Kicking off the category of “didn’t see that coming” in the digital music arena is the recent announcement that rock legends U2 are the new investors/major funders behind cloud storage site Dropbox. Of course they’ve got the money to do it but how exactly did this come about?
It’s no secret that cloud storage sites like Dropbox are major players in the tech space and many of the giants such as Apple, Microsoft and Google are all putting major money into having secure digital lockers with music services attached. Dropbox is listed to have roughly 50 million users and are easily the one of most painless to use and well-branded cloud storage sites on the market. With their cache going up, and Dropbox’s founder Drew Hanson rumored to be an alleged late-night crooner himself with a huge interest in music, it’s not entirely surprising that they land a mega band as a financial backer.
It’s not immediately clear if Bono and the Edge, who appear to be the only members of U2 to actually invest, were interested in Dropbox getting into the music cloud playing foray or not but there’s a lot of potential upside to this deal. There are already a number of sites that allow users to play music through Dropbox on their devices an I predict that it won’t be long before a superior, well-oiled cloud music player for Dropbox users emerges that can compete with Amazon, Microsoft, and whatever Google is rumored to be working on as well.
Spotify Keeps The Unlimited Free Music Coming in U.S.
announced late last week that they’ve decided to “extend the honeymoon for unlimited free listening” in the U.S. market where their brand is doing very well. They’re arguably the most popular digital music site of their kind within the U.S. right now and when the Swedish company first opened in the U.S. last summer, they offered new users six months of free usage without limits. But with other close competitors like Rdio, Mog, Rhapsody and others constantly jockeying for position, Spotify wisely decided to scrap that plan and let users get more comfortable on the site before they force listeners to make a switch toward paying for the service. Maybe they learned from Bank of America’s ill-fated vow to institute higher fees (which clearly backfired) and determined it was best not to rock the boat.
Of course, from a bottom line standpoint, letting American users continuously enjoy the site for free is a risky move and some sources are complaining that Spotify isn’t signing up nearly as many paid subscribers as investors would like. They likely over promised investors but record companies have also put restrictions and Spotify and numerous musicians have opted not to work with the site at all further complicating Spotify’s image. To that end, they’ve actually opted to keep certain restrictions on European consumers and are banking that their relationship with many of the major U.S. record companies (who’s licenses they depend on) will remain in tact. Spotify did opt to lift restrictions for non users in Sweden, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain so that they’re no longer limited to only playing one song five times per month. However users in those countries who aren’t Spotify subscribers can only use the service for 10 hours per month. I guess it’s good to be an American.