[tweetmeme] Tired of swallowing radioesque ads each couple of songs as well as banners & pop-ups each time I opened Spotify, one day I decided to go for the premium version. They got me, and I guess this is one of my firmest steps in becoming the type of consumer on-line brands love: the one who actually pays & subscribes to their products.
Long gone those torrentspy, mininova & torrentreactor days (well… sort of). I’m starting to leave behind those illegal downloads filled with proxies, seeds & edited files. We still believe @ aqnb that content should be shared freely, that’s why we keep saying that any kind of product or initiative should have if not a free version at least the add-financed one. But that’s another discussion.
Spotify just unveiled last week quite a few changes that make it one of the most (if not the most) attractive music player apps in the whole digital universe (ok ok, streaming service application).
I already thought that the Swedish company had managed to perfectly integrate the ad-free model while I was a free user… but this personal-social & sync update demonstrate the muscle and flexibility of one of the most successful on-line start ups from the past few years. In fact, Spotify is the fourth-biggest revenue generator among Universal’s partners and currently Europe’s largest paid-for music service.
The 0.4 version (or as they call it “Spotify Music Pro@ile”) is all about bringing your friends inside the platform & concentrating your musical universe from one interface…. going even further than the omnipresent iTunes (finally!!).
Our favourite new feature is the facebook integration: importing your facebook friends with a Spotify profile means you can share playlists, subscribe to those of your friends, keeping track of their music streams & decide which music you want to make visible in your public profile … you are now a “Spotify person”. A way of “adapting the service to the “new ways of music consumption”.
Alternatively you can share your music, tracks & playlists with the drag & drop functionality + there is a dedicated inbox for all those tracks or albums you’ve shared. And to give it a broader social experience you’ll be able to keep sharing your tracks via twitter and the traditional Sptf url.
Playlists & integration
The main negative point we’ve all been criticising was the impossibility to synchronise your “virtual” Sptfy playlists with all those mp3s you’ve been illegally downloading (buying) during the golden emule/torrent years. So many GBs of unlisted tracks you wouldn’t find on Spotify & couldn’t at the same time synchronise to recreate your definitive music library, having to open another media player to access them….
Those days are gone. You can now import all your local files from your pc, integrate them in your library & even create playlists with them. Gracenote will verify ur mp3s for helping you correcting and naming those lonely songs. Plus (here comes the best killing feature) wireless sync with your mobile phone / iPod touch also for your local mp3s (if included in the library of courz).
So if you were still doubting about whether this tiny European start-up was heading somewhere and if their niche product was kinda serious… stop it. After so many good features like related artists, possibility to purchase music, artists info & radios, the only thing left for Spotify to become a heavy player in the digital music industry is a worldwide launch (at least in the US market, they’re desperate to have you)… 6 European countries is just not good enough (especially when they can’t even manage to get big ad deals in markets such as Germany or Italy).
So many unfinished discussions, so many delays for entering the US market… It was firstly going to coincide with the launch of the Nexus One, then it was going to be announced at SXSW conference last March, now it seems Q3 (July at earliest) as the most plausible date for a launch…. and negotiations are far from over.
After buying lala, everything around Apple and the future of iTunes is anything but speculations…, a web-based iTunes? opening the service to other platforms? a different rental model? They might probably announce it at the next WWDC 2010 …. with the iPhone 4G we’ve been having breakfast with for the past month…? In any case Apple seem to have serious competition now with MOG or Spotify.
The Swedish start-up have proven to succeed with a multi-platform product where companies like Sony or Microsoft have failed… but they still have a long way to go to become the serious iTunes alternative they want to become.