“G’day Australia. Spotify here”, began the cheery message from the company, announcing the Australian launch of a service that would revolutionise the way we listen to music, the way our sales charts are calculated, and our quick shift into thinking about “access” to music rather than ownership. “Spotify is available in Australia from today. We’re very happy to be here”, they continue.
The feeling wasn’t exactly mutual. Many industry pundits decried the service, making the same arguments that still come up today: it’s devaluing the music, the money goes to the wrong people, home taping is killing music.
A lot of artists refused to take part, then slowly bent to progress — The Black Keys, The Beatles, Adele, Led Zeppelin, and numerous other former holdouts are now on the service; anytime a big album is not available on the service, it is usually due to an exclusive deal with another similar streaming service – as opposed to an ideologically-motivated move.
So, five years since the Australian launch on May 21 2012, we decided to look back at some of the first reactions to Spotify’s looming presence in our lives.