I recently became a Spotify Premium customer, for two main reasons:
- I’d spent an afternoon listening to spotify at my desk and wanted to carry on listening to the same playlists on my iPhone while I was walking somewhere.
- As a technology guy I was curious if it was any good
So I forked out my £9.99 to give it a go for a month. Aside from the fact I had to use their website (rather than just tap an in-app “buy now” button on the iPhone), the sign-up experience was simple and easy.
The iPhone app is really good; it suffers from the same problem that all non-Apple music apps have on the iPhone, (namely that the music terminates if you leave the app to reply to an SMS or check your email). It’s not perfect, but it’s a really solid 1.0 release. Playing music over 3G appears to Just Work.
However, I won’t be renewing my subscription for a 2nd month because it’s just too expensive.
Don’t get me wrong, I expect Spotify Premium to be expensive: it offers up a huge proportion of the world’s commercial music for your listening pleasure on a ton of desktop and mobile platforms, ad-free with features like playlist management, integrated art work, artist and album browsing and search and plenty more.
But the kiss of death is that if I pay for Spotify every month for several years and then stop, I leave with NOTHING.
That’s just not a sensible investment in anybody’s book. £9.99 can buy me 2 or 3 albums per month if I’m a real bargain-hunter. By quitting Spotify after 2 years, (£240) I’ll be down by 80 albums.
How to help consumers justify Spotify Premium
If I pay for Premium for more than a month or two, that should tell Spotify that I’m basically a music lover, and every such user should be rewarded as such.
Why not create a system that allows me to accrue album credits for every continuous month I’m a paying customer? This both encourages loyalty to the subscription system as well as reinforcing a strong sense of value for money.
As a bare minimum, I should earn the ability to keep 1 or 2 albums per month at the end of my subscription.
If Spotify really want to be disruptive then I’ll get to accrue at least 5 albums worth of credits for every month I’m a subscriber (after some initial intro period of about 3 months).
For spotify, the infrastructure costs are practically identical – users get to download a tiny percentage of the tracks that they listen to, (which is already a premium feature to enable ‘offline listening’). The biggest issue is that of licensing – would the record labels be willing to allow a purchase-model of music to be integrated into the subscription streaming-model they’re currently charging for.
For consumers, it would mean Spotify Premium was no longer a frivolous throwaway cost, and could be looked at as a long term music investment that would likely involve even bigger spending on music because of Spotify’s enormous streamable catalogue.
That would at least start to give Mr iTunes and his music monopoly something to worry about.