The power of the internet has grown rapidly since its introduction to the mainstream in the early 2000s and it has become the most powerful tool on the planet, both socially and economically. However the music industry has struggled in recent years, in freefall since the turn of the century and the birth of the mainstream internet. The shift from physical to digital music has been stifled by the rapid growth in internet piracy, with software such as LimeWire, Napster and later torrent clients making it incredibly simple to download large amounts of free music.
Spotify’s launch in October 2008 effectively saved the day for the post-internet music industry. It turned the industry on its head, offering a simple and slicker alternative to music piracy which, while free, was a far from perfect method. Spotify’s relatively cheap monthly subscription and unlimited and instant access to a rapidly expanding library – which now boasts over 30 million songs – meant that the company grew rapidly. Spotify also laid the groundwork for additional streaming companies, such as Apple Music, and made it easy to enter the now flourishing market segment.
Spotify’s rapid growth has largely reversed the downward spiral of the music industry and said to consumers “this is how you listen to music from now on” – and all of its competitors must be thankful that Spotify prepared the consumer base for this new model. The resulting consumer shift is still ongoing and there is much room in the market for new players.
Spotify has turned the music industry on its head. Artists, record labels and even competitors have much to be thankful for.