||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (April 2015)|
|Headquarters||London and Stockholm, Sweden|
|Country of origin||Sweden|
|Founder(s)||Daniel Ek, Martin Lorentzon|
|Written in||C++ (with some third-party libraries)|
|Alexa rank||335 (2015[update])|
|Available in||50+ languages, 20 languages (18 if exclude similar dialects) in desktop version|
|Launched||7 October 2008|
|Native client(s) on||Windows, Symbian, Windows Phone, Linux, BlackBerry OS, Android, iOS, Chrome OS, OS X, and Sony PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4|
Spotify is a Swedish commercial music streaming, podcast and video service that provides digital rights management-restricted content from record labels and media companies including BBC, Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal. Music can be browsed or searched by artist, album, genre, playlist, or record label. Paid "Premium" subscriptions remove advertisements, improve audio quality and allow users to download music for offline listening.
Spotify was launched in October 2008 by Swedish startup Spotify AB. On 15 September 2010, the service had approximately 10 million users, including 2.5 million users with paid subscriptions. The service reached 20 million users (5 million paid) by December 2012, 60 million users (15 million paid) by January 2015, and more than 75 million active users (20 million paid) by June 2015.
Spotify offers two music streaming tiers: Spotify Free (160kbit/s) and Spotify Premium (up to 320kbit/s). Both tiers are lossy quality.
- 1 Availability
- 2 History
- 3 Features
- 4 Technical information
- 5 Business model
- 6 Competitive services
- 7 Criticism
- 8 Clients
- 9 Geographic availability
- 10 Accounts and subscriptions
- 11 User community
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
As of May 2015[update], Spotify is available for Android, BlackBerry, Boxee, iOS, Linux, MeeGo, Microsoft Windows desktop, Openpandora, OS X, Roku, S60 (Symbian), Samsung Smart TV, Sonos, HEOS by Denon, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Squeezebox, Telia Digital-tv, TiVo, WD TV, webOS, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone; it is not available as a Windows Store app for Windows 8, though a third-party client, Spotlite, exists.
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 and Maria Giovani Anggasta Santosa.
The Spotify application launched 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 major music labels. The company reported a loss of 31.8 million kronor ($4.4 million) in 2008.
On 10 February 2009 Spotify opened free registration in the United Kingdom (UK). Registrations surged following the release of the mobile service, leading Spotify to halt registration in the UK for part of 2009, returning to an invitation-only policy.
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.
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". 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 allowed users to listen to up to 20 hours of music per month.
During 2010, Spotify paid more than €45 million to its licensors. In March 2011, Spotify announced that it had one million paying subscribers across Europe, doubling by September to two million. On 1 September 2010, the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced the company as a Technology Pioneer for 2011.
On 25 March 2011, Spotify temporarily removed display advertising from external sources on its open and free accounts, due to an attack which used a Java exploit to place malicious code on victims' computers.
Before their free mobile and unlimited offer, in most locations, a six-month free trial period was offered, allowing the user to listen to an unlimited amount of music supported by visual and radio-style advertising. After the trial period, Spotify had a listening limit of 10 hours per month, divided into 2.5-hour weekly portions (unused hours carried over). The only locations exempt from this rule were Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the U.S., where ad-supported unlimited streaming continued on Spotify Free.
An "Unlimited" subscription removed advertisements and time limits, and a "Premium" subscription featured higher bitrate streaming and offline access. The app can be used without a premium account. 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. An active Facebook account was required to use Spotify if the user signed up via Facebook; but, as of 30 August 2012, the option to create a Spotify username was again offered. Subscriptions required credit/debit cards or PayPal accounts registered in certain countries. Alternatively, prepaid cards could be bought in retail stores in select countries.
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 10 hours per month. In addition, individual tracks were limited to five plays. Spotify Unlimited and Spotify Premium members were not affected by this change. New users were exempt from these changes for six months.
On 17 June 2011, it was reported that Spotify had secured another US$100 million of funding and planned to use this to support its U.S. launch. The new round of funding valued the company at US$1 billion.
On 14 July 2011, Spotify launched its U.S. service, after delays and years of negotiation with the four major record companies. On 30 November 2011, Spotify launched Spotify Apps and App Finder with launch partners that included Rolling Stone, We Are Hunted, Top10, Songkick, The Guardian, Soundrop and Last.fm.
In November 2011, Spotify introduced a Spotify Apps service that made it possible for third-party developers to contribute HTML5 applications that could be hosted within the Spotify desktop player. The applications provided features such as synchronised lyrics, music reviews, and curated playlists.
At launch, the supported applications included 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. The Spotify Apps service was discontinued in October 2014.
On 29 March 2012, Spotify removed a restriction that limited non-U.S. free users to five plays of a given song; although the restriction continued in the UK and France. The 10-hour-per-month limit remained in place for all free accounts older than six months; while the company also announced "continued unlimited free listening" for users in the U.S.
In August 2012, Time reported four million paid subscribers, producing at least €20 million per month in revenue. A Goldman Sachs-led round of funding closed in November 2012, raising around US$100 million at a $3 billion valuation.
On 19 March 2013, Spotify removed the 5-play restriction in the UK. On 5 April 2013, Spotify released Messages and Browse as application updates. Messages could be sent to other users and viewed on the desktop application. Browse allowed users to find playlists and charts created by other users using filters such as genre, mood or activity.
On 16 April 2013, Spotify was launched in the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Windows Phone Store in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico and Iceland. Upon its release in April 2013, the Daft Punk single, "Get Lucky", received the highest number of plays of any song in a single day.
On 11 December 2013, Ek announced a free streaming feature for iPhone and Android users, allowing them to stream specific artists and playlists from their phones. Previously, Spotify users were limited to listening to radio stations similar to artists or playlists. This feature allowed 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. In its annual review, the streaming company revealed that 24 million active users streamed over 4.5 billion hours of music in 2013.
On 6 March 2014, Spotify announced that they had acquired The Echo Nest, which also supplied data to Spotify competitors. On 25 March 2014, Spotify launched an advertising 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 U.S.
In June 2014, Spotify released a new Web API that allowed third-party developers to integrate Spotify content in their own applications. The Spotify Web API is an web service based on Representational state transfer principles that can be accessed by programs through the Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It returns data about albums, artists, tracks, playlists and other Spotify resources in JSON format. To access some sensitive datasets (like user profile data), programs must provide OAuth access tokens with their requests.
On 28 January 2015, Sony Computer Entertainment announced that Spotify would power their new music service, called PlayStation Music. The new service was launched in 30 March, and is to replace Music Unlimited.
In April 2015, Spotify began raising another round of capital, attracting Goldman Sachs and an Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund. This round of capital closed on June 2015, raises $526 million in a fundraising that values it at $8.53 billion.
In June 2015, Spotify acquired Seed Scientific, a data science consulting firm and analytics company. Spotify announced Seed Scientific's team would lead an Advanced Analytics unit within the company focused on developing data services.
As of December 2012[update], Spotify provided access to approximately 20 million songs. Users could search for artists, albums, titles, labels and genres, and access tracks from many major and independent labels. Some artists opted out of Spotify. Additionally, some artists withdrew from specific regions because of licensing restrictions. The Spotify desktop client allowed music to be imported from iTunes, with the option of syncing with a mobile device. Users from the UK, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands can buy most tracks, if available, from Spotify's download partner 7digital.
Users can create and share playlists, or edit them together with other users. A playlist link can directly be dragged into an email or an instant messaging window. If the recipient follows the link, the playlist appears in the recipient's Spotify-client. Playlists auto-update if the author adds or removes tracks. Playlist links can be used with every Spotify client app. The same principle works for single tracks, which can be dropped on applications and websites at will. Many websites support sharing of Spotify playlists and songs and let users share, rate and discuss them. Users can examine their play queue. Spotify can flag playlist duplicates.
In December 2014, Spotify released "Top Tracks in Your Network". It is a personalized, constantly updated playlist based on the people you follow.
In July 2015, Spotify introduced "Discover Weekly", a personalised playlist based on what music you are listening to as well as what music other users are loving.
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 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. 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.
Spotify includes a Radio feature for Spotify Free and Premium accounts. Radio 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) a selected artist. Artist Radio channels provide information on the artist, ranging from history to the artist's most popular tracks. Radio differs from its competitor, Pandora.
Premium (paid) Spotify users are allowed to skip tracks as desired, while free Pandora and Spotify services limit the number of tracks that can be skipped (free Spotify users are limited to five skips per hour on mobile devices (such as Android and iPhone)). In August 2012 Spotify allowed users to "rate" tracks, improving the ability to organise the radio function based on user preference.
Social media integration
Spotify allows users to integrate their account with existing Facebook and Twitter accounts. Thereafter they are able to access their friends'/follower's favourite music and playlists. 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 are then able to play them through their Spotify account. Spotify posts to users' Facebook feeds the music and playlists they are currently listening to. These feeds feature a play button that automatically launches the item in Spotify. From 26 September 2011 to 30 August 2012, all new accounts were required to supply a Facebook login.
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.
Audio streams are in the Vorbis format at q5 (ca. 160 kbit/s) lossy audio quality for the Spotify free service, or q9 (ca. 320 kbit/s) lossy audio quality  for Spotify Premium subscribers. Spotify has a median playback latency of 265 ms or 390 ms without local cache. Spotify does not offer CD quality (16/44.1 kHz) nor "Hi-res" (High-resolution audio) (24/96 or 24/192 or similar) services.
As of version 0.4.3, it is possible to play locally stored MP3 and AAC files. (This does not work in Linux using Wine because Spotify is "...blocking codecs with the identifier "WINE-MPEG3″ until the Wine system works satisfactorily.")
Cache size and location is configurable. 1 GB or more disk space is recommended. 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 at a time.
Spotify operates under the freemium model (basic services are free, while additional features are offered via paid subscriptions). Spotify makes its revenues by selling streaming subscriptions to premium users and advertising placements to third parties.
In December 2013, the company launched a new website, "Spotify for Artists", that revealed its business model and revenue data. Spotify pays copyright holders royalties for streamed music. The company pays 70% of its total revenue to rights holders. Spotify for Artists states that the company does not have a fixed per-play rate, considers factors such as the user's home country and the individual artist's royalty rate. Rights holders received an average per-play payout between $.006 and .0084. The company has allegedly lost $200 million since it was founded, although the company has not confirmed or denied this.
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. A November 2012 report predicted that Spotify would reach revenues of US$500 million over the course of 2012, up from US$244 million in 2011.
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. Another income source was music purchases from within the app, but this was removed in January 2013. There is currently a bipartisan bill going through the House of Representatives known as H.R. 1733. or the "Fair Play, Fair Pay Act" that aims to provide fair compensation to artists and increase transparency for royalties. This bill is supported by musician-based organizations, as they seek to challenge the streaming companies to compensate them more fairly. The passing of this bill could threaten the business model of companies like Spotify and its competitors.
Spotify encourages people to pay for music, with subscriptions as its main revenue source. A Spotify Premium subscription costs of $9.99/month. Spotify’s “Current Offers” are listed as Student Discount and Sprint Customers. Through Spotify Premium for Students  or Spotify’s partnership with Sprint, the monthly subscription fee can be discounted or temporarily reduced.
The subscription removes advertisements and limits, and increases the bitrate to 320 kbit/s for some songs. 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 offers users free trials of Premium features for 30 days. Users must enter payment information and must explicitly terminate their subscription before the trial period ends to avoid paying for Premium features.
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." In March 2014, Spotify announced a student discount that reduced the price of Spotify Premium from $9.99 to $4.99 for students of American colleges. Students must have an email address from the .edu domain.
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.
Spotify 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. These advertisements vary in size, type and user engagement. Audio Ads run for a maximum of 30 seconds as a commercial in between streamed tracks. Display Ads, Billboard Ads, and Lightboxes appear during active and inactive use.
Spotify offered music downloads in the UK at £0.99 per track in partnership with the 7digital music store. The feature was designed to provide the option to download music. In October 2010, Wired reported that Spotify was making more money for labels in Sweden than any other retailer, "online or off". During 2010, Spotify paid more than €45 million to its licensors. In January 2013, music downloads of tracks was removed from the app.
In March 2011, Spotify announced a customer base of one million paying subscribers across Europe, and by September, the number of paying subscribers had doubled to two million. In August 2012 Time reported four million paying Spotify subscribers, responsible for at least €20 million per month in revenue.
User growth continued, reaching 20 million active and 5 million paid users on 6 December 2012, including one million in the US. Users reached 24 million (6 million paid) by March 2013, 30 million (10 million paid) by May 2014, 45 million (15 million paid) by January 2015, and more than 75 million active users (20 million paid) by June 2015.
In comparing the products and services of Spotify with many other competing brands such as Apple Music, Deezer, Qobuz, Pandora and iHeartRadio, there are a select few characteristics that play a role in a potential customer’s decision. Some of the most important characteristics include: the type or purpose of the streaming service, whether there are free options available, the presence of advertisements or lack thereof, the platforms or applications that support each service, what the cost of subscription is, and the size of the music library offered.
Spotify features an on demand library in which users can create playlists and follow fellow music lovers. Spotify also offers Spotify Radio that allows users to access countless stations modeled after artists and music genres. Spotify offers a free version of its streaming service that includes advertisements and is accessible from a Desktop, Laptop, or Mobile device (6 skips per hour). However, by paying $9.99, or $4.99 if the user is a student, the user is able to access all of Spotify’s features on or offline without any advertisements and on any device. Spotify offers a music library of over 30 million songs.
Pandora features an extensive online radio station apparatus whose sole purpose is to help its users discover new artists and new songs. Pandora allows a user to register with the service for free but includes advertisements and only allows a limited amount of song skips. Pandora’s free version and paid version are available on any device that supports the Pandora music application. In contrast to most other music service charging $9.99 for their monthly subscriptions, Pandora offers a premium service for $4.99 that includes no advertisements, better sound quality, and more song skips. Pandora offers a music library of approximately 1 million songs.
iHeartRadio features a broad range of online music stations that aim to assist its users in discovering new artists and new songs while also offering live radio streaming so that users can access their favorite radio stations and listen to them live and all in one place. iHeartRadio only offers free services but only allows 15 combined skips per day and 6 skips per radio station per hour. There are advertisements present on the webpage itself in addition to the local advertisements that are played on each individual local radio station. iHeartRadio is available on any device that supports the iHeartRadio application. At no cost to the user, iHeartRadio offers a music library of close to 20 million songs.
Spotify has been accused of failing to compensate artists fairly. In a 2009 Guardian article, songwriter Helienne Lindvall said 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."
In 2009, Swedish musician Magnus Uggla pulled his music from the service, stating that after six months he had earned "what a mediocre busker could earn in a day". Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported in 2009 that the record label Racing Junior earned only NOK 19 ($3.00 USD) after their artists had been streamed over 55,100 times. According to an infographic by David McCandless, an artist on Spotify would need over four million streams per month to earn US$1,160. Luke Lewis wrote that "the 'free' aspect of Spotify is unsustainable" and that "if Spotify is to have a future, it needs to be a viable business".
In September 2011, US independent label Projekt Records stated, "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." In May 2012, British Theatre vocalist and Biffy Clyro touring guitarist, Mike Vennart, stated: "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."
In March 2012, Patrick Carney of the Black Keys said that "Spotify isn't fair to artists" and that "for a band that makes a living selling music, streaming services are not a 'feasible' option." Replying to Spotify boardmember Sean Parker's claim that Spotify would make more money for the music industry than iTunes, Carney said: "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."
Singer David Byrne of Talking Heads criticised streaming services such as Spotify on 11 October 2013, writing: "If artists have to rely almost exclusively on the income from these services, they'll be out of work within a year." Byrne concluded his piece by admitting "I don't have an answer."
In March 2014, the American funk band Vulfpeck funded 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 to increase the amount of money earned. The album was pulled by Spotify in April 2014, citing unspecified violations of the service's content guidelines. Vulfpeck had accumulated enough streams to result in at least US$20,000 in royalties before the album was pulled. In March 2015 Vulfpeck founder, Jack Stratton, proposed a more equitable model for Spotify payout distribution in which each artist's payout is "solely" based on the revenue associated with that artist's listeners, and not the overall revenue.
In July 2013, Radiohead singer Thom Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich removed their band Atoms for Peace and Yorke's solo music from Spotify. 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."
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." 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".
On November 3, 2014, recording artist Taylor Swift's entire discography was removed from Spotify by Big Machine Records. Swift had previously delayed the streaming of her 2012 album, Red. Spotify launched a social media campaign to persuade Swift to return and, in a statement on its website, claimed that 16 million of over 40 million users had played her music in the preceding 30-day period, but Taylor Swift did not change her stance on the situation stating, "I'm not willing to contribute my life's work to an experiment I don't feel fairly compensates [artists]." .
In mid-November, Swift's label head, Scott Borchetta, disputed figures released by Spotify and Ek, which claimed that Swift would receive six million US dollars annually from the streaming site—Borchetta rejected Ek's statement in a TIME magazine interview, in which he said that Swift was paid a total of $500,000 over the previous 12 months. Spotify responded to Borchetta, by claiming that Swift had been paid $2 million over the prior year. Spotify further explained: "We [Spotify] paid Taylor [Swift]’s label and publisher roughly half a million dollars in the month before she took her catalog down". Ben Popper, of the Verge publication, suggested that the $6-million figure was attained by taking Swift's "trend line" and extrapolating over a year-long period "to get to the highest possible number". According to Borchetta, the amount Swift earned from streaming her videos on the Vevo site was greater than the payout she received from Spotify. He told Time: "The facts show that the music industry was much better off before Spotify hit these shores ... Don’t forget this is for the most successful artist in music today. What about the rest of the artists out there struggling to make a career? Over the last year, what Spotify has paid is the equivalent of less than 50,000 albums sold."
Borchetta stated in a November 7 radio interview that he had been made aware of other artists who were seriously considering withdrawing. Borchetta's statements led to Ek were followed by a post in which he wrote that Spotify had paid $2 billion to labels and publishers since its inception in 2008, and was bolstering the music business financially. In December 2014, Spotify released its end-of-year list of the service's most-streamed music of 2014. Katy Perry, Pharrell, and Ed Sheeran were listed as leading artists in different music categories, but Swift did not appear.
Borchetta clarified in a February 2015 interview that Swift's catalog would be permitted on a streaming service "that understands the different needs that we [Swift and Big Machine] have," whereby "the choice to be [on the free, ad-supported tier] or not" is provided. Borchetta argued that Swift's musical oeuvre is "arguably the most important current catalog there is" and stated that the streaming issue is "about each individual artist, and the real mission here is to bring … attention to it." He speaks on behalf of Taylor Swift's most extreme fans claiming, "If a fan purchases the record, and their friends go, 'Why did you pay? It's free on Spotify,' we're being completely disrespectful to the superfan."
D. A. Wallach
In February 2012, musician D.A. Wallach—member of the band Chester French and former Harvard classmate of Mark Zuckerberg—was Spotify's "artist-in-residence," and helped form the “Artist Services” team. The group reportedly advises artists on how to enhance their use of Spotify and provides education about the platform. Wallach engaged with the media in 2012, informing the Forbes publication in February:
We’re working very carefully to make Spotify the most artist-friendly company that has ever existed ... We want to help artists ... Our goal is to make artists a lot of money, more money than they’ve ever been paid.
In a June interview with the Hypebot site, Wallach reported that US$180 million of royalties was paid out in 2011 and 70% of Spotify's revenue consisted of royalty payments, meaning that the per-stream royalty rate doubled between the service's inception and mid-2012. He said that, at the time, the average listener spends US$60 annually on music, whereas Spotify Premium users spend twice that amount. According to Wallach in 2012: "The growth of the platform is proportional to the royalty pay out and since inception we’ve already doubled the effective per play rate."
When an artist opts out of Spotify or is otherwise unavailable, listeners will receive 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." In May 2014, Coldplay withheld Ghost Stories until mid-September 2014 and before that Mylo Xyloto was withheld for four months, starting in October 2011. Beyoncé's self-titled album was not available until November 24, 2014, when the platinum edition was made available to the catalogue, while the Black Keys' album Turn Blue remained unavailable.
Adele's 21 was not initially available on Spotify, because the singer wanted Spotify to make her album only available to paid subscribers, but not to others. Spotify declined her offer to avoid creating separate catalogues for subscribers and non-subscribers. The album became available to stream in June 2012.
Several bands from the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Beatles, rejected Spotify. Until the end of 2013, Led Zeppelin's music was not available. Late in 2013 the parties reached an agreement. In addition, AC/DC is the most recent artist that allows their work to stream in Spotify, along with Rdio and Apple Music.
Icelandic singer Björk chose not to release her album Vulnicura on Spotify, saying: "This streaming thing just does not feel right. I don’t know why, but it just seems insane ... to work on something for two or three years and then just, 'Oh, here it is for free.' It's not about the money; it’s about respect, you know? Respect for the craft and the amount of work you put into it."
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.
In May 2014, Spotify announced it had been hacked but stated that it would take further actions to increase security. Spotify claimed that only one user's information might have been jeopardised, and released an update for Android users.
In June 2012, Charles Caldas, CEO of the Merlin Network, a representative body for over 10,000 independent labels, clarified that Spotify pays royalties to the music labels and not the artists. According to Caldas, the payments Merlin’s labels received from Spotify rose 250 percent from the year ending March 2011 to the year ending March 2012, while, at the time of the interview, the revenue per user (RPU) was "the highest it has been since the launch of the service." Caldas said that Merlin had observed "consistent, ongoing growth on revenue per user, revenue per stream, and the total revenue" that Spotify generates for the labels it represents.
Caldas also highlighted the issue of time lag for artists, as they are not gaining an impression of Spotify's status at the time they receive their payments because they are "getting reporting quarterly, or six-monthly, on sales that happened six months ago." Caldas explained that "royalty statements could be a year old," which is an issue for Spotify, as it is ideally suited to long-term artists because the more times a purchased download is played, the less money the artist receives per play.
In February 2015, the TechDirt site interpreted data from an Ernst & Young report that was compiled on behalf of the French record label trade group, SNEP, showing that major music labels were withholding royalties instead of streaming services like Spotify. The report looked only at the payouts of Spotify and Deezer, revealing that the music labels receive 73.1% of the total post-tax payout, while songwriters and publishers receive 16% and artists receive 10.9%. The writer concludes that, while labels formerly required large distribution fees to stock worldwide retail outlets, "there's no manufacturing, and distribution is an 'upload' button," and "it appears that perhaps they [artists] should be discussing things with the labels."
On Linux, either the Windows version can be used, using Wine, or an unsupported preview of a native Linux version packaged for Debian 6.0 'Squeeze' and Ubuntu and limited to amd64 and i386 architectures.
Version 0.8.8 received poor feedback. 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. As of July 2013 most complaints had not been resolved. Spotify offers no option to turn off automatic updates; however, workarounds allow the use of pre-0.8.8 versions.
In December 2013, Spotify released a Premium client called "Spotiamp", which used 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 contained an equaliser and support for Advanced Visualization System.
As of 20 June 2012, Spotify radio streaming was free on the iPad and iPhone in the US.
The applications allow Premium subscribers to access the full music catalogue, stream music and listen to music when disconnected. As of May 2014, "extreme quality" mobile streaming (~320kbit/s) is available on the iOS, Android and Windows Phone 8 versions of the Spotify app.
As of December 2013, Spotify made its mobile app free for Android and iOS devices with ads enabled, not just premium subscribers.
Third-party clients and libraries
Third-party (and open source) projects employ 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 Premium subscription.
- Clementine: 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 music.
- Despotify: see below
- Fidelify: an "audiophile" client, requires a Spotify Premium account and a PC running Windows XP/Vista/7/8.x with .NET Framework 4.
- 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 supported Windows Mobile via an intermediate proxy. It required a QVGA, VGA or WVGA device running Windows Mobile Professional (Pocket PC) 6.0 or higher. It was discontinued and the service disabled months before the official client was launched by Spotify.
- 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.
- Tomahawk: cross-platform music player for Windows, Mac OS and Linux with integrated Spotify "resolver" (plugin), requires a Spotify Premium account.
|This section may rely excessively on sources too closely associated with the subject, potentially preventing the article from being verifiable and neutral. (August 2015)|
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.
Spotify has blocked usage of Despotify for "Free" and "Open" accounts, but not those with a "Premium" account. The Despotify team claimed that they would not attempt to circumvent the block. The code may however be forked by others.
In January 2015, Spotify teamed up with Sony to power a new music service named PlayStation Music. The service is accessible to new and existing Spotify members via the PlayStation Network in 41 markets, on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Sony Xperia devices.
Spotify is available in Western Europe, the Americas, and Australia and New Zealand. The country list includes Andorra, Argentina, 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, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Singapore, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and Uruguay. 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.
Spotify went live (by invitation only) in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, France and Spain in October 2008.
On 10 February 2009, Spotify launched in the United Kingdom.
On 18 May 2010, Spotify launched in the Netherlands.
Spotify launched in the US on 14 July 2011, in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland on 16 November 2011, in Germany on 13 March 2012, and in Australia and New Zealand on 22 May 2012. From 13 November 2012, it became available in Ireland and Luxembourg. From 11 February 2013, Spotify then 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.
On 24 September 2013, Spotify launched in Argentina, Greece, Taiwan, and Turkey.
On 11 December 2013, Spotify launched in Costa Rica.
On 12 December 2013, Spotify launched in an additional 18 markets: Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Malta, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Slovakia and Uruguay.
On 8 April 2014, Spotify launched in the Philippines.
On 28 May 2014, Spotify launched in Brazil.
On 30 September 2014, Spotify launched in Canada.
Accounts and subscriptions
As of December 2014, the two Spotify subscription types are:
|Name||Price||Free of Ads||Listening time||Premium features|
|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 (8.99 EUR in Baltic states, 6.99 EUR in some countries: Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, 5.99 EUR in Slovakia, 4.99 EUR in Bulgaria and Hungary), 129 PHP, 218.7 HNL, 3,099CLP per month
- Offline mode, enhanced sound quality, exclusive content.
Websites, blogs and 3rd-party applications and tools support Spotify. 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. 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.
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.
- Apple Music
- Boiler Room (music project)
- FIT Radio
- Google Play Music All Access
- Just Hear It
- List of online Music v6 databases
- Sony Music Unlimited
- Soundtracker (music streaming)
- Streaming media
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