A Twitter friend of mine (@barneyc) was kind enough to throw me an invite to Spotify‘s music streaming service last week. It’s a brilliant piece of kit – download the app onto your computer and from there you can instantly listen to a massive catalogue of songs, create playlists and even scrobble to your last.fm profile using the iTunes-style interface (as you can see below), which should be familiar to even the most technophobic users.
Gone now are the days when I’ve had to suffer weak internet radio when I get sick of my own music collection. Gone also is buying an album off the back of a couple of good singles and a couple of 30 second song snippets, as Spotify allows you to listen to songs an unlimited number of times (as well as allowing you to click through to buy of course). While the song selection isn’t as extensive or as international as I’d like at the moment (the Red Hot Chili Peppers for example have gaping holes in their back catalogue), the service IS still in beta and I’m sure it’ll improve over time.
Spotify has a premium ad-free version (£9.99/month) and a free, invitation only ad-funded version, where the main advertisers at present are Vodafone pushing the Blackberry and DirectGov – which makes sense considering the current early adopter userbase and the fact that UK Sales Director Jon Mitchell has a fine GCap Media pedigree.
There’s pretty fierce competition in the digital music industry, but if Spotify can get a solid mobile service to market they’ll have a serious advantage. They’ve already started by taking on a heavy-hitting European Yahoo! exec to head up their “portable solutions” division so they certainly seem to be on the right track.
Spotify have had to restrict their music catalogue and remove some artists due to licensing issues. FYI artists and labels, I’m MORE likely to buy your tracks if they are on here than not.