A decade ago, it was said that Napster would destroy the music industry with illegal downloads. Napster was basically sued into a non-entity, and the music biz limped along for the next 10 years with the advent of iTunes and the iPod craze. But, now, there’s a new player on the block, and it has the potential to completely change the way we listen to music. Almost overnight, Spotify has taken hold and is shifting music delivery into a whole new realm.
Spotify has managed to put just about any song you can think of into the cloud, and you are in control – unlike the randomness of Pandora or other Internet radio stations. Your library of tunes already on your computer can become a part of your Spotify library. You can build playlists and share music with friends via Facebook, incorporating the music listening experience into a social setting. Best of all it’s free (for now) – all you have to do is put up with commercial breaks every now and then. Pay a monthly fee, and you can have access to just about every popular song that ever existed on your mobile phone, no matter where you are. Bye, bye, iPod.
What does this mean? Eventually we won’t have to “download” anything. Who wants to pay for downloading music song by song if you can access it through the cloud whenever you want? Music as a physical object (like a CD) or even as a file residing on your computer or player is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
What can we take from this in terms of marketing? The lesson here is that everything is changing, and we have to start thinking about the cloud in a whole new light. Access to information and sharing that information is evolving right before our eyes, and we have to find ways to promote and advertise in this new paradigm. Think different, indeed.