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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?