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Spotify music service to challenge Apple's iTunes with US launch on Thursday

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Starting tomorrow, the much-anticipated European streaming music service Spotify will compete with iTunes on Apple's home turf, offering "any track, any time, anywhere" for free.

The service will launch in the U.S. Thursday morning at 8:00 AM EST, though initial availability will be "by invitation and subscription," according to a press release sent to AppleInsider on Wednesday. Interested customers can pre-subscribe at www.spotify.com ahead of the beta launch.

"Spotify, the award-winning digital music service loved by millions of Europeans, will become available tomorrow morning in the United States by invitation and subscription," the release read. "Spotify is a new way to listen to and manage your music, discover new tracks and share songs and playlists with friends music whenever you want it, wherever you are."

Further details were lacking, though the company promise more information during tomorrow morning's launch. Paul Miller of This is my next reports having spoken to someone from Spotify, who said customers will have access to a library of 15 million songs, available for free with ads, $5 a month without ads and $10 a month to include mobile access and higher bit rates.



Spotify officially announced that it was coming to the States earlier this month, boasting the availability of "any track, any time, anywhere" for free. Rumors of a U.S. launch have persisted for more than a year.

Last fall, rumors claimed Apple was in negotiations to purchase the company, but Spotify publicly denied the speculation. Apple also reportedly attempted to block Spotify during talks with music executives last year.

For its part, the Cupertino, Calif., company has repeatedly said that its digital storefronts do not generate substantial profits, despite being wildly successful. "Regarding the App Store and iTunes stores, we are running those a bit over break even, and that hasn't changed," Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer said last year.

Regardless, one analyst foresees iTunes growing to $13 billion in revenues by fiscal 2013 with an expected annual growth rate of nearly 40 percent. Since its launch in 2003, the iTunes Music Store has become the most successful music store in history, with more than 10 billion tracks downloaded.

Despite initial rumors that Apple would introduce its own streaming service, the company instead announced last month iCloud, a cloud-based storage solution that will automatically sync music and other data across a range of devices when it arrives this fall. The free service will by default store all music purchased from iTunes by a customer, while the new iTunes Match service will scan and match a user's personal music library with songs available in iTunes for $24.99 a year.
post #2 of 27
I have Spotify and...Spotify is more like Rdio than it is like iTunes.

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MacBook Pro 15" | Intel Core2 Duo 2.66GHz | 320GB HDD | OS X v10.8
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post #3 of 27
Great news, I'm very excited for this.

I've been pretty hesitant with all the streaming music services, but from what I've heard, this is one of the best. I'm not really into what google has done with manual uploads and favoring android, and I don't think Apples strategy is a true 'streaming' service. But with Spotify's desktop program, it sounds like a better option than Rdio.

I don't listen to the radio, and it's been harder to find new music, but with the abilty to play full songs, full albums, not deal with a sluggish itunes interface, I'm thinking this will turn into my Netflix for music.
post #4 of 27
I wish Australia would finally get something like this, and I'd love to see Netflix thrown in too. Not fair that you Europeans and Americans get to have all the fun!

$10/month - yes please.
post #5 of 27
For those who don't know, Spotify is largely owned by the record labels who are using this as a revenue stream, but one with a loophole that allows them to not pay musician royalties.

As far as the musicians are concerned, Spotify is like paying the record labels for pirated music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakevin. View Post

I wish Australia would finally get something like this, and I'd love to see Netflix thrown in too. Not fair that you Europeans and Americans get to have all the fun!

I'm told Netflix went up 60% today, for what can only be described as a truly pathetic selection of streaming movies. They didn't bother to actually email me to tell me either, I had to find out about it on CNN.com.

I'm canceling the streaming service and selling my Apple TV on eBay. Will it work down under?

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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post #6 of 27
From Wired, several months ago:
"All four major labels and super-indie Merlin together own 17.3 percent of the company, either in return for actual money, as advances on royalties, or as some combination of the two. Wired.com highlighted a major problem inherent with this strategy in May of 2008, when News Corp. gave the labels equity in MySpace Music in return for the right to use their music. (Its important to note that indie-aggregator Merlin succeeded here where it failed with Last.fm.)

The problem with exchanging equity in return for the right to play music from certain labels is obvious: It means bands must sign to a major label if they hope to receive equal compensation from start-ups like Spotify. This state of affairs runs counter to everything the internet promises about dis-intermediation, and returns us to the days of only certain gatekeepers controlling access to culture.

Say Microsoft buys Spotify for four times its current valuation, or $1 billion. All four labels, the indies that belong to Merlin and now, Li Ka-shing would see a big payday, and would presumably filter some of that money through to the artists they represent. Meanwhile, indie bands and labels whose music is included in the service but who lack equity deals would only receive whatever theyre owed under their standard licensing agreements."

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/...e-billionaire/
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #7 of 27
""Spotify, the award-winning digital music service loved by millions of Europeans, will become available tomorrow morning in the United States by invitation and subscription,""

Wow. Exclusive AND European. The Hermés of music services. Steve must be trembling.
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

For those who don't know, Spotify is largely owned by the record labels who are using this as a revenue stream, but one with a loophole that allows them to not pay musician royalties.

As far as the musicians are concerned, Spotify is like paying the record labels for pirated music.


I'm told Netflix went up 60% today, for what can only be described as a truly pathetic selection of streaming movies. They didn't bother to actually email me to tell me either, I had to find out about it on CNN.com.

I'm canceling the streaming service and selling my Apple TV on eBay. Will it work down under?

Hmm, I suppose I wouldn't know about the cons until it was available here, and yes an Apple TV would work down under though Netflix would not. Thanks for the offer, but I'll pick one up down the road if I need it... haha.
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpellino View Post

""Spotify, the award-winning digital music service loved by millions of Europeans, will become available tomorrow morning in the United States by invitation and subscription,""

Wow. Exclusive AND European. The Hermés of music services. Steve must be trembling.

It'll probably be a back catalog of 70,000 Euro techno-rave songs, and maybe some classic Kraftwerk thrown in for "oldies".

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #10 of 27
It's more restrictive and has more ads than the European version. Sounds like another flavor of Pandora.
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

I'm told Netflix went up 60% today, for what can only be described as a truly pathetic selection of streaming movies.

Netflix streaming is still the same, 8 dollars a month. Only physical rentals went up in price.
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

It'll probably be a back catalog of 70,000 Euro techno-rave songs, and maybe some classic Kraftwerk thrown in for "oldies".

Kraftwerk? I'd buy that for a dollar!
post #13 of 27
When are the layoffs starting at Pandora?
post #14 of 27
Just curious, does anyone know how this is different than Rhapsody?

I've used Rhapsody for years and (unlike Pandora) can search for specific artists or albums or tracks and stream it via desktop, laptop, or mobile. I can also create "artist radio stations", which is somewhat similar to Pandora (without the 'thumbs up or down' training, but with infinite skips). I can download a playlist to my phone to listen to while off line (on airplane or just out of WiFi or network coverage). Works on EDGE or 3G. I can even purchase albums or tracks should I choose to own them.

Just wondering what differences or advantages Spotify may offer, other than their specific catalog. Although I must say that I'm often impressed by what Rhapsody has - and I listen to a lot of obscure and indie stuff...
post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Netflix streaming is still the same, 8 dollars a month. Only physical rentals went up in price.

You're almost right. Netflix just decided to give people a choice of either streaming or DVDs at home. You can't continue to have both for $9.99. It's either one or the other for $7.99 per month. If you want both features past 9/1/2011 for current customers, the price will be $15.98.

I get plenty of use with DVDs and streaming. The streaming quality isn't always good. All the time the first two minutes are pixelated. Then it improves. I'll be dropping the DVDs by mail. It will be disappointing to me if they don't step up the speed with which they add new movies.

Netflix might be usable for people in other countries if they can use a proxy server and rig some type of payment coming from the USA. Maybe they'll accept credit cards from other countries. I don't know if they bother to check from where the money originates. I'm sure that any US bank would love to have deposits from anywhere and give people a debit card from which charges could be made.

I would love to have the ability to just pull up any song on a whim. I wouldn't like needing to create my own playlist. That would take a long time to create. Like most people, I like thousands of songs.

Pandora is fun but it won't play particular songs on demand due to contractual requirements. The best they can do is play multiple songs from an artist four hours apart and no sooner. Having an album played all the way through would be great.
post #16 of 27
Opinions on Spotify generally fall into two camps - those that like it and those that haven't tried it yet.
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Opinions on Spotify generally fall into two camps - those that like it and those that haven't tried it yet.

As demonstrated above ("It'll probably be a back catalog of 70,000 Euro techno-rave songs") Americans don't get it. Spotify is what iTunes would be if it offered a streaming subscription service. Which is why I don't use iTunes anymore.
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

It'll probably be a back catalog of 70,000 Euro techno-rave songs, and maybe some classic Kraftwerk thrown in for "oldies".

More like 13 Million Songs from major labels and artists as well as smaller artists and independents

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MacBook Pro 15" | Intel Core2 Duo 2.66GHz | 320GB HDD | OS X v10.8
White iPad (3G) with Wi-Fi | 16GB | Engraved | Blue Polyurethane Smart Cover
White iPhone 5 | 64GB | On 3UK

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post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post

Opinions on Spotify generally fall into two camps - those that like it and those that haven't tried it yet.

You forgot one group: those who realize this is a scam by the record labels to take your money without paying royalties to the musicians you are listening to.

   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

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   Apple develops an improved programming language.  Google copied Java.  Everything you need to know, right there.

 

  MA497LL/A FB463LL/A MC572LL/A FC060LL/A MD481LL/A MD388LL/A ME344LL/A

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post #20 of 27
Just another subscription service charging you over and over again for music you could have just bought outright. There have been plenty of these that have come and gone, now mostly gone.
Why? Because buying your music outright through the iTunes store will actually come out cheaper.
Oh and what happens if you cancel your subscription, all that music you had goes bye, bye!
With iTunes what you bought never can be taken away from you and with Apples latest update, if you do lose your music, you can now re-download it at no cost. That's your entire purchase history that is available to you. That also works on your iPad, iPhone and iPod touch through the iTunes store under purchased music tab.
post #21 of 27
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post #22 of 27
What's the difference between this and Pandora and Last.fm? Playlist is that the only difference? Do you need a constant network connection? I don't get all the hub-bub over Spotify? Especially if you need a constant network connection and you never "own" the music. I don't get it. I guess as a radio type service its good, but doesnt seem like competition to iTunes. Pandora was never competition or a threat to ITunes. I just don't get it or how this involves Apple?
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by b9bot View Post

Oh and what happens if you cancel your subscription, all that music you had goes bye, bye!

No, it doesn't. You can still listen to the music via the free service.

Whether Spotify is cheaper than iTunes depends on your music habits.

Personally, I use Spotify in addition to buying CDs. Spotify is great for discovering new artists and sharing playlists with friends. A lot of European music festivals post a Spotify playlist in advance so that people can hear the bands playing before the festival begins. I've been to see quite a few bands who I've discovered via Spotify.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mesomorphicman View Post

What's the difference between this and Pandora and Last.fm? Playlist is that the only difference? Do you need a constant network connection?

No, you don't need a constant connection. You can mark playlists for offline listening - both on the desktop and mobile client. On the desktop, it keeps a local cache of all songs that have been played (up to a user-defined limit) to reduce network bandwidth.

One of the great things about Spotify is that it'll integrate your existing music collection into it. It's possible to create a playlist that includes both Spotify tracks and songs from your iTunes collection. It's great for parties.

Quote:
I don't get all the hub-bub over Spotify?

Try it and find out.
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post

Why do musicians sign contracts that allow that?

A recording contract is a holy grail to most emerging musicians. Most cities have hundreds or thousands of musicians with local followings who have difficulty expanding their fan bases and see a contract as a rocket to greater distribution and being known.

And nearly none of them have effective agents or the services of a sharp lawyer. So they fall over themselves to sign on the dotted line at the first offer that comes their way.

Nothing new about this, btw. Many creatives in many fields - including music but not at all limited to it - have signed away many valuable rights and potential income sources (which accrue to those who contract with them) in order to get a "break-through."

For example, it took the creators of Superman (among many other comic writers/artists) many decades to get any rights to their creations. They gave up ALL rights under "work for hire" contracts. Further afield, many of boxing's most famous fighters gave a greater percentage of their pay to their managers than they got themselves. Athletes in other sports had to fight long and hard to gain any free agency rights.

The situation has improved for many content creators (performers, artists, athletes), but the distributors of content still maintain a high degree of leverage over them in all kinds of situations.

For another example, creators of Apple iDevice apps have two choices - take the 70-30 split Apple offers (which I'm not characterizing as fair or unfair here - just as an example of the take-it-or-leave-it nature that's always been the way for content sellers), along with following every guideline Apple lays down, while allowing Apple to the sole determiner of when or if that's happened. Or not be able to sell on the single authorized outlet for those apps.

And that - with a few exceptions of those who have gone viral enough to attract multiple offers and those who also have some sophistication about the business - is how some young, aspiring rock 'n rollers end up giving away much of what many or most would think they actually deserve.

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post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by John.B View Post

You forgot one group: those who realize this is a scam by the record labels to take your money without paying royalties to the musicians you are listening to.

From the chart:

iTunes/Amazon MP3: for every dollar the artist earns the record label earns $5.89
Spotify: for every dollar the artist earns the record label earns $5.51

Where's the scam?
post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post

From the chart:

iTunes/Amazon MP3: for every dollar the artist earns the record label earns $5.89
Spotify: for every dollar the artist earns the record label earns $5.51

Where's the scam?

Is that for ALL artists, or just those with the right contracts?

From what I've read, the little guys get crapped on.
post #27 of 27
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