I took the decision to not write about online music industry news or new online music services a long time ago. Partly because there were many other, better sources of that information available, but also the sheer number of new music services launching on a daily basis is mind-boggling (Check out rocketsurgeon’s music 2.0 directory to see what I mean.)

The reason I’m breaking that self-imposed silence now is because something very rare is happening. A music service is changing how I interact and listen to music in a fundamental way – and the last time that happened was with eMusic back in 2006.

And it’s all because of – what was most notable about Spotify’s launch is that it wasn’t preceeded by Qtrax-esque posturing or SpiralFrog-like delusions of grandeur. It launched quietly in beta last year and instantly had everyone talking about it. The most amazing part of Spotify is, of course, the content. The licenses Spotify has with the majors are quite extensive – but the ONLY reason I know or care is because of Spotify’s flawless UI – it works like a pared-down version of iTunes allowing you to simply and quickly access an absolutely astounding amount of music.

But what’s truly exciting about Spotify is the services that are growing up around it. Just one example is – a catalog of various Spotify Playlists that can be accessed with a single click. Take the “Greatest Jazz Albums Ever” as an example. Or the Top 100 Songs of 2008 by Pitchfork. Just click the link and press play and an absolute cornucopia of the best music is streaming on your computer.

Granted, the catalog gaps can get quite annoying, especially trying to find content from indie labels – but that will come in a short time, I’m sure (Penny artists will be on Spotify within the next month or so…)

What Spotify does is begin to fulfill the true potential of online music – any song, anywhere, anytime. And what next? An iPhone App? A killer user-made service? The possibilities are unlimited and I, for one, am giddy with excitement.

What does this mean for music businesses or music marketing? Right now, I’m just too excited about what it means for me as a music fan. I’ll take a stab at that after I’ve finished listening to the entire back catalog of Talking Heads….

*Update – That didn’t take long – a great new, and more userfriendly, service just came live. Have a poke around here and you’ll understand the potential for disruption that Spotify presents –*


2 Responses to Spotify

  1. luckybleu says:

    too bad spotify had to take down much of its content, because they havent finalized licensing with the labels, much like qtrax has gone through, although now qtrax has finalized international licensing

    • pennydist says:

      Spotify have recently removed some content, for sure – but it hasn’t affected the service noticably. And they removed the content because of global territory restrictions NOT because they didn’t have the correct licenses in place. They just weren’t allowed to sell certain in music in certain countries. Qtrax launched while still negotiating licenses with the labels, and without any in place.

      Whatever the case, it’s Spotify’s UI AND the content that makes it a killer app.

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