A couple of weeks back now, Spotify announced plans to retract its free music allowance, limiting users to ten hours of streaming and a maximum of 5 plays per song.
Of course, the Internet went ape-shit over this idea -- #RIPSpotify they cried -- with people left right and center denouncing the service as dead, defunct and essentially destroyed.
Are you kidding? How on earth did we get to a stage where paying £10 for unlimited amounts of music was seen as a rip-off? Sure, Spotify was free at first, but for too long now users have had a golden magical ride, in which limitless amounts of art -- art which, by the way, people have slaved for years over -- was available to listen to without so much as putting a penny down upfront.
When Spotify came along it's almost as if the notion of illegal downloading was deemed morally acceptable. Okay, so listeners weren't actually able to put the song on their iPods, but they were able to stream hours and hours and hours of music for free, essentially, downloading the album without paying anything. Artists saw little revenue from Spotify, and potentially had money taken away from their sales.
Question: How many of you have ever refrained from buying an album because you could just "spotify it when you got home"?
Quite a lot, because the small few who saw legal downloading as a sin saw Spotify as a cutesy, green, acceptable option. Thankfully, with the introduction of new charges, more and more people should see the bright light that is the premium option.
Even if users don't choose to pay the measly £5 a month fee (It's only one less Big Mac a month, right?) the notion of purchasing music may be restimulated through the weak play count.
The sort of people who use Spotify won't illegally download -- if they did, why would they have Spotify? -- therefore, the means of using the service as a tool for discovering new music could be utilized, whilst still allowing listeners to put money back into the industry, by purchasing a song after the play count cap is reached.
Seriously. I'm not some sort of spin doctor for Spotify or anything, but if you're going to use the service -- buy a premium pass. It's worth it. You can enjoy unlimited amounts of that new Arcade Fire record or pass out whilst listening to Tinie Tempah on repeat.
Either way, the free-loading days of Spotify are over and moaning about it is about as stupid as running riot over the fact that after a few free samples, you can't simply have the whole product for free.
Follow Ryan Bassil on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ryanbassil