Spotify has to start caring about its paid users
The decision of sticking with Spotify was basically an easy one. I have used Apple Music, Google Play Music, Deezer and Spotify so it’s safe to say that I tested all the major competitors in the streaming music business (No TIDAL, I don’t even want to test you). After going through them, Spotify was the only app that gave me the best experience in the platforms I use and that really allows me to share with friends in the easiest way; also its design although sometimes confusing, is sexy.
Spotify is the biggest streaming music service right now, with more than 39 million paid subscribers (Billboard) and more than 70 million free users (Fortune) that get the free service in exchange of seeing and hearing ads among some limitations.
So why does Spotify keep lacking some music? Why does it receive the latest music after it launches first in other services like Apple Music? The answer: “free” users.
I won’t debate on the profit that artists make or don’t, because I am not an specialist in the topic. Yet, I can understand why seeing or hearing ads isn’t as good as actually paying a service or product, in this case music. I also understand why artists see this model as something unfair, after all it’s their work that is being distributed “for free” to some people, and every work is worth money, equally for everyone who consumes it.
As someone who now produces content and tries to gain something from it, that for many years consumed music for free thanks to YouTube or illegal methods but that now pays month per month for an Spotify subscription, I am conscious on saying that free things aren’t the best ones and getting people used to consume content for free isn’t a good thing. Sadly, we are used to want free things because of the “unfairness in economy” and because many people can’t get the same content as the rest because of legal restrictions or other reasons, even if there is the willingness to pay for it.
So what can Spotify do to fix the problem with exclusivities and getting late to the party of new music?
In my opinion, the solution lays on Spotify giving musicians or labels the right to decide who gets their music, if only paid subscribers or both paid and free users.
As time advances, Apple Music will only continue to get better and many people will want to make the jump to it if it means getting the latest music from their favorite artists. But right now Spotify has the advantage because of the many users it has, and it is right now that it must act if it wants to maintain its users, the paid ones.
As someone who pays for the service and still believes it is the best one, I think it is unfair that even by paying I don’t have the same access as someone who pays for another service, solely because there are other users that don’t pay and that represent the problem. This might sound classist, and by no means I want that, I am not even rich, I just happen to be able to save money monthly to pay for my Spotify subscription. But sadly, instead of benefiting all of its users, Spotify is giving more benefits to free users than to those who actually pay for its service.
I get Spotify’s vision of giving music access to everyone, but while they find a way to make it fair for artists and labels along with “free” users, they shouldn’t be risking losing the paid ones who expect to receive what they pay for.