Unsheath the Visa

Sonic Charmer doesn’t bother to buy music anymore, because hey, it’s on Spotify for free. How long can this go on? Not very, he suspects:

What’s going to have to happen, at some point in the near future when Spotify/The Powers That Be have determined that Spotify’s market (for lack of a better term) penetration is big enough, is that Spotify is going to slap a fee even onto all of its “free” users.

Yes, X% will revolt and cry foul and curse Spotify and vow to never use it again, but (1-X)%, having gotten the Spotify habit, will acquiesce and pay, and that tradeoff will be worth it to The Music Industry, so they’ll do it.

At which point, you have to wonder about pricing. There already exists a pay service called Rdio, which charges $5 a month for Web streaming, $10 if you also want it to come to your mobile, matching Spotify’s current pricing for “premium” (read: “no ads”) service. Being one of those old mossbacks who still buys stuff, I’m probably not in the target market for either service — but things are changing so quickly that at some point I may have to pay attention, if nothing else.


  1. JT »

    26 December 2012 · 10:06 am

    I imagine for the X%, paying attention has too high a price tag.

  2. Tatyana »

    26 December 2012 · 10:40 am

    There is also Pandora, which I’ve been listening to for 7 yrs – and it’s still free, if you don’t mind an occasional advertisement.
    Now I can even stream it to my TV, via FIOS widgets.

  3. McGehee »

    26 December 2012 · 11:10 am


    This might be more correct if rendered as “(100%-x).” “1-x,” where “x” has been expressed previously as a percentage, is a negative number no matter how you slice it.

  4. McGehee »

    26 December 2012 · 11:10 am

    …and I goofed by not offering x as a percentage in my correction. Probably “(100-x)%” is best anyway.

  5. Sonic Charmer »

    26 December 2012 · 7:56 pm

    Notation police! I am duly chastened.

    I think in fractions not ‘percent numbers’ so actually X and 1-X are exactly what I meant there. Throwing a “%” sign after each is a habit, for ease in reading and probably, alas, notationally incorrect. But still clear enough from context, I hope.

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