Spotify

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Spotify Ltd
Spotify.svg
Type Privately held company
Founded 2006
Headquarters London, United Kingdom and Stockholm, Sweden
Country of origin Sweden
Founder(s) Daniel Ek, Martin Lorentzon
CEO Daniel Ek
Industry Music
Employees 1,200+[1]
Website spotify.com
Written in C++ (With some third-party libraries)
Alexa rank Positive948 (2014)[2]
Registration Required
Users 40 million+[3]
Available in 50+ languages
Launched 7 October 2008
Current status Active
Native client(s) on Windows, Windows Phone, Linux, BlackBerry OS, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, and OS X

Spotify is a commercial music streaming service providing digital rights management-restricted[4] content from record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal.[5][6] Music can be browsed or searched by artist, album, genre, playlist, or record label. Paid "Premium" subscriptions remove advertisements and allow users to download music to listen to offline.[7] On computers, a link allows users to purchase selected material via partner retailers.[8]

Spotify was launched in October 2008 by Swedish startup Spotify AB; as of 15 September 2010, the service had approximately 10 million users,[9] including 2.5 million users with paid subscriptions.[10][11] The service reached 20 million users with 5 million paid subscribers by December 2012,[12][13] and 40 million users with 10 million subscribers in May 2014.[14]

As of December 2013, Spotify was available for Android, BlackBerry, Boxee, iOS, Linux, MeeGo, Microsoft Windows desktop, Openpandora, OS X, Roku, S60 (Symbian), Samsung Smart TV, Sonos, Squeezebox, Telia Digital-tv, TiVo, WD TV, webOS, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone;[15][16][17][18][19][20][21] it is not available as a Windows Store app for Windows 8, though a third-party client, Spotlite, exists.[22]

History[edit]

Daniel Ek addressing Spotify staff

Spotify was developed in 2006 by a team at Spotify AB, in Stockholm, Sweden. The company was founded by Daniel Ek, former CTO of Stardoll, and Martin Lorentzon, co-founder of TradeDoubler. Spotify Ltd. now operates as the parent company in London.[23] Spotify AB handles research and development in Stockholm.[citation needed]

Launch[edit]

Spotify's original logo (2008–2012)

The Spotify application was launched for public access on 7 October 2008. While free accounts remained available by invitation to manage the growth of the service, the launch opened paid subscriptions to everyone. At the same time, Spotify AB announced licensing deals with many major music labels.[24] The company reported a US$4.4 million loss for 2008.[25][clarification needed]

The first steps towards offering free accounts to the public without invitations were taken on 10 February 2009, when Spotify opened free registration in the United Kingdom.[26] Registrations surged following the release of the Spotify mobile service, leading Spotify to stop open registrations in the UK for part of 2009, returning to an invitation-only policy.[27]

Evolution[edit]

Former Spotify headquarters

On 4 March 2009, Spotify announced a security flaw in the service, by which private account information (including email addresses and hashed salted passwords) of members registered prior to 19 December 2008 were potentially exposed.[28][29][30][31]

On 28 January 2010, Symantec's antivirus software marked Spotify as a Trojan horse, disabling the software across millions of computers.[32][33]

In February 2010, Spotify received a small investment from Founders Fund, where board member Sean Parker was recruited to assist Spotify in "winning the labels over in the world's largest music market".[34]

On 18 May 2010, Spotify announced that two more types of accounts were available: Spotify Unlimited, an equivalent to Spotify Premium without mobile and other features, and Spotify Open, a reduced-feature version of Spotify Free, which allows users to listen to up to 20 hours of music per month.[35]

On 1 September 2010, the World Economic Forum announced the company as a Technology Pioneer for 2011.[36]

During 2010, Spotify paid more than €45 million to its licensors.[37] In March 2011, Spotify announced that it had one million paying subscribers across Europe,[11] and by September the number of paying subscribers had doubled to two million.[38] On 25 March 2011, Spotify temporarily removed display advertising from external sources on its open and free accounts, due to an attack which used an exploit in Java to place malicious code on victims' computers.[39]

Before their free mobile and unlimited offer, in most locations, a six-month free trial period was activated upon account registration or first login with a Facebook account,[40] allowing the user to listen to an unlimited amount of music supported by visual and radio-style advertising.[41] After the trial, Spotify had a listening limit of 10 hours per month, divided into 2.5-hour weekly portions (unused hours carry over).[42] The only locations exempt from this rule are Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United States. Australia, where ad-supported unlimited streaming continues on Spotify Free.[43][44] An "Unlimited" subscription removes advertisements and time limits, and a "Premium" subscription introduces extra features such as higher bitrate streaming and offline access to music.The app can also be used without a premium account.[45] Users can try Spotify Premium for 48 hours by logging into Spotify Mobile for the first time, or getting a 30-day trial for their first month.[46] An active Facebook account is required to use Spotify if the user has signed up using Facebook, but as of 30 August 2012, the option to create a Spotify username was again offered.[47] Subscriptions are restricted to people with credit/debit cards or PayPal accounts registered in certain countries.[48][49] Alternatively, prepaid cards can be bought in retail stores in select countries to pay for subscriptions.[50]

Monetization[edit]

On 15 April 2011, Spotify announced via a blog post that they would drastically cut the amount of music that free members could access, effective 1 May 2011. The post stated that all Spotify Open and Spotify Free members would be transferred to a new product which limited audio streaming to ten hours per month. In addition, a user could only listen to a single track a maximum of five times. Spotify Unlimited and Spotify Premium members were not affected by this change. New users were exempt from these changes for six months.[51]

On 17 June 2011, it was reported that Spotify had secured another $100 million of funding and planned to use this to support its US launch.[52] The new round of funding valued the company at US$1 billion.

US launch[edit]

On 14 July 2011, Spotify launched its US service, a major milestone after delays and years of negotiation with the four major record companies.[53] On 30 November 2011, Spotify launched Spotify Apps and App Finder to "bring new and exciting music experiences built around your music tastes." App launch partners included Rolling Stone, We Are Hunted, Top10, Songkick, The Guardian, Soundrop and Last.fm.[54]

2012 onward[edit]

On 29 March 2012, Spotify removed a restriction that limited non-US free users to five plays of every song; however, the restriction remained in effect in the UK and France. The ten-hour-per-month limit remained in place for all free accounts older than six months;[55] however, the company also announced "continued unlimited free listening" for users in the US.[56] On 19 March 2013, Spotify removed the restriction that limited free users in the UK to five plays per song.[57]

In August 2012, Time reported that four million people were paid subscribers to Spotify,[58] resulting in at least 20 million per month in revenue.

A further round of funding was closed in November 2012, with about US$100 million raised at a $3 billion valuation from a group of investors led by Goldman Sachs.[59]

On 16 April 2013, Spotify was launched and became available in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Windows Phone Store in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia,[60] Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico and Iceland.[61]

On its release in April 2013, the Daft Punk single, "Get Lucky", received the highest number of plays of any song in a single day.[62] The song appeared in a list of the ten most-played songs on Spotify, released in December 2013, and other artists such as Avicii, Robin Thicke, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis were also featured. In its annual review, the streaming company revealed that 24 million active users streamed over 4.5 billion hours of music in 2013.[63][64]

On 5 April 2013, Spotify released two features, Messages and Browse, as application updates that would allow Spotify users to engage in conversations within the application itself and search Spotify for playlists made by other Spotify users. The Messages feature implemented a “Send Message” button below the user’s name on their Spotify profile. Messages can only be viewed on the desktop version of the application. Browse allows users to find playlists and charts created by other users using filters such as different genres, moods or activities.[65]

On 11 December 2013, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek announced a new free streaming feature for iPhone and Android users, allowing them to stream specific artists and playlists from their phones.[66] Previously, Spotify users were limited to listening to radio stations similar to artists or playlists. This feature allows them to play shuffled tracks from a specific artist or playlist. The update also included new features for tablet users, enabling them to listen to any song at any time.[67]

On 6 March 2014 Spotify announced that they had acquired The Echo Nest,[68] which also supplied data to Spotify competitors.

On 25 March 2014, Spotify launched its own ad campaign on Facebook as well as its own application promoting Spotify Premium for Students, a discounted offer for its monthly subscription targeted to college students in the United States.

Features[edit]

Catalogue[edit]

As of December 2012, the catalogue provided access to approximately 20 million songs[69] via searching for artists, albums, titles, labels and genres, and gave users access to tracks from many major and independent labels. Some artists opted not to be available on Spotify.[5][70] Additionally, some artists are missing in certain regions because of record label licensing restrictions. The Spotify desktop client allows music to be imported from iTunes,[71] with the option of syncing with a mobile device.[72] Users from the UK, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands can also buy most tracks, if available, from Spotify's download partner 7digital.[73]

Playlists[edit]

Users can create and share playlists,[74] or edit them together with other users (see collaborative software). For this purpose the playlist link can directly be dragged into an email or an instant messaging window. If the recipient follows the link, the playlist downloads into the recipient's Spotify-client. Downloaded playlists auto-update if the author adds or removes tracks. Like normal links, playlist links can be used everywhere. The same principle also works for single tracks, which can be dropped on applications and websites at will.[75] Many websites support sharing of Spotify playlists and songs and let users share, rate and discuss them.[76] Spotify now lets you view your play queue and notifies you of playlist duplicates.[77]

Last.fm integration[edit]

While Spotify does not automatically create preference-based playlists, it does integrate with Last.fm. This integration allows Spotify users to send songs from Spotify to their Last.fm account and "scrobble" them. Scrobbling via Last.fm integration allows Spotify users to learn which songs or artists they listen to the most. In turn, Spotify users can add a Spotify link to songs in their Last.fm library and send them to the Spotify client with the Lastify app.[78] Since November 2011 an official app called Last.fm for Spotify enables recommendations based on listening history, embedded artist wiki information while listening with Spotify and more.

Radio[edit]

Spotify also includes a Radio feature available to Spotify Free and Premium accounts, which creates a random playlist of songs chosen based on specified genres and decades. An Artist Radio feature creates a random playlist of songs by artists related to (and including) the selected artist.[79] Artist Radio channels on Spotify provide background information on the selected artist, ranging from its history to a list of the artist's most famous singles. The Spotify radio function demonstrates distinct differences from its competitor, Pandora.

Premium (paid) Spotify users are allowed to skip as many tracks as desired, while Pandora places limits on the number of tracks that can be skipped. Free Spotify users on mobile (Android/iPhone) are limited to five skips, similar to Pandora. In August 2012 Spotify allowed users to "rate" tracks, improving the ability to organise the radio function based on user preference.[80]

Social media integration[edit]

Spotify allows registered users to integrate their account with existing Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once a user integrates their Spotify account with other social media profiles, they are able to access their friends' favourite music and playlists.[81] Additionally, Facebook compatibility allows Spotify users to share music with Facebook friends through the use of the service's inbox. Spotify users are able to send tracks or playlists to friends who, in return, are able to access this music through their Spotify account.[82] When using Spotify through your Facebook account, music stories appear on Facebook feeds alerting your friends to the music and playlists you are currently listening to. These feeds feature a play button that automatically starts the song or album in Spotify.[83] On 26 September 2011, it was announced that all new accounts would require users to access via a Facebook login[84] but the sign-up restriction was later removed on 30 August 2012, giving users a choice to either log in with Facebook or create a Spotify username. Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook and a major investor in Spotify, commemorated the integration at a f8 party at which Snoop Dogg, the Killers and Jane's Addiction performed.[85]

Applications[edit]

Users can access applications integrated in the Spotify desktop client, written in HTML5. Third party software writers can offer features related to music listening such as live sharing of concerts, lyrics, music reviews, and playlists. At the time of launch (30 November 2011 in beta mode), the supported applications were Billboard, Fuse, The Guardian, Last.fm, Moodagent, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Songkick, Soundrop, Tunewiki, and We Are Hunted.

In June 2012, Soundrop became the first Spotify app to attract major funding with a $3 million Series A of funding from Spotify investor Northzone.[86]

Technical information[edit]

Spotify software is proprietary and uses digital rights management (DRM) to prevent unauthorised use. Users who agree to Spotify's Terms and conditions agree to not reverse engineer the application.[87]

Audio streams are in the Vorbis format at q5 (ca. 160 kbit/s),[88] or optional q9 (ca. 320 kbit/s)[89] for Premium subscribers. Spotify has a median playback latency of 265 ms. It amounts to 390 ms without local cache usage.[90]

As of version 0.4.3, it is possible to also play back local MP3 and AAC files, though this does not work in Linux using Wine because Spotify is "...blocking codecs with the identifier "WINE-MPEG3″ until the Wine system works satisfactorily."[91] However, the native Linux version supports local files.

Spotify is a strong Debian GNU/Linux user, as they mentioned in their contribution to the systemd vs Upstart vs sysvinit Debian debate.[92]

Cache size and location is configurable. 1 GB or more disk space is recommended.[93] On OS X, a G4 processor or higher is required. Users must set up an account to use the software. This account can be used on several computers, but music playback is limited to one computer at a time.

Revenue model[edit]

Because Spotify principally operates under the "freemium" model: basic services are free, and more advanced or additional features are offered at a premium, Spotify makes its revenues by selling streaming subscriptions to premium users alongside selling several different types of advertisements to third parties.[94]

In December 2013, the company launched a new website, "Spotify for Artists", that revealed its business model and revenue data. Spotify pays “rights holders” royalties for all the music streamed on the application.[94] The company pays 70% of their total revenue and retains 30%.[94] The company’s Spotify for Artists page states that the company does not have a fixed “per play” rate, but uses a formula depending on variables such as what country the music is being streamed in and the individual artist’s royalty rate.[94] Rights holders have received an average “per stream” payout between $.006 and .0084.[94] According to Business Week, the company has lost a total of $200 million since Spotify was founded, though this has not been discussed or confirmed by the company itself.[95]

A 2012 report stated that Spotify posted a net loss of US$59 million in 2011, attributed to increased staffing costs and licensing fees and royalties to record companies.[96] However, a report published in November 2012 expected Spotify to reach revenues of US$500 million over the course of 2012, up from US$244 million in 2011.[97]

Income also comes in the form of music purchases within the player. As of 2013, Spotify offered a US$10 per month unlimited subscription package, close to the Open Music Model (OMM)—estimated economic equilibrium—for the recording industry. However, the incorporation of DRM diverges from the OMM and competitors such as iTunes and Amazon MP3 that have dropped DRM. In Denmark, for example, the cost is DKK49 (US$9.00) per month (as of 8 December 2013) for an unlimited subscription.[98]

Subscriptions[edit]

Spotify's mission is to encourage more people to start paying for their music, similar to how people used to buy their music at a record store, and selling subscriptions is its main source of revenue.[94] Spotify had previously offered different levels of subscriptions, but now currently only offers Spotify Premium at the cost of $9.99/month or £9.99/month.[7] Spotify’s “Current Offers” are listed as Student Discount and Sprint Customers on its website homepage.[7] Through Spotify Premium for Students [99] or Spotify’s partnership with Sprint,[100] the $9.99 monthly subscription fee can be discounted or reduced temporarily.

A monthly fee removes advertisements and limits, and increases the bitrate to 320 kbit/s for some songs.[101] The fee also allows unlimited mobile usage for iOS, Android, Symbian, webOS, Windows Mobile 6.x, Windows Phone and most BlackBerry devices, as well as offline and online access to playlists.

Spotify currently offers users with Spotify accounts the opportunity to try free trials of Premium features for 30 days. Users must enter their credit card information for payment and must terminate their subscription before the trial period ends if they no longer want Premium features.[102]

Premium ecards (premium codes) were offered for the 2009 Christmas season that allowed recipients to upgrade an account to "Premium" status for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months.[103]

Spotify for Artists claims that "a Spotify Premium customer spends per year compared to the average spend of a US music consumer who buys music (not including those who spend $0 on music)", with the annual value of the average US paying listener identified as US$120. The website also claims that "a Spotify customer is 1.6x more financially valuable than the average adult non-Spotify US music consumer."[94] In March 2014, Spotify announced a student discount which reduced the price of Spotify Premium from $9.99 to $4.99 for students of American colleges.[104] Students must have a .edu email address from a valid educational institute in the United States.

BBC Music Week editor Tim Ingham wrote: "Unlike buying a CD or download, streaming is not a one-off payment. Hundreds of millions of streams of tracks are happening each and every day, which quickly multiplies the potential revenues on offer – and is a constant long-term source of income for artists.[105]

Advertisements[edit]

Spotify currently offers advertisers seven different types of ads, described in their Ad Specs as Audio Ads, Display Ads, Billboard Ads, Homepage Takeovers, Branded Playlists, Lightbox and Advertiser Pages.[106] These advertisements vary in size, type and user engagement, and require “all assets for the campaign 5 working days before the start date.” [106] Spotify advertises Audio ads as having a “high impact, unavoidable format” as they run for a maximum of 30 seconds as a commercial in between songs while streaming music.[107] Display Ads, Billboard Ads, and Lightbox are also described as engaging the user during active and inactive use.[106] As of May 2014, Spotify had 10 million paid subscribers and 30 million users who listen for free using the application.[95]

In February 2009, the advertisements for non-paying users were 15 seconds long;[108] in May 2009, Neowin reported this had increased to approximately 30 seconds.[109]

Music downloads[edit]

Spotify offers music downloads in the UK at £0.99 per track (initially only available in the UK, France and Spain), in partnership with the 7digital music store.[110] The feature was designed to provide the option to download high volumes of music from Spotify.[111] In October 2010, Wired reported that Spotify was making more money for labels in Sweden than any other retailer, "online or off".[112] During 2010, Spotify paid more than €45 million to its licensors.[37]

User growth[edit]

In March 2011, Spotify announced a customer base of one million paying subscribers across Europe,[11] and by September, the number of paying subscribers had doubled to two million.[38] In August 2012 Time reported four million paying Spotify subscribers,[58] responsible for at least €20 million per month in revenue.[113]

Spotify announced on 6 December 2012 that more than five million global customers were paying to use their service, including one million in the US. Spotify also announced over 20 million active users worldwide.[114]

By March 2013, Spotify had grown to six million paying customers globally (a figure that remained in December 2013) and 24 million total active users.[115]

By May 2014, Spotify had grown to ten million paying customers and 30 million free users.[3]

Criticism[edit]

Royalties[edit]

Spotify has been accused of failing to compensate artists fairly.[116] Helienne Lindvall of The Guardian reported that for "artists who 'signed up to a label' there's a tangible risk that revenue which comes from a possible sale of shares by the label would end up in the proverbial 'blackbox' (non-attributable revenue that remains with the label)." and that "indie labels... as opposed to the majors and Merlin members, receive no advance, receive no minimum per stream and only get a 50% share of ad revenue on a pro-rata basis."[117]

In 2009 Swedish musician Magnus Uggla wanted to pull his music from the service, stating that after six months he'd only earned "what a mediocre busker could earn in a day".[118] Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported in 2009, that record label Racing Junior had only earned NOK 19 ($3.00 USD) after their artists had been streamed over 55,100 times.[119] According to an infographic by David McCandless, an artist on Spotify would need over four million streams per month to earn US$1,160 (equivalent to working full-time at a minimum wage job).[120] Luke Lewis of NME points to problems with the Spotify business model, saying he was "convinced the 'free' aspect of Spotify is unsustainable" and that if "Spotify is to have a future, it needs to be a viable business".[121]

In September 2011, US independent label Projekt Records entered a public disagreement with Spotify, stating "In the world I want to live in, I envision artists fairly compensated for their creations, because we (the audience) believe in the value of what artists create. The artist's passion, dedication and expression is respected and rewarded. Spotify is NOT a service that does this. Projekt will not be part of this unprincipled concept."[122] In May 2012, British Theatre vocalist and Biffy Clyro touring guitarist Mike Vennart noted, "I'd sooner people stole my work than stream it from [Spotify]. They pay the artists virtually nothing. Literally pennies per month. Yet they make a killing. They've forced the sales way down in certain territories, which wouldn't be so bad if the bands actually got paid."[123]

In March 2012, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys said that "Spotify isn't fair to artists"[124] and that for "a band that makes a living selling music, streaming services are not a 'feasible' option."[125] He called Spotify board member Sean Parker an "asshole" in reply to his claim that Spotify would make more money for the music industry than iTunes. "That guy has $2 billion that he made from figuring out ways to steal royalties from artists, and that's the bottom line. You can't really trust anybody like that."[124]

Spotify's artist-in-residence responded to the criticism by stating that 70% of Spotify's revenue is paid out in royalties, and that the per-stream royalty rate doubled between the service's inception and mid-2012.[126] Charles Caldas, CEO of the Merlin Network for independent artists, argues that the problem isn't Spotify's failure to pay out significant royalties, but that it's paid to the record labels, who then pass too little of it on to their artists.[126]

In July 2013, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich removed their band Atoms for Peace and Yorke's solo music from Spotify.[127] In a series of tweets, Yorke stated: "Make no mistake, new artists you discover on Spotify will not get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly be rolling in it. Simples ... New artists get paid fuck all with this model." Godrich stated: "[Streaming] cannot work as a way of supporting new artists' work. Spotify and the like either have to address that fact and change the model for new releases or else all new music producers should be bold and vote with their feet." Spotify responded in a statement that the company was "still in the early stages of a long-term project that's already having a hugely positive effect on artists and new music", and that they "are constantly talking to artists and managers about how Spotify can help build their careers".[128] In an October 2013 interview with Mexican website Sopitas, Yorke said: "I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing. I feel that in some ways what's happening in the mainstream is the last gasp of the old industry. Once that does finally die, which it will, something else will happen."[129]

David Byrne, formerly of the band Talking Heads, criticised streaming services such as Spotify in the Guardian newspaper on 11 October 2013. Byrne stated that "if artists have to rely almost exclusively on the income from these services, they'll be out of work within a year" and countered the supposed ability to discover new music through services such as Spotify by arguing that the vital issue of sustainability is not addressed. However, Byrne concluded his piece by admitting "I don't have an answer."[130]

In March 2014, the indie band Vulfpeck attempted to fund a concert tour using Spotify royalties from an album entitled "Sleepify", which consisted solely of silence—the band encouraged users to stream the album on a loop while they slept, so the resulting plays could increase the amount of money earned. The album was pulled by Spotify in late-April 2014, citing unspecified violations of the service's content guidelines—the band had accumulated enough streams to result in at least $20,000 in royalties before the album was pulled.[131][132][133][134]

On November 3, 2014, Taylor Swift had her entire catalog pulled from Spotify after a dispute over streaming her album 1989 since Swift had received $500,000 for allowing streaming in the US for the past 12 months; Swift received $2 million total for global streaming in that same period.[135][136]

Withheld content[edit]

When an artist's material is withheld from Spotify or is otherwise unavailable to users or subscribers they will be greeted with a message that reads, "The artist or their representatives have decided not to release this album on Spotify. We are working on it and hope they will change their mind soon.[137] In May 2014, Coldplay withheld Ghost Stories[138] until mid-September 2014[139] and before that Mylo Xyloto was withheld for four months starting in October 2011.[140] The Black Keys' album Turn Blue and Beyoncé's self titled release are other examples of titles that were not immediately available.[137]

Adele's 21 wasn't initially available to be streamed on Spotify after its release in January 2011, because the singer wanted Spotify to make her album only available to subscribers, and not to those that use the site without a subscription. Spotify declined her offer, because it didn't want to create separate catalogues for subscribers and non-subscribers.[141] The album became available to stream in June 2012.[142]

Several bands from the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Beatles and AC/DC, do not have their music available on Spotify. Until the end of 2013, the music of Led Zeppelin was also not available to be streamed. Negotiations between Led Zeppelin's representatives and streaming sites stretched out for most of 2013, with Spotify ultimately emerging as victor for the band's work.[143] The band's deal with Spotify is exclusive, meaning their work can't be streamed on any competing streaming sites, which is similar to how iTunes struck an exclusive deal to sell music from the Beatles.[144]

Copyrights[edit]

In September 2013, Ministry of Sound sued Spotify, alleging that user playlists mimicking the track listings of their compilation albums were infringing on copyrights for the albums themselves.[145]

In the Spotify For Artists website launched in December 2013, the streaming service includes a section entitled "Spotify's impact on piracy" as a response to the criticisms against the company regarding the exploitation of musicians. Spotify states that it has proven the theory 'given a free and legal alternative, people will pirate less', and uses Sweden, Norway, Denmark, USA, Netherlands and the UK to provide evidence. For example, in Norway, the figure of 1.2 billion pirated songs in 2008 is compared to a figure of 210 million from 2012.[94]

User privacy[edit]

In May 2014, Spotify announced it was hacked but stated it will be taking further actions to increase security for its users. They released that only one user's information may have been jeopardised and reached. Spotify then released an update for Android users.[146]

Clients[edit]

Desktop[edit]

Clients are available for Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista and 7) and OS X (10.5 or newer). Spotify withdrew support for any Mac OS earlier than OS 10.5 in 2012.[147] Microsoft Windows 8 is not officially supported, and as of September 2014 Spotify has not released a native client for Windows 8 (or newer) in the Windows Store.

A native Linux version for Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" and Ubuntu 10.04 is available, limited to the amd64 and i386 architectures.[148] The Windows version can be run on Linux and FreeBSD using Wine. The Spotify website has a section devoted to this topic.[149]

Version 0.8.8 received poor feedback.[150] Some features, such as playlist filtering, were removed while sorting was broken. The interface changed from native C++ to web-based. 0.8.8 and newer versions offer slower performance and greater memory usage.[151] As of July 2013 most complaints had not been resolved.[150] Spotify offers no option to turn off automatic updates; however, there are workarounds which allow the use of pre-0.8.8 versions.[152][153][154]

In December 2013, Spotify released a Spotify Premium client called "Spotiamp", which uses an interface that resembles version 2 of the popular music player Winamp (AOL, the owners of Winamp, were planning to discontinue the player). The client also contains an equaliser and support for Advanced Visualization System.[155]

Mobile versions[edit]

Mobile apps for Android,[156] iOS,[157][158][159] Symbian,[160] BlackBerry OS,[161][162] Windows Phone 7/8,[163][164] Windows Mobile 6.0,[165] and WebOS[166] are available. The Windows service is a competitor to the Xbox Music functionality integrated within Windows desktops, tablets and phones; both services offer wireless streaming and unlimited listening for a set monthly fee. Spotify is (as of June 2014) not available as a native client on Microsoft Windows tablets, including the Microsoft Surface tablets.

As of 20 June 2012, Spotify radio streaming was free on the iPad and iPhone in the US.[167]

The applications allow Premium subscribers to access the full music catalogue, stream music and listen to music when disconnected using Offline Mode. As of September 2013, "extreme quality" mobile streaming (~320kbit/s) is only available on the iOS and Android versions of the Spotify app. As of May 2014, "extreme quality" has been added to the Windows Phone 8 client.

As of December 2013, Spotify made its mobile app free for Android and iOS devices with ads enabled, not just premium subscribers.[168]

Third-party clients and libraries[edit]

Third-party (and open source) projects access Spotify services. The most prominent is Despotify, originally released as an ncurses text-mode client for Linux and OS X. All third-party applications and development libraries require a Spotify premium subscription.

  • Clementine: Spotify playback limited to Premium accounts. Clementine is a multiplatform (Windows, Mac, or Linux) music player. It is inspired by Amarok 1.4, focusing on a fast and easy-to-use interface for searching and playing your music.
  • Despotify: see below[169]
  • Fidelify: an "audiophile" client, requires a Spotify Premium account and a PC running Windows XP/Vista/7/8.x with .NET Framework 4.[170]
  • Jotify: a Java client.
  • Last.fm for Spotify: official app by Last.fm enabling recommendations based on listening history, embedded artist wiki information while listening and more (does not require premium subscription).
  • mySpot was a freeware client that supports Windows Mobile via an intermediate proxy. It required a QVGA, VGA or WVGA device running Windows Mobile Professional (Pocket PC) 6.0 or higher.[citation needed] It was discontinued and the service disabled several months before the official client was launched by Spotify.[171]
  • Spotiamp: a lightweight client with the look and feel of Winamp 2.x with support for Winamp skins and visualization plugins. Also available as a portable application.[172] [173]
  • Tomahawk: a cross-platform music player for Windows, Mac OS and Linux with integrated Spotify "resolver" (plugin).

Despotify[edit]

Despotify
Original author(s)
  1. hack.se
Written in C
Operating system Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OS X, Windows
Type Client, Library
License 2-clause BSD license

Despotify is a free software open source client. It aims to provide tools to allow third parties to leverage Spotify's platform for new services. Its authors remain anonymous, but their website claims that they are a group of Swedish computer science researchers and security professionals who "believe strongly in the right to tinker with technology".

The software supports most mainstream POSIX-compliant operating systems for which there is an ANSI C compiler. It requires one of Core Audio, GStreamer, libao or PulseAudio. A Despotify-based client, Spot, supports jailbroken iPhones.[174]

Spotify has blocked usage of Despotify for "Free" and "Open" accounts, but those with a "Premium" account can use Despotify. The Despotify team claimed that they would not attempt to circumvent the block. The code may however be forked by others to attempt to do this.[175]

The Despotify library has language bindings for Python and Ruby. It depends on the OpenSSL, zlib and libvorbis libraries.

Geographic availability[edit]

Availability of Spotify in the world as of September 2014.

Spotify is available in Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Singapore, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay.[176] In Estonia, Greece and Romania, the Premium service was offered until July 2009, but never the free version. Only customers with credit cards or PayPal accounts in one of the above-mentioned countries can buy a Premium account.[177]

Spotify went live (by invitation only) in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, France and Spain in October 2008.[178]

On 10 February 2009, Spotify was fully launched in the United Kingdom.[179]

On 18 May 2010, Spotify was fully launched in the Netherlands.[180]

Spotify was launched in the US on 14 July 2011,[181] in Germany on 13 March 2012,[182] and in Australia and New Zealand on 22 May 2012.[183] From 13 November 2012, it became available in Ireland and Luxembourg. From 11 February 2013, Spotify became available in Italy, Poland and Portugal. Spotify was launched in Mexico, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland on 15/16 April 2013.[184][185]

On 24 September 2013, Spotify was launched in Argentina, Greece, Taiwan, and Turkey.[186]

On 3 December 2013, Spotify launched in Colombia as a pre-launch promo from Coca-Cola.[187]

On 11 December 2013, Spotify launched in Costa Rica.[188]

On 12 December 2013, Spotify was launched in an additional 18 markets. The following countries were added: Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Malta, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Slovakia and Uruguay.[189]

In January 2014, Spotify began being tested in Brazil only to invited users.[190]

On 25 March 2014, Spotify launched in the Philippines as a pre-launch promo from Coca-Cola.[191][192]

On 8 April 2014, Spotify was fully launched in the Philippines.[193]

On 28 May 2014, Spotify was fully launched in Brazil.[194]

On 30 September 2014, Spotify was fully launched in Canada. [195]

Accounts and subscriptions[edit]

As of 2014, the three Spotify account types are:

Name Price Free of Ads Listening time Premium features
Spotify Free Free No Unlimited[196] No
Spotify Unlimited 4.99 USD, 6.99 AUD, 7.49 NZD, 4.99 GBP, 49 MXN, 18 ARS, 4.99 TRY, 49 NOK, 49 SEK, 49 DKK, 6.45 CHF, 9.99 PLN, 4.99 EUR (3.49 EUR in some countries: Baltic states, Greece, Portugal), per month.
  • This subscription type is no longer available for the new Spotify users (created after 11 December 2013)
Yes Unlimited No
Spotify Premium 9.99 USD, 9.99 CAD, 11.99 AUD, 12.99 NZD, 9.99 GBP, 9.9 SGD, 48 HKD, 149 NTD, 14.9 MYR, 99 MXN, 36 ARS, 14.90 BRL, 9.99 TRY, 99 NOK, 99 SEK, 99 DKK, 12.95 CHF, 19.99 PLN, 9.99 EUR (6.99 EUR in some countries: Baltic states, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, 5.99 EUR in Slovakia, 4.99 EUR in Bulgaria and Hungary), 129 PHP per month.
  • In the UK Students can receive a 50% discount on their monthly subscription fees through UNiDAYS or with a valid NUS Extra Card. [197]
Yes Unlimited Yes[note 1]
  1. ^ Offline mode, enhanced sound quality, exclusive content.

User community[edit]

A community of websites, blogs and 3rd-party applications and tools support Spotify.[198] Community resources include Facebook and Last.fm groups, Twitter bots and user forums, tools to display lyrics and services to list and notify users about new releases.[199] In 2010, Spotify blog The Pansentient League held the first Spotify Community Site Awards, with categories such as Best Playlist Sharing Site, Best News & Music Finder Site and Best Playlist Generator.[200]

Spotify led to an array of editorial content integrating playlists into articles. Popular music website Drowned in Sound is among the most notable examples, running every Friday as "Spotifriday" which involves a playlist of the site's content during the week shared with readers.

See also[edit]

Portal icon Radio portal
Portal icon Software portal

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Template:The Economic Reality of Streaming for Musicians: Spotify and Beyond