Attention! Monetizing Spotify Apps Is The Same As Monetizing Music
from the now-that-I-have-your-attention... dept
Recently Spotify launched its app platform, a significant step into a future where music licensing can function like an API. Which of course should have been made possible a long time ago, but corporations' loss of control was preventing that until they finally found a way to out-leverage the indies - or maybe that's just a coincidence.
So recently we've been seeing a phenomenon I like to call the Rage Against The Stream, where artists & labels have been pulling their content from services like the aforementioned. I probably don't have to point out that in a reality where everyone is competing with free, attention has become more scarce and valuable than ever before and thus the categorical dismissal of access models such as subscription services is unlikely to pay off in the long run (p.s. I love understatements).
The day after Spotify launched its platform, articles started popping up, commenting on the fact that it's impossible to 'monetize apps' and there thus being "no clear upside to developers." And that's where I grab my BS-defense-stick and start drawing the line.
No, you can't put ads in your app.
No, you can't charge for the app or create in-app purchases.
No, Spotify doesn't give you part of the revenue of music streamed through your app.
It's the same lack of creativity of coming up with innovative business models that can be seen in other parts of the music industry... what's new is that this time it's coming from the tech side. What it comes down to is the same as competing with free - and saying you can't compete with free is saying you can't compete period.
Want to make money by building a Spotify app? Build one that uses Facebook Connect for user registration, focus on building a great experience that's non-obtrusive, make it easy to share this experience and funnel that back to your main platform (that's outside Spotify) - focus on discovery and then sell the premium. The SongKick app is a good example, but it can be applied in many more ways. Since it's going to be primarily power users and music geeks using the apps for now, items like vinyl copies come to mind. Focus on gaining & holding the attention - which is scarce, then build your way towards monetization by doing something that Spotify is not.
Spotify Apps are highly monetizable, you just have to be creative. Just like with music.