I’ve been extremely fortunate to have access to Spotify for a couple years now and for the past several months have been paying for the premium service. Now… I can FINALLY stop biting my tongue (or making friends jealous): Spotify opened for business in the U.S. last week! Hit me up with an email if you’d like an invite for the free, ad-supported version. Or go ahead and sign up here if you’re ready to dive in (can’t go wrong trying it out for a month) at $4.99 or $9.99/month for the fully featured desktop streaming or fully-featured mobile syncing respectively.
Spotify now offers users various packages for purchasing downloads of the tracks already streamable via the service. A single track goes for $1.29 cents a track but for $50 you can download 100 tracks (that’s 50 cents a pop). The one catch being that all credits expire after 30 days (extendable to 90 days depending on ensuing transactions). Each purchased download can be re-downloaded up to four times.
50 cents is a great deal for the savvy investor, however, many users are sure to get got by simply clicking “Get Album” on, say, the new Beastie Boys’ “Hot Sauce Committee Party Two” and pay $14.28 straight up for the 16 tracks.
The downloads come via 7digital in 320 kbps format.
Alternatively, the digital album goes for $7.99 at Amazon (320 kbps mp3), $10.99 on BeastieBoys.com (in multiple formats including lossless plus a bonus remix), and $14.99 at the iTunes store at 256 kbps AAC (incl. 30 minute Fight For Your Right Revisited video download).
When it comes to this particular release — the choices are so varied it could be a toss up. How would you go about purchasing the MP3 download?
Last Friday Spotify rolled out an ambitious software upgrade, making its biggest charge yet in both monetizing its platform and putting the heat on Apple’s iTunes.
The big news: Sweden-based streaming music application Spotify is now selling downloads: $1.29 for one; or purchase 15 downloads for $0.87 each, 40 at $0.63 per, or 100 downloads at $0.50/track. The mp3s are delivered via a partnership with UK-based 7digital.
Intellectual Property Developers
Caution! The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files. The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of “24” in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free.
A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.
We’re the post office, they tell us; who knows what’s in the brown-paper packages? But we know from America’s noble effort to stop child pornography, not to mention China’s ignoble effort to suppress online dissent, that it’s perfectly possible to track content. Perhaps movie moguls will succeed where musicians and their moguls have failed so far, and rally America to defend the most creative economy in the world, where music, film, TV and video games help to account for nearly 4 percent of gross domestic product. Note to self: Don’t get over-rewarded rock stars on this bully pulpit, or famous actors; find the next Cole Porter, if he/she hasn’t already left to write jingles.
Bono’s insinuation that content must be tagged, tracked, and protected in the interest of the creator is an uneven (if not borderline fascist) suggestion.
The biggest problem with this is that bandwidth regulation affects not just entertainment (whether downloaded, streamed, for pay or for free) but everything else that operates in the digital space.
Which includes education, charity, government, and most ironically, the development, production, and broadcast of creative content itself.
Read up on Net Neutrality Bono. The movie industry is booming (in spite of a relative abundance of poor content). But the service providers aren’t just stuffing their pockets with profit, they’re limiting both consumers and creators by throttling bandwidth.
Don’t wage war on the Internet, Bono. Talk about putting your back up against the wall… please don’t go singing that song.
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