For some of us music is a basic requirement of life. Along with air, water and food it is something we just can’t live without. Spotify arrived in New Zealand this week. Now, thanks to the new online music service, free music is on-tap 24/7.

The much talked about music revolution is now a reality: in the click of a mouse Spotify has changed the way we consume music. The peer-to-peer streamed music platform has debuted here to rave reviews from music fans. It is simple to use, legal and it sounds good - no stuttering, no drop outs. It’s fantastic.

As a colleague commented “It’s like being given the key to the record store”.

Spotify was launched in Sweden in 2008 and has around 15 million users, predicted to grow to 100 million users in the next two years. There are many very cool things about Spotify apart from the   huge amount of music available. Spotify requires that you have a Facebook login to activate your account so that all of the advantages of social networking come into play.  Download a playlist in a chosen style and Spotify will link you immediately to your iTunes account and to other people listening to the same artists.

Spotify is free and installs easily.  For about $9 a month you can upgrade and lose the occasional ads that are dropped into the playlists. Upgrading also buys you better sound quality and more embedded apps - like the one for Rolling Stone magazine.  Spotify is one of a gathering number of legal online music streaming services along with Deezer, Rdio, Rara and Music Unlimited.

  Although these developments are great for consumers some musicians aren’t happy about the monetising and royalty issues these sites raise. Artists represented by major record companies including Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Metallica have refused to join the Spotify party. Meanwhile independent artists are going crazy for the new format and pick up .006 cents per play. It won’t make millionaires out of indie musicians anytime soon but it will help eliminate piracy and get more ears on the music.

So you like that obscure Steely Dan track from 1976? Or you would like to listen again to that Ramones song that appeared on a collector’s edition decades ago? Just go to Spotify and dial the song up. It will not only be streamed to your computer, you will be pointed to similar songs and related playlists which other people on Spotify have compiled.

I’m looking over at the two piles of vinyl LPs which I have hung on to for decades. Looking at the cover design of Weather Report’s Mr. Gone album conjures up the sound of the band and brings back great memories. And guess what – there’s a Spotify app that will load your album artwork up for you.

Yeah it’s nice to hold a vinyl record or CD jewel case in your hand but it’s the music that’s the thing. With Spotify loaded onto my computer I can’t avoid the fact that both my record and my CD collections are now redundant.

 I’ve moved on.

Really. 

Cool