I love Spotify, I’ll just make that clear from the start. Spotify has completely changed the way I listen to music.
In fact, while I briefly linger in this positive mood, here are some more reasons why I love Spotify:
As a part-time music journalist, I couldn’t function properly without its unlimited access to 20m songs. Also, new album releases for any given Monday seem to appear not long after midnight on the Sunday before. This is terrific for my Monday morning commute.
I can also use Spotify on as many devices as I like (desktop, laptop, phone, work computer) with up to 3,333 songs able to be synced for offline listening on up to three devices at a time.
Just in case Thom Yorke is reading, I will also add that far as I’m concerned, using Spotify has led to me spending more money on music through other channels (mainly independent record stores), purely because of the access I now have to music that I wouldn’t normally listen to
As a final bonus, in the free version of Spotify, it has jettisoned the limits to how many times you can listen to a song and how many hours a month you can use it. I would however suggest that £10 a month is a small price to pay not to have to put up with some of the most irritating adverts ever hosted on a platform.
And this is where we arrive at the major thrust of this article.
Beats, the ubiquitous headphone brand co-founded by Dr Dre, will release its music streaming service Beats Music in the USA on 21 January.
Beats currently controls 27% of the $1.8bn headphone market and 57% of the premium market (an eye-watering place where headphones can cost anywhere between $100-$400) and its headphones have quickly become a visual staple of public transport, the high street and indeed the very office I’m writing this article in now, within only the last few years.
Now it looks like Beats is set to take on the music streaming market with what appears to be an expertly planned, theoretically artist-friendly and potentially Spotify smashing service.
Let’s take a closer look…
In 2013, 7.4bn songs were streamed in the UK, doubling the previous year's total of 3.7bn.
This figure comes from the latest report by the Official Charts Company and the British Phonographic Industry, or BPI as it wishes to be known as nobody since the turn of last century knows what a phonograph is.
2013 saw an even bigger shift towards digital technology being the primary way that listeners discover and enjoy new music, helped with the continued increase of tablet and smartphone ownership, and the improvement of music streaming apps on mobile devices.
Here are some more digital music related stats from the report, which may feature names of artists you’ll have to ask your kids about or consult your nearest NME reader.
Earlier this week, Sainsbury's purchased a majority stake in ebook retailer Anobii from HMV for £1 in what was the latest example of a major retailer trying to extend its footprint into the world of digital content.
Yesterday, we saw another example of this same trend as Tesco purchased UK-based music streaming service We7 for £10.8m.