Along with media convergence and the constant evolution of technology, there is a definite clash in ideologies of how we use our media platforms. This includes the idea of ‘locked’, or ‘closed’ appliances, where there is complete control over the platform, content, and the user; and the other is the idea of an ‘generative’, or ‘open’ platform, where there is user production and distribution, and no control over the platform , content of user. (Moore 2014) A good example to explain these 2 designs of media appliances or platforms is looking at Apple’s iPhone software as a locked appliance, and Android’s software as a generative platform.
I think that the Spotify appliance is somewhere in-between these two ideologies. It is locked in some ways, mainly because of copyright laws (discussed in last weeks blog post), meaning you can’t copy, pirate, or essentially take any of the intellectual property (music) off the actual Spotify app, or get it in file form in any way. However it can be also generative and flexible to your personal needs.
For me, I think that is it ALOT more open and generative than other competing online music streaming services. Look at Pandora for example. You. Can’t. Press. Previous. If you have missed a song, you can’t go back to it!? And, you can’t search for a particular song, only songs similar to a specific song. This is an aspect of an extremely closed media platform. Spotify allows you to literally listen to exactly what you want, exactly when you want, wherever you want to hear it. This is also available to customers who don’t pay (with a ‘free’ subscription), except they have to listen to advertisements. I have a premium subscription, which costs me $11.99 a month, less that the cost of one album. I have access to every song/album/artist who is on Spotify (there has never been a time when I couldn’t find what I want), on either a laptop, iPad or tablet, or phone. There is also the feature of ‘offline mode‘, which is my saviour, as it prevents me from chewing through my data. Spotify also has a social aspect, another feature that makes it more open or generative, allowing you to share your music either just within the app with your friends, or through Facebook, twitter, or tumblr.
Moore, C 2014, BMC112 platforms, permissions, and ideologies: 2014 lecture notes 25th March, University of Wollongong, Autumn semester, 2014.