Integrate With SoundCloud and Other User Created Content Services
Intentionally or not, Spotify comes off as very poppy. Their homescreen, like iTunes, focuses mostly on top 40 artists and big label acts. If that isn’t your genre, you’ll likely get sick of the banners, advertisements and suggestions imploring you to buy whatever is currently dominating the charts.
Why not have the option to use Spotify for smaller labels and acts? As the hierarchy of the music industry continues to flatten, this long tail will only grow. Integrating with “off-Broadway” acts like Soundcloud, or even developing their own backend for artists to upload their files, would diversify their customer base incredibly. Granted, the search function would have to be discerning in its results; there are plenty of terrible acts out there. Yet think about being able to stream the DJ you heard at a club the night before, the next day, instantly or on your phone; that has incredible value to both the DJ (you’re more likely to come to his next show) and, obviously, you.
But here is the more savvy business reason: these small-time and amateur musicians, DJs and songwriters become Spotify’s evangelists. A legion of artists trying to get their sound out to the world will begin pushing the service. No one sells music harder than the independent artists “trying to make it”; why not weave Spotify into the effort? “Find me on Spotify!” becomes a very appealing message on Twitter or Facebook for artists looking to gain credibility, not to mention all the website links they’d build. Leverage that to expand the brand.
Will there be much royalty in it for the artists? Likely not. But writers use CreateSpace, Amazon’s self-publishing platform, not because of generous commissions (though, they aren’t bad compared to a formal publisher), but because the name gives them instant credibility within the market.
Extracting songs from the major record labels for mainstream listeners is obviously crucial to Spotify’s survival, but independent listeners have computers, phones and money also.