Re: Spotify: Why sell?
Many of the stakeholders who actually work at Spotify would prefer to stay the course. But a lot of Spotify's backing comes from venture funds, which stand to make orders of magnitude return on their investments. It's not uncommon for VC folks to cash in at this juncture and invest the returns in another early-stage venture that might turn them another crazy profit.
@Thomas: There are really two issues here. The first is where the content resides. I also happen to prefer music and video to be in-hand, whenever possible. But I think there's a place for both. The collections at Spotify and NetFlix will always be bigger than mine. And when something comes up suddenly, there's no substitute for on demand.
The second issue is who decides what you listen to, you or someone (or something) else. In general, I prefer to choose what Spotify plays rather than listen to, say, Pandora, which is a more radio-like experience. But again, there are is a place for both. That's why FM radio is still around.
The cost models are also very different, which is why we'll continue to see radio-style offerings. Pandora is free, if you're willing to listen to ads and live with a handicapped fast-forward button.
Shane: I'm a big Spotify user, too. Google wouldn't be able to do much to Spotify - at least at first. So it would probably start by leveraging the additional insight Spotify brings about what we like and don't like. That might manifest itself as offers for concert tickets from Google Now, for example.
Both Facebook and Google could leverage their advertising engines - at least with the free users. That won't fly with paying customers, obviously. I agree that Spotify would be a great fit for Facebook. But FB made a couple of big bets this year already in Oculus Rift and WhatsApp. I don't know if it has the appetite for another multi-billion-dollar move.