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”