Spotify – The Future of Music or just a Fad?

By Gill Stedman

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After four years of being exclusive to a select few European countries and of course the U.S., Spotify has finally arrived in Ireland. Just in time Spotify, we were starting to get a little tired of listening to friends across the pond raving about it. The City team decided to try it out for ourselves and find out what all the fuss is about; And the good news is – it’s free, unless you want to go premium that is.

For those of you not ‘tuned in’, Spotify is a music streaming service that allows you to listen to music online from a range of major and independent record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal. Since it’s launch in the U.S. last year, Spotify has become one of the most popular music streaming services out there. Just last month the Swedish streaming service launched here in Ireland. Spotify now has 20 million active users worldwide, up 33% in the last six months.

So how does it work? It’s a lot like iTunes really. You can search for your favorite tracks by song name or by artist. You can also browse through friends’ playlists, create your own playlists or listen to Spotify’s recommended tracks. The Search bar allows you to find specific genres of music or songs released in a particular year. The possibilities are endless.

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However, Spotify has attracted a lot of criticism from music artists since its creation. In March, 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.”

Despite these recent complaints regarding royalties, Spotify announced just last week that it has paid out half a billion dollars to the music industry since its initial launch four years ago. It pays 70% of its revenue back to the artists, sounds pretty legit.

I have to say Spotify is everything it’s cracked up to be. The songs steam almost immediately, as if the music was stored on your computer. Check it out if you haven’t already. Do you think streaming is the future of music? Let us know what you think.

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