The Future of Music: 3 Alternatives to Apple’s iTunes Platform

Digital anthropologist Lane DeNicola suggests alternative music distribution outlets for independent artists to consider

Spotify

The digital music service provider offers artists—signed and unsigned— the opportunity to showcase their music among more than 13 million tracks. The service provider accepts music from all over, but unlimited, on-demand access is available to its users in Finland, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK only.  As of recent, there’s been some speculation as to whether the music distributor is going to launch in the U.S., with a possible summer 2011 debut. Recent reports state they signed licensing deals with EMI Music, Sony and Universal Music Group, and are discussing possible opportunities with Warner Music Group.

Independent artists are instructed to upload their music to one of the nine artist aggregators (those that help you license your music to online music services) the streaming-based service works with. Spotify and the right holders have agreed upon a royalty figure based upon how many plays one’s music gets. It’s also advantageous for music consumers.   With Spotify, “you never actually ‘download’ music in the usual sense, you simply stream it over the Web on an as-needed basis,” says DeNicola. “Rather than paying for the data that is a specific track, you pay a set fee per unit of listening time and during that time you can listen to any tracks in the music library.”  An open account gets you free access to music, but the premium and unlimited settings allows gives you more perks for a set monthly fee.

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