End of the iTunes Era? The Music Download War Between iTunes and Spotify

“This weekend I finally got out of an abusive relationship that had worn me down unceasingly for over eight years. Weak man that I am, I was only able to leave my tormentor because I have found a new partner, one who won’t frustrate or anger me or guard all of my things closely like a paranoid-obsessive.

My new consort is nothing at all like my old one: readily adaptable, easygoing, eager to please. I want to tell the world about her and praise her from the mountaintops: a dark-skinned beauty from Sweden, her name is Spotify, and now that we’ve hooked up, I never want to see that dingbat iTunes again.”Did the new Spotify ad campaign grab your attention? Want to know what the fuss about Spotify is really about and the verdict against iTunes? Look no further.

Until recently, if you used an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, you were pretty much locked in to Apple’s music player software, but thanks to a few new iOS features and the streaming music service known as Spotify, using itunes is now only a minor option. However the real question lies with what’s the verdict. Should we ditch itunes for good and move on to the likes of Spotify or even Pandora or should we remain faithful to a service that’s done us well over the past decade? Only one way to find out- read on and find out the scoop across campus.
  So what exactly is spotify? In basic terms it is a Swedish music streaming service (Spotify AB) offering streaming of selected music from a range of major and independent record labels, including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal. According to the official website, only two years after its launch (2010 -09-15)[ (March 2012)[update], the service is racking up over 3 million users and is now available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The system is currently accessible using most computer software with the inclusion of Microsoft and Mac but also smart phone mobile networking with the likes of android, iphone and blackberry included. The reason for its recent boom in users is due to the six month free trial period which is activated upon initial login with a Facebook account, where a user can listen to an unlimited amount of music supported by visual and radio-style advertising. After the trial, Spotify will make tracks unavailable once they are played 5 times and has a listening limit of ten hours per month. An “Unlimited” subscription removes advertisements and time limits and a “Premium” subscription introduces extra features such as higher bitrate streaming, offline access to music and mobile app access.

Spotify made a splash when it finally came to the United States. The upstart service lets you stream music from its library of millions of tracks for free to your Windows PC or Mac, after you download a stand-alone application. Once you install Spotify’s app, though, you’ll quickly realize that Spotify wants to be more than just a streaming music service like Pandora. It wants to be your iTunes replacement. The genius surrounding the ‘new kid on the block- Spotify’ is that when you open the application for the first time, Spotify automatically imports your iTunes library, so you can listen to your own music in addition to the millions of songs Spotify offers via streaming all from one program. Although that sounds great this is actually where the student feedback across campus came into play with one student, Stefan Lee, stating, “ Spotify use this aspect to gain an advantage yet in reality this is highly annoying in practice as, if like me, if you still use iTunes to sync your phone or tablet instead of having just one music app, you’re forced to switch between Spotify for playing music and iTunes for syncing devices.”

Another student Justine Velasquez also commented on Spotify, “Personally I don’t get what the whole hype surrounding it is about. I mean I get that Spotify doesn’t appear to be nearly the resource hog that iTunes is seeing as iTunes takes up so much more memory and makes heavier use of the processor than Spotify but realistically Spotify can’t do everything just yet so therefore still isn’t a total iTunes replacement.”

On a neutral viewpoint another student Kurt Kepshire expressed his opinion by stating, “I’m all for Spotify and Pandora but iTunes is still the best bet for syncing large video files to the iPad or iPhone. I can’t imagine going 100 percent iTunes free but it has to be said that Spotify, when it comes to it, is the best iTunes alternative. The only major complaint I really have with the new system is the program’s interface which is not nearly as easy to browse and organize songs via. ”

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