Students at the University of Oxford are no longer able to use the popular music streaming service, Spotify, after a decision was made by the university’s computing service to ban it.
The decision came about following network difficulties and bandwidth issues, resulting in a slower web service for those wishing to use it for academic research. The ban covers all university halls and communal buildings, but excludes students accessing the internet from their private homes.
The Swedish service, which was launched in Britain in October 2008, attracted two million UK users within a year. The university’s newspaper, Cherwell, reports a second year student labelling the ban “discrimination against music lovers”. A spokeswoman for Oxford University Computing Services (OCUS) retorted, “I’m sure the students would like it if they could have Spotify back, but they are getting a free service so they must accept some restrictions”.
OCUS added, “Spotify cannot be justified as being educational”. However, music students are outraged, as the application provides users with access to an extensive collection of classical music.
Spotify is arguably more comprehensive and user-friendly than the Naxos Music Library, an alternative online music catalogue subscribed to by schools and universities. A second-year music student at Durham University says, “I use Spotify a lot for music – it’s easier to access than Naxos”.
A spokesman from ITS said it was unlikely that Durham will follow suit. A greater concern is video streaming, which often uses all of its maximum capacity of 200MB per second. Spotify can takes up as little as 1/2 MB per second.
The University networks are regularly monitored to ensure high internet speeds and departments such as Physics, who send large amounts of data, are prioritised when necessary.