May 23, 2011

While Amazon Chokes on Lady Gaga, Spotify Flows

While Amazon is struggling to keep up with demand for their near-free $.99 sale of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" album, frustrating many people, it's interesting to note that Spotify, the on-demand streaming music service based in Sweden, has had the full album, plus an additional set of tracks, available for free to Premium users for some time, and there are no issues in getting to the music, just another great example of why US customers who don't yet have access to the site, are missing out, and why heavy-handed tug of wars with the music labels involving Google, Apple and Amazon are keeping the best tech away from users, thanks to record executives hoping to keep their inflexible business models from being eaten alive.

With today's headlines focused on Amazon's 'exclusive' offer, and the resulting server meltdown, it's worth noting that Spotify users actually gained access to the same set of music back on Wednesday, May 18th. In fact, the album is aged enough in Spotify's eyes to no longer be included in their "Brand New Albums" section, replaced by even fresher tracks.

While access to the service here in the U.S. is still limited to those with explicit access, it continues to the best streaming library in the world, this just being the latest example. Don't love Lady Gaga? You don't have to listen, but at least on Spotify you can.

The Amazon offering provides 14 tracks plus a digital booklet for $.99. Peter Kafka notes Apple's iTunes offers the 22 song special edition for $15.99 and the standard album for $11.99. Spotify subscribers paying $9.99 a month (as I am) get it for an additional $0.