Dead Caterpillar

The universe is a vast cosmic conspiracy ...

Product Recommendation: Spotify

Saturday, Oct 6th, 2012

I’m saying goodbye to CDs, ipods, radio stations and all other traditional forms of listening to music.

I once considered myself a Music Pessimist. That is, I rarely enjoyed music. Listening to the radio became an exercise in eye rolling because “I Will Wait” by “Mumford and Sons” played on the radio eight times a day. Every day. That and the same Maroon 5 songs, “Some Nights” by (not so) “Fun” and all those Pink songs about being a tough rocker chick who doesn’t care what the world thinks, even though the world has to listen to what she thinks nearly every day in the top billboard charts, a million times over. It’s nauseating.

The record companies pay the radio stations to repetitively play shit so they can sell 6 million copies of Adel. I know this because I used to be a radio junkie. I’d scour the web, hoping to find a station that genuinely played variety. Through internet streaming, I tuned into dozens of radio stations all over the country: Houston, Chicago, L.A, New York, you name it, even stations in the U.K. I hoped to find The One, a station without mind-numbing repetition. But guess what? I’ve found that every station follows the same template. You can’t get true variety. It’s remarkable. ‘The One’ doesn’t exist, not here in Virginia, not in New York, not anywhere. Because to play music, the radio stations need to cater to the record companies, i.e. the people that actually own the music. And the record companies make money by selling 6 million copies of Adel every year. The best way to advertise Adel is to spam her singles on their network of puppet radio stations fifty times a day. So live DJs don’t even pick the songs anymore. Basically, it’s a fucking conspiracy.

And the only alternative to radio, really, is my ipod. But with that comes its own slew of chores: downloading the music (cha-ching), importing the music into itunes, pruning and organizing the library, transferring music to the ipod, backing up the itunes library, etc, etc. Then when my hard drive fails (usually about three times a year), I’d have to repeat the process all over again. I just don’t have time for that.

So I became a Music Pessimist.

The solution

I’ve concluded that ownership of thousands of songs in any format, digital or not, is completely impractical. That’s why I’ve decided to stream all of my music through a free service called “Spotify.” There’s no ownership involved, which removes a lot of the impracticalities. But although I don’t actually own the songs, the playlists and library that I create in my Spotify account will literally be saved forever. No need to back them up because I never downloaded the songs, it’s all streamed. In a way that provides something more permanent, more possessive than actual ownership. My library and playlists last forever, and I will always have access to them so long as I have access to the internet. But if I buy the CD, the odds are quite high that it will be scratched up and unusable within a year. Why pay for something you can’t keep when you can get it free and actually keep it? That’s my logic in now using Spotify for all my music needs. From my home computer, I can get the entire collected works of Bob Dylan instantly, on a whim, at the click of a button. And when I boot up my work computer: Bam, it’s all there. No file transfers. No downloading, all I need to do is sign into my spotify account using whatever (phone, computer, music player) from wherever.

Spotify gives me the ability to search for any song, any artist and instantly have access to titles… The quality of the music is better than radio and I can create my own radio stations based on preference within Spotify, sort of like Pandora sans the constant ads. And unlike Pandora, I can skip songs and play them as many times as I’d like. So it’s sort of a dream come true for me. Spotify. Try it out. In the digital age, the world needs a smarter way of listening to music.

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