When Spotify launched its first beta in the fall of 2008 it started a small revolution.
With the option to stream millions of tracks supported by an occasional ad, or free of ads for a small subscription fee, Spotify offered something that’s more convenient than piracy.
In the years that followed Spotify rolled out its music service in more than 60 countries, amassing dozens of millions of users. This has led to a decline in music piracy rates in a few countries, but the problem is far from gone yet.
Spotify Australia’s managing director Kate Vale told Cnet that one of the company’s key goals is to convert those who still get their music via unauthorized channels.
“People that are pirating music and not paying for it, they are the ones we want on our platform. It’s important for us to be reaching these individuals that have never paid for music before in their life, and get them onto a service that’s legal and gives money back to the rights holders,” Vale says.
According to Vale, the music industry was in part to blame for the surge in piracy during the last decade, as the legal alternatives were lacking.
“Until there’s free, legal and timely ways for people to download content, then they’re going to turn to illegal ways of doing it,” she says.
Today the legal options are there in most countries, but getting people to give up their old habits requires time. According to Vale there are still 2.8 million Australians who pirate music on a monthly basis, sharing a total 1 billion songs a year.
In the years ahead Spotify hopes to convert these people with a product that’s superior to piracy. This would mean more revenue for the music industry, and thus a win-win for all.
“If we can get even half of these people onto Spotify or legal services, it means there’s going to be money back in the industry which is good for artists, streaming services like ourselves,” Vale says.