Spotify: the way forward or just a fad?

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Features - Features from Freeq

Did you ever think that any music site could be more profitable than iTunes? Well, Spotify has done just that, in it's native country of Sweden. Although it's not exactly the biggest country, the fact it's happened at all is something to take notice of.

If you're not familiar with how Spotify works, it's basically an online version of the iTunes programme you can download to your computer. You sign up and have access to millions of tracks from every genre without spending a single penny. But of course, there is a downside. After a certain amount of tracks, advertisements interrupt your streaming. Some people don't mind this mild annoyance, and will continue to listen without delving into their wallet, whereas the solution for those of us in the culture of literally not wasting a second, is simple; pay £9.99 a month for uninterrupted streaming.

So should Apple be worried? Well, if they are, they're not showing it. The Spotify application for the iPhone has been approved, but will need users to pay the subscription fee to use it.

Now that there's a market for Spotify, where's it going? Is it just the 'in' thing, such was Napster when it changed it's agenda and became a legal downloading site, or does it have the potential to change the way we receive music forever?

A plan is already in motion is to try and break the American market, which is not easily done. New royalty deals will need to be struck, new labels have to be approached, the artists must approve - all previous problems - and in a country as big as America, it's already so much more difficult than the pint sized places in Europe.

Although Spotify in Sweden now seems to dominate the legal music market there, this doesn't mean it can be this successful everywhere, without the law changing. Swedish law says Internet service providers must give up user details if copyright holders suspect illegal downloading is occurring, which has already resulted in Internet traffic falling by around 30% due to people turning to legal ways of getting their films and music. With a similar law just rejected in France, Spotify's future isn't easy to predict, nor is it secure, or set to be the solution of illegal downloads. But what it's achieved is definitely a step forward for music lovers, artists and labels, one which hopefully is going in the right direction.

For more information on Spotify, go to