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|Headquarters||London, England and Stockholm, Sweden|
|country of origin||Sweden|
|Founder(s)||Daniel Ek, Martin Lorentzon|
|Alexa rank||903 (July 2013[update])|
|Headquarters||London, England and Stockholm, Sweden|
|country of origin||Sweden|
|Founder(s)||Daniel Ek, Martin Lorentzon|
|Alexa rank||903 (July 2013[update])|
|Stable release||0.9.4.169 (September 23, 2013 ) [±]|
|Preview release||0.9.4.183 (Linux) (November 1, 2013(approx.)) [±]|
|Written in||C++ (With some third-party libraries)|
|Operating system||Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Phone, Linux, BlackBerry OS, Android, iOS and OS X|
|Available in||Over 50 languages|
Spotify is a commercial music streaming service providing Digital Rights Management-protected content from record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal. Launched in October 2008 by Swedish startup Spotify AB, the service had approximately 10 million users as of 15 September 2010 [update], about 2.5 million of whom were paying users. Total users reached 20 million by December 2012, 5 million of whom pay a monthly subscription fee that varies based on locale.
The system is currently available using Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, S60 (Symbian), webOS, Samsung Smart TV, Squeezebox, Boxee, Sonos, WD TV, Roku, MeeGo, Telia Digital-tv, and TiVo. As of November 2013 Spotify was not available in the Windows Store for Windows 8 where the Xbox Music service is provided preinstalled and provides access to 50 million tracks (compared with 30 million available through Spotify) with free streaming when logged into the computer with a Microsoft account using the same ad supported service basis as Spotify with a similar premium service to remove adverts and allow streaming on mobile devices.
Music can be browsed by artist, album, record label, genre or playlist as well as by direct searches. On computers, a link allows the listener to purchase selected material via partner retailers.
A six-month free trial period is activated upon account registration or first login with a Facebook account, allowing the user to listen to an unlimited amount of music supported by visual and radio-style advertising. After the trial, Spotify has a listening limit of 10 hours per month, divided into 2.5 hour weekly portions (unused hours carry over). The only locations exempt from this rule are the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia, where ad-supported unlimited streaming continues on Spotify Free. An "Unlimited" subscription removes advertisements and time limits and a "Premium" subscription introduces extra features such as higher bitrate streaming, offline access to music and mobile app access. Users can try Spotify Premium for 48 hours by logging into Spotify Mobile for the first time, or get a 30-day trial for their first month. An active Facebook account is required to use Spotify if the user has signed up using Facebook, but as of 30 August 2012 the option to make a Spotify username was again offered. Subscriptions are restricted to people with credit/debit cards or PayPal accounts registered in certain countries.
Spotify was developed in 2006 by a team at Spotify AB, in Stockholm, Sweden. The company was founded by Daniel Ek, former CTO of Stardoll, and Martin Lorentzon, co-founder of TradeDoubler. Spotify Ltd. now operates as the parent company in London. Spotify AB handles research and development in Stockholm.
The Spotify application was launched for public access on 7 October 2008. While free accounts remained available by invitation to manage the growth of the service, the launch opened paid subscriptions to everyone. At the same time, Spotify AB announced licensing deals with many major music labels. The company reported a $4.4 million loss for 2008.[clarification needed]
The first steps towards offering free accounts to the public without invitations were taken on 10 February 2009, when Spotify opened free registration in the United Kingdom. Registrations surged following the release of the Spotify mobile service, leading Spotify to stop open registrations in the UK for part of 2009, returning to an invitation-only policy.
On 4 March 2009, Spotify announced a security flaw in the service, by which private account information (including email addresses and hashed salted passwords) of members registered prior to 19 December 2008 were potentially exposed.
In February 2010, Spotify received a small investment from Founders Fund, where board member Sean Parker was recruited to assist Spotify in "winning the labels over in the world's largest music market".
On 18 May 2010, Spotify announced that two more types of accounts were available: Spotify Unlimited, an equivalent to Spotify Premium without mobile and other features, and Spotify Open, a reduced-feature version of Spotify Free, which allows users to listen to up to 20 hours of music per month. As of 2013 Spotify Free remained an invite-only service.
During 2010, Spotify paid more than €45 million to its licensors. In March 2011, Spotify announced that it had one million paying subscribers across Europe, and by September the number of paying subscribers had doubled to two million. On 25 March 2011, Spotify temporarily removed display advertising from external sources on its open and free accounts, due to an attack which used an exploit in Java to place malicious code on victims' computers.
On 15 April 2011, Spotify announced via a blog post that they would drastically cut the amount of music that free members could access, effective 1 May 2011. The post stated that all Spotify Open and Spotify Free members would be transferred to a new product which limited audio streaming to ten hours per month. In addition, a user could only listen to a single track a maximum of five times. Spotify Unlimited and Spotify Premium members were not affected by this change. New users were exempt from these changes for six months.
On 17 June 2011, it was reported that Spotify had secured another $100 million of funding and planned to use this to support its US launch. The new round of funding valued the company at US$1 billion.
On 14 July 2011, Spotify launched its US service, a major milestone after delays and years of negotiation with the four major record companies.
On 30 November 2011, Spotify launched Spotify Apps and App Finder to "bring new and exciting music experiences built around your music tastes." App launch partners included Rolling Stone, We Are Hunted, Top10, Songkick, The Guardian, Soundrop and Last.FM.
On 29 March 2012, Spotify removed the restriction that limited non-US free users to five plays per song; the restriction remained in effect in the UK and France. The ten hour per month limit remained in place for all free accounts older than six months; however, they also announced "continued unlimited free listening" for users in the US.
On 19 March 2013, Spotify removed the restriction that limited UK free users to five plays per song.
On 16 April 2013, Spotify was launched and became available in Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Windows Store in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico and Iceland.
As of December 2012[update], the catalog provided access to approximately 20 million songs via searching for artists, albums, titles, labels and genres, and gave users access to tracks from many major and independent labels. Some artists opted not to be available on Spotify. Additionally, some artists are missing in certain regions because of record label licensing restrictions. The Spotify desktop client allows music to be imported from iTunes, with the option of syncing with a mobile device. Users from the UK, France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands can also buy most tracks, if available, from Spotify's download partner 7digital.
Users can create and share playlists, or edit them together with other users (see collaborative software). For this purpose the playlist link can directly be dragged into an email or an instant messaging window. If the recipient follows the link, the playlist downloads into the recipient's Spotify-client. Downloaded playlists auto-update if the author adds or removes tracks. Like normal links, playlist links can be used everywhere. The same principle also works for single tracks, which can be dropped on applications and websites at will. Many websites support sharing of Spotify playlists and songs and let users share, rate and discuss them.
While Spotify does not automatically create preference-based playlists, it does integrate with Last.fm. This integration allows Spotify users to send songs from Spotify to their Last.fm account and "scrobble" them. Scrobbling via Last.fm integration allows Spotify users to learn which songs or artists they listen to the most. In turn, Spotify users can add a Spotify link to songs in their Last.fm library and send them to the Spotify client with the Lastify app. Since November 2011 an official app called Last.fm for Spotify enables recommendations based on listening history, embedded artist wiki information while listening with Spotify and more. See the support group on Last.fm for a list of features.
Spotify also includes a Radio feature available to Spotify Free, Unlimited and Premium accounts, which creates a random playlist of songs chosen based on specified genres and decades. An Artist Radio feature creates a random playlist of songs by artists related to (and including) the selected artist. Artist Radio channels on Spotify provide background information on the selected artist, ranging from its history to a list of the artist's most famous singles. The Spotify radio function demonstrates distinct differences from its competitor, Pandora.
Premium (paid) Spotify users are allowed to skip as many tracks as desired, while Pandora places limits on the number of tracks that can be skipped. Free Spotify users on mobile (Android/iPhone) are limited to five skips, similar to Pandora. In August 2012 Spotify allowed users to "rate" tracks, improving the ability to organize the radio function based on user preference.
Spotify allows registered users to integrate their account with existing Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once a user integrates their Spotify account with other social media profiles, they are able to access their friends' favorite music and playlists. Additionally, Facebook compatibility allows Spotify users to share music with Facebook friends through the use of the service's inbox. Spotify users are able to send tracks or playlists to friends who, in return, are able to access this music through their Spotify account. When using Spotify through your Facebook account, music stories appear on Facebook feeds alerting your friends to the music and playlists you are currently listening to. These feeds feature a play button that automatically starts the song or album in Spotify. On 26 September 2011, it was announced that all new accounts would require users to access via a Facebook login but the sign-up restriction was later removed on 30 August 2012, giving users a choice to either log in with Facebook or create a Spotify username. Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook and a major investor in Spotify, commemorated the integration at a f8 party at which Snoop Dogg, the Killers and Jane's Addiction performed.
Users can access applications integrated in the Spotify desktop client, written in HTML5. Third party software writers can offer features related to music listening such as live sharing of playlists, music reviews, lyrics, and concerts. At the time of launch (30 November 2011 in beta mode), the supported applications were Billboard, Fuse, The Guardian, Last.fm, Moodagent, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Songkick, Soundrop, Tunewiki and We Are Hunted.
Spotify software is proprietary and uses digital rights management (DRM) to prevent unauthorized use. Users who agree to Spotify's Terms and conditions agree to not reverse engineer the application.
The contents of each client's cache is summarized in an index that is sent to the Spotify stream hub upon connecting to the service. This index is then used to inform other clients about additional peers they can connect to for fetching streamed data for individual tracks being played. This is accommodated by each client, upon startup, acting as a server listening for incoming connections from other Spotify users, as well as connecting to other users to exchange cached data as appropriate. No official details are available about how many connections and how much of a user's upstream bandwidth the Spotify client will use when streaming; the Spotify client offers no way for the user to configure this.
As of version 0.4.3, it is possible to also play back local MP3 and AAC files, though this does not work in Linux using Wine because Spotify is "...blocking codecs with the identifier "WINE-MPEG3″ until the Wine system works satisfactorily." However, the native Linux version supports local files.
Cache size and location is configurable. 1 GB or more disk space is recommended. On Mac OS X, a G4 processor or higher is required. Users must set up an account to use the software. This account can be used on several computers, but music playback is limited to one computer at a time.
Spotify uses peer to peer transfers to supplement their available bandwidth. This has led to it being banned on large networks where users are not responsible for bandwidth costs.
Spotify principally operates under a so-called 'Freemium' model: basic services are free and more advanced or additional features are offered at a premium. This is augmented by income from music purchases within the player. As of 2013 Spotify offered a US$10 per month unlimited subscription, close to the Open Music Model (OMM) estimated economic equilibrium for the recording industry. However, the incorporation of DRM diverges from the OMM, as well as from competitors such as iTunes and Amazon MP3 that have dropped DRM. In Denmark for example, the cost is DKK50 (US$ 8.70) per month (as of 24 March 2013) for an unlimited subscription.
In February 2009 advertisements for non-paying users were reported as lasting 15 seconds though in May 2009, Neowin reported that the approximate length had increased to 30 seconds. The interval between advertisements is not constant.
A monthly fee removes advertisements and streaming limits and increases the bitrate to 320 kbit/s for some songs. It also allows usage of mobile clients for iOS, Android, Symbian, webOS, Windows Mobile 6.x, Windows Phone and most BlackBerry devices. Premium ecards (premium codes), upgrade an account to "Premium" status for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months.
Spotify offers music downloads in the UK at £0.99 per track in partnership with the 7digital music store. For users who buy large numbers of tracks, download packages allow paying up front then downloading multiple within a month. These packages save money for heavy users.
Unlimited allows one month of unlimited, advert-free playback for half the price of Premium; however, it does not include any of Premium's other special features.
During 2010, Spotify paid more than €45 million to its licensors.
In March 2011, Spotify announced that it had one million paying subscribers across Europe, and by September the number of paying subscribers had doubled to two million. In August 2012 Time reported that Spotify had four million paying subscribers, earning them at least €20 million per month in revenue.
According to About.com, independent musicians can easily distribute their music to Spotify; pay for paid downloads is $0.70 USD, pay for streamed songs is on a sliding scale basis determined by the total number of monthly plays an artist receives.
In a report released in 2012, it stated that Spotify posted a net loss of $59 million in 2011, ascribed to increased staff costs and licensing fees and royalties to record companies.
In a report published in November 2012, Spotify was anticipated to reach revenues of $500 million over the course of 2012, up from $244 million in 2011.
Spotify announced on 6 December 2012 that it had more than five million paying customers globally, including 1 million in the US Spotify also announced that it had over 20 million active users worldwide.
By March 2013, Spotify had grown to six million paying customers globally and 24 million total active users.
Spotify has been accused of failing to compensate artists fairly. Helienne Lindvall of The Guardian reported that for "artists who 'signed up to a label' there's a tangible risk that revenue which comes from a possible sale of shares by the label would end up in the proverbial 'blackbox' (non-attributable revenue that remains with the label)." and that "indie labels... as opposed to the majors and Merlin members, receive no advance, receive no minimum per stream and only get a 50% share of ad revenue on a pro-rata basis."
In 2009 Swedish musician Magnus Uggla wanted to pull his music from the service, stating that after six months he'd only earned "what a mediocre busker could earn in a day". Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported in 2009, that record label Racing Junior had only earned NOK 19 ($3.00 USD) after their artists had been streamed over 55,100 times. According to an infographic by David McCandless, an artist on Spotify would need over four million streams per month to earn US$1,160 (equivalent to working full-time at a minimum wage job). Luke Lewis of NME points to problems with the Spotify business model, saying he was "convinced the 'free' aspect of Spotify is unsustainable" and that if "Spotify is to have a future, it needs to be a viable business".
In September 2011, US independent label Projekt Records entered a public disagreement with Spotify, stating "In the world I want to live in, I envision artists fairly compensated for their creations, because we (the audience) believe in the value of what artists create. The artist's passion, dedication and expression is respected and rewarded. Spotify is NOT a service that does this. Project will not be part of this unprincipled concept." In May 2012, British Theatre vocalist and Biffy Clyro touring guitarist Mike Vennart noted, "I’d sooner people stole my work than stream it from [Spotify]. They pay the artists virtually nothing. Literally pennies per month. Yet they make a killing. They’ve forced the sales way down in certain territories, which wouldn’t be so bad if the bands actually got paid."
In March 2012, 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." He called Spotify board member Sean Parker an "asshole" in reply to his claim that Spotify would make more money for the music industry than iTunes. "That guy has $2 billion that he made from figuring out ways to steal royalties from artists, and that’s the bottom line. You can’t really trust anybody like that."
Spotify's artist-in-residence responded to the criticism by stating that 70% of Spotify's revenue is paid out in royalties, and that the per-stream royalty rate doubled between the service's inception and mid-2012. Charles Caldas, CEO of the Merlin Network for independent artists, argues that the problem isn't Spotify's failure to pay out significant royalties, but that it's paid to the record labels, who then pass too little of it on to their artists.
In July 2013, Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke pulled all his solo music and that of his band Atoms For Peace from Spotify. In a series of tweets, Yorke stated, "Make no mistake, new artists you discover on Spotify will not get paid. Meanwhile shareholders will shortly be rolling in it. Simples." He went on to say, "New artists get paid fuck all with this model". Producer Nigel Godrich also addressed the concern by stating: "[Streaming] cannot work as a way of supporting new artists' work. Spotify and the like either have to address that fact and change the model for new releases or else all new music producers should be bold and vote with their feet." Responding in a statement, Spotify argued that, "Right now we're still in the early stages of a long-term project that's already having a hugely positive effect on artists and new music" and that they "are constantly talking to artists and managers about how Spotify can help build their careers".
In September 2013, Ministry of Sound sued Spotify, alleging that user playlists that mimicked the track listings of their compilation albums were infringing on copyrights for the albums themselves. Yorke renewed his sentiments regarding Spotify in early October 2013 during an interview with Mexican website Sopitas:
I feel like as musicians we need to fight the Spotify thing. I feel that in some ways what's happening in the mainstream is the last gasp of the old industry. Once that does finally die, which it will, something else will happen.
David Byrne, formerly of the band Talking Heads, published his opinion on streaming services such as Spotify in the Guardian newspaper on 11 October 2013. Byrne stated that "if artists have to rely almost exclusively on the income from these services, they'll be out of work within a year" and countered the supposed ability to discover new music through services such as Spotify by arguing that the vital issue of sustainability is not addressed. However, Byrne concluded his piece by admitting: "I don't have an answer."
Clients are available for Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista and 7)and Mac OS X (10.5 or newer). Spotify withdrew support for any Mac OS earlier than OS 10.5 in 2012. Microsoft Windows 8 is not officially supported, and as of October 2013[update] Spotify has not released a native client for Windows 8 (or newer) in the Windows Store.
A native Linux version for Debian 6.0 "Squeeze" and Ubuntu 10.04 is available. The Windows version can be run on Linux and FreeBSD using Wine. The Spotify website has a section devoted to this topic.
Version 0.8.8 received poor feedback. Some features, such as playlist filtering, were removed while sorting was broken. The interface changed from native C++ to web-based. 0.8.8 and newer versions offer slower performance and greater memory usage. As of July 2013 most complaints had not been resolved. Spotify offers no option to turn off automatic updates, however there are workarounds which allow to use pre-0.8.8 versions.
Mobile apps are available for Android, iPhone, Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7/8, Windows Mobile 6.0, and WebOS are available. The Windows service is a competitor to the Xbox Music functionality integrated within Windows desktops, tablets and phones; both services offer wireless streaming and unlimited listening for a set monthly fee.
As of 20 June 2012, Spotify radio streaming was free on the iPad and iPhone in the US.
The applications allow Premium subscribers to access the full music catalog, stream music and listen to music when disconnected using Offline Mode. As of September 2013, "extreme quality" mobile streaming (~320kbit/s) is only available on the iOS and Android versions of the Spotify app.
|This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (August 2013)|
Third-party (and open source) projects access Spotify services. The most prominent is Despotify, originally released as an ncurses text-mode client for Linux and Mac OS X. All third-party applications and development libraries require a Spotify premium subscription.
|Operating system||Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, Mac OS X, Windows|
|License||2-clause BSD license|
Despotify is a free software open source client. It aims to provide tools to allow third parties to leverage Spotify's platform for new services. Its authors remain anonymous, but their website claims that they are a group of Swedish computer science researchers and security professionals who "believe strongly in the right to tinker with technology".
The software supports most mainstream POSIX-compliant operating systems for which there is an ANSI C compiler. It requires one of Core Audio, GStreamer, libao or PulseAudio. A Despotify-based client, Spot, supports jailbroken iPhones.
Spotify has blocked usage of Despotify for "Free" and "Open" accounts, but those with a "Premium" account can use Despotify. The Despotify team claimed that they would not attempt to circumvent the block. The code may however be forked by others to attempt to do this.
Spotify is available in Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In Estonia, Greece and Romania, the Premium service was offered until July 2009, but never the free version. Only customers with credit cards or PayPal accounts in one of the above-mentioned countries can buy a Premium account.
Spotify was launched in the US on 14 July 2011, in Germany on 13 March 2012, and in Australia and New Zealand on 22 May 2012. From 13 November 2012, it became available in Republic of Ireland and Luxembourg. From 11 February 2013, Spotify became available in Italy, Poland and Portugal. Spotify was launched in Mexico, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland on 15/16 April 2013.
On 24 September 2013, Spotify was launched in Argentina, Greece, Taiwan, and Turkey.
As of 2013, the three Spotify account types are:
|Name||Price||Free of Ads||Listening time (First 6 months)||Listening time (After 6 months)||Premium features|
|Spotify Free [note 1]||Free||No||Unlimited||10 hours/month (Unlimited in the US, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.)||No|
|Spotify Unlimited||4.99 USD, 6.99 AUD, 7.49 NZD, 4.99 GBP, 49 MXN, 18 ARS, 4.99 TRY, 49 NOK, 49 SEK, 49 DKK, 6.45 CHF, 9.99 PLN, 4.99 EUR (3.49 EUR in some countries: Baltic states, Greece, Portugal) per month. |
Not available in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Malaysia
|Spotify Premium||9.99 USD, 11.99 AUD, 12.99 NZD, 9.99 GBP, 9.9 SGD, 48 HKD, 149 NTD, 14.9 MYR, 99 MXN, 36 ARS, 9.99 TRY, 99 NOK, 99 SEK, 99 DKK, 12.95 CHF, 19.99 PLN, 9.99 EUR (6.99 EUR in some countries: Baltic states, Greece, Portugal) per month.||Yes||Unlimited||Unlimited||Yes[note 2]|
A community of websites, blogs and 3rd-party applications and tools support Spotify. Community resources include Facebook and Last.fm groups, Twitter bots and user forums, tools to display lyrics and services to list and notify users about new releases. In 2010, Spotify blog The Pansentient League held the first Spotify Community Site Awards, with categories such as Best Playlist Sharing Site, Best News & Music Finder Site and Best Playlist Generator.
Spotify led to an array of editorial content integrating playlists into articles. Popular music website Drowned in Sound is among the most notable examples, running every Friday as "Spotifriday" which involves a playlist of the site's content during the week shared with readers.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Spotify.|