Not too long ago I used to purchase individual tracks from Amazon or illegally download them using Bit Torrent. Then I started using Spotify, reviewed the service, and haven’t engaged in the two aforementioned activities since. In my opinion it’s the only way to consume music, provided of course you can live without select bands that have barred their music from the all you can eat music provider. In that instance I simply find it elsewhere and upload it to Amazon’s Cloud Player so I can access it on any device that is compatible.
To be completely candid, I pay for a Premium Spotify subscription as it provides me with better sound quality, the ability to download tracks for up to 30 days without connecting to the service, and play them back on a mobile device. The cost is somewhat nominal at $9.99 a month and generally speaking the equivalent of one album on iTunes. However, that’s an amount most people aren’t willing to part with, month after month, especially when the one year cost is $120.
Well, good news. Now, according to a source close to The Verge, Spotify is in negotiations with Warner Music, and will eventually begin talks with Sony and Universal, to try to lower the royalty fees associated with their licenses. Why do you care? In addition to trying to improve the company’s margins, as well as (see a) profit, they’re supposedly working towards an agreement that would allow Spotify users to stream individual tracks to their mobile devices free of charge and on a limited basis. Odds are they’ll try to offset the royalty fees with ads as well as some pretty compelling statics that show conversion from a free to a paid subscription. That being said, Spotify does offer a free trial of their Premium service before committing to the $10 monthly charge, but if memory serves correct you still have to punch in your credit card to obtain it.
With more people moving away from individual tracks to an all you can eat subscription model, it’s probably not a question of if, but when Spotify will offer a free mobile experience. That is of course assuming Apple doesn’t beat them to it, who already has a larger install base thanks to their strong hold on the hardware market.