    As for iCloud, that isn't a competitor to either Spotify or Zune Pass.
    • RE: Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

      @toddybottom Zune Pass is awesome! :) So addicted to it.
  • Content download?

    No it won't the whole point of such outlets (Sweden Spotify-user myself) is that it is a service, not some files you download, I wouldn't really dream of buying MP3s from 7digital which has teamed up with Spotify for that feature. Though I would be fully content of using services for Music and if I lived in the states videos streaming over the net and pay for them. The service not the content. The service provider will have to deal with paying the content producers (i.e. through distributors who fuck everything up) and make an affordable and and successful business out of that, that has to generate the sufficient capital to do it. I don't really see why it would be much different to how TV broadcasts or video-rentals are done without costing tens of billions for the rights. I will not support the distributors old ways and previous business plan.

    That said just keep dreaming, it will never take off with content downloading and micro payments for stuff like digital magazines and web sites that shuts out the public well just shuts out the public, Murdoch's site almost lost 90% of it's web traffic and isn't index on the net so why would I ever bother reading it. Apple can brag all they want with paid content on App store, but the fact is that it is all pennies and that the free to download stuff brings in more money. Your just nuts if you try and will rightfully disappear into an empty abyss of obscurity. There's no revolution in paying for access to content, just for services. If I want access I can just go to the library where it's free. Same with ebooks, it can work but they have to provide a much better service then the providers for the public libraries.
  • RE: Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

    Don't see what the big deal is. I have been using Grooveshark for over a year now. No audio advert to interrupt the music, just asks if I am still there every couple of hours. No cost, just free streaming music. I believe that there is a pay option for mobile use, but I only use it on my main PC's. Each of my kids has their own account, with their own playlists. Everyone is happy and the price is right.
    • RE: Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

      @milonfz: Web apps simply cannot compete with the slickness of a dedicated desktop or mobile app. The Spotify app is a joy to use.

      Add in the ever growing community of Spotify playlist makers. It's so much easier to find new music through Spotify.
  • RE: Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

    You aren't forced to switch from Spotify Unlimited (?5) to Spotify Premium (?10). Where did you read that?

    Spotify have made a mistake by changing the free Spotify accounts limited to 10 hours a month (or there abouts). If the free Spotify USA accounts are unrestricted, expect this to change eventually. Spotify has been going for 3 years in Europe and only recently altered it's free model.

    The adverts btw aren't in any way intrusive. They're few and far between. The 10 hour limit is intrusive though.

    To compare Spotify to the competition (except iCloud) is misunderstanding Spotify. None of it's competitors have an excellent desktop app (it's a tiny install btw) and have mobile apps on so many platforms.

    I couldn't go back to the hassle of ripping CDs or downloading MP3s. It's a game changer and well worth the ?9.99 I pay a month. It's only downfall being it doesn't work in my car, where I still use CDs.
    • RE: Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

      You couldn't be more wrong. Zune has a an excellent desktop and phone app (and I'm sure that will extend to tablets in the future also.) It would certainly be nice to see it open up to Android, Blackberry, iphone, etc. but that doesn't change the fact that the Zune software is a pleasure and certainly much better than any verison of itunes, past/present.

      So, don't tout Spotify as having someting that other competitors don't have also. Unless you've tried every single service out there and have and iintimate knowledge of all of them, which you obviously haven't. I think Spotify certainly has a future here in the U.S. and I've enjoyed playing around with it and comparing to other services that I've used in the past, but right now it offers me less than Zune Pass at the same price. We'll see how the U.S. version changes over time, it is after all, an initial realese here.
  • RE: Spotify finally launches in US: Enough to quell the masses from piracy?

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