ITunes versus Spotify: you decide

Once the go-to store for music listeners, iTunes now faces competition from Spotify, an online radio station.

Students at John Brown University said Spotify is on the top when it comes to music variety and easy access.

“It’s just better,” said junior Rachel Palm, a general music major. “I find everything I want, and it doesn’t cost any money.”

She said the free radio station appeals to the average college student’s budget.

Spotify is more practical than iTunes, Palm continued. As a music major, she looks up the majority of her assigned pieces on Spotify and listens to the melodies as background noise while doing homework.

Where iTunes forced Palm to pay for every song she listened to, Spotify enabled her to gain familiarity with the music free of charge.

Several students credited Spotify’s vast musical selection as the greatest advantage over competing music stations.

Sophomore Isaac Elmore said he appreciated that Spotify provided instant access to all of its music.

“If all of a sudden I start liking a certain song, it’s easy to find,” Elmore said.

“I like to explore new songs,” sophomore Lance Nordmeyer said. “If you’re listening to a song I want, I can go right to it. You basically have all music at your fingertips.”

Spotify’s genres expand to encompass music from all over the world.

“It even has African music,” sophomore Krista Musiime said. “You put African music on Pandora and they give you music like drums like you’re still back in the day.”

While listeners may enjoy Spotify’s free-music policy, National Public Radio said in a Sept. 26 article that artists harbor mixed feelings for the online station.

The article quoted independent musician Erin McKeown, who said she only receives $0.004 each time someone listens to her song on Spotify. The majority of the money she makes from online activity comes from iTunes.

All the same, McKeown said she will continue to play music on Spotify because her fans continue to use the music station.

Hisham Dahud from wrote in June 2012 that the Spotify following had grown significantly in the past months, although iTunes still held the number one spot.

“Royalty payouts from Spotify now account for the number two source of revenue for the major labels,” Dahud said.

Spotify investor Sean Parker told Dahud he views the station’s future positively.

“If we continue to grow at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the record music in under two years,” Parker said.

While Spotify’s popularity grew over the past few years, the iTunes following dwindled.

With the option of free music at their disposal, University students said iTunes no longer attracts them.

“I’ve used iTunes a little bit,” Nordmeyer said. “Maybe twice in the last year, and that was because I was on a bus and didn’t have Wi-Fi.”

“I think iTunes is dying,” Palm said. “People are always going to prefer something that’s free over something that costs money, and Spotify is free.”