A recent survey has shown that those who use Spotify to stream songs for free are less inclined to illegally download music. Of those questioned who admitted to illegally downloading two thirds said that using Spotify had encouraged them to reduce the amount they downloaded.
This makes you wonder if people want to own music or just want access to it? Now that it is possible to download almost any album for free has owning a collection lost its appeal? CD sales continue to fall whilst legal downloads become more and more popular. It will be interesting to see if the popularity of music streaming will have a negative effect on legal mp3 sales.
Whilst users with a free Spotify account cannot own or stream songs offline they can have round the clock access. Those with a premium account can stream offline and on mobile devices such as the iPhone or the HTC Hero for £10 a month. So far the mobile app is only available with a monthly contract rather than on pay as you go phones so bandwidth limits are not an issue.
Legal downloads continue to rise in popularity with Amazon's mp3 store being a positive example. It has become the second most popular provider of mp3s behind iTunes perhaps due to its household name and lack of DRM crippled files. As CD retailers close their doors it is clear that the music industry needs to change its model. Spotify may well be leading the change.