Music subscription service Spotify has only been available stateside for a few months now (recently scoring the O Music Award for Most Addictive Social Music Service), and it’s already set to make a big announcement today in New York City. We’re here at the event, primed to see what transpires, and will be live-blogging the whole deal after the jump.
11:50 – 10 minutes until the announcement. They are passing out very fancy snacks and playing some pretty good music. The audience is glued to their smartphones.
12:17 – CEO and founder Daniel Ek is taking the stage. This is the first event like this that they have ever had.
He’s giving us a brief history of digital music. (Abba’s was the first CD to come off the production line — a band from Ek’s home country of Sweden.)
He’s now talking about Napster and how it introduced him to a ton of new music. Sadly, it was illegal. Today, we have 500 million people listening online — and very few do so legally. So we need a better product than piracy. (We’re guessing he means Spotify.)
The main issue that we have to solve is access. The CD has solved that issue, and now Spotify is hoping to bridge that gap — making music accessible everywhere, while helping artists.
Ek is now going over Spotify’s business model — basically old news: free model, premium, etc. They’re adding 20,000 new tracks every day.
Three years of existence and now Spotify is 2nd biggest digital revenue source for Europeans labels.
33% of the Swedish population uses Spotify, and piracy decreased by 25%. Sweden was a big country for piracy.
Spotify has 10 million active users, with 2.5 million subscribers.
12:24 – Now Ek is talking about social. Spotify is now in 12 territories. They’ve added 7 million users since September. Facebook has been a big factor in this. As we know, Facebook added deeper integration with Facebook a few months ago, making it easier to share music.
500 million playlists have been created by Spotify users. That number has doubled since July. “Playlists are the new mixtapes,” Ek says.
“We want music to be like water, available everywhere, available seamlessly,” Ek says. He says this will increase sharing and will help both artists and the music industry.
12:27 – Ek is talking about devices where Spotify is available, Android, iOS, Sonos, cars, etc.
Here comes the big announcement, how Spotify is going to “Turn Up The Volume.”
“The Next Big Step”: Spotify is launching apps within Spotify from a series of partners. They have turned Spotify into a platform where third party developers can created HTML5 apps using all of Spotify’s info.
The first generation of apps are from:
Jann Wenner from Rolling Stone is taking the stage!
12:32 – “Spotify is the ultimate jukebox,” Wenner says. “It’s a dream come true.”
If anything, he says, “It’s been almost too much of a good thing.” Rolling Stone hopes to help users find music. RS will create a new playlist every day. With so much new music, users need that help. Artists will also create playlists.
“We have long felt that the Internet has had a enormous positive effect on music,” Wenner says.
12:53 – Time to look at apps. On the left side you will see the App Finder with all the new Spotify apps. You’ll find apps serving up everything you need — lyrics, concert tickets, editorial info.
Now we’re checking out the RS app, which will bring an editorial voice to Spotify.
(So, instead of adding all the things that users have asked for — lyrics, tix, etc — Spotify has brought partners on to fulfill those needs.)
With the RS app, you can read editorial and click on album art to listen to tunes.
12:37 – Now we’re checking out the Last.fm app.
12:39 – Checking out Tune Wiki, which shows us lyrics. Oh, good, Foster the People… This should be fun for karaoke freaks.
12:40 – Now we’re checking out the SongKick app. This is RAD. It combs through your music library and suggests shows. You can also check out setlists after shows and add them to your library.
12:41 – Now some general changes. You can add your favorite friends (like a list on Facebook) and track them, check out what’s going on RIGHT NOW (like the Facebook ticker).
12:42 – “This is only the beginning,” Ek says. He’s looking forward to seeing what kinds of apps developers will come up with.
12:43 – Q&A time. Ek invites some folks on stage: David Goodman (CBS Interactive Music Group), Larry Goldberg (TuneWiki), Ian Hogarth (SongKick), Bill Crandall (Rolling Stone).
(Ohhh, they’re setting up keyboards on the side of the stage. I wonder who will be performing.)
Q: Will the apps exist outside of Spotify?
A: No, they all exist within Spotify.
Q: Will apps only be available for Premium subscribers?
Q: Will band profiles be linked to merch vendors?
A: It’s possible that someone could create that app.
Q: Will this be open to all developers?
A: It will be open to everyone, but Spotify will approve all the apps.
Q: Will this extend to mobile?
A: They look at it first and foremost to be on the desktop. But if it becomes successful, it will extend to mobile.
Q: How will this be monetized?
A: There is no monetization right now.
Q: Is Spotify sustainable?
A: They pay every time someone plays a song. They’re happy with the way their model is functioning.
By Brenna Ehrlich
Image courtesy of Flickr, whatleydude