Hmm To pay or Not to pay? Spotify could be your answer!

Photograph: Rasmus Andersson/Spotify Ltd

I remember back in the day when Spotify was purely invite only, I felt like the kid that found the last golden ticket to go to Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory when a friend from Norway called Kris sent me an invite. It felt even more special than Google+ to be honest!. It's been great to see how Daniel Ek has been pushing the company forward ever since!


The music industry is still badly damaged by Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing which received infamy when Shawn Fanning and John Fanning created Napster a free Peer to Peer file sharing service that specialised in MP3 format music. At it's height Napster had 25 million users and 80 million songs without paying any royalties to the bands or musicians. The one such instance that Napster did help a band was when UK band Radiohead's experimental album Kid A got to number 1 in the billboard 200 U.S chart in it's debut week. It was released on Napster a whole 3 months before it's CD release. Richard Menta of MP3 Newswire I think says it best when he said that the albums unexpected success was down to Napster being a good promotional tool for music. Napster were subsequently sued by Metallica for releasing a song of theirs before it was supposed to be which lead it to be played in radio stations up and down the U.S.A and rapper Dr Dre also sued them after they would not remove his music from their service this led to record companies suing them for copyright infringement. Napster closed down the service in 2001 and filed for bankruptcy in 2002. Napster paved the way for decentralised peer to peer file distribution programs, which are much harder to control.

I believe Napster were fundamentally wrong with their project because all the music the service was offering was free. I have shown with the case above on Radiohead how great it was as a promotional tool it also helped Dispatch who were the first independent band to headline Madison Square gardens, NY (and they done it for three nights in a row) reach a wider audience. Napster should have offered paid subscriptions as well as a free service and given the labels and independent artists the opportunity to work out their own pricing much like we see today with the invention of iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Mixcloud and apps like Band Page on Facebook.

Facebook Music

Facebook's deal with music streaming services like Spotify, Rdio and MOG keeps some fundamentals like the Peer to Peer aspect as you can see what your friend has listened to and join them in a kind of listening party through the streaming service they are using to hear a song making Music a social experience, Through this promotion and facebook's ever better personalisation service you will find new music and will buy it if you like it. The music streaming services are in fiercer competition to deliver the subscription package you are more likely to pay for.

My thoughts on the matter are "Facebook Music" is every bit the game changer I thought it would be, we have went full circle from the forced closure of Napster and the distrust that record companies had over music download and steaming services. Over the past decade the damage has been repaired bit by bit with the invention of iTunes where music is downloaded for a set price, Downloads counting towards a bands sales in many Music charts worldwide, AD supported/ paid subscription based streaming services like Last.FM and Spotify as well as social networks like Myspace who hosts music from major record labels to independent bands and now Facebook's integrated service is the cherry on top of the cake in aide of restoring faith in the system.

My Thoughts

Now streaming music and downloading are easy and fashionable and musicians are getting a better deal and a'lot more exposure with it. Best of all in my opinion is that independent labels and bands are getting more control over their own destiny and because of "Facebook Music" are getting the chance to reach a previously unimaginable audience of 800 Million plus. The Battle for paid music takes a turn for the better and more people are being prosecuted for downloading illegally.

What do you think of Facebook's integrated music service? 

Is it the right way forward? 

Do you have a favourite streaming service?

By Jon Cassidy
About Me

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