What Can Spotify Learn From Netflix and Hulu?
Spotify has been taking a few hits lately. From Thom Yorke to Pink Floyd, a small but
growing list of significant artists and smaller labels are speaking out about
what they see as unfair payments to artists. But what happens to Spotify and other music streamers, if these
voices grow in number? Can a service
built on the completeness of its catalog survive if there are gaping holes in
It can, if it learns two lessons from subscription streaming video services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
Netflix and its
competitors were never promoted as full replacements for a cable subscription plus trips to the movie theatre. Consumers may be more understanding of holes in the catalog, if subscription music positioned itself at the center of a consumer's music ecosystem rather than as replacement for all if it.
Netflix, Hulu and Amazon have differentiated
themselves with successful original programming. Fans are far more forgiving of holes in the catalog if, in addition to broad content, streamers offer something subscribers can't get elsewhere.
An exclusive recording of the opening night
of a sold out concert tour or a star's unreleased studio sessions might be costly
to procur, but they could be Spotify's version of House of Cards or Arrested Development.