Spotify announced big changes to their service this morning with v0.4.3 in a move to integrate social networking sites in to their desktop software application, describing it as an “evolution of its service”. With the integration of social networking, users can share music tracks that they’re listening to with each other, and see what their friends are listening to as well.
Daniel Ek, the founder and CEO of Spotify, said “We’re marrying the best bits of Facebook and we’re marrying the best bits of iTunes and we’ve moved them in to Spotify.”
Using the new version, users can not only pull their friends from Facebook and import their information, but you can also import songs from iTunes, giving you one place for all of the music tracks that you want to listen to, including those residing on your hard drive.
The “next generation” of Spotify is definitely a huge step in the right direction for users, although I feel that being limited to importing local music from iTunes may be detrimental to some users who don’t use iTunes as their media player or provider. It would be great to see other importing options in the future, such as the ability to get your content from other media players for users with devices such as the Microsoft Zune HD as well as other online music providers too such as Amazon’s MP3 Download Store service.
Such offerings do propose some implications however, with all of your music library available not only to you, but every one of your friends as well. This means that sharing music between you and your friends couldn’t be easier, and you have access to a lot of music without paying a penny.
Daniel Ek continued to say how “I think this is a massive step towards the next generation music industry where it’s about access to music and not about ownership any more… you can create play lists which are like mix tapes used to be 20 years ago, so you can actually do this super-fast.”
Edgar Bronfman, Chief Executive of Warner Music, was one of the people opposing the new social networking features that allows music to be shared for free, saying “The ‘get all your music for free and then maybe with a few bells and whistles we can move you to a premium price’ strategy is not the kind of business approach we will be supporting in the future…” before going on to say that such services were “clearly not positive for industry”.
Of course it’s important for the industry as a whole that artists are paid for their music, but a music sharing service isn’t necessarily going to prevent this from happening. As a Spotify user myself, if I found a song that I liked on a friend’s music library, I would most probably go and download a copy for myself too so that I can listen to it on the go with ease.
Users of Spotify will be able to enjoy the latest update from today thanks to the automatic rollout of the update or download the Spotify update from their site. European users will be able to get hold of the update within the next week. Unfortunately, if you’re not already a user of the Spotify service, then you’ll need to get a Spotify invite from an existing user (who still has some left) as invites are still required in the UK.
In other Spotify news today, music playlist sharing website; ShareMyPlaylists.com announced that they’d received investment start-up funding from the Buy.at dream team – this is obviously a sign of the success of this particular service and of the Spotify online music business model as a whole, clearly there’s exciting times ahead from all involved, no doubt with lots more developments and new features coming this way for Spotify users.