Spotify's US launch has helped reignite the conversation on how musicians should be compensated for their works in the digital age — streaming services say they're helping to create more revenue for artists, while some of the bigger bands refuse to make their new music available on Rdio or Spotify. It's a complicated situation, but Spotify is hoping that its recently-launched apps platform will be a difference maker going forward. Sten Garmark, Spotify's director of platform, believes that his company's apps will help increase engagement with users, help them discover and play more music, and ultimately make those users more valuable to artists. In a discussion on Spotify's apps at last night's Music Apps: Beyond the Hype conference in London, Garmark was quoted as saying "since people are asking us to provide these features, when we do, music will be more valuable to them. They will be more likely to pay, and that makes more money for artists."
Garmark also shared some initial data on how much traction Spotify's apps have gained thus far — overall, the 10 million registered Spotify users have spent 13.1 million hours in apps. He also shared a few stats on individual apps, noting that SoundDrop (a Turntable.fm-like app to set up rooms for listening to collaborative playlists) users listened to 15 million songs in February. Moodagent, an app that creates radio stations based on mood or specific songs, generates more than 3.5 million playlists a week. While Spotify apps are only a few months old, Garmark has big ambitions for the platform: "We have to turn ourselves into the OS of music. We are in the middle of a transformation from being an app ourselves to being a platform." It's not hard to understand why he feels that way — if Spotify can keep finding additional ways to keep users on its platform rather than using other services, it'll make more money in the long run... and artists will benefit as well.