Is Spotify legal in the UK?

If Spotify IS legal it’s the end of ‘music ownership’ – discuss

As an old person, one of the things that interests me most about the online world is the enormity of some of the developments taking place versus the relative lack of comment about their significance.

Facebook is one. How often do you hear people talking about the fundamental ways it’s changing society?

The new music-streaming service Spotify is another. I can’t even get the bottom of its licensing arrangements although I assume it’s perfectly legal since it seems to have the backing of some major labels.

What I love most about it is that it throws music ‘ownership’ out of the window. We’re at the point where this kind of service, coupled with always-on wireless access means, effectively, the end of the ownership era.

Even the far-seeing iPod is, essentially, about ownership. You’ve got to put a copy of something on your own machine to take it with you. iTunes, no matter how revolutionary it seemed, is about ownership of music (actually, it’s about sellership of music).

Spotify represents a departure from ownership of music. If it is legal; if it’s business model is sustainable (ad-supported or premium) then what we’ll see is the rapid evolution of iTunes from its ‘pay-per-tune’ model of ownership towards the streaming service. That or its rapid collapse.

And here’s the ‘unspoken’ bit: everybody knows that with Spotify and Audio Hijack Pro (or similar) you can line up your favourite album or playlist, record it as one chunk of mp3 and lob it onto your iPod. Legal? Schmegal. Until everybody’s got a hand-held that effortlessly streams audio, it will happen. The only ‘cost’ is an ad every hour.

So let’s face reality. If services like Spotify are legal, then paid music ownership is dead and so is the idea of piracy – as a comment from a heated debate about Spotify confirms:

“As a hardcore pirate, I’ll just say F**K YOU. Spotify is THE most genious app ever created. I’ve fully stopped downloading music since I got Spotify”

Discuss.

Comments

  1. Well, I don’t know much on legal protection of the music copyright owners, but here, in Ukraine (same as in Russia and all post soviet union countries) It’s a complete mess. So, u can download easily and you will be never blamed on the illegal actions.

  2. snoozer says:

    I think you are right – with legal services like spotify there seems no need to ‘hoard’ music in either physical or digital form. Spotify streams music instantly as if it were on my hard drive so what is point in me storing my own copy (other than to transfer to a portable device).

    Tip: Use Audio Hijack Pro to add some gain and EQ to boost the volume when playing back, as the default volume is a little quiet.

  3. Robert says:

    I’ve just discovered Spotify, i was amazed how can this possibly be legal? I mean its great, but an advert every hour cant equal in profit the quantity of sweet ELO tunes i’m listening to. (Even though they were purchased some time ago)

    As far as i can see a service like this can go two ways, off the map or mainstream, if it hits mainstream then yes music ownership is dead, with more development like the removing the ability to record using a simple aux cable. Otherwise i have a considerable amount of music i could never physically afford.

  4. Peter Short says:

    I’m a great believer in paying for your music and giving the artists what they deserve, but Spotify is brilliant for checking out new music before I buy! I still like being able to get music onto my iPod and play it through a decent set of speakers and so I will continue to buy music once I’ve found stuff I like on Spotify.

    I agree that it’s going to have huge implications for the music industry though….

  5. Squibs says:

    I just discoverd Spotify. Well, not really, my sister and my friend have it and told me to get it instead of getting stuff off i-tunes. I don’t use my i-pod much anyway, so to me it’s amazing!

    But I don’t know how it can be legal. It will have huge implications on the sale of music.

  6. Robbie says:

    It’s legal because all the artists on there have given permission for Spotify to do so, and they get compensated for it through the ads and the ‘premium’ service. I’m not sure how much Spotify earn, but at £9.99 a month for the premium service it must be a fair bit. I bet ad space on spotify goes for a lot as well.

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