But now that Spotify has grown to 50 million paid subscribers and a huge base of free ad-supported listeners, it’s emerging from the streaming pack including YouTube / Google Music, Pandora, Apple Music, and Amazon so rights owners can’t just favor them instead. Spotify has begun to gain some leverage over the labels so that it can make money without them and they need it to have a hit record.
Spotify has done a lot to make music more accessible and available since it first launched. It’s spent a lot of time since its launch beholden to labels and content providers so anything it can do, at this point, to gain leverage over those providers is only going to benefit it, and its users, in the long term.
I stopped buying digital music quite a while ago and, while I occasionally spend money on a vinyl release, I spend essentially all of my time listening to music on Spotify’s streaming platform. Everyone I know listens to music primarily via one streaming platform or another and Spotify is chief among those — gaining leverage and diversifying the content it offers is going to continue to be key to Spotify’s longterm viability as a platform. If that all happens at the expense of labels, I can’t help but think we’ll all be better for it.