here’s no denying it: A revolution in how people consume music is well
underway, and Spotify’s at the center of all the action. Just a decade ago,
it was normal for people to wander into a music store and buy an artist’s CD
after hearing a few catchy tracks on the radio or reading a few good newspaper
Then, when music sharing over the Internet became mainstream around
2000, millions realized just how easy it was to store digital music on computers.
Who needed a CD?
Also around this time, portable music players became popular. You could
copy thousands of your digital tracks onto matchbox-sized gadgets.
Astonishing! Yet, for all the technical innovation, artists still weren’t being
compensated fairly for their efforts because most digital music was being
swapped on illegal networks. Then, iTunes came along and blew everyone
away, introducing a simple click-and-buy mechanism to let people download
music legally without guilt and sync tracks seamlessly to their iPods.
And now? Prepare to get ready for an even bigger change. Music no longer
takes up storage space on your computer or even your portable music
devices. It’s floated off into the cloud (the term used to describe content or
services hosted remotely over the Internet); streaming to you through services
such as Spotify.
Spotify is a Swedish company headquartered in London, U.K. It first launched
in 2008 as an invite-only service in selected European countries, offering free
streaming of millions of tracks in exchange for listening to a few advertisements
in between. People thought of a track, and Spotify played it straightaway
in high-quality audio, as if it were on a CD. Amazing! Eventually, Spotify
opened up registration to everyone in its launch countries.
Spotify has plenty of healthy competition these days — Apple’s iCloud and
the long-running Napster and Rhapsody, for starters, and younger companies
such as MOG, Deezer, We7, Rdio, Simfy, and Grooveshark. I personally like
Spotify’s reputation for speed and stability. It has a superb, tried-and-tested
way of streaming music to your computer, and its fast, fully featured desktop
app lets you sync music to a range of mobile devices.