I’ve become one of Spotify’s greatest fans. It is easily one of the best services to appear in the last 12 months and will hopefully be around much longer. I use Spotify every time I’m on my computer for longer than 5mins, it’s fuss free, instant and has allowed me to build a playlist that I’m never bores me. Unlimited free music is always going to be a winner.
However over the last couple of weeks something about Spotify has really started to bug me more and more. This has nothing to do with error messages, bugs or music availability. It’s because I now want my entire 200 song playlist on my iPod.
Of course this isn’t possible, Spotify is just a streaming service and the music companies wouldn’t be too happy allowing their tunes to be downloaded for free.
There is an option if you right-click on a track to buy it from 7Digital.com but if you have 200 tracks it’s not exactly the best experience for you or your wallet (songs are roughly between 79p and £1.19 each).
So what’s the solution? Would I pay £200+ for my playlist? No. How much would I pay for my playlist? Nada, I want it for free.
Maybe streaming music on Spotify has made me spoilt, free instant access to any song I want in return for listening to a few ads has made the music lose its monetary value to me. Or it could be companies like Google giving away services like Maps, Docs and Gmail for free, or Bit Torrent, or YouTube or even because the music isn’t tangible and I can’t touch it.
But whatever it is I think I fall into the catagory of expecting digital content like music and video for free. Even though I grew up having to buy cds and videos, by the time I was in my late teens Napster hit the scene and changed my perception completely. I can imagine how teenagers feel about paying for music these days when there are dozens of options to get what you want for free.
This is why I think the ad-funded model will lead the way, it’s by no means perfect but if it continually improves and evolves then more services like Spotify can emerge. Audio advertising with free music always got negative responses from consumers until Spotify came along with such a strong offering (one million users and counting!).
Could Spotify enable unlimited downloads by using the same audio ads? Imagine if you could download your playlist as long as you also downloaded the same amount of ads you would normally listen to. The adverts could be stitched onto the beginning of songs so you couldn’t just delete them. The trouble with this is that people could just skip the ads by pressing fast forward.
Whatever the solution is I hope that someone comes up with a model that makes sense for free music downloads in the near future.