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”


How to get a spotify invite? No longer needed with Spotify ‘Open’

Spotify ‘Open’ free to everyone without invitation!

**Ignore the rest of this post and head on over to Spotify!! :-)**

That’s got me thousands of visitors.  And something like a hundred or so Spotify invites to give out – so far.

Ok – so someone gave me an invite and I blogged positively – and carefully – about how much fun it was and how clever their marketing was.

So there’s proof of how effective your honest-to-goodness WordPress blog can be. See trend, blog trend.  Only in my case, there’s something missing.  Yes, you’ve guessed it.  A way of making money ;-)

Look, I’ve always hated AdSense.  I know, I know, I’m playing with the power of Google just running a blog.  But I honestly do hate what AdSense is doing to the thing we used to call knowledge. I’ll spare you the middle-aged academic rant.

So, hard though it might be to believe (and even stupider though it might seem to any of you online marketers) I’m passing on Spotify invites day after day for no other reason than its nice to give something away that makes someone else happy.

Spotify don’t mind – after all, even as I write this I’m doing their marketing for them.  So everyone’s happy. Aaaah.

Spotify playlists – an information goldmine

What will Spotify’s personal playlist information about me be worth? And who will buy it?

Well, first of all, me probably – in a desperate attempt to salvage my online reputation.

Can I just state here that I deliberately picked Donny Osmond for this picture? However, the truth is that last night I DID listen to The Jam, some punk, a bit of The Police, a Howard Jones track and the instrumental music from ‘Titanic’.

See what I mean? You’re already starting to form a picture of me as a middle-aged sentimentalist, going for the occasional shuffle down memory lane while blogging away on my iMac.  And you’d be right. Doh.

So in a ‘post-music-ownership’ era, what will this information be used for? And what could I learn about you from your playlists?

The Spotify Magic Invite Fairy has been!

Overnight Spotify gave me 5 invites. Great marketing move.

Since their on-site blurb said that invites only came with paid membership, I’d like to think it’s because their clever online reputation monitoring picked up that I blogged positively about it.

Either way, I enjoyed inviting 5 friends. That’s a great piece of marketing.

I used Spotify last night (New Year’s Eve) to power our music at home, resulting in a really nice mix of stuff I’d never normally listen to plus a few deliberate forays down the cul-de-sacs of Memory Lane…

I got an ad every hour or so which was entirely bearable. It remains to be seen whether the premium proposition is irresistible but the battle is half won already with a product I feel good about.

Thanks, Spotify – and well done. A great online reputation / marketing example.

Spotify – internet radio for the terminally lazy and nostalgic. I like it.

Despite the name – ‘Spotify’ – this is internet Radio at its very best, but….

Right now, I’m listening to some old 1980s reggae just as the playlist swerves from Bob Marley into the Sex Pistols ‘C’mon Everybody’. This is what makes Spotify such instant fun.

It’s either a personalised radio station (click the mood you’re in and the decade you’re hankering after and let the software do the rest) or its a ‘search for artist / track’ player.

In the ‘oh, I’m feeling dark and punk circa. 1981′ mode, this is great for just creating a mood and putting tracks in front of you that you’ve probably never heard before. This is perfect for those of us who like the sound but can’t be bothered to get all worked up by the band names…

In the ‘search’ mode you’ll encounter the limitations soon enough – by failing to find the most well known tracks, tracks that are obviously still making someone else more money elsewhere. But as Spotify is supported by EMI, Universal, Warner, AMG and Orchard (among others) there’s plenty to choose from – particularly if, like me, most of it is still in the realm of ‘undiscovered treasure’.

With a few (relatively) unobtrusive audio and banner ads and options for premium accounts, this is the broadband jukebox for me.

So what’s the ‘…but’?

Well, Spotify is currently in ‘invitation-only Beta’ mode.  This means that you can only get a free (ad-based) account through being invited by someone.  Since (as far as I can see) a free account doesn’t give you any invitation tokens to throw around, I can only assume these come with paid membership.

A good marketing model?  We’ll see.  How much more likely am I to pay £9.99 for a monthly membership because it gives me free invites to give out? Time will tell.

Meantime, you can find out more (and register your interest) here.