Top 5 Reasons Why I Haven’t Subscribed to Spotify Yet

I’ve been using Spotify since the start of the year, and even though I love it so much I started a Spotify blog I’m still a freeloader. I’ve not subscribed to Spotify premium yet. Here’s why:

  1. The commercials don’t annoy me enough. Sure everyone moans about Jonathan, the Energy Saving Trust and Roberta (remember her?) but most of us put up with it. The Spotify fishing line has been out for a few months now, netting over a million little fishies who are now hooked on the service. Using the “first hit is free” theory, I expect the frequency will increase from 3 an hour to 4 an hour soon. That will push more people into subscribing, but it will also push people back to the Pirate Bay. It’s a fine line. Pretty much all my television is time-shifted these days so I’m used to not having commercials spoiling my enjoyment. But I also grew up with commercial radio, so I’m not sure yet whether a small ramp-up of commercials on Spotify would be enough to make me subscribe.
  2. It’s too much of a jump from free to £10/month. I subscribed to Last.fm because it was only £3/month, which is a lot closer to free and small enough that I don’t notice it. But £10/month is a lot compared with free. Where are the special offers? Things like “half-price for the first 3 months” or “invite a friend, get 2 months for free” or any little extra enticement. Currently the options are free for life, subscribe for a day, or subscribe for a year. There’s no middle-ground. Something like a £15 for 3 months offer would probably push me into subscribing, at least just to check it out. I’d then get used to ad-free and would be more likely to subscribe for another 3 months. A day is too short and a year is too long (I know I could cancel after a month, but it’s a psychological barrier and also a hassle). Also, I’d like to see a PayPal option.
  3. The subscriber exclusives don’t excite me yet. My music tastes are a bit more obscure from the standard, so a U2 or a Green Day exclusive preview doesn’t get me too excited. The exclusive content appearing on Spotify is more interesting (for example La Roux’s Spotify sessions), and I think premiereing exclusives on premium is a good idea (it’s similar to the Sky Movies model). But there would need to be a fair amount per month to entice me to subscribe.
  4. There’s still not enough content. Three million tracks (and rising) is a lot of music; I estimated that it covers about two-thirds of my collection. But there’s still a lot of bands I like who are missing from Spotify, even whole genres (where is the Swedish psychedelic and progressive trance, for example?) I expect I’m firmly in the long tail here, but I’m missing the smaller independents. I’m a big fan of synthpop and electro music, and there’s a lot of great bands producing this style in the UK. There’s a link for independant artists to sign-up where Spotify promise to “be in touch as soon as we are ready to work with you.” I produce a bit of music myself so I subscribed a couple of months ago. I’ve still not heard anything back.
  5. Roberta ignored my emails. Okay, I’m struggling to come up with a fifth reason, but if my interview with Roberta had happened I would definitely have been shamed into subscribing! Seriously though, I’m waiting for the promised subscriber goodies. I have an Android smartphone and am patiently waiting for Spotify on my mobile. I’m also waiting for a proper API to get a development community started with generating exciting apps and plugins.

So, those are my five reasons. What are yours? 

  • Anonymous

    My main reason is that I basically think Spotify is a far too unoriginal idea to sponsor. A plain, boring jukebox for streaming over the web? Well, I’ve had that since the late nineties and this is all they can come up with?

    I’d much rather see last.fm offer on demand streaming (like Spotify) to complement their recommendation service. I’d pay the £10 a month in a heartbeat.

    A proper API is also high on my list.

  • Mark

    I guess for me its mainly (1) – the ads aren’t quite annoying enough, and (4) – there isn’t enough content yet – less than half the albums I regularly listen to.

    Also, when I think about paying £10 a month, I end up thinking I would prefer to spend the £10 on buying some of the good albums I heard on Spotify that month so I can listen to them anywhere (or buy ones that aren’t available on Spotify).

  • Martin

    I agree with Mark above, those are main two reasons.

    Also, the content is still in some kind of BETA mode, lots of weird tagged songs, crappy albums of re-recorded versions that you only find in 99 cent store or a fair, single songs on albums that are blocked etc.

  • Hal Halvorsen

    I put up my top three Spotify wishes a short while ago. While I applaud what they are doing I am still firmly in the “why should I pay camp. Here’s the short version:
    1. MP3 support baked into to the premiums subscription somehow. Teaming up with eMusic (ie 50 MP3s/month for a Spotify Premium Plus with eMusic) would be a start. I do most of my listening on the move (so a WiFi Spotify client would not be much use)
    2. DLNA support (ie stream from Spotify to my PS3)
    3. The price itself as you mention

  • Faz

    I paid for my first month just so I could join last year, as I was too impatient to get an invite code! 🙂 Very surprised PayPal is not yet supported, but at least you can cancel the recurring credit card payment at any time without any issues.

    Agree 100% about payment deals. Wouldn’t hurt to also build on the partnership with 7digital and give subscribers a special discount on purchasing MP3s, maybe even providing loyalty bonuses like a few free downloads for staying a subscriber for 3 months.

  • DDAA

    “Spotify is rumoured to be launching a new premium service that will allow users to download and keep as many tracks as they want from the music application.

    Users who opt to pay a monthly fee of £9.99 will be given access to Spotify’s entire catalogue under the agreement, according to Brandrepublic.com.”

    Spotify to launch service offering unlimited downloads? | News | NME.COM

  • Afront

    For the background story on that Brandrepublic rumour, see this post on Music Ally.

    Very interesting to hear all your reasons above – I’m now starting to wonder though whether I’m just being stingy and trying to justify not pulling out my credit card…

  • Antony

    I hate to be that guy, but: you’ve a spotify blog, obviously spent hours, days, month with this application/service and 30 Cents a day is too much for you? How cheap can you be? Seriously.

  • Antony

    Well, pretty cheap I guess. : )

  • Afront

    Actually it’s closer to 50 cents a day but I take your point. Maybe I’ve just lived in Scotland for too long? 😉

    Anyway, come back soon for when I finally take the plunge. Probable forthcoming post: “Top 5 Reasons Why I Subscribed to Spotify”!

  • Antony

    Haha, that makes perfect sense!

    Just spent an hour clicking through almost all the links posted, this blog is a great resource, thanks for the ongoing research.

  • sickofmotion

    The main reason I’m not subscribing to Spotify is that if I’m going to pay, I want to own the music. I don’t want to rely on whether I have an internet connection or whether they’re able to keep the service up. So I’m only using Spotify to check out albums without downloading them, in order to decide whether they’re worth buying. Maybe if the price was lower AND they had more of the bands I’m interested in I might think twice about it, but for now I’m sticking with the free version.

    But I’d have no problem paying for downloadable music provided it was lossless and that most of the money went to the artists.

  • sickofmotion

    My previous post is probably more negative that I intended to. I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing Spotify, no, I think it’s a great service and probably the best streaming service today.

  • Re: The commercials: It’s the quality, not the quantity that bothers me.  Over on Pandora, the commercials are for products–and so it feels OK when they interrupt the flow of the music, like old radio used to, only with just 1 rather than 1,000 commercials. 🙂  But, on Spotify, the commercials are all for other music, so when these snippets of songs interrupt a playlist, they really throw off the flow, and it is more jarring.

  • I can see how that’d get pretty annoying after a while. I don’t think Spotify would want to reject submitted ads for “artistic value,” but they have claimed they could match ads to users (based on demographics like age, location etc. as well as listening habits). I’ve not seen any evidence that they’ve implemented this smart-placement yet though.

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