The changing way we recommend music
For the first time, listening to music isn’t limited by how much memory is left on your computer or how many CDs you can fit in your car case. New apps and sites represent a new generation of listening to, recommending and buying music, and it’s more social than ever.
Here’s a roundup of the top 4 ways people are using the Internet to listen to music:
The dominant model for years, sites like iTunes and Amazon let users download albums or songs a la carte, then store them on devices and cloud servers. Audiophiles get to listen to their songs ad-free and even when they don’t have Internet access, but have to pay more if they want more music.
Sites like Pandora and last.fm let users create stations around a favorite song or artist and hear more songs like it. Many of these are “freemium” models, where the basic version is free but users have to listen to ads. Those that want to upgrade can pay a monthly charge and ditch the ads. Pandora reported 54.5 million active users in June 2012.
Access models fold a music subscription into a service users are already paying for, like a cell phone. One example is Muve Music by Cricket, which offers unlimited downloads wrapped into a cell phone plan.
Sites like Rhapsody, Napster and Spotify have the advantage over Internet radio of letting users choose individual songs. Some are paid and some are freemium.
Spotify now reports 15 million users worldwide. It lets users recommend songs to friends in several ways – by publishing what friends are listening to in a stream inside the app and in one on Facebook, by making it easy to co-opt friends’ playlists into an account, and by letting users send songs or albums to friends. In July, Spotify reported that its users shared 27.8 million tracks through social media in the year since its birth — 55.3 percent of them through Facebook, 41.5 percent on Spotify’s own system, and 2.7 percent via Twitter.
How do you listen to and recommend music? Tell us on Facebook or in the comments section.