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Popular free music site Spotify hits 1 million users

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The popular streaming music service Spotify has hit the one million user mark, it was announced today.

For those who are unfamiliar with this new innovation to the technological world, Spotifyallows users to listen to a wide range of tracks from major record labels such as Sony BMG, EMI and Warner for free.  

The only downside to this fantastic new service is that users can expect to hear an advert broadcast every so often. It’s only usually played after 30 minutes of continuous listening, so is not really a massive inconvenience. It this which provides the revenue needed to pay labels, although there are ad-free accounts available for a monthly or daily fee.

The one-millionth-user was registered at 19.50 GMT yesterday. The boost in users comes off the back of the decision to abandon the initial invite-only period in favour of a freely accessible sign up option.

A statement posted by Andres on on the Spotify blog read: “Late last night we passed a big milestone in our history, at 19.50 GMT we registered our one millionth Spotify user!

“Our user growth has been amazing since we launched back in October, in particular the past few weeks have been phenomenal and growth continues to pick up speed.

“We can only thank our users who have been great at spreading the word for us and we look forward to our next big milestone.”

The Stockholm-based company, whose founders include Martin Lorentzon, previously co-founder of TradeDoubler, and Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek, opened for business in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Norway and Sweden, on October 7 last year.

Spotify UK sales director, Jon Mitchell said: “More innovative and curious advertisers were quick to explore how we could help them reach our rapidly growing user base.

“The UK press interest in Spotify over the past few weeks has definitely contributed to increased demand for our advertiser team.”

U2 album No Line on the Horizon was made available on Spotify a week before release (Picture guardian.co.uk)

U2 album No Line on the Horizon was made available on Spotify a week before release (Picture guardian.co.uk)

However some concerns have been raised over what impact the growth of Spotifywill have on the music industry long term. While the days of using iTunes may be fading away, as Chris Jefferies warned last month, this new way of listening to music could severely damage sales. 

Chris said in his blog post, ‘Spotify the difference’: “Yesterday, I listened to the new Morrissey album, Years of Refusal. Hot off the press, came out that day. I listened to the whole thing without any loading time and although it’s quite good I probably won’t buy it.”

Whilst record companies may argue that the Spotify model may help to reduce piracy it seems that if more and more people use the service like Chris music lovers may no longer feel the need to buy music. However that seems like a long way off. Spotify does not allow listeners to keep any of the tracks they listen to. Despite this, the ability for users to ‘try before they buy’ may prevent people from purchasing albums on interest, already listened to the track online. As a result album buying may therefore become far more selective with purchases being dictated solely by fans who  love the music or artist rather than an impulse purchase.

I am not criticising the Spotify model though. I will freely admit to being an avid user. However with the music industry becoming increasingly reliant on events like the Brit Awards to boost flagging sales Spotify’s growth may prove to be popular with music fans but a headache for artists and the record labels behind them in the future.

 Spotify has not yet been given the go-ahead for non-European markets, and the ad-funded service is only available in the UK, France, Spain Sweden Norway and Finland – with some nations still requiring an invite to get an account.

Spotify has not yet been given the go-ahead for non-European markets, and the ad-funded service is only available in the UK, France, Spain Sweden Norway and Finland – with some nations still requiring an invite to get an account. Last week, the site offered users exclusive access to hear U2’s new album a week before release.

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