Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Spotify (finally) launches in Ireland

It seems as if we’ve been talking about Spotify on this blog forever. In fact, the Swedish streaming service, which launched in its home country in October 2008, first entered the OTR lexicon in February 2009. Since then, Spotify has …

Tue, Nov 13, 2012, 08:49

   

It seems as if we’ve been talking about Spotify on this blog forever. In fact, the Swedish streaming service, which launched in its home country in October 2008, first entered the OTR lexicon in February 2009. Since then, Spotify has become an omnipresent name on the music tech landscape. It’s received a kicking in some quarters for its royalty payments to artists (given that it’s labels who agree royalty rates with acts, that may be something to take up with someone else, as we pointed out here) and it’s received praise in many areas for the size of its back-catalogue and its ease of use. Other streaming services – and there’s now a lot of ‘em – may disagree but Spotify was the one who set the pace.


Hej Irland, vi öppna för företag

Up to now, Spotify was never quite available in Ireland. Oh sure, you could access its free service by using some creative jiggery-pokery (we used a London postcode to power some Far Side playlists back in the day) or pay for the premium service, but that changes today. Spotify and its 18 million tracks is now available to Irish music fans in a number of different packages. There’s the freemium service (ie listen to it on your computer for nowt with ads between the tracks), there’s the Spotify Unlimited €4.99 a month package (listen to it on your computer without ads) and there’s the €9.99 all-bells-and-whistles Spotify Premium option (listen to the tunes without ads on your computer, mobile, tablet or any other device online or offline).

It will be interesting to see what Spotify’s official arrival does for the Irish streaming market. As things stand, an abundance of services like Deezer (which powers Radio OTR up there on the right), Eircom Music Hub and We7 have already had a jumpstart. As Ciara O’Brien pointed out earlier this year in her round-up of the Irish streaming market, there’s still a few absentees from the party like Rdio and Pandora.

All of this competition is good news for the consumer because it means you can cut and slice between services to get what you want. It will be interesting to guage in time what effect the fact that most of the services provide a free ad-supported option (bar the Eircom Music Hub, which is only free to Eircom subscribers) will have on sales of digital downloads and physical copies. We’re definitely moving to a streaming culture and there’s no looking back, no matter how much whinging you’re going to hear from certain old-school quarters. I’m not so sure, for instance, why it has taken Spotify so long to enter the Irish market, but I’m sure there were roadblocks and obstacles put in place by certain vested interests.

It also should act as a gentle reminder for Irish acts to ensure their music is available on these services for fans to find and listen to, if they are interested in fans finding and listening to their music. While programming Radio OTR over the last while, I was quite taken aback by the number of high-profile Irish acts who weren’t already on Deezer, but maybe that’s their choice. However, with streaming about to become the norm for many mainstream music fans out there, acts who are interested in appealing to this audience need to be in the game ASAP.

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