So, after what feels like years of arguing, fighting and "almost" launches, it looks like Spotify is finally about to launch in the US. So will this be the moment when Spotify crashes into the public consciousness, or will it, after so much hype, die a sad and slow death?
First off, I love Spotify. I think it's an absolutely amazing service. Yes, there are frustrations over some music not being available (Arcade Fire!), but in general, if you want it, it's on there. It's stunningly quick. The offline functionality makes it perfect for me out here in India - I can swap my music around as and when I have Internet connectivity. It's legal. And the mobile app (when I'm back in the UK) means that I can't see me replacing my Creative Zen (which has sadly kicked the bucket).
So I'm a fanboy. There are, of course, some things it could improve on. The social aspect still needs work. The obvious one here is a tie-in with Facebook. That's what I'm hoping for. I think that is what will push the service into the mainstream proper.
Obviously the US market is important, but I don't imagine that the US launch is going to be a launch-pad for further success in Europe. I have friends in the US, but just because they use a service doesn't mean I use it. For most people in the UK and Europe, the US launch isn't going to change anything. One or two more friends will start using the system. So far, so meh....
Which means that the service as it is at the moment isn't enough for some people. They need that additional incentive to use it. It needs to be tied to Facebook.
Let me clarify on this. The last thing I want is the integration the way it is at the moment. I don't want my Facebook stream bombarded with single tracks shared from Spotify. That would be noise for noise's sake. What I want is to have a "music" section of Facebook, which people can link their Spotify account to. I want to be able to see what people are listening to right now. What's popular amongst my friends. Who is recommending what. Group playlists. All in one place.
So, yes, it's great news for Spotify that they're finally launching in the US. For one thing, it gives them the ability to finally focus on something else and everyone can stop wondering when this will finally happen! I'm just hoping that the next "something else" they focus on is integrating with Facebook....