Spotify, a music streaming service, was bizzarely hacked this week as the Swedish based tech company was reviewing its upcoming challenges. The security breach was bizarre, in that only one of the user’s data was targeted, and strangely, the hack did not invade that user’s financial information or password. Further risk is not expected; however, the concern, according to Tripwire’s chief technology officer, Dwayne Melancon, said that this points toward more troubling issues, and questioned whether someone could be toying with Spotify’s security system to see how far they can go.
Melancon admitted the breach to be small but not insignificant and demonstrated, the hack was an attack method that is broadly attained and suspect to be re-usable particularly with Spotify’s older app versions. Had this been a simple glitch of no concern, it would not have warranted an all-user alert notification. This notification for the music streaming service requires all 40 million Spotify users to re-enter their credentials for login, but asked not to change those credentials. Over the next several days, it will also force its Android mobile app users to upgrade. The downside is that until users install the upgrade, they could be locked out of their account, which means that after the update, the offline playlists will disappear and will need to be marked as offline, then downloaded once again. This could become a pain for those who had downloaded a lot of songs into the older app version. Melancon’s hunch is that this is a proof-of-concept type of breach. The music streaming firm did extend an apology for the inconvenience.
Oskar Stal, the chief technology officer at Spotify, posted in a blog, that this attack came as the company was celebrating in Australia, the success of its second birthday. The streaming service had also just celebrated reaching the 10 million paid subscriber mark worldwide. They assure users that they are taking measures to strengthen the security system. This security intrusion came on the heels of a wave of cyber attacks which had already breached the databases of eBay and Adobe. Concerns mount as to whether this bizarre hack will cost them subscribers as they look forward to face new streaming challenges.
Spotify’s chief executive, Daniel Ek, recently stated that they had grown from 20 markets to 56 markets around the world this past year as people have gotten on board with streaming music. He said that the milestone of 10 million subscribers is important not only to them, but to the entirety of the music industry. Ek feels that they have a clear lead in the streaming market, as Deezer is following with five million paying subscribers and Rhapsody lags with only 1.7 million paying suscribers.
Despite their growth, five huge challenges are lurking in front of them.
1) Many of the musicians are skeptical in that they see the streaming industry as a middle man who is eating up their profits. Artists are claiming that they do not need a gatekeeper and deem it detrimental to newer artists who do not have as many albums and CD’s under their belt.
2) Turning a profit from streaming could become an even bigger challenge. Seventy percent of Spotify’s revenues are currently paid out in royalties, and each year to date has shown deep losses. Massive rounds of venture capital has been fueling the funding.
3) Tech savvy music fans are among those who currently embrace the music streaming industry. However, appealing to the masses in a broader sense, meaning a world-wide embrace from the mainstream is significantly more challenging. Pricing and partnerships are sure to be in the details, as well as easy access for finding those tunes.
4) One of the biggest challenges could be Beats Music, especially if it joins forces with Apple in the very near future. The combination of Apple’s ambition and their deep pockets pose a monster threat to Spotify, because as impressive as their numbers sound, they have yet to turn a profit.
5) The longer-term challenge would be to catch up to Google, Apple, Microsoft, Sony and Amazon, all of who are able to provide not only music, but games, e-books, TV and film. The one-stop-shop seems to be more satisfying to the tech savvy consumer.
Many challenges lie ahead for this music streaming firm. Spotfiy commented that it was only a matter of time before they would overtake iTunes. With the World Wide Developers Conference coming up June 2-6 in San Francisco, the world will be watching to see how Apple’s new acquisition with Beats Music will affect the bigger picture in the music streaming market. As bizarre as this recent hack was at Spotify, they face numerous challenges as they move forward in the music streaming industry and beyond.
By Jill Boyer-Adriance