“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.


“If you do the maths on it, if you see a single song on iTunes you might get paid about a dollar by the times iTunes has taken their cut and that goes to the label and then divided amongst the artist and the label themselves. So if you are getting paid about a third of a cent per stream you would have to listen to the same song about 300 times before it would make the same amount of money.”Nick O’Byrne, Look Out Kid, Former GM at AIR

“We are starting to see internationally that artists do see good cheques now come from Spotify, and we think that’s something that will grow overtime here in Australia as well. As an industry we absolutely support legal ways that people get music and certainly getting more than they do when they go on pirated sites so the positive is that these services are supported by the industry and are supporting the industry.” – Dan Rosen, the CEO of ARIA

“You’re not going to be buying your new house in Malibu any time soon by getting your album up on Spotify, but it’s definitely a way to find new ears and new fans that could potentially help you get there one day.” – Duncan Byrne, artist manager

“These streaming services are the way that people are going to hear music and as artists we have to look at them, embrace them and see how they can work for us,” – Urthboy

“We have a 25% conversion rate from free to premium – an extremely high conversion for any freemium business.”Kate Vale, former Managing Director, Spotify Australia & New Zealand
“Even if Australian consumers now have multiple options for cheap and legal access to unlimited music, whether artists benefit from this increased spending is yet to be proven.”Crikey

“In five years time, what will we be looking at? I’m not sure, but that’s one of the most exciting things about being a music lover involved in digital media.”Chris Scaddan, triple j

“Australians are massive music fans and we’ve created a service that we know they’ll love”Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek

“We can’t make money from it, if it was fair to the artists we would be involved in it, but it’s not.”Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney