Spotify, You’ve Got Coke All Over Your Face…book

image from www.google.comGuest post by Robin Davey, indie musician and Head of Music & Film Development at GROWVision.

Before it launched last year, a leaked memo revealed that Spotify were, during their first 12 months operating stateside, projecting 50 million users in the USA alone. With those numbers only hitting 10 million worldwide, with a reportedly small 600,000 paying US subscribers, it appears for now the revolution will not be Spotified.

Spotify’s previous European success seems to have driven their expectations of the US market, however as David Hasslehoffs huge status as a recording artist in Germany proves, some things simply don’t translate. It seems this arrogance and self-reverence that they will be the future of music distribution, is a big factor in their current stumble in this quest to attain dominance.

The insistence from their fledgling days that you joined via Facebook – in a presumed attempt to have peoples listening habits smeared across their pages – only seemed to result in a desperate scramble to figure out how to turn that function off. Sure we want people to know that we are listening to cool shit like the new Spiritualized album or Woody Guthrie classics, but we don’t want them to know we just checked out LMFAO.

Similarly, Spotifys glee at pronouncing they were in bed with the big boys – by up playing their coke partnership, doesn’t really make them seem cool. What Spotify desperately needs is the kids telling you to use the service, not Facebook, or Coke, or major labels. For the time being it seems the word isn’t on the street.

Most people only buy 1.5 albums a year because that is all they want. They don’t need unlimited access to everything. They like the two CDs they play over and over in the car. Or they just like listening to the singles. Albums are dead and have been for a long while. Spotify promises all the tracks from all the artists. People respond by just wanting that one new track by Katy Perry.

Our lives are taken over by technology; we don’t have time to peruse the endless options available to us via Spotify. If we want to hear one track we search it on Youtube, because we know it will be there.

Albums are now a niche market, and Spotify may have vastly over estimated that in the search for world domination. ITunes gives you the track you want, to your phone, for less that the price of a soda. If you see the mammoth plays on youtube videos on artists like Rhianna and Katy Perry it is because kids play them over and over and over again. Just have a teen year come stay at your house for a week and you will know what I mean. Over, and over, and fucking over again. 

Spotify doesn’t facilitate this new way to consume as conveniently as other platforms. It looks dull and boring, it looks like it was designed to function like a tax return program. With videos you get pretty pictures, the music industry is now a visual entity, like it or not.

Spotify thinks it is ahead of the curve, but in reality it is desperately lagging.

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  1. Can someone tell this guy that you can set your privacy settings on Facebook so no-one can see what music you are listening to on Spotify (or any other integrated music service)?

  2. Yes I elude to it in the piece when I said people were scrambling to turn it off. In other words people didn’t want it, so they did indeed turn it off.

  3. Robin, before you start writing editorials, you need to finish 7th grade English. It’s allude, not elude.
    Not a Spotify defender, I use MOG, but there are a lot more people that will gladly want access to huge amounts of catalog and playlists, whether it is for Christmas music, wedding music, those Barbara Streisand, Neil Young or Johnny Cash albums they never bought, listened to or have vinyl sitting in a box in the garage.

  4. “With videos you get pretty pictures, the music industry is now a visual entity, like it or not,” says the head of Music and Film Development. Shocking!

  5. Are you insane? You really believe most consumers are only interested in hearing ~20 new tracks a year? You truly think music consumers would prefer listening to the same 2 CDs over having the catalog of Spotify available to them?
    This is one of the most short-sighted articles I’ve ever seen published on Hypebot. Pure nonsense and generalizations from someone that is not in touch with the average music consumer.
    As someone that makes a living in the music industry, I couldn’t be more pleased with the growth of Spotify. I’m looking at my Facebook ticker right now and seeing dozens of friends currently listening and sharing songs on Spotify throughout the day. It’s amazing to watch one friend listen to a new act, then within seconds see a mutual friend pop up listening to the same thing, clearly demonstrating the platform’s ability to enhance discovery.

  6. Yes, the figures suggest that the average person only consumes a very small amount of music. Speak to someone who is not in the business or who do not play an active roll in seeking out new music and you will be shocked how little they actually care about it. The music Industry is run by people who generally listen to a lot of music, but the population is made up of people who generally do not.
    The insular world of the music industry sometimes blinkers the reality of what goes on outside it. But then I am clearly insane right?

  7. Why would I speak to someone that doesn’t actively seek out new music? Everyone I know wants to find a great new artist. That’s not something unique to the music industry, it’s a common trait of anyone that likes music.

  8. I agree and disagree.
    The amount of recorded music ‘mainstream’/’average’ people are consuming is increasing, and people are becoming more keen to find ‘new’ music, and Spotify enables this as a discovery tool. But the music industry is indeed run by people who are blinkered by the industry itself. It’s runs similar to Google+ being sold as the ‘next big social network’, when most of the people on there are technologists, not the general ‘average person’.
    Spotify being sold by the labels and brands will not win it any fans. (rhyming not intended).

  9. I look at my 20 year old sister and she listens to the same shit she has been listening to since she was 14. She hasn’t bought an CD or payed for music in her life and if she does want to hear something new, she’ll use youtube or download it illegally. It’s very hard to see things objectively if you are working within the music industry or are a music fan. But I’m afraid the majority of people do not buy music and are not interested in discovering new music. They are quite happy to sit back and let the TV dictate what it cool and them listen to the single 100 times on Youtube for free. I’m a professional musician, don’t think this doesn’t hurt me to say it, but your average “Joe” doesn’t give a monkeys about music.

  10. Just curious, when saying that the average person buys 1.5 albums per year, is that an average of, say, the entire population of the US between the ages of 12 and 70, or what? Because, from what I’ve seen, many of my friends (I’m in my 20s) just don’t buy albums, period, preferring either to pirate or just buy singles, as noted before.
    So, I think what we really have, is about 1-3% (ish, maybe even less) of the population buying 1 or 2 CDs/LPs/digital albums per month, and the rest of the population buying singles off iTunes. So it’s really even more dire of a situation than the statistic indicates, if that’s the case.
    If a detailed statistical set for album purchases is available, I’d love to see it.

  11. Robin did make some very valid points in this article.
    I think Spotify is a great service and I use it everyday. I have no plans of upgrading as it serves as a Windows Media Player with free music for me.
    Youtube is great but it takes more time to discover music their and the quality varies on fan made videos. And it irks me when I think I have found a Jay-Z song and its an aspiring rapper, rapping over his beat.
    They made a big announcement about wanting to be the OS of Music and unleashed a bunch of apps, which are mainly play lists. Like who needs a play lists of songs that are already on the radio.
    I think the problem was their launch in the U.S. was too aggressive and they underestimated the time it would take for people to pick up on their services. Look how long Pandora and Rhapsody have been around.
    As far as the new deal with Coke, it’s cool for them because they need the money to stay alive but i wouldn’t have done a press conference to announce it, because it doesn’t make sense at all.
    It would of made more sense to partner with a car manufacture than a beverage company in my opinion.

  12. I understand the article just fine. Your conclusion is that Spotify is a total failure because they were overambitious in their first year projections, people want to listen to the same music on repeat rather than discovering new artists and itunes & youtube are all consumers really want for music consumption. Which part am I not understanding?

  13. You say why would you speak to someone who doesn’t actively seek out new music. That is a pretty elitist attitude. This article speaks of a wider picture than that.

  14. You clearly did not understand the crux of my statement. In terms of understanding consumer behavior specific to music, I am only interested in speaking with people actively seeking new music. If these people exist in the world that have reached their quota for music and will plug their ears and scream when you try to introduce them to a new act, I have nothing to learn from them regarding music.

  15. No music service, label or artist can be successful under the premise you’re outlining.

  16. where are the serial commenters on every music press article that say the following things:
    – i like MOG better, has anyone heard of it
    – MOG has 320kbps
    – MOG ipad app
    come on MOG, this is not a PR strategy, i’m sorry your PR firm told you this was a good idea.
    seriously people, go look on ANY ARTICLE ABOUT SPOTIFY EVER on hypebot, paid content, digital music news, you will find these serial commenters that are written like a press release. if that many people really liked MOG why doesn’t MOG disclose paid subs?

  17. @robin, @Oo, you seem to miss the sarcasm in my misspelling of grammar, but glad you caught it.
    Do you know it took Amazon 5 years to launch physical music sales? Emusic went through 3 iterations from the late 90’s and is still around, though not the model of health. But I think it is foolish to count out Spotify, MOG and rdio when they all just launched in the US. It seems people feel the need to want to keep a daily scorecard. If by the end of 2013 there aren’t 10 million paying subscribers in the US, then I’d start digging graves.

  18. I have no idea what this article is about? Spotify isn’t cool because everyone wants to listen to Katy Perry on YouTube?
    Now, I’m not a fan of Spotify for the way they rip off artists. But they rip off artists LESS than The Pirate Bay, illegal cyberlockers and YouTube does.

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