SpotifyWhen Apple launched iTunes in 2003 the major record companies missed a trick. They never imagined a computer firm would change the shape of the music business. iTunes is now the largest music retailer in the world with 575 million customers and annual sales of $23bn. It is the main source of income for every record company on earth. Not only that, Apple built its hardware business on an iTunes foundation – iPods, iPads, iPhones. Not a penny of the sales of which were shared with record companies. The music industry swore never to make the same mistake again. Fast forward to 2008 and the launch of Spotify. Hailed as the ultimate counter attack to online piracy, it offered unlimited on-demand music from all the major labels, some 18m tracks. It was free so long as you were prepared to put up with an advert after every few songs. There was an ad-free version for a small monthly fee (£10/$10 a month subscription).

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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