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Spotify Retreats To Invite-Only In UK

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the spot-of-trouble dept.

Media 130

Barence writes "Music streaming service Spotify has been forced to enact tight restrictions on new members in the UK, and revert back to an invite-only system. The company has decided to take drastic action following the release of its iPhone and Android apps earlier this week, which have created 'huge demand in the UK,' according to Spotify. People who don't want to put their hand in their pocket and don't have any friends can sign up to a waiting list instead."

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Spotify (4, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386403)

The good thing is that Spotify premium (9euro/month) really isn't a lot for the service they provide. Since an year ago that I started using Spotify it's been pretty much my only music player. Now that they're getting the mobile clients out too its just getting better (also Symbian version coming soon, now just windows mobile!).

And like with every Spotify news here, for those who are going to ask why spotify is supposedly so much better than last.fm or pandora or other web radios. Spotify isn't a radio. It's more like a huge music library where you can search for any song and listen to them as you please. If you like to, you can even just repeat one song all the time. It's more like your WinAmp or other music player, just that the music is streamed and you have access to huge amount of songs.

Their technology seems to work great too. When you select a new song it starts playing *right away*. Just like listening from your own hard drive. The UI is simple and lightweight but still good. You can also easily paste links to songs, albums and playlists. For pretty much everyone I know its became the way to listen to music, and a great way for music labels to kill piracy. Finally a product that is actually better and more convenient than pirating, and I'm happily paying the 9 euros for the premium account.

As mobile side I'm just waiting for their Windows Mobile client for my HTC. The nice thing is that mobile 3g internet is really cheap here too: unlimited (yes, really) 384 kbit/s is 5e a month, while unlimited 5Mbit/s is 35e a month. Since I have them anyway, I can just stream all the songs normally while sitting in a car or anywhere.

And yes, its only available in Europe currently. But they plan to launch in USA this year too.

Re:Spotify (1)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386565)

I hope they have plans to launch it in Asia also. I'm more of a radio guy than an iPod one and Spotify seems to complement/fit my music needs nicely. Not everyone would like to horde mp3 files and I can't comprehend how one could fill GBs of space and manage it, much more listen to it. Unlimited 3G is also starting to boom here too and maybe these kinds of services will hasten it much like how online mmorpg's hastened DSL affordability and availability back then.

Re:Spotify (3, Insightful)

nausicaa (461792) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387661)

I'm surprised they haven't done so allready..

In the begining there were no region restrictions, and among the tracks in my playlists I had a bunch of asian tracks.. Now, the asian tracks I've found are either classical music performed by asian musicians, or chinese pop.. Actually, I think I found some soundtrack for some Filipino movie, but there are no Japanese or Korean tracks (non-classical) that I can find..

According to Spotify, no tracks have been removed, but labels have insisted on regions, and if it's not available in Asia, I have to wonder who gets to listen to those tracks. Along with some US-released tracks that were removed from my playlists..

Regions are a thing of the past; I want to listen to what I want, not what labels think I should listen to.

This is, however, along with the absence of certain big acts, not Spotify's fault..

(I'm in Sweden)

Re:Spotify (3, Interesting)

Viperlin (747468) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386661)

"now just windows mobile!"

no, now just windows mobile, and android

both do require a premium account to use

Re:Spotify (1)

Kentaree (1078787) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386977)

There's already an Android client for it, check the "mobile" section on the Spotify site

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29387593)

don't forget the iPhone version

Re:Spotify (4, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386867)

So it's the media reproduction and artist extortion industry's wet dream: You never actually own anything, and really pay every time you listen to the track. And I still wonder if any of that money is actually going to the artists. Because I think they don't see a cent and that that is the main point over actually selling stuff.

No thanks. I'd rather die.

Re:Spotify (5, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386891)

So it's the media reproduction and artist extortion industry's wet dream: You never actually own anything, and really pay every time you listen to the track.

It's not a this or that situation. Just like cable channels that you pay monthly payment to show movies, you can still buy them too to actually own them. There's good sides on both; when you buy them, you get the products as your own. When you rent/stream/watch from tv, you dont get to own the products but you can enjoy them then for a lot lower price (or like tv and spotify, for free with ads)

Re:Spotify (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29388001)

>>>Just like cable channels

Hence why many of us don't like Spotify or other rental music, because Cable TV is a ripoff. You pay around $800 a year for basic cable, ~$1300 for digital/HD cable, and get little in return (mostly reruns of stuff you've already seen, or just plain ol' crap). It's cheaper to just buy the DVD of your favorite shows like Mr. Monk, Stargate, BSG, True Blood, et cetera. Likewise it's cheaper to just buy the CDs or singles of your favorite singers.

In virtually every case, renting is more expensive than owning. This applies to cars, to homes, to furniture, and also to music. That's why megacorps love to push "leasing" so hard - because they reap bigger profits than selling.

Re:Spotify (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386909)

You never actually own anything, and really pay every time you listen to the track.

No, you pay once, and then listen to the track as many times as you like. Well, up to the limit of how many minutes there are in a month. So with an song length of say, four minutes, you could play it about eleven thousand times.

No thanks. I'd rather die.

Don't worry, you will.

Re:Spotify (5, Interesting)

beowulfcluster (603942) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387095)

And I still wonder if any of that money is actually going to the artists. Because I think they don't see a cent and that that is the main point over actually selling stuff.

There was an article a few weeks ago about swedish artist Magnus Uggla, who apparently is mad as hell about Spotify and isn't going to take it any longer. The article is here [aftonbladet.se] (in Swedish). A summary in english is here [torrentfreak.com] .

Some basics things: Uggla, who's a reasonably big artist in Sweden, made as much from Spotify as he claims an average busker in the street makes in a day. Sony has bought 6% of Spotify, valued at 2 billion SEK for 30,000 SEK. His conclusion for why Spotify would agree to that deal is that Sony in return lets Spotify get their artists on the cheap. In other words, Sony makes money, the artists do not.

In the swedish article Hasse Breiholtz of Sony Sweden defends the arrangement by saying that Spotify wouldn't exist if the artists would get paid better for now. He says you have to give the legal services a chance to establish themselves first, and later raise the fees to a level where the artists get fairly compensated.

Re:Spotify (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387373)

He says you have to give the legal services a chance to establish themselves first, and later raise the fees to a level where the artists get fairly compensated.

Yeah, because everybody knows that new technology always gets more expensive after release, rather than less...

Spotify != new technology (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387915)

He says you have to give the legal services a chance to establish themselves first, and later raise the fees to a level where the artists get fairly compensated.

Yeah, because everybody knows that new technology always gets more expensive after release, rather than less...

The price of a good is controlled by supply and demand. Demand for older technology drops over time; demand for older music does not. Demand for a slower Mac drops; demand for older products of the other Apple (like the Beatles catalog) does not. Copyright in this case is more like land: the value tends to go up over time.

Re:Spotify (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387507)

Let's say a busker gets £2 every 15 minutes. If he worked 8 - 4 like I do, 5 days a week, that's £1280 a month tax free (like hell they file tax returns).

That's more than my net pay.

Re:Spotify (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387647)

That's more than my net pay.

You're in the wrong job there.

Re:Spotify (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387789)

I think your figure is optimistic: http://www.streetmusician.co.uk/buskingearnings.php [streetmusician.co.uk] (at least outside Central London, and there's big competition for the permits to busk on the Underground).

(PS do you work in IT?)

Re:Spotify (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29387833)

Why moan about Sony? All the majors have ownership in Spotify, among a fair number of other large corps. Spotify is no kewl start-up, it's a big tool for very large companies that are pushing people to pay for what was once free over radio.

Re:Spotify (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29388075)

>>>Uggla, who's a reasonably big artist in Sweden, made as much from Spotify as he claims an average busker in the street makes in a day.

I fail to see the problem with this.
Why do singers think they should
be paid more than average guys?

Re:Spotify (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386895)

I'm currently in Russia and it's not available here, not even premium. So it's definitely NOT available even in Europe... in EU, maybe..

Re:Spotify (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29387007)

Nope. Not here in the Netherlands, either.

Re:Spotify (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29387363)

Not available in Poland, either.

Re:Spotify (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386959)

So how long have you worked for Spotify?

Re:Spotify (4, Informative)

WidgetGuy (1233314) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387149)

9EUR a month is reasonable? That's $13USD per month! I pay just $37USD per year (about $3USD per month) for Pandora Premium (which provides a 192Kbps stream via the nifty new Adobe AIR-based player).

Pandora listeners can ask for a particular song to be included in a playlist (station) but what I really like about it is that we don't have to. I set up a new station by seeding it with song titles or artist names as exemplars. Pandora runs with that and puts together a song list for me. I can "reshape" any of my stations at any time by adding other song or artist exemplars (or by removing exemplars). I did this just recently by adding Ruby and the Romantics as an exemplar to my "oldies" station. Now, I'm being (re-)exposed to a wide variety of records from the 1950's and 1960's made by black vocal groups (so-called "race records"). Forgot how good that stuff was!

With Pandora, I don't have to build a playlist song-by-song and I like it that way. Pandora will suggest music from genre Y that their algorithms tell them might be enjoyable to someone who listens to genre X by playing songs of genre Y from time to time. If the algorithm screws up, all I have to do is click the "thumbs down" icon and the premium player smoothly fades out and goes to the next song. I will never hear that song again on that station. This approach gently exposes one to new artists and related musical genres. I would never have heard of the Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela or a rock group from Nashville called The Addiction had I not been introduced to them by Pandora's algorithms. And I would have been the poorer for it.

Even better is that, for your $3USD per month, you get a company that clearly values (because it listens to) its listeners. Almost exactly one year ago, when it looked like they might have to shut down because the RIAA wanted to charge them twice what they were charging broadcast radio stations to play songs, I wrote them and offered my support. I'd been using the free version until then and didn't have any particular reason to "go premium" (they didn't have the new Adobe AIR premium player at that time). So, even though I wasn't sure they'd be around for another year, I bought an annual premium subscription as a show of support. Apparently, the CEO saw my email because they sent me a very nice email in return offering me some free Pandora swag -- whether or not I actually subscribed. I did, of course, and the swag arrived promptly with a very nice personal note of thanks from the company's CEO.

Just recently (about a month ago), I wrote them again, this time asking for a feature to be added to the new premium player. In the first version of the player, the user had no control over where on the screen the player would pop up when launched form the desktop (or OS start up) -- a small thing, to be sure, but important to one whose desktop is as organized (i.e., cluttered) as is mine. They acknowledged my request promptly with an email that strongly indicated they'd not only actually read my entire missive but that they had understood my request (that's unusual in and of itself). They promised my request was in the feature queue but couldn't tell me when it would appear in the product. A month later the first update to the premium player was released and guess what? When launched from the desktop (or during OS start up) the premium player now appears on the screen in the position the user had last placed it during the previous session. I'm sure I wasn't the only one who requested that feature, but you gotta admit that type of response is pretty hard to find these days.

I don't work for Pandora or any company affiliated with Pandora. I'm just a very satisfied customer.

Re:Spotify (1)

Timmmm (636430) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387421)

And it's actually £10/month in the UK. That's $16.70. Way too much if you ask me. I might be tempted to pay £5/month though...

Re:Spotify (2, Interesting)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387545)

I don't care how much you pay for Pandora; We can't get it in the EU. See http://www.pandora.com/restricted [pandora.com]

What I can get, however, is Spotify, and I am more than happy to pay â9 per month for the service. It's all about value to the customer, to me. â9 this month has saved me many hundreds of euros, as I've not had to go out and buy the back catalogue of: Saxon, Dream Theatre, Sigur Ros, Rage Against The Machine, Nine Inch Nails*, and a few other bands who I thought I'd "check out."

* - I already own the NIN back catalogue; The service is just so good that it saves me time to listen to it on Spotify.

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29387649)

While we're comparing services; Spotify's system for creating recommendations is a joke. I have barely discovered any new music that I like since i topped using Lastfm and began to use Spotify.

Spotify has a page which supposedly lists your most listened to (song/artist). But even that simple function doesn't quite work. So it is not surprising that the recommendations are crap if they are based on such a flawed dataset.

Re:Spotify (1)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387793)

yes,it is quite pricey unless you use the free, ad-financed version. Having said that, Spotify does have radio channels as well, so you don't *Have* to make playlists.
Personally I quite like to uise it if i wan tto listen to asepcific album or song and I don't have it around, or let it mix for you when you have a party or if you want to check out some tune you heard elsewhere. I still buy my music though as I prefer to own it myself and not be dependent on a sompany for all my music - call me paranoid, etc,etc ;-)

Re:Spotify (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29388121)

The good thing is that Spotify premium (9euro/month) really isn't a lot for the service they provide.

Ask Bob Dylan why his records aren't there (anymore), or Metallica or AC/DC or The Beatles or ...

I had premium but after so many artists disappeared from Spotify I did so too. They also miss a good search engine based on category (like punk, prog, lounge).

Spotify going commercial (1)

vxvxvxvx (745287) | more than 5 years ago | (#29388281)

With the big names now owning significant amounts of Spotify and the discontinuation of non-invite free service it appears that Spotify is moving on to phase 2: Profit. Get the people hooked on free service using community open source tools and p2p technology. Then stop allowing new members to get the service for free. Then promote the paid service. Then jack up the rates on the paid service over time. Looks like business as usual.

Another point to Linux over teh evil M$! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386421)

GNU/Ubuntu, here comes the GNU/Ubuntu
Watch him walk this way and that way
Like a GNU/Ubuntu, like a GNU/Ubuntu

spotify poor security (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386463)

'On 4 March 2009 Spotify announced that personal data including email addresses and birth dates of members of Spotify prior to 19 December 2008 were "potentially exposed" by hackers exploiting a bug in the system'

Err, no thanks.

No native Linux client (only w/ wine). Err, no thanks.

I'll keep on supporting Creative Commons artists by giving money to the ones I like. It's open. It's also a fairly huge library, and I don't have to listen to the same recycled mass market pulp.

Re:spotify poor security (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386577)

No native Linux client? [wikipedia.org]

Re:spotify poor security (1)

mach1980 (1114097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386671)

The windows client works great with crossover. Even got the toolbar icon in ubuntu.

Re:spotify poor security (1)

Kentaree (1078787) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386993)

Not just crossover, it works great with Wine too. They also released a lib specifically for linux which means people can write their own client for it. One such client is Testify [sourceforge.net] which runs natively

Re:spotify poor security (1)

rundgren (550942) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387313)

Just a little addendum to the Wine-thing, for Ubuntu users: I had problems with playback stopping and stuttering before upgrading to the very latest wine (the one in the Ubuntu repos isn't new enough.) Follow the instructions on winehq.org to add their repositories..

Re:spotify poor security (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386579)

I'll keep on supporting Creative Commons artists
Do they have any website, representation or payment processing ? Or you mean like buying music from them on MySpace ?

Re:spotify poor security (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386925)

God forbid you use google: http://creativecommons.org/audio

cdbaby.com is a great place to buy direct from artists if you insist on paying for recorded music (that's so last century, but whatever floats your boat..)

Re:spotify poor security (2, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 5 years ago | (#29388147)

Do they have any website, representation or payment processing ?

I personally like http://www.jamendo.com/ [jamendo.com]

Re:spotify poor security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386639)

If they duct tape and glue music service with Ruby and Python then no wonder..

Re:spotify poor security (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386743)

I'll keep on supporting Creative Commons artists by giving money to the ones I like. It's open. It's also a fairly huge library, and I don't have to listen to the same recycled mass market pulp.

I don't listen to the same recycled mass market pulp (most CDs I own are released in the USA by Metropolis Records [metropolis-records.com] ) but before I pay for Spotify I'd need convincing that my £9.99/month was going to the artists whose music I listened to.

Re:spotify poor security (1)

enrgeeman (867240) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387683)

OT: Thanks, I'd forgotten about a bunch of those groups. Good stuff.

Spotify is RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386467)

Avoid.

Re:Spotify is RIAA (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386519)

Explain.

Re:Spotify is RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386627)

Extinguish.

Re:Spotify is RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386651)

3. ???

Re:Spotify is RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29387053)

4:Profit

"Embrace, extend and extinguish," also known as "Embrace, extend, and exterminate," is a phrase that the U.S. Department of Justice found was used internally by Microsoft to describe its strategy for entering product categories involving widely used standards, extending those standards with proprietary capabilities, and then using those differences to disadvantage its competitors.

So sad... (1, Insightful)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386475)

It must be a real downer to have an irrational fear of pockets and nobody to talk to about it.

Re:So sad... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387449)

If you ever tried to eat a hot pocket that just came out of the toaster in under 10 seconds, while being alone, you will understand.

Irrational... pah! :P

This is a good thing... (4, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386489)

This type of problem should be seen as a good thing, and provide a clue for the music labels. They already serve the public when it comes to purchasing music with CDs and DRM-free downloads (finally!). Now they have an opportunity to serve the public with streaming music.

They tried something similar with rentals, but people don't really seem to like it that much. Streaming (for a fee) is a *lot* like renting, but since you never have the music on your hard drive or media player, it doesn't feel like you're losing anything once the subscription expires. Mixing owned and rented music doesn't seem to be that desirable. But with the clear demarcation between owned and streamed, it's much more enticing.

I know I'd prefer to stream than to rent. Hopefully the labels will see this as an opportunity, and not a threat, and bring this to the US.

Yeah, I know, placing hope on the intelligence of the music industry is a recipe for disappointment, but what the hell, right?

Re:This is a good thing... (5, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386515)

Actually, the big labels are shareholders on Spotify so they do have seen the opportunity.

Shareholders in Spotify on 10/7 2009
Bolag Andel Rosello (Lorentzon) 28,6%
Instructus (Ek) 23,3%
Northzone Ventures 11,9%
Enzymix Systems (F. HagnÃ) 5,8%
Sony BMG 5,8%
Universal Music 4,8%
Warner Music 3,8%

Wellington IV Tech 3,8%
Creandum II LP 3,5%
Swiftic (Strigéus) 2,6%
Creandum II KB 2,4%
EMI 1,9%
Merlin 1,0%

SBH Capital (B. HagnÃ) 0,8%

Also: "The service is not currently available in the United States or Canada. Spotify Founder, Daniel Ek, has expressed a desire to change this. It is expected that Spotify will be available in the United States before the end of 2009.[20]"

Re:This is a good thing... (2, Interesting)

node 3 (115640) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386609)

That doesn't really mean much other than they're hedging their bets. They could just as easily pull the plug[*] on Spotify as broaden it's scope.

For them, this is more of an experiment, like Hulu, and there's no reasonable certainty that they won't shut everything down tomorrow if they fear it will undermine their traditional revenue models.

[*] By "pull the plug", I mean revoking any licensing for the project, if they can, and if they can't (perhaps UK/EU law treats Spotify as a radio station with compulsory licensing, I don't know), then at the very least do everything they can to destabilize Spotify's business model, the way the RIAA/ASCAP have been trying to do in the US with regards to online radio stations.

Re:This is a good thing... (3, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386647)

However by far they seem to be happy.

Spotify makes more cash for Universal than iTunes [pocket-lint.com]

Universal Music Sweden has admitted that Spotify makes it more money than iTunes does. "In five months from the launch, Spotify became our largest digital source of income and so passed by iTunes", said Per Sundin, managing director of Universal Music.

"It's a fantastic development, explained by the fact that Spotify really has exploded", he added. The admission brings with it a whole host of questions - none of which we have many answers to. How much is Spotify paying the labels? Could this be why the iPhone app still hasn't been approved? Does this validate ad-funded music as a business model?

The interesting thing will be how it works on US market however. They can potentially get a lot more from advertising in USA than in Sweden, but is USA itself got so used to iTunes and such that it will hurt the sales and labels? However, Spotify is a perfect way to turn those pirating and "sending mp3's to friends in msn" to customers you can get income from, even if its in form of ads revenue.

Re:This is a good thing... (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386657)

They pay money to the PRS (Performing Rights Society) in the UK, afaik, the same as broadcasters, pubs, clubs, etc. do. It's possible they have a direct agreement with some labels, bypassing the PRS (quite possible, it would increase the label's take).

Mind you, the PRS sucks from a lot of artist's point of view. Payments to them by broadcasters are compulsory, but the artist has to prove that their music has been played in order to get any money out of them. Unless they're with a major label or are otherwise big enough for the PRS to care, it can be nearly impossible to get the PRS to fork over your money (gleaned from talking to a friend who is a musician).

Re:This is a good thing... (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386901)

This will explain the structure. PRS is one collecting company for publishers for performance. http://www.bpi-med.co.uk/map1.asp [bpi-med.co.uk]

Re:This is a good thing... (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 5 years ago | (#29388183)

They still gladly take the money off businesses who do innocuous things like play a radio in the office. So they're getting paid twice, once by a radio station and once by the business, and that money may not find its way to the artist? That is an extortion racket!

Re:This is a good thing... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386675)

Merlin's a shareholder? No wonder Spotify is so good. They have all of that Ancient technology running the backend!

Bolag sounds like a Goa'uld though, so that makes me a bit worried.

Re:This is a good thing... (2, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386681)

Actually, the big labels are shareholders on Spotify so they do have seen the opportunity.

If I remember correctly they were offered stock for next to nothing at the very beginning, exactly so they'd have them on board. So they haven't really invested money, but the founders have given them an incentive to make Spotify successful and gain credibility. It's still tough to say how it'll work out though because Spotify is a huge success but not a huge cash cow.

Re:This is a good thing... (4, Informative)

Xerfas (1625945) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386765)

Good thing about Spotify mobile is that you can sync your music to the phone, so that you don't need to be online all the time. This is great when I take the train to work where 3G connection is lost all the time. I sync the music I like over wifi on the morning and then I got hundreds of new songs to listen too when I go to work and while working. 9e/month is less then what I would have paid for in the itunes store. I can definetly recommend this app to all music lovers who own an Android or iPhone 3G/3GS.

Re:This is a good thing... (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386881)

All it means is they don't have enough servers and fat pipes (tubes are for n00bs) to stream all that data.

Before they can deploy to North America or Asia, they're going to need significant data center presence in those areas. Not to mention all the legal and licensing cr*p taken care of.

Re:This is a good thing... (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387177)

At least it will be easier in North America -- just two countries to sort out.

"Available in Europe" is wrong, anyway: "Spotify is currently available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain." -- just 41 countries to go!

Re:This is a good thing... (3, Informative)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387391)

Premium is available in other countries too

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spotify_Availability.png [wikipedia.org]
Dark green: Ad-supported and Premium
Light green: Premium

Why ad-supported is not available everywhere is probably just that they havent got ad deals in those countries yet. Spotify is still invite only and beta after all.

Lucky Me! (0, Offtopic)

fredrik70 (161208) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386819)

...joined them 4 days ago, so all sorted!

No friends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29386821)

I guess it's more sad that I have 10 invites and no friends to give them to.

Is it just me (1, Interesting)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386921)

or does anyone else not get the whole "spotify" thing? I mean I can sort of appreciate the utility of the free, ad supported version but why in the hell would you pay a monthly subscription for access to music when:

a). you can only play it through spotify and lose access as and when you stop renewing your monthly subscription (as I understand it)
b). you have to surrender your bandwidth not only for streaming songs (although I think it does make use of a local cache) but also as a node in the spotify p2p network
c). you don't get access to some mega bands (e.g. Metallica, ACDC, Pink Floyd etc.)

Basically, it seems to me that the Spotify guys are the only one's laughing all the way to the bank. I mean, their music is encoded in ogg (presumably mainly to avoid paying any licensing fees), users themselves provide a large chunk of bandwidth to make the system work (through the p2p nature of the spotify client), the spotify infrastructure (according to their own site) runs primarily on open source/free software yet they (afaik) contribute nothing back. Their client is closed source, they don't let you keep the music you stream, they make use of your bandwidth and hard drive space in order to help power the network.

Can someone enlighten me?

Disclaimer: i haven't used spotify so if some of my points are totally wrong, please tell me.

Re:Is it just me (1)

altloser (1113413) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386983)

they give you access to a huge selection of music, they let you sync playlists on the mobile app and it's cheap.

Re:Is it just me (2, Interesting)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387079)

How is it cheap? At £8.73 per month that equates to roughly £105 a year. The BBC license fee is only £35 more than that a year.... !

If you could keep what you listened to and were able to play it outside of the DRM laden spotify client, I think £8.75 / month might be acceptable. But as it stands, if you're a premium user you get nothing much more than their "gracious" removal of ads and a slightly higher bit rate (which frankly isn't worth all the much more imho).

Seriously, I don't get it.

Re:Is it just me (1)

altloser (1113413) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387233)

It's £9.99 in the UK, which would buy you about 1 new album per month (which you get to keep). For the same price, from Spotify, you get all you can eat music, on your computer and/or smartphone. If you listen to more than 1 new album per month it's worth it.

Re:Is it just me (1)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387311)

Until you stop paying your subscription and then you lose it all... The free, ad-supported version of Spotify makes sense to me, definitely useful (and since it's free you can't complain you don't get to keep the music). But surely, if you're handing over money you want to keep what you're buying (or do you just plan to be a life long subscriber)?

Obviously, you don't want to keep everything you listen to but that's what the free version of spotify is for (and the radio).

Re:Is it just me (2, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387427)

Do you pay for cable subscription? Do you go to movies? Do you eat food? Those are something you pay once but after that they're gone forever.

If you want to keep the products, you buy a cd or digital download for 10-20 euros an album. But if you're fine with streaming and just listening to what you feel like then, it makes a lot more sense to pay the 9e/month and listen to as much as you want, even if you cant keep them. It's a cheaper and I dont understand why you except to keep the music you listen on a (cheap) streaming music service.

Re:Is it just me (1)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387495)

I don't have cable subscription and rarely go to the movies so I guess I am not the target demographic. I do eat food - but I don't rent it from a shop. I buy it and eat it. I could of course buy it and give it to someone else (a tramp maybe) - the point is I own the food and do whatever i want with it.

I don't think Spotify's premium service is cheap. The users provide the bulk of the bandwidth to make the system work, Spotify gets advertising revenue anyway (from all the free users) and 99% of their backend stack is built on free software for which they haven't paid a thing (including the actual music data itself which is encoded in ogg format). It's akin to me using the town hall for free and charging people a monthly subscription to come and watch movies, only you have to bring your own chairs.

Re:Is it just me (2, Interesting)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387927)

The P2P part is used mostly for just the most popular tracks, it would be too slow and unreliable otherwise. For that matter I havent ever noticed it using upload bandwidth so much that I would, well, notice it. It makes sense to try to P2P the most listened tracks, as theres probably thousands of people listening them at the same time.

Re:Is it just me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29387587)

It's £9.99 in the UK, which would buy you about 1 new album per month (which you get to keep).

You must be paying a bit more than me then!

Last purchase 1.38 (for a double album):
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Retrospektiw-i-2/dp/B001LV2U7I/ref=sr_shvl_album_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1252665125&sr=301-4 [amazon.co.uk]

(anon because still in the closet about French prog rock)

Re:Is it just me (2, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387241)

The BBC license fee is cheap for what it is. Just because it's obligatory, people develop a false sense of expense about it.

The most basic package on Sky (our satellite TV provider) costs more than DOUBLE the license fee (including fitting in first year), and the commercial channels are full of advertisements. The BBC is commercial free and raises the quality of broadcasting as a whole in the UK.

Spotify doesn't supply as much content bandwidth as the BBC, but does let you choose from a large selection of music. That choice probably balances the fact that it's music-only.. I wonder what it would cost if it fell under the arm of the BBC? They presumably have a great deal of the infrastructure already, so that would be a reduction in overhead costs.

Re:Is it just me (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387583)

I know. Compare that £105 to the newspaper I just bought for 70p. See, that it more than 130x more expensive?

WTF are you doing comparing it to the BBC, talk about your apples and elephants.

Re:Is it just me (2, Interesting)

Zedrick (764028) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387087)

I didn't get it either, until a friend sent me an invite so that I could try it for myself.

a). you can only play it through spotify and lose access as and when you stop renewing your monthly subscription (as I understand it)

Sure, but it's the same thing with TV.

b). you have to surrender your bandwidth not only for streaming songs (although I think it does make use of a local cache) but also as a node in the spotify p2p network

I'm not sure how much bandwidth spotify uses, but it's not noticeable for me or anyone I know, OTOH we all have at least 10Mb in the wall. I can see that this might, possibly, be a problem in "developing" countries. But not in where Spotify is available right now (Europe).

c). you don't get access to some mega bands (e.g. Metallica, ACDC, Pink Floyd etc.)

Bah, listen to Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath instead!

Spotify isn't perfect, but it's the best legal alternative we have right now. Sure, my collection of 12000 mp3's (about half of them are pirated) is better if I lose my internet connection or if I want to listen to some really hard-to-find-stuff that I have in my collection, but Spotify has 99,9% of the music I like, makes it easy to find new music, makes it easy to share playlists with friends... etc. Which makes it better for me as long as I'm online.

Re:Is it just me (1)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387185)

Definitely agree with all your points with respect to the free version but none of those points really help defend the case for the premium version... and it's the premium version that I don't really get. I mean why would you pay for something over which you have so little control and suffer artificially restrained choice (not to mention the insult that your own hardware is helping them power the network and thus maximise their profit margin)?

Re:Is it just me (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387231)

I'm not sure how much bandwidth spotify uses, but it's not noticeable for me or anyone I know, OTOH we all have at least 10Mb in the wall. I can see that this might, possibly, be a problem in "developing" countries. But not in where Spotify is available right now (Europe).

You obviously don't live in one of the areas of Britain where cable is unavailable and the distance from your telephone exchange is over 5km. I live on the outskirts of a UK city and can get 0.5 to 0.8 MBPS with adaptive ASDL. This is an improvement on the half-meg which is all I could ever get with the old fixed rate ASDL.

Re:Is it just me (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387941)

we all have at least 10Mb in the wall.

Once you're past dial-up and into at least low-end DSL, megabits per second doesn't matter as much as gigabytes per month. People who live in areas where ISPs offer 5 GB per month to spread across all applications have to prioritize. Or is this practice of capping satellite and 3G access part of the reason why Spotify hasn't come to the United States?

Re:Is it just me (3, Informative)

teslar (706653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387103)

I can sort of appreciate the utility of the free, ad supported version but why in the hell would you pay a monthly subscription for access to music when:

a). you can only play it through spotify and lose access as and when you stop renewing your monthly subscription (as I understand it)

Think of it as cable TV with on-demand movies available, except for music. You have a huge catalogue of movies at your fingertips - as long as you pay for the right. I don't find the idea of paying a small fee to have a lot of content accessible pretty much whenever you want (as opposed to when the tv channels (movies) or radio (music) decides to play it) that outrageous.

b). you have to surrender your bandwidth not only for streaming songs (although I think it does make use of a local cache) but also as a node in the spotify p2p network

I don't think this is relevant. I don't notice any bandwidth-problems at all. Maybe it would have been a point 10 years ago, but today, when my friends laugh at me for "only" having a 12Mbit connection, I don't think we need to worry about that.

c). you don't get access to some mega bands (e.g. Metallica, ACDC, Pink Floyd etc.)

Think of it as cable TV with on-demand movies available, except for music. You don't have every movie ever made available, but you don't expect that either. The point is that you do have a lot available - when you want it. If you really want to listen to Metallica, buy their CDs or wait for the Spotify catalogue to grow.

Noone said Spotify would be the alpha and omega of all your music needs. It just provides a large catalogue for you - either for free, or for a small fee (for which you also get better sound quality btw, 320kb/s instead if 160kb/s if you wish). If a song you want to listen to is not on there, or if you really want to own it so you can listen to it everywhere, noone's stopping you from buying the CD.

Personally, I use the free version (for now). I like the idea that I have a lot of the music I listen to available and that I can listen to it at work. I like the fact that if a friend recommends a band to me, I can more often than not just check it out immediately.

Re:Is it just me (1)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387169)

I understand the point of the free version because, like you say, it's a quick and easy way to check out new music (assuming they have it in their catalogue).

My confusion is with the premium subscription - I just seems to me that for the price you pay every month, you don't really come away with much.

Re:Is it just me (1)

teslar (706653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387291)

My confusion is with the premium subscription - I just seems to me that for the price you pay every month, you don't really come away with much.

No ads. Better quality. Perhaps that doesn't matter much to you (and tbh, it doesn't matter to me either - the ads are hardly intrusive and until I'm going to play music through my expensive stereo, 160kb/s in ogg is more than enough) but for some people, those two (or even just one) can be reason enough to pay the small fee.

Re:Is it just me (2, Informative)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387745)

I like the idea of the "day pass" system. For £1, I get access to everything for 24 hours.

That would be excellent for parties. My collection is 95% music I like, but it's not to most peoples' tastes -- and it's quite narrow (e.g. only certain sub-genres of a few genres). I'm happy to hear other stuff though. Typically, someone plugs in an iPod or brings along a few CDs, but it'd be much easier and more flexible if everything could stay on the computer.

Unfortunately, you need an account to buy a "day pass".

Public performance (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387965)

I like the idea of the "day pass" system. For £1, I get access to everything for 24 hours.

That would be excellent for parties.

No it wouldn't, because once you're at a party, you're likely performing the service publicly, which copyright ordinarily prohibits and which I'm guessing is not explicitly allowed by the TOS.

Re:Is it just me (1)

Stuart Gibson (544632) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387861)

If you listen to the same music over and over and over, then there's not much incentive. If you're the sort of person constantly on the lookout for something new to listen to then you get, essentially, unlimited new music for the price of only a single album each month. Sure, you could use Last.fm, but if you're an "album listener", Last.fm is horrible.

Re:Is it just me (1)

teg (97890) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387151)

I'm a happy premium subscriber, so I'll tell you why. For the price of approx. half a new CD a month[1] I get access to a vast library of music - old and new - in very good quality[2]. Hear some music I like on the TV or radio? Read a nice review in the newspapers or online? Reading a book about jazz or classical music? Open spotify, and there it is. I can listen to it on my computer, on the go (with the mobile client, which can cache what I want to hear on my ipod touch) or on my main system in the living room.

Streaming is also good for video - I'd like more services like Netflix and apple video store to be available here (in Norway as well). I have big DVD collection, but it would be much more economical to stream a movie it the one time I actually watch it. I'd save space and money by restricting my purchases to the very best instead of things "I'd like to see".

Physical ownership of things are often overrated, even though I know I'm bad in that respect with huge collections of music (many hundred CDs, probably close to a thousand), books and movies. I want instant access to as much (good) content as possible, while minimizing expenses. At the current rates, spotify is a good solution to this. Balkanization and price increases might make it less so, but I'll enjoy the current optimum while I can.

  1. I could get 2.5 years of spotify premium of the new "Beatles in mono" set I just bought
  2. 320 kbps ogg - it should be transparent. I store all my own music in lossless but I'm not going to bet I'd actually hear the difference.

Re:Is it just me (2, Interesting)

ciderVisor (1318765) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387179)

why in the hell would you pay a monthly subscription for access to music

If Spotify dropped the ad-supported model, I'd stump up for the monthly subscription in an instant. It's so convenient, I even fire up Spotify rather than playing a CD that I already own. I used to file share to find music that I'd been recommended. Nowadays, if they're not on Spotify, I just can't be bothered going through the hassle of LimeWire/BitTorrent.

Someone in the recording industry once said "You can't compete with free". Well, Spotify proved him wrong; you can compete by making it free and more convenient.

Disclaimer: i haven't used spotify so if some of my points are totally wrong, please tell me.

You're not wrong, but until you actually use Spotify, it's hard to appreciate just how great the user experience is.

Re:Is it just me (1)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387209)

Fair enough I guess. Maybe I'm just cheap/out of touch - to me the notion of paying £8/month to rent my music just seems a bit crazy. I'd rather pay £16/month and be able to keep everything I consume and access it on my own terms.

Re:Is it just me (1)

altloser (1113413) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387259)

you can do that, buy cd's or mp3's.

Re:Is it just me (1)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387277)

Yeah but that's on top of the premium charge you are already paying every month.

Re:Is it just me (1)

altloser (1113413) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387365)

check out Nokia's Music Store then

Re:Is it just me (2, Insightful)

Phydaux (1135819) | more than 5 years ago | (#29388187)

Maybe if you look at it a different way.

There are 4.5million tracks on Spotify. That is over 25 years of never hearing the same track twice. (At 3mins a track listening 24hrs a day). It would cost you about £3000 to listen to Spotify for 25 years. If you were to buy each of those tracks say at 1p each that is £45,000. Obviously this is an extreme but it works on the small scale too.

If you want to listen to an hour a night for a month without hearing the same track, that is £10 on Spotify. If we assume about £2.50 for a 1 hour album, we need 30 albums, that is £75.

Yes, if you only like a select few artists, or like listening to the same stuff over and over, paying for Spotify probably isn't for you. I know most people aren't going to be the extreme of my examples, but paying for Spotify is not as crazy as you think if you want access to a massive music library.

And you don't even need to pay for Spotify, the adverts are not that intrusive, or long.

Re:Is it just me (1)

EEDAm (808004) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387797)

"If Spotify dropped the ad-supported model, I'd stump up for the monthly subscription in an instant." - ummm but that's one of the major features of the premium, monthly-subscription service - there are no ads. Ads are only on the free trial version...

Re:Is it just me (1)

yepster (1050284) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387187)

If you don't feel that having instant access to pretty much all mainstream music you can think about in a portable device is worth $14/month then spotify isn't for you. Surrendering your bandwidth, well, if you were used to downloading music it's just another way of using that bandwidth. For me Spotify on a computer was an interesting concept and working well, but when I could start use it on my android phone, that's when the potential really became obvious. Community playlists is another thing that works amazingly well with spotify, and it will just get better when the number of users grow. Just go to one of many playlist sites where users publish their playlists, find one you like and click, you're playing the songs on your computer or handset. Revolutionary!

Re:Is it just me (1)

gpuk (712102) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387319)

Bad form to reply to one's own post I know, but judging from the other replies - maybe it really is just me and I'm out of touch...

[/me goes to pester a friend for a spotify invite to find out what all the fuss is about]

Re:Is it just me (1)

Ross D Anderson (1020653) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387433)

A couple of reasons spring to mind:
Use of the phone clients (iPhone, Android and soon to be Symbian)
Higher quality
Also while the P2P feature exists it isn't actually enabled yet (according to wikipedia) but I can imagine if/when it is, subscribers will be able to opt out of the service.


Obviously, if you don't think it's worth it, you don't have to subscribe, but to many people it is. And I presume as it grows in popularity the music collection on there will expand to provide some of those "mega bands" you mention. (Though quite why anyone would listen to Metallica is beyond me. Yawn.)

Personally I'd pay for this just for the ability to listen instantly on my phone and discover new artists as they are suggested to me while I'm out and about instead of having to pay for a track I find I don't like or go the illegal route and hunt around for a download and then wait for it to complete.

I have 24 invites saved up... (1)

TechnoFrood (1292478) | more than 5 years ago | (#29386937)

But everyone I know already uses Spotify, so Slashdot readers from Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France or Spain (only countries its running in), here are 4 invite codes.

Bxz9KZABCFUnxBjm

D2XmExytRXKpdDsd

yXXtPeWnGzSaK2Fq

GiSxJRqdtkdGLTLW

I may be back later to post some more.

Re:I have 24 invites saved up... (1)

TechnoFrood (1292478) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387089)

And they are gone.

Re:I have 24 invites saved up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29387153)

Thank you! Just one used one of these and worked like a charm. Turns out White Lies are pretty good...

Re:I have 24 invites saved up... (1)

hag3r (770359) | more than 5 years ago | (#29388065)

Same here, so I might as well post a few invites here.

aj3gnWBMNEU3RTE9

wg3w2efuUziS5jWd

UZU8NcYLqkMcaKNX

gZHK5sELA3Tm59mS

I never knew they changed.I stick with competition (1)

trust_jmh (651322) | more than 5 years ago | (#29387963)

Don't see much newsworthy content here. Spotify was sign up before so nothing much changed. (Seems more free PR than anything for them.)

A change to the real competition would be news. Free streaming music without registration.
In the UK;
http://www.we7.com/ [we7.com]

The US equivalent;
http://www.lala.com/ [lala.com]
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