LED ZEPPELIN Coming To Spotify


Legendary rock gods Led Zeppelin are to bring a whole lotta love to an entirely new audience after agreeing an exclusive deal with Spotify, which will now include the band’s full back catalogue and a new, free mobile service.

Marking Led Zeppelin’s first agreement with a streaming service, the deal is something of a coup for Spotify. The deal was announced as part of a major expansion for the music service, which now offers a free version of its service on mobile and tablet as well as desktop, and has launched in 20 new countries including Peru, Chile and even Malta in its battle to reach a more mainstream audience.

Announcing the new “shuffle play” service in New York on Wednesday, Spotify said the new feature for its mobile apps will allow users to stream songs for free supported by adverts in a similar manner to its desktop service. Users can choose any artist on Spotify to hear their entire catalogue in shuffle mode, and they can also select a personal playlist or one curated by Spotify editors and the community.

Unlike competing “radio” products, Spotify users can shuffle the entire back catalogue of a particular artist. Paying subscribers already get an advert-free version, but this extends the service to mobile – an increasingly popular way of accessing music online.

Spotify founder Daniel Ek confirmed the service will give users access to the entire 20m-strong Spotify catalogue for free using playlists. “Nearly half of mobile listening, if not more, is people listening to their own curated playlists,” said Ek. “With shuffle play, you can now play any of your playlists for free. Spotify’s new mobile experience is music for anyone and the best experience and access in the history of music.”

Nearly 45 years after Led Zeppelin released their eponymous debut album, the band’s entire Swan Song/Atlantic catalogue will be released in the next few days. Spotify has been courting established artists for some time, with Metallica’s Lars Ulrich famously buddying up with Spotify investor Sean Parker on-stage at the announcement of his band’s exclusive deal in December 2012.

The pair had been at loggerheads in the days when Parker was co-founder of the original Napster filesharing service. Since Metallica added its back catalogue to Spotify, the band’s most popular track, Nothing Else Matters, streamed more than 9.1m times, while Enter Sandman has notched up 9m streams.

“What does it say about the age of music subscribers?” said Mark Mulligan, co-founder of media industry consulting firm MIDiA. “Aging rockers like Metallica and now Led Zeppelin show Spotify is courting older users, those which aren’t necessarily early adopters and therefore aren’t streaming users.”

Mulligan said that exclusives like this, where one artist or band only releases their music on one streaming service, were likely a short-term strategy, as it would be in their best interest to ensure their music can be streamed by as many fans as possible on different services.

“What we’re likely to see is a move to time-release window exclusivities, where an album or track is available for a week in one place before general availability. Something Daft Punk recently saw success with an iTunes week-long exclusive,” he said.

Spotify already faces competition from other mobile personal-radio services, including Last.fm and Blinkbox in the UK, as well as Pandora in the US. The latter has 72.4m active users, with 80% of its listening happening in mobile and connected devices. Apple’s iTunes Radio, which attracted 20m users in its first month in the US, is also in this space, while Spotify’s direct rivals Deezer, Rdio and the UK-only Bloom.fm also blend free personal radio with full “on-demand” access for paying subscribers.

Spotify’s mobile apps have traditionally been restricted to users paying £9.99 a month, with free users only able to listen from their computers. Today’s announcement is not the first time that Spotify has made personal radio free in its mobile apps, though: in June 2012, it started offering this in the US. Today’s announcement is a global expansion of that.

The Swedish company hopes its free personal radio on mobile will act as a gateway to its premium subscription service, although it could also spark new criticism from musicians, who receive smaller payouts for streams of their songs by free users than by paying subscribers.

Spotify recently released numbers and analysis of plays, showing that a single play of a track would earn rightsholders between $0.006 and $0.0084, although this was averaging out free and paid streams.

Spotify says it has paid $500m to music industry rightsholders in 2013, and more than $1bn in total since its launch in 2008. However, criticism of its business model has been led by musicians like Thom Yorke, who has attacked the business models of digital music services for trying to be gatekeepers for music, and in October dismissed Spotify as the “last desperate fart of a dying corpse”.

(source The Guardian)

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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