You’re downloading MP3’s. I’m streaming songs. Your friend is listening to an internet radio station. My friend just downloaded a free EP. He buys, she pirates…. The internet gives us a million and one different ways to consume music, and in all the years since Shawn Fanning gave birth to his headphone-wearing rat of a child nobody has gotten a firm grasp on where it is all leading. For that the norm is now digital anarchy — literally thousands of websites to visit and fulfill all your audio needs. For years the modern digital music community has been looking around wondering how it is all connected.
But maybe that’s because the community isn’t a community at all. Maybe this world is just an assortment of music portals. Maybe it’s just billions of people arbitrarily connected through a bunch of wires and servers. Sure, you have your online friends, or buddies or fellow fans, but do you ever suggest a new band or share a song with them?
You don’t have to think too hard about that one because pretty soon we will all be connected like the Na’vi to Pandora (the planet, not the music service).
Just today Spotify announced their new partnership with Facebook and iTunes. You can now heed musical wisdom from your REAL friends. Yes, I’m talking about your flesh and blood buddy who held up that beer bong for you outside the Pearl Jam show.
If you don’t know about Spotify you will soon. It is a Swedish-based music service that is partially owned by several record labels. This ownership structure gives you, the listener access to a mecca of free streaming tunes. You can also opt for a £10 per month ad-free version. Yes, that is a pound symbol, which does mean that Spotify’s full range of services isn’t available in the US just yet, but it will be soon.
Now you know Spotify. You know iTunes and you know your Facebook. Now see how it all fits together. This is smart.
By the time Spotify arrives here in the States though it may come with some different attachments. After all, iTunes is already partnered with Lala and Pandora is now in bed with Facebook so there are any number of legal issues that could arise.
Regardless of the packaging, this triad of services is on to something big. It is friends meeting up and listening to music together, plain and simple. It is a return to form like the pre-Napster days. When record stores ruled you would buy an album, take it home and listen to it with your buddies. This is about as close as the internet can bring you to the actual experience.
Finally the digital world makes some sense! I’m calling it iFacetify.