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Spot the difference

July 31, 2009

This week there have been some stories in the media about Spotify allegedly saving the music industry, for example this BBC article: Spot Kicks

It claims that the online music streaming service Spotify has been credited with helping a small revival in the British music industry but is also changing the way we listen to music. This and other articles have claimed that teenagers in particular are not illegally downloading mp3s so much any more but are now using legal streaming services.

I am still of the opinion that a service that operates like Spotify, despite sounding as if it opens up a whole world of new music to listeners, is actually the tail end of the old music industry as it slowly dies. It is still predisposed to favour the big record labels, and therefore any really creative new music won’t get a look in. Spotify‘s weakness at the moment is a lack of any easy mobile streaming version that is free to users; this will mean it is of little interest to teenagers and young adults in the long term once the initial novelty has worn off. They will not pay a subscription fee and yet they are the main demographic the old music industry traditionally focuses on. I’m not convinced that the existing business model will allow long term survival.

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