Introducing Spotify, a free Ad based music system. The idea is simple: don't buy music but don't steal it either. Spotify is a totally legal way of listening to any music you want on your computer for free. Spotify has an iTunes like interface as you can see below.
Spotify's main interface
The creators of Spotify have signed deals with all the major record labels, which means pretty much all mainstream music is available. In addition to this, searches for some very obscure music have also been successful. Spotify is available for free, or with several paid options. The only difference is that the free version is Ad supported, and you will get a 10 second advert played for every 6 tracks you play on average. This is how Spotify generates income to pay the royalties and costs to the record labels.
The reason I'm blogging about this, is because as a future music technician my job will rely on the music industry, and at the moment the industry is being torn apart by music piracy. Spotify is the perfect example of where i think music distribution should be going. The industry needs to realise that whilst profits are important, there are modern ways of distributing the content to end users, and these should be used more!
Spotify is similar to last.fm but has the advantage of being a standalone program, so you do not need a browser window open to listen to the music and with Spotify you are able to create playlists of specific tracks, rather than simply based on a certain genre.
An obvious limitation of Spotify is that you must be online to listen to the music, and that you cannot download the tracks to put on your iPod or other portable media player. There are rumours that a Spotify iPhone app is in the works which will allow users to stream music from Spotify on their phone, but as with the recently released Skype iPhone app, it is likely that this will not be allowed to utilise the 3G network.
Spotify started as an invite only service, but now anyone from the United Kingdom can sign up for a free Spotify account. I strongly urge everyone to use this service, because the more people that listen to the adverts, the more money the music industry will get, and as a result maybe they will look at other ways of distributing music, that are cheaper for us as the final consumer.