Spotify hopes for stream of Irish users
SPOTIFY, the Swedish-founded and London-based online streaming music company– which allows users access to a stock of over 18 million music tracks for free – has launched in Ireland for the first time and expects to revolutionise the way we access music online and on our smartphones.
The company, which was founded in 2006 by Stockholm-born Daniel Ek, a one-time teenage computer prodigy, was recently claimed by the 'Wall Street Journal' to be worth more than $3bn (€2.3bn).
It claims 15 million active users worldwide and four million paid subscribers and has been praised by bands, including our own U2, for finding a way to provide free music to users while at the same time, generating income for artists who have lost out immeasurably since Napster began offering shared music for free more than a decade ago.
Spotify's 'freemium' model allows music access for free on condition that users take two minutes of advertising per hour.
Most major artists are available on Spotify with a few notable exceptions, such as The Beatles.
Although its freemium model streams to a desktop only, a monthly charge of €4.99 allows users to stream music without ads and for €9.99 they can obtain a service which allows them to sync tracks to tablets, smart phones and mobile devices.
Thus far in the UK, where Spotify has been available for four years, it has not impacted on advertising at other music services such as commercial radio.
Spotify, which claims it has created its own market, says it had no immediate plans to locate any staff here in Ireland.
Ireland's Spotify launch takes the company into its 17th market. It is already in use throughout the US, the UK and France and last March the service launched in Germany.
Spotify has split the market over its future prospects with a recent round of over $100m in finance believed to have been raised from Goldman Sachs among others.
On the other hand, other observers assert that the company's business model is ultimately unsustainable, particularly given that both Apple and Microsoft have announced plans to compete with it.
"While we haven't yet made a profit, we are a fast-moving start-up company which is investing constantly in new markets like Ireland's," said a spokesperson yesterday.