How Spotify Helps Fans Discover Rival Services

image from open.thumbplay.com If and when Spotify comes stateside, it's likely that not everyone will be pleased with their service. Spotify may be great, but it can't accommodate everyone.

As one Swedish writer points out, Spotify may not be the best music service when it comes to editorial curation and artist recommendations. Due to the ineptitude of Spotify's music suggestions and the realization that it may pay major label acts more favorably than indies, Sam Sundberg left Spotify for WiMP, a Norwegian rival.

Sundberg found the service introduced him to more music and liked the extra depth it provided. To him, Wimp is leagues ahead of Spotify and that may very well be the case, but does it matter? Pandora is by no means the most superior personalized radio service and Slacker migrants will tell you that it, not Pandora, is the Holy Grail. Yet, Pandora is a much more established brand than Slacker, in part, due to its ubiquity. In many ways, Pandora is the Google of music. It's where people send their friends as it's impossible to screw up and its results are pleasurable to where no one is desperately seeking a another radio solution.

But, when they are, Slacker only benifits from the Pandora exodus. It whet their appitete for personalized web radio and will likely lead them to discover Slacker.

Spotify has the potential to achieve a Pandora level of awareness, and like it, the on-demand service won't meet everyone's needs, but that's completely fine.

The subscription music sector needs one service to dominate the market. Why?

Because if everyone points their friends to Spotify, it means that several of those friends may find their way to Rdio and MOG. Now, both Rdio and MOG want to establish a dominate market position too, but neither of them are in a place where they can attract a massive audience. No one knows who they are.

Rdio and MOG don't have the money to burn on promotions either, which is why they need Spotify to raise awareness for subscription music. Spotify's dominance could burn in the short-term, but pay off over time. If Rdio and MOG maintain superior editorial curation and artist recommendations, it will set them apart from Spotify when people like Sam Sundberg are looking for something better.

The challenge is that people can't look for something that they didn't know is there, and at the moment, the subscription music sector needs a dominate player to drag the rest of them into the spotlight. Then, it will be their time to shine. Until then, until someone like Spotify booms, no one will know that they had a subscription music problem. Same goes for Slacker. While the company wishes it had Pandora's market position, its dominance leads people – i.e. those who now have a personal radio problem – to discover and love their app. So yes, some fans may lose interest in Spotify, but if they discover subscription music as a result, the rival services will only benefit as long as they create better services.

However, if Spotify doesn't launch and Slacker does, that changes things too.

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Note: The original link to Sam Sundberg's story is broke.


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