Spotify – is it really free music?

Posted: July 5, 2011 in General thoughts, Music
Tags: , ,

A few years ago two men from Sweden created a new music service. The idea was to spread music from the major record dealers to the consumer. The creators called this program Spotify. The service started with a small user group and to get access to the program you had to get invited by one of the people using the program or buy the premium account. The free version came with commercial breaks, which allowed the user to use the program for free. In writing moment there are also two paid services, one for 49kr and the other for 99kr a month. When paying for the service the commercial was removed and also extra features such as early releases and possibilities to play Spotify on a cell phone also comes with the premium accounts.
By having a big source of music and both having famous artists such as Lady Gaga, Iron Maiden and Michael Jackson they manage to attract many consumers who happily listens to commercial to get their music for free.

By dragging a playlist or a song from the program into Facebook, MSN, Twitter or any other communication programs the user could share their favorites with their friends. Thereby allowed people to share playlists and songs with each other and getting their friends updated playlist as it instantly tracks any changes to a playlist that are followed by the user.
This resulted in a co-op between Facebook and Spotify, allowing a user who used both to connect to Facebook and thereby be able to see their friend’s profiles in the program and easier see what songs their friends liked, what playlists they followed etc.
Spotify was created in a time when illegal downloading was normal in Sweden and the laws started to come to make the punishment harder for downloading. The program has succeeded and it has gone from nothing to a most have for most people.
So why did they succeed?

First off that the program came with a free version. The possibility to test how the program works and to be able to see the music that was offered they make it attractive to use. “Free food is good food” someone said, which fits for Spotify. The consumer had nothing to lose when trying the program; if they disliked it they could simply stop using it and not feel they wasted money. Once the user started to get used to the program and they connect to Facebook etc. they started to see the real possibilities with using it.
Spotify also provide a service the customers want by thinking “new” and listening to the consumers wishes and demands. One of the reasons for why people downloaded music was as the prices for CDs increased and they often contain old songs, giving the consumer less for their money and turning to downloading would be an obvious solution. By having Spotify the consumer no more has to think if it is a good CD or not, they don’t even need to know of the band before they find their songs. If they don’t like them, they just go to the next song.
When listening to the consumer they also could hear the demand for having a connection to Facebook. In order to be able to use this feature the consumer simply had to “like” Spotify’s fan page. This also resulted in that the company got a good communication channel out to their consumers. By posting updates on playlists, artists and new records they can reach out and attract the consumer to use the program. Information regarding the premium accounts and what they receive also works as a marketing action as it tells the consumer what they can get when upgrading.

A few weeks ago Spotify announced that the free version of the program would come to get more limited. This would be done by implementing that an account could listen free to music for 6 months and after that the user can only listen to every song 5 times.

Why did they do this?
Simply because the program became popular in Europe and in order to satisfy those customers they most include more artist which costs more money.
Will this stop them?
I don’t believe so. Sure they might lose consumers who go to other free sources. But the program is at current state used by many and to go against the current and remove the account would “cost” the consumer a lot. Many complained about having to pay money, but just as many supported it to get more music and better service. Those in favor for the price raise also said that 50kr a month is less than 1 CD and for those money you get millions of songs.

How can companies use Spotify?
Many companies’ uses Spotify – both in creative ways and normal commercials. A while ago a company made a playlist with song titles that where the same as the ingredients to make a pancakes. Another company looked at a user who had created a poem by using the song titles. They created a competition for the people who could make the best poem. This might not create awareness about the product the company sells, but it creates awareness about the company itself and its brand. This kind of “guerilla marketing” is also cheap to create and the consumers often spread the information about it themselves. A few Swedish companies has also composed their own songs about their products or what they try to create such as the ICA commercial earlier mentioned on this blog ( These songs of course make their way to Spotify as well and after that they spread in different playlists. OWL made a song about the feeling you have on Fridays. A perfect song for a party on a Friday or a dinner etc. Again, this is very cheap for the company to do and once it is on Spotify they don’t have to work more with it unless they want to promote it future and thereby get more listeners.

Cheers 89Perra

  1. alina says:

    i truly truly love Spotify! 🙂

  2. Perra says:

    Hehe, you are not the only one 😉

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