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Feature: Why Spotify’s Recent Changes Could (and Should) Make It Essential

Recently Spotify announced that their free service will be restricted to ten hours of music a month and up to five plays per song. This impending withdrawal of unlimited free music has already had many expressing their disdain at the decision, with many vowing to never use the service again. This hot-headed response is irrational; Spotify are pushing their users towards one of the best services available on the web today.

Put simply, the offline function of Spotify has the potential to challenge the aesthetics of iTunes because £10 a month for limitless new music is a much safer investment than risking £7.99 on a single album. Now that users have the option to make their favourite artists available offline and on their mobile, it seems logical to make Spotify the public’s standard music platform. However, Spotify is doing much more than providing a potentially viable alternative to iTunes.

The push to encourage users to upgrade to the Unlimited and Premium service puts a long-lost worth back into the music we listen to on there; the giving of our money naturally increases the value we put on art. We should learn to appreciate music again, rather than taking something many would regard as essential for granted. The artists may still receive a pittance from this in royalties but how many signed artists have earned anything from record sales in the last few years? 30 Seconds to Mars’ breakthrough record ‘A Beautiful Lie’ sold over two million records. The band did not see a single penny from it because, in the end, all expenses get charged to the band. Record labels are a loan company with good connections.

Spotify is also the most prolific defender against the one-track market mind. Despite the demise of physical singles, the purchase of individual tracks is the current norm. However, because the fee for Spotify’s music is fixed, there is little reason not to explore the rest of an artist’s material. The alternative to this is to listen to a thirty second snippet of each track on iTunes. Spotify makes listening to albums convenient.

There are many other reasons to make Spotify the public’s central music platform. Having a personal record collection which is cloud-based prevents the need to back-up data, whilst the Radio function rivals other playlist makers such as Pandora, and iTunes Genius. However, Spotify allows you to take that track and add it your library immediately for no extra cost. It’s superb.

Granted, Spotify is not perfect. Some tracks remain absent whilst some are restricted to certain areas, but if this platform continues to grow and new releases begin to become available on the day they come out, I firmly believe that this service will outgrow every other music application. The ever-declining major labels will be the biggest losers; there is a reason why Warner Music Group is reluctant to allows Spotify users access to their back catalogue in the USA. To them, iTunes is far more lucrative. However, for the listener, Spotify’s style of service feels like the future. It encourages us to explore more music than ever before and has allowed me to discover so many new artists and albums. I think that this is worth £10 a month. And you should too.

Words by Alex Howick (@AlexHowick)

Alter The Press!