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Spotify to Take Down Its Peer-to-Peer Network

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For over 5 years now, the well-known music streaming service has relied on peer-to-peer technology to deliver music to its millions of subscribers, but this practice will cease soon. Spotify has started to phase out peer-to-peer technology in favor of central servers.


Allowing to stream millions of tracks supported by an occasional advert (or free of adverts for an insignificant subscription fee), Spotify seems to be a serious competitor to music piracy when it emerged back in 2008. In the following years Spotify became popular in 61 countries, accounting for dozens of millions of users. This success was in part made possible due to Spotify’s heavy reliance on peer-to-peer technology.

In fact, the streaming service has long been one of the largest peer-to-peer networks on the Internet. When its users play a track, this could come from either a cached file on the PC, one of Spotify’s servers, or from other users via P2P. According to 2011 statistics, of all tracks that weren’t accessed over the web, about 80% went through the peer-to-peer network, which allowed Spotify to reduce server resources and associated costs – a big deal for a startup.

Unfortunately, this practice can soon cease, as Spotify announced it was going to discontinue its peer-to-peer technology altogether and switch to central servers instead. The company representatives explained they are gradually phasing out the use of desktop peer-to-peer technology that has helped the subscribers enjoy their music both speedily and seamlessly.

The matter is that Spotify no longer needs P2P to guarantee that all tracks could be played with the lowest lag possible, and therefore in the following months the company will effectively shut down its P2P servers. Spotify explained that it can power music delivery via its growing number of servers and ensure that the subscribers continue to receive a service of high quality.

It should be admitted that P2P has been central to Spotify’s success for several reasons – for example, it allowed the service to scale up quickly without having to invest heavily in servers and bandwidth, which must have saved it millions of dollars. By the way, one of the lead engineers of the company is none other than Ludvig Strigeus, the original creator of uTorrent. He sold the app to BitTorrent Inc. 8 years ago, and part of this money may have gone into the development of Spotify.

Industry experts believe that Spotify’s departure from peer-to-peer networks can mark the end of an era, but ordinary users won’t notice the changes, just like the fact that they have been sharing music with everyone from all over the world for many years.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing the source of the article.

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