The future of the Internet?

by

Spotify

I’ve recently discovered Spotify, and I think it’s brilliant, it turns your laptop into a full-on jukebox with hundreds of thousands of songs in its library. It also allows you to make playlists and then share them with friends. Most importantly, it’s completely free to use if you don’t mind putting up with a radio-style ad every few songs and if that upsets you, you can sign up for the $10 a month service and avoid them.

What I think’s also great about it is, say you’re having a party and you want to put on an unlimited playlist but you don’t want the ads interrupting, and you don’t want to sign up for the subscription, you can pay a one-off $1 payment for a night of ad-free music. The only downside is that at the moment it’s an invite-only service, but I imagine this’ll change pretty soon.

This kind of open-source functionality is the direction the Internet’s heading, let’s hope the Microsofts of this world take heed and follow suit. Spotify’s taken on board that we love to share music – just look at the proliferation of P2P sites – and they also understand that the advertising works as an unobtrusive element because it’s a great free service and we appreciate that advertising’s necessary here.

Looking at this from an industry perspective, this is how digital should be: seamless. Whether it’s a useful application of web 2.0 technologies, or a handy branded tool, it’s got to be sensitive to the fact that attitudes towards the medium are, on the whole, tainted. If we can find ways to communicate within the realms of the online environment in a way that works in synergy, I think we’ll be on to a winner.

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2 Responses to “The future of the Internet?”

  1. Rich Says:

    I completely agree with you on Spotify. Ideal for the office.

    Got my attention when all my friends were compiling their songs of 2008 playlists and sending them to eachother. This sensitivity to how people consume and want to share music, plus the slick interface and inclusion of album art is what sets it apart from stuff like Seeqpod.

    I actually think that it’s invite only is an advantage. It makes it feel exclusive – another example of their understanding of the way people treat music and new technology. (The way I used to feel about Bloc Party for example – Wanting everyone to know about them but to know that I found them first.)

    gmail was also launched as an invite only service to a group of influencial bloggers and it massively ate into a market dominated by hotmail and yahoo. (Anyway, Spotify keep sending me loads more invites to send to other friends so I imagine it’s got huge uptake now.)

    The subscription vs advertising model is another interesting debate – especially when it comes to newspaper websites – maye for another day.

    Nice blog by the way.

  2. Joel Diamond Says:

    Thanks, and it’s a good point about exclusivity. Users of programmes such as Spotify, or initially Gmail for example, love the feeling of ownership they get from interacting with them and the social currency that goes with telling your mates that you’re using this cool, new, exclusive service or contributing suggested improvements to one of Google’s beta applications/programmes.

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