I’ve used a number of services (both legitimate and illegitimate) over the years to listen to music. Just recently I was an avid user of Grooveshark, whose legitimacy is in question. On September 30th, Spotify became available in Canada. It has approximately 40 million customers, and around 10 million of them are paying Premium customers. I’m now one of them, but I certainly never intended to be.
Around the time Spotify was preparing to launch, some of my coworkers were trying to convince me to sign up. I had a lot of music set up on Grooveshark. The service was free, and I really didn’t want to set up all of my music on yet another service. Regardless, out of curiosity — hey, it’s free after all — I signed up and give it a try.
Honestly, I really didn’t want to like it, yet the interface on both Windows and iPad was excellent. It responded in just about every way that I wanted.
Compared to Grooveshark it was night and day. On Grooveshark I noticed that the interface was clunky and it was painful to organize my music. Sometimes music just simply wouldn’t load. My music would occasionally disappear — I assume this happened in response to takedown requests. Music was of varying quality, which makes sense since the source of music is the hard drives of other users.
On Spotify, generating playlists was easy, and my music was automatically organized by song, album, and artist — in fact the only thing not there is genre and I’ve had to create playlists for that specifically. They also have playlists available daily in a number of styles that allow me to discover music I wouldn’t normally play. Best of all, the music I find is high quality and always plays.
It wasn’t long before I stopped using Grooveshark entirely.
But Spotify gives its users all of this for free.
What are the differences between free and premium? Premium gives the user access to an extreme quality setting. On my Android phone premium allows me to pick the song I want to listen to instead of a shuffle play. Free has ads every 15 minutes or so. Premium allows me to download songs for offline play.
Premium is $10 / month. I’m confident that over time purchasing my music on a store like iTunes would actuallly by cheaper than sustained payment to Spotify.
One of the things that pushes me to Spotify over iTunes is that Spotify is platform agnostic. Regardless of whether I’m using iOS, Android, or Windows I still have access to all of my music. My music also exists in the cloud. While there is an option for an offline sync, it’s not required. If I get a new device, all of my music is immediately accessible, unlike with thousands of music files stored on my media server at home.
Again though, all of that is free.
How did Spotify convert me to a premium account?
The experience is simply worth the money.
It might all be free, but I am willing to pay for quality and I’m willing to use my wallet to show what I like. I have changed my settings to increase the music quality, and the lack of ads is nice. I still don’t make use of offline play, but I don’t need the feature in order for them to get my support.
If you are making a service, make sure the quality is there. If I like the service and the quality is not lacking, I’ll open my wallet for your service as well.