Spotify Admits Defeat Already

Spotify’s head Daniel Ek notably tweeted “Uh ok,” after Apple announced its Apple Music service. Today, Reuters is reporting that Ek has already admitted defeat. He is quoted as saying:

“To me it is enough to be among the top three… But right now we have an advantage of being the number one in music.”

Geez, he shouldn’t give up this fast. Though you have to admit, Apple is the juggernaut coming in and shaking things up. I’m not convinced that Apple will “win” this market though, if winning means anything. It’s possible that Apple will get people to pay for streaming who never paid for it before, and that Spotify will keep many of their 20 million paid subscribers. In other words, Apple’s service could be what tips the balance toward streaming as a viable alternative for everyone.

However, it will be much harder to differentiate music streaming services in the future. It’s not a handful of exclusives that will make people switch from one streaming service to another. Once you’re locked into that service – when it’s got your listening history, your playlists, and your friends – it’s less likely that you’ll change. The difference won’t be one of price, as Apple has aligned their pricing with Spotify and others. It will be one of convenience, of user interface, of usability. And Spotify is not the leader there.

Interesting times for the music industry.

14 thoughts on “Spotify Admits Defeat Already

  1. Weird times in media consumption. Traditionally, consumers wanted to own their music via CD or download, and now that’s going away in favor of all-you-can-eat bundles. Traditionally, people got all-you-can-eat bundles for their TV service, and now we’re all clamoring to cut the cord. So it used to be way better to bundle your TV and get your music a la carte, but now it’s way better to get your TV a la carte and bundle your music.

    • I don’t think they’re comparable–TV bundles never offered every movie and TV show ever made, as music streaming services (almost) do. If they had, a different story would have played out. I quit cable 15 years ago because a) I was only effectively consuming a tiny fraction of it, and b) I realized I was watching (and wasting time) on a lot of crap. I love Spotify because if I want to listen to something specific, it lets me do that, and if I want to “discover” something, it helps with that, too. If my cable provider had every movie ever made at my disposal, I might still have it. (It’s also why I’m still subscribed to Netflx’s DVD service, but not their streaming one, which is mainly–you guessed it–crap.)

  2. Weird times in media consumption. Traditionally, consumers wanted to own their music via CD or download, and now that’s going away in favor of all-you-can-eat bundles. Traditionally, people got all-you-can-eat bundles for their TV service, and now we’re all clamoring to cut the cord. So it used to be way better to bundle your TV and get your music a la carte, but now it’s way better to get your TV a la carte and bundle your music.

    • I don’t think they’re comparable–TV bundles never offered every movie and TV show ever made, as music streaming services (almost) do. If they had, a different story would have played out. I quit cable 15 years ago because a) I was only effectively consuming a tiny fraction of it, and b) I realized I was watching (and wasting time) on a lot of crap. I love Spotify because if I want to listen to something specific, it lets me do that, and if I want to “discover” something, it helps with that, too. If my cable provider had every movie ever made at my disposal, I might still have it. (It’s also why I’m still subscribed to Netflx’s DVD service, but not their streaming one, which is mainly–you guessed it–crap.)

  3. While the article is fine, it missed a very important point, and that is regarding in-car use. While driving, a lot of us still want to find some artist/song/album on a momentary whim, but it is not possible to do so safely. If Apple can have Siri do that search for us via voice recognition (AND it actually WORKS, big IF) that is a killer feature that I don’t think any other service could implement. I would change in a minute for that, otherwise, meh, I’ll keep Spotify. (Well, artist-ONLY radio would also get me to switch, that is randomly playing songs by only one certain artist unlike Pandora or other current streaming “radio” implementations.

  4. While the article is fine, it missed a very important point, and that is regarding in-car use. While driving, a lot of us still want to find some artist/song/album on a momentary whim, but it is not possible to do so safely. If Apple can have Siri do that search for us via voice recognition (AND it actually WORKS, big IF) that is a killer feature that I don’t think any other service could implement. I would change in a minute for that, otherwise, meh, I’ll keep Spotify. (Well, artist-ONLY radio would also get me to switch, that is randomly playing songs by only one certain artist unlike Pandora or other current streaming “radio” implementations.

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