[This was my weekly music column for GlobalNews.ca. -AC]
Oct.7, 2008, wasn’t the greatest time to release a disruptive new product. With a worldwide financial crisis getting worse by the day, a Swedish start-up called Spotify AB unveiled a new online platform that allowed instant access to a vast library of songs to subscribers in Sweden, the U.K., France, Spain and Norway.
While Spotify wasn’t the first streaming service (Rhapsody, a spinoff of Real Networks, launched its product at the end of 2001), it has become the dominant force in the space with a reach extending through at least 65 countries. It boasts nearly 200 million users a month, 86 million of whom are paying for the premium service. Everyone has access to at least 40 million songs. (All streaming services have access to the same universal catalogue.)
So has Spotify been a force for good? Or has it damaged music forever? Well, it depends.