Spotify Takes a Good Idea and Wraps it in Stupid

Spotify announced today the availability of a widget that people can use to “embed” music on their blogs and websites. When I first read about this, my initial thoughts were, “brilliant idea; now lots of people will discover Spotify, and different types of music.”

But I forgot how stupid Spotify can be.

If you go to the Spotify Classical Playlists blog, you’ll see that the blog owner has embedded some music in his posts. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like:

And when you click on a triangle to sample some music, here’s what happens:

Oops! Sorry, non-Spotify user, you either pony up or move along. These embedded widgets serve no purpose other than advertising for Spotify (other than for those users who are already subscribers or have limited free accounts). So people who embed these widgets on their blogs are essentially giving free advertising to Spotify, but the company is offering nothing in exchange. It’s a lose/lose deal.

To be fair, Spotify is probably under the yoke of the recording industry, and this is why they can’t even let users listen to a song once; not ever get a 90-second, or even 30-second preview. But as long as Spotify depends on the ass-backwards nature of the recording industry’s reaction to new methods of music distribution, they will fail. While I’m not a fan of streaming services (yet), I don’t think Spotify is ever going to succeed, unless the recording industry starts taking enlightenment pills. You can embed YouTube videos and other types of content using widgets; just think how much exposure some music could get if you could do the same thing? This widget isn’t about the music; it’s all about Spotify promoting itself.

The worst thing of all is that the many blogs and websites are giving a lot of space to Spotify with free ads. I guess it’s worth it for Spotify to get all of that free promotion, but in the long run, I think this new gimmick just looks stupid.

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7 replies
  1. Josh says:

    “pony up?”
    To be clear, these playback widgets work completely fine with a 100% free Spotify account. The app launches (and plays seamlessly in the background.)

    • kirk says:

      Right. And the 99.9% of users who don’t have Spotify accounts see an ad for the service when they click…

  2. Josh says:

    I certainly understand not wanting ads. But I don’t see this as much different that a newspaper site requiring a login before you can read their linked article. Annoying, but I put up with it so long as its free.

    What other (legal) methods are out there that would allow bloggers or websites to let their visitors listen to the full song or a full album? Sure, a 60-second preview would be nice, but the full song is cooler. Signing up for a free account on the service that provides it, no commitment beyond that required, seems like a fair request to me.

    • kirk says:

      Remember, it’s not like you can listen to whatever you want with their free account. I’m not sure what the conditions are in the US, but here in France, you’re limited to 2 1/2 hours a month. So if you listen to an entire album on a website, that’s one hour.


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