Sell or Rent – A rant against Spotify

Spotify VS iTunes

by daniel on July 25, 2011

User expectation on how the product is purchased is a great hurdle to overcome and for a reason. Users expect the purchasing to suit the usage pattern. Overcoming this is possible, but there should be an excellent reason for this:
One great example is the difference between Spotify and iTunes.
iTunes doesn’t need introduction, as the model is simple – if there anything you want, just purchase it: pay a fee and you have a perpetual license for hearing the song as long as you want.
Spotify is a new service where you rent music on an ongoing rate. The model is different – free version allows you to stream music to your computer freely but not store. As apying customer you are allowed to download and take it with you. If you end your subscription then you can’t continue keeping the music on your computer.

It’s a mayor difference regarding how a song is handled: is it an object you can possess? A cd definitely is, is a song too? iTunes believes its true but Spotify tries to change it to a subscription model.

My personal perspective is that the second option is good for the music industry but very wrong from consumer perspective and for a reason:

Music is consumed all the time, but I want to pay only once!

I’ don’t want to be tied to a company for the rest of my life for being able to listen to music. I want the option to decide where and how to spend the money I have mostly, ifI want to support indie creators I want to be able to skip the middle man (i.e. music companies). There is a heated discussion on the value created by the music industry and revenue streams, but this is not the primary issue here.

Regarding the original question, here are three links on the discussion, describing the different perspectives:

Spotify VS iTunes

Why Spotify will kill iTunes

Why I’m Not Going Near Spotify (and Why You Shouldn’t Either)


The point is, do you understand how your customer wants to purchase your product? Buy or rent are only two of the myriad of options available.


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