Thursday, December 01, 2011
Spotify Redefines Music - Again
"We want music to be like water -- available everywhere, available seamlessly," Spotify CEO and founder Daniel Ek.
There has been much interest of late at reviewing the difference between the digital journey’s of books and music. We wrote about this some 5 years ago in the Brave New World report and although the media have evolved the roots of the divide were clear laid many years ago and the divide very clear. However, there is much to learn from other media and today those smart guys at Spotify delivered another lesson in digital evolution in a press event in New York.
Spotify announced the birth of a redefined social media platform based around full member participation, added value supplementary content and what can be best described as a music platform which would make iTunes look sterile and clunky and Amazon a music shop -full stop. Along with Spotify’s on demand model the platform could not only change music but the commercial model of digital music for all. Sounds grand and overstated and the only thing potentially standing in their way is the music business itself, which would be an irony given the opportunity potentially on offer and the dire position of the current model. The other potential issue is whether developers will build apps for the platform
Spotify are releasing a new API (application programming interface) that will let developers create apps coded in HTML5, and powered from within the Spotify app. Spotify will add a section called the "App Finder" on the left side of its landing page. Spotify is also building its own new features which include ‘favorite friends’.
It’s like the democratisation of music and the creation of new ways to share music, reviews, information, lyrics, concerts tickets etc. It would enhance the subscription service adding a significant number of optional features that will be invisible to users who just want the vanilla version. Publications such as The Rolling Stone are on board and its co-founder Jann Wenner states that the service is “really just the perfect companion to read about the stuff you want to hear as you hear it.” Rolling Stone plans to ctreate playlists for release on Spotify. Last.fm are to provide an app that lets members share their songs with each other, see what other members are listening to and display album covers. Hovering over an album cover in both the Rolling Stone and Last.fm apps will trigger them to play one of the album's tracks. Another app, from Songkick, shows users what concerts are playing in town. It uses their playlists as the base to recommend concerts they might be interested in and displays the locations of those concerts. The location display includes a Google Map.
The list of partners at the launch was an impressive gathering of players; Last.fm, TuneWiki, The Guardian, Dagbladet, We Are Hunted, Soundrop, Top10, Billboard, Fuse, Gaffa, Pitchfork, ShareMyPlaylists, Tunigo, Songkick,and MoodAgent. Now imagine you are a musician and what you could do on a platform that today has 2.5 million subscribers and growing and is both established in Europe and the US.
The jury is still out as to what this will mean to the relationship with Facebook nwhich has helped Spotify’s growth but if they remain coupled then it is easy to envisage mutual benefit.
Despite the recent removal of some indie labels Spotify’s 15 million legally-licensed songs must offer a significant opportunity for app developers to create a music platform which would be difficult to emulate and could actually move music fully into a on demand world and change how we pay, listen and relate to all things musical.