Digster: UMG’s Digital Revolution Continued

EEarlier this month Universal Media Group (UMG) announced the launch of Digster, a music playlist service intended to bring Spotify and VEVO to life.

Digster: Revolutionary?

UMG’s recent drive to increase its web presence is not unnoticed by the online community, and after last month’s deal with the crowdsourcing platform Talenthouse, UMG is promising to continue with its digital revolution.

Clearly a project for which UMG holds high expectations, Digster conveys UMG’s willingness as the music industry’s largest record label to drag the industry to the digital present.

According to Mitch Rotter, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Product Development of UMG, Digster represents “an excellent platform to enhance Spotify’s user experience”.

Although Rotter’s opinions on an UMG brainchild are hardly neutral, they aren’t without grounding, despite uncertainty over the future success of Digster.

Despite Digster’s promise, its current manifestation might serve but a transitional stage of the website development, with an ongoing bespoke approach to its service being favoured over a stable and unchanging service.

That Digster offers too few playlists for a UMG-backed service is one mountain Digster is yet to scale; while Rotter’s opinion that Digster enhances the Spotify user-experience will come under the scrutiny of an increasingly demanding online consumer base.

But Digster’s charm is found partly in UMG’s willingness to incorporate music from the Big Four’s collective of artists, stemming from the 2009 launch of music video website VEVO, a joint venture of UMG, Sony Music Entertainment (SME), and the Abu Dhabi Media Company.

Such collaboration is not only worth admiring in principle alone, but also for its results: today VEVO is accessible in over two hundred countries across the world, which is no mean feat considering Spotify’s availability in a mere eight countries.

But can Digster, which is predominantly constrained to Spotify’s markets, transcend its current role as a music playlist service? Although there is evidence that services dependent upon bigger fish can be successful, it is difficult to say whether Digster is essential enough to the Spotify experience for it to become an online phenomenon.

Like Spotify, UMG’s Digster was originally developed and launched in Sweden – a country fast developing a reputation for innovation on the web.

Samuel Agini is the editor of Andrew Apanov’s Dotted Music.