Browsing through the online pages of my favourite Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet I came across an article (citing this article that appeared in Forbes a few days ago) calling Spotify founder/entrepreneur Daniel Ek the most important man in music at the moment. I went on to read the much more extensive Forbes article with great interest. It is a fascinating story how now 28 year old Ek has brought a revolution to how music is distributed and shared on the internet — and with a business model that returns a revenue to the artists.
Back in May 2010 I listened to a radio program about the diminishing number of record stores in Sweden [On-demand CD-production a future for the record store?]. I pondered whether “on-demand CD production” could provide some sort of future for the local record stores. The idea was that a digital library could replace stores’ inventory. Shops would then be able to offer all the music available on an internet to customers who could bring the music they liked freshly burnt on disc back home.
What the specialised record store used to provide was the opportunity to listen and share new music experiences with friends. I remember back in the late 1980’s how I used to stand with headphones on by the counter and listen to potentially interesting music, then fetching another one, and another, before finally deciding on something that felt new and interesting.
Since then I have, like so many others here in Sweden, joined Spotify. I had in practice stopped buying CD’s altogether, and I didn’t like the idea of illegal downloads — in fact I have long felt that the entire “Pirate Party” movement is highly unsympathetic. Instead I had in practice quit buying or otherwise acquiring any new music. My old CD’s were feeling more and more dusty. I wanted to explore some fresh music and decided to try Spotify. Since then I’m one of those who pay about 10 euro per month to get unlimited ad-free mobile access to Spotify’s impressive music database.
An Spotify is good. So good in fact, that I take back my previous speculation about on-demand music and the potential rebirth of the record store. Spotify provides unlimited access to almost any music there is, and also the ability to share playlists with friends. I have now come to fully agree with those who argue that the physical CD is a totally unnecessary artefact: Most of the ones I do own have now been put away in the garage for indefinite final storage and I’m not missing them.
Spotify makes CD’s feel about as modern as old 78 rpm Bakelite records while missing the charm of antiquity possessed by the latter.
What I would like is even better ways of exploring and finding new music through Spotify. Maybe they already exist? I know I’m not taking full benefit of the social functions that already built-in. Part of the reason is my reluctancy to log on to my Facebook account — I’m no great fan of the endless stream of thumbs-up, universal broadcasting of everything I do, and trivial comments about everyday life that I associate with Facebook. (Maybe I’m mistaken?) But give me a way to preserve my integrity while I share and explore music with like minded people all over the world and I’m home.
1 Comment to “Spotify makes CDs feel like 78 rpm records”
On–demand CD production a future for the record store? | Manufacturology — January 10, 2012 @ 01:09