If you’re in the United States, you’re probably tired of hearing about Spotify, the on-demand music service that lets you to listen to any of 13 million tracks as often as you’d like on both your PC and mobile phone. The service still hasn’t managed to close deals with the major music labels over here, but it has developed quite a following in Europe, with over 10 million users and 1 million paid subscribers. And when it finally does come stateside it might turn into an even bigger hit.
And it all started with one main business idea: make a music service that’s more convenient than piracy.
That’s one of the highlights from a presentation given by Spotify engineer Gunnar Kreitz at KTH Royal Institute of Technology last month (many of Spotify’s engineers came from KTH). Unfortunately I’m not seeing a recording of the presentation anywhere online, but Kreitz has posted the slides to his website, which you can find embedded below. The slides outline some of the key technical attributes that make Spotify what it is, many of which revolve around one key factor: speed.
According to the slides, Spotify has a median playback latency of only 265 ms, which Kreitz says “feels immediate” and avoids Spotify’s forbidden word, “Buffering”. Only 1% of songs streamed have buffering issues. In other words, the Spotify player is every bit as fast and reliable as, say, iTunes, and it’s a hell of a lot faster than finding the latest album release on BitTorrent.
Here are some of the interesting datapoints from the presentation:
Spotify has created a lightweight software application that allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums with virtually no buffering delay. It was launched in the fall of 2008 and had approximately 10 million users by September 2010. Spotify offers streaming music from major and independent record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal. Users download Spotify and then log onto their service enabling the on-demand streaming of music. Music can be browsed by artist, album, record...