I signed up for Spotify on Friday, and after only a few days of use, I’m ready to forsake my years with Pandora and iTunes. Spotify covers those music services with ease and then beats them in the belly of the very beast in which they long to live: Customizability and Variety. With the $10.00USD a month Premium version of Spotify, I can stream high bit rate music and download 3,333 songs each to three separate portable devices like an iPad or an iPhone for non-streaming, offline, listening. The Spotify library has more than 15,000,000 songs and using Spotify makes me feel as I did when I was using Rhapsody before I had to give up that music service in my move to Mac computers.
Some may argue that using a subscription service like Spotify is bad for consumers because we never own our music. Stop subscribing to Spotify and you — Poof! — lose all your music. Over my lifetime, I have purchased many different versions of the same music. LPs. 45s. 8-tracks. Reel-to-Reels. Cassettes. CDs. Mini-CDs. DATs. DVDs. MP3s. I may have “owned” that music, but because of changing technological standards, I only presently own about a tenth of the music I previously purchased.
I now realize I don’t care about owning my music. I only care about being able to access my music — any music — I want, at will. Spotify uniquely fills that niche need for me. One day, the iTunes Cloud might help get me that fix, but as of today, I’m done with Pandora. I paid for the enhanced Pandora account, but I never really like the notion of other people deciding when and what I wanted to hear and then limiting my skips to the next song. Pandora makes me nervous because I always feel a need to give a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down” to each new song. Pandora wears me out with false interactivity — I’m only reacting to what they stream to me and not what I really want to hear. I do like that Pandora uses a web interface. Spotify requires a software download and installation.
If I buy one album on iTunes for $10.00USD, I “own” that song in digital form — but for the same money on Spotify, I get access to 15,000,000 songs that I can own by association — the ongoing association of my credit card with Spotify. If money is a concern, “renting” your music from Spotify each month is a much better deal than buying new music from iTunes.
Spotify is excellent in managing music using Playlists. I already have a lot of iTunes Playlists and Spotify connects with iTunes invisibly. In fact, Spotify replaces iTunes on my machine. All my iTunes music is recognized by Spotify and nothing has to be uploaded to the Spotify servers.
Transferring music from Spotify to my iPhone for offline listening via my WiFi network does not work. I tried to transfer 25 songs and only four of them synched. I have no idea what happened or why, the sync just froze. No error message from Spotify was offered.
Spotify notifies me of new music.
Of the 15 million songs available, this Carol Burnett album is among them:
As is this early album by the brilliant Paul Williams:
You can Star a song to play later. You can also drag-and-drop songs into a Spotify queue for later listening.
When I test out a new music service, the first thing I do is search for Joe Raposo’s brilliant song, “You Will Be My Music.” Most services have one or two covers — both of them usually by Sinatra — while Spotify has 11 from lots of different artists!
Doing a search for my composer friend “Cy Coleman” brings up a magical list of songs long forgotten and albums I didn’t even know existed!
While there is no native iPad Spotify App, Spotify does look good on the iPhone:
Here you can see all my iTunes imported Playlists:
You can dig deeper into Playlists with just a touch:
The music that streams from Spotify actually sounds richer, deeper, and rounder than any of the songs I purchased from iTunes.
I enjoying being able to listen to almost anything on Spotify. I don’t care that I don’t own that tracks that give me joy. Visiting them as I wish is plenty enough satisfaction. I have wide-ranging musical interests, and with Spotify, I feel free to explore even more music than I have been doing on iTunes where I have to pay to play big time to hear songs in their entirety. I’m certain Google Music and iTunes in the Cloud will offer a similar streaming service some day — and I can’t wait to compare what they offer in the future against what I’m enjoying right now with Spotify.