It was Baz Luhrmann on his 1999 song “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” who commented that you should “Accept certain inalienable truths; prices will rise, politicians will philander. You too will get old, and when you do, you’ll fantasise that when you were young, prices were reasonable and politicians were noble.”.
And judging by the times we live in, prices will indeed rise. Food is more expensive than it used to be, and electricity companies seem to enjoy clobbering their customers with ridiculous increases in the bills they send them. Yet there’s one company out there which stubbornly – and perhaps rather stupidly – clings onto the notion that it’s still 2011.
Step forward, Spotify. This year, the company raised some of its prices in some areas – including the UK and USA – for the first time in eleven years. Naturally enough, this brought out lots of people who thought it was a disgrace they’d now have to pay £13.99 per month to access an archive of millions of tracks – clearly unaware that in the analog era, this might have bought them three singles or perhaps a cheap compilation CD.
Spotify – and the rest of the streaming industry, too – have resisted the idea of raising their prices for many years. Ears To The House suspects the reason is they feared losing out to a competitor – seeing that they all essentially offer the same music. There’s frankly nothing to distinguish them from one another, after all.
But when even the likes of Stephen Cooper, the outgoing boss at Warner Records, is telling you that you really should put your prices up? Yes, the majors would almost certainly benefit from such a move in some way – but it would still be incredible value for customers. They’re not going back to CDs and vinyl – those days are over…