Spotify Premium: is it worth the money?

After several months as a free Spotify user, the time has come to ask ‘Is the premium service worth it?’

As some visitors know, I’ve been a Spotify free-account user from the early days – since way, way back in December last year.  It’s turned out to be the perfect online form or radio station for me.  I’ve blogged about it enthusiastically and set up more than 400 new users from a steady stream of invites passed from Spotify HQ.

Update: Check out my review of Spotify Premium here

I describe the service in several ways: ‘the death of music ownership’; ‘iTunes as it was supposed to be’; ‘internet radio for the terminally lazy’ and so on.  What I’ve enjoyed most about Spotify is its perfect blend of ‘search’, ‘genre’ and ‘radio’ logic to create endless supplies of new experiences or sickly sweet meanderings down musical memory lane.

It’s internet usability that’s come of age – in the same way that the iPhone is the grown up version of mobile phoning.  Spotify – at present – is almost perfect.  Even the absence of the big, greedily-held catalogues (Pink Floyd, Beatles) is a plus.  Hey, I grew up gorged on that stuff.  It’s a breath of fresh air not to have it polluting the Spotify world.

But the big question is: how will Spotify monetise its service?  (Read: “will it survive so I can continue to enjoy it?”)

At present there are two models: an ad-supported free service and a £9.99 premium service.  Good news is that I’ve bought the ad-supported service 100%.  Great start Spotify, you’re more than half way there.  I’m fully on board.

Now what’s going to make me shell out the £9.99?  Err… nothing – except the desire to get rid of ads.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not hugely motivated by paying money for something to be taken away.  Unless it’s toothache or a tree in danger of falling on my house – in which case it becomes a grudge purchase.

Spotify – please take note.

The one thing that would make Spotify worth £9.99 to me is the ability to put mp3s on my iPhone / iPod.  That would fit in with my lifestyle rather than with the worries and fears of the record industry.

And that’s the crunch here.  Are the record companies ready to take the leap into the unknown?  The fact is they’re going to have to sooner or later.  The only question is whose hand are they going to be holding when they do?

From where I sit, it might as well be Spotify’s.

Comments

  1. Pablo says:

    I stumbled upon your website by googling if Spotify premium was worth it. Until now I had exclusively downloaded songs in a legally shady manner, but since I discovered Spotify barely a few days ago I can’t stop using it. Yes, I hate that I can’t listen to huge classics (The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and several others) but it has an incredibly varied catalog, including many European bands which is good for a change, we have some awesome music over here! As far as your request of a download option for premium subscribers – note that I use the free version – I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s basically the same thing (alright, maybe the bit-rate is higher) as the free alternative. The day that they add the possibility to add the songs that I listen to to my iPod (or music player of choice) I’ll be the first to purchase the premium package. That’s about it from me. Great article!

  2. Sam Deeks says:

    Thanks Pablo. There was talk of an iPhone app for paid subscribers… but I’m not sure that’s an incentive for me. I was also disappointed to read that Spotify was going down the ‘sell tracks’ road, too. I thought that what was great about Spotify was it was really going to challenge the whole concept of music ownership – but to do that, you’d have to make the product work with real life.

    Like you, I don’t care about ‘owning’ tracks. I just want to listen to them a) when I’m near a broadband connection and b) when I’m away from a broadband connection. That’s what I want. I don’t want to own anything. But if Spotify can’t give me that without sucking me back into ‘owning’ tracks (i.e. ‘buying’ tracks!) I’m no longer interested.

    I guess what I’m saying in a round-about way is that I only want to ‘own’ tracks for the period between broadband connectivity. That’s a new kind of ‘ownership’ and it has nothing to do with iTunes-style ownership of tracks. Geddit, Spotify? :-)

  3. Amzo says:

    You can infact get spotify on the iPhone/iPod Touch! I just got it 20mins ago! But the trouble is, It’s compulsary to have premium in order to search and listen to the music you want! I just googled “free spotify premium”… Took me here… That’s all I basically wanted to state.

  4. Pierre says:

    Well now you can mate – just seen a preview of Spotify’s Iphone app – you can use spotify on your phone… and better than that – SAVE the tracks onto your phone for later playback if you don’t have connection etc.

    Video here: http://gizmodo.com/5323898/spotify-iphone-app-kills-pandora-lastfm-slacker-and-itunes-in-one-shot

  5. Sam Deeks says:

    Thanks Amzo, Pierre. I read about it yesterday, too. Like the ‘offline playlists’ idea…it’s likely to make me want to have a look.

    Does Spotify for the iPhone fit in with the 02 data usage? (I’ve no idea how that works, anyone else?)

  6. hemal says:

    Spotify is the best! I love the ease of use. I love that it is free with only interuptions between every 5 or 6 songs.

  7. Aniola says:

    Premium is worth it if you wanna have it in your Android/Symbian/etc. phone. No need to sync with pc, you just have all the music you want always with you.

  8. guest says:

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  9. Sam Deeks says:

    Hah haha I approved that comment just because it was so pointless and wrong – thank you ;-)

    You might be surprised to hear that I’m in no way connected to Spotify. I believe in honest reviews, not affiliate spam.

  10. jesus says:

    may i have a invite please?

  11. Kim says:

    Spotify is coming to the netherlands as well :)

  12. Elina says:

    I’m in the same pickle right now! I just baught an Android phone and I abselutely love it. I am also a regular user of my Spotify Free, it’s great. I’m wondering wether it’s worth spending £9.99 a month on spotify for my phone! What do you think?

  13. biggsiewiggsie says:

    I’ve got premium and the app and it’s wicked
    get it now !!

  14. Datkin says:

    I did get spotify premium purely for my birthday party because i wanted it ad free and offline for one day, trouble was you can only subscribe for a month minium, and nothing says they are going to keep charging you that. Its then very hard to cancel your subscription…

  15. Jared says:

    Premium is ABSOLUTELY worth it. I will spend £10 at the pub everyday, it’s not that much money. I listen to music non-stop all day, and I want to support this service. Spotify do a lot for us, spare them some money, I hear they are in heavy debt.

    More and more albums are only available on Premium. I can listen to it on my iPhone, plus if I travel out of the UK I can still use the service. No adverts is not the only reason people.

  16. Gloria says:

    Premium rules.

    The new iPhone app is the best thing ever happened:)
    Is it worth it? 120%

    You can also get a free premium for 1. month to test it out, from

    http://www.freespotifypremium.org

    Cheers and enjoy
    Gloria

  17. Ian says:

    To be fair, premium is a fantastic service, but don’t really think it’s worth the £10 a month.

    I’ve just got into the world of grooveshark, and they were doing a $20 per year (for the japan relief fund thing), and I think that’s fantastic quality. Especially the fact you get way more songs, and the mobile app is better.

    But there still something about spotify that keeps me coming back. A bit more work on the mobile app and I think the money could be justified. But right now, think they’re a lil bit behind.

    Came across a website [edit] which seems to offer free premium, but I’m a tad dubious because it’s a website redirect. Seems to be various others, but I think sticking to the monthly payment is probably the best option. After all, nothing is really “free” these days!

  18. Annelie Martinsson says:

    Hi!
    I want to cancel my subscription to Spotify.

  19. Sam Deeks says:

    Hi Annelie
    Better tell Spotify, then :)

  20. Erik Olofsson says:

    Heya!

    I wonder, if one wants to cancel the Spotify Premium one has, how do you do?

    Because I can’t find the answer to that question anywhere in the spotify website, nor by searching google for answers :o

  21. Sam Deeks says:

    Aha! Erik, that’s why I’ve had 2 people ask this question in the last 2 days. Guess I’m going to have to find out and re-route the traffic ;-) thanks for the heads up.

  22. Teresa says:

    What about that with the premium account you can stream on your mobile?

  23. Sam Deeks says:

    Good point Teresa – although my 3G coverage seems patchy enough on my travels to make it a bit of a pain.

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  1. [...] which they opened the floodgates, they upped their roster to 5 million users, roughly 2% of which have signed up to the premium service, happily shelling out £9.99 a month for ad-free streaming, access [...]

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