Students Staff

26 May 2014

Battle between Apple and Spotify signals new shift in digital listening

Dr James Allen-Robertson

Dr James Allen-Robertson

Top band Coldplay’s decision to sign an exclusivity deal with Apple and prevent their latest album being available on Spotify has sparked a debate about the sustainability of the music streaming model.

But Media and Communication lecturer Dr James Allen-Robertson, writing for The Conversation, argues this signals a new shift in digital listening, and that Apple’s aim is not to protect the existing  download model but to gain a competitive advantage as it moves towards the streaming model.

Dr Allen-Robertson, from the Department of Sociology, has researched the history of digital media piracy and how it has influenced the development of the digital media market today.

Now, he says: “The battle between Apple and Spotify represents a new wave of digital disruption. Habits have moved on, now with a greater focus on access, selection and discovery, rather than collection, cultivation and ownership.”

He explains how, when legitimate services sought to restrict customer-focused listening practices, consumers turned to the tactics of the hackers market.

He argues: “Those who think that Apple is taking a defensive step or attempting to win music lovers back to the download model should think again.” Dr Allen-Robertson concludes: “This conflict, rather than an attempt to guard against new habits of music consumption, is an attempt to remain dominant during another disruptive shift. One that once again may transform what digital media is and what it is for.”

...more news releases