After launching in the U.S. to great fanfare just over a week ago, Spotify's honeymoon with the press may be fading.
While the initial reviews of Spotify from both tech and mainstream press outlets were overwhelmingly positive, almost fawning (the latter from those who seem to have missed the fact that subscription music services have been around in this country for years), several negative viewpoints have been rising to the surface, samples of which follow.
Perhaps the loudest is a scathing indictment from the Harvard Business Review, titled "Why I'm Not Going Near Spotify," which mostly focuses on the subscription music model (rehashing the tired complaint about not wanting to "rent" music) that all subscription services share rather than focusing on any fault of Spotify's specifically. (The post seems to be part of a "he said-she said" package of opposing opinions, with the other, more positive write-up in the same publication titled "Why Spotify Will Kill iTunes."
Another negative turn on the Spotify news is exemplified by an independent blogger out of China, who is a premium Spotify user complaining that only 30% of the service's catalog is available in the higher quality 320 kbps. This guy really wants his higher quality streams, because in addition to the long and detailed blog post, he's also directly sent inquiries to Spotify executives (including founder and CEO Daniel Ek himself) via Twitter and still hasn't received an answer that satisfies him.
Finally, Slate (which in 2009 posted a story calling Spotify "The World's Greatest Music Service") now has problems with Spotify's catalog of 15 million songs. The online magazine tried to find every artists included in a recent mix by remix artist Girl Talk. The results: 88% were available, 2% were available only as live versions, and 8% were not available at all.
"Perhaps tellingly, almost all of the missing songs are from established artists whose back catalogues are very valuable," the review reads. "Spotify appears to be doing fine on the long tail; it's the seminal albums by retired acts that you can't count on."
Are these negative reviews a sign of things to come, or just nitpicking efforts to post an against-the-grain story as linkbait for Web traffic? It's too soon to tell ...