Opinion

As Music Gets More Social, is Apple Getting Left Behind?

When I opened Spotify on my desktop this morning, a pop-up informed me that “Spotify Loves Social” and that I should discover “great music with [my] friends.” To get started doing just that, all I had to do was click “Get Started.” Spotify also conveniently pre-checked the opt-in to Facebook’s new Open Graph feature. I’m not sure most mainstream users will understand that opting in to the pre-checked Open Graph opt-in means that all their listening data will not just be forwarded to Facebook, but that their friends will likely see everything they play on the Facebook ticker as well. As Spotify now forces its users to have a Facebook account, chances are quite a few people will sign up for this “service” unwittingly.

No matter what you think about this, though, it’s clear that the future of music is social. Facebook has partnered with everybody who is anything in this business, including Spotify, Slacker, turntable.fm, iHeartRadio, MOG, SoundCloud and Rhapsody. The one exception: Apple.

News

Pandora Removes Caps on Free Accounts

After a long beta period, streaming music service Pandora today launched its new, HTML5-based website. That, by itself, would have been a newsworthy story, but I think what’s really going to resonate with users is the face that this launch also heralds the end to Pandora’s 40 hours listening cap for users with free accounts. The free accounts will, of course, continue to feature ads and lower quality audio than paid accounts. While the company still markets “unlimited listening” as a major perk for paying users ($36/year), one of the main reasons for the company’s most active users to pay for the service is now gone.