We burn through some valuable office time here at Rocket Pop talking about music.  Guitar players, drummers, bassists, a couple of bands, and some Glee fans, all in a very small office.  There is generally music playing in the background (thanks to the boss’s kicking studio monitors) and half of us generally have headphones on.  It’s sometimes interesting to look around the office and try to gauge what someone is listening to by the head bob.  We know that one of the developers is into metal from the constant squeaking of his chair.

That being said, all of us have turned on to Spotify.  We all have a pretty heavy database of tracks on iTunes and loaded into a shared Dropbox folder, so there’s certainly no shortage of content.  Spotify and its ability to share has, however, become our new best friend.

In Way Back When we used to trade tapes.  Used to buy Maxxell XL-II’s by the gross.  Hours spent writing out the labels, like John Cusack’s Rob in High Fidelity.  Then we burned CD’s.  Same care, same attention to detail.  Then it was a shrug and “I’ll put it in your Dropbox.”

Spotify has become the new mixtape.

Spotify started out in Sweden, and was Daniel Ek’s answer to Napster.  Ek loved music, and Napster had it, but it was illegal.  When Ek launched Spotify in 2008 it was only available for he and his Swedish friends.  It hit our shores this past July and we jumped on board.

Today there are about 500 million people listening to music online, and much of that is illegal.  If you’ve ripped something from a friend, technically, you’re doing it too.  Spotify has jumped into the pond and has the blessing of almost all of the recording industry.  Consider this:

  • Spotify currently has over 10 million users in the United States.  Since July.
  • 2.5 million U.S. users have opted to pay for a Premium service.
  • The current Spotify catalog is over 15 million tracks, and they add 20,000 tracks daily.  Oops…16 million…no, 17 millio….
  • Users have created over 500 million playlists.

Now, Spotify isn’t the only game in town.

iTunes has a radio service with that massive Apple catalog behind it, but have any of you used Ping?

Pandora and Rhapsody allow sharing and you can somewhat curate what you want to hear.  The one cool thing about Pandora is the Music Genome Project.  That uses music geeks at Pandora and your likes to figure out what to put in your playlist.  Sort of like your own personal DJ.  They know that if you like Mastodon you’ll probably like The Parlor Mob.  They also know that while Mastodon recently announced a song-swap with Feist, you’re probably not itching to have the little Canadian songbird crowding your seriously crunchy rock –and-roll listening.

The thing that Spotify did right was to partner with Facebook.

Everyone has a Facebook account.  My mom has one.  It was only natural that Spotify took that concept of sharing to the billions of music fans who love to share and discover new music.  You can do it from within Spotify by clicking on your Facebook friends.  You can do it from Facebook by just checking out your news ticker.  They’ve made it a snap to share your music with your friends.  Facebook lets you chat with your friends every day, everywhere, and Spotify lets you share their tunes.  Easy-Peasy-Lemon-Squeezy.

They’ve just announced that they’re adding apps with partners like Rolling Stone, tunewiki, and Soundrop.  The apps will allow you to follow an artist, read reviews, get lyrics, and buy tickets to shows.

With all of this sharing being had by everyone in a great big music orgy, will Spotify mean the end of audio-piracy?  The labels have given the nod, Billboard is on the app-wagon with Rolling Stone, and the white smoke left the chimney at Facebook for Spotify months ago.  Are we hearing the death rattle of the Pirate Bays of the world?

We could ask the sage advise of a major Spotify investor, Sean Parker.  Remember him?  He started Napster.