These past couple of months I have been hearing so much about Spotify that I finally decided to give it a shot. Truth be told, I had already set up my account for some time now, but never really took the time to download the Spotify player and fool around with it. Well now I have and it’s amazing. Frankly speaking:
Spotify is currently solving all my problems in terms of finding and listening to music
Since P2P networks started to take off back in the day, I, like so many other music consumers, neglected the CD purchasing process.
About five years ago, I had a couple of hundred of original discs, but unfortunately I wasn’t organized enough not to lose them, break their casings, lend them to friends without asking them back etc. Having moved a few times in different countries didn’t help either. So as time passed by, the number of burned CDs I had in my possession gradually exceeded my original stash. Now I probably only have no more than 100 CDs, 80% of which are bad quality burned ones.
Of course, with the advent of portable computers, I hadn’t felt the need to buy or use a stereo at home, so the only times I used my CDs were with my laptop (pretty rare – opening it up just takes too much time:) and occasionally in a car. In other words, almost never.
The same thing occurred with my MP3s. Since I wasn’t buying them, I didn’t mind deleting gigas of tunes at a time when I needed free space in my hard drives. Add to that all my Mp3s stored on different computers, HD crashes, un-cautious formating etc, my Mp3 folders were a mess of folders I never really took the time to order.
For two years now, I have been practically only listening to music thanks to online music search engines (here’s a good list for ya). Deezer, Songza, Musicovery, Skreemr, Finetune…and I’m sick of it! We waste enormous amounts of time just searching for music, dealing with slow buffering, complicated websites with complicated interfaces. Granted that it’s extremely cool to live in an age where all music is free; a decade ago that wasn’t the case, and of course I appreciate the luck I have as a music lover living in 2009, but there is the obscure and absurd factor of having too much choice nowadays that kills the beauty of say, buying the latest release of one of your favorite bands in a real physical format who’s quantity is limited. That and many other things.
Whatever the sociological reasons, since I have been using Spotify, I feel this enormous weight just lift off my shoulders. I feel as if my hunger for music is under control because I can easily satisfy it. I now feel that it’s within my power to supply all my friends’ wants and needs in terms of music when they come over.
I also feel this weird guiltiness about having access to a service like Spotify and its 6 million free tunes, but that feeling is easily suppressed.
So, how does Spotify work? Easy:
- You download the Spotify player.
- When it’s launched, you perfectly understand how the interface works because it’s sober and simple, so the music search process commences instantly.
- Unless you are looking for Romanian regional bands, or 50 year old back catalogs of electro-acoustic music, chances are you’ll automatically find what you are looking for (again, 6 million tracks, and thousands of tracks added very regularly from all over).
- Playing a few tracks will make you realize there is practically no buffering delay (haven’t felt buffering even for a second yet).
- The search process is flawless, and Spotify’s recommendation system is as good as any other (definitely better than Deezer’s…)
- Creating playlists is also super easy and intuitive
- Oh yeah, and, its FREE
Well, at least for me it’s free. See, Spotify is a Swedish start-up who’s geographical span is still somewhat limited. The service is not currently available in the United States or Canada but it is available in western Europe, and here in France it’s free.
Depending on where you live, Spotify proposes different subscription plans. The free version is only available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France, Spain and The Netherlands, and in some of those countries an invitation is required (I got my invitation via Techcrunch I think and only have 10 invites left). In this case, free means you have access to all the music, but you must endure a couple of graphical ads popping up from time to time in the player itself. In some countries, users will have 15 second audio ads between songs every half hour or so. If you want to get rid of the ads you must pay ($1 for a day pass and $10 for a monthly pass).
And that’s about it really. Not much else to add – Spotify rocks. Go to their website at www.spotify.com, check out their video, create an account if you can (sorry for the canadian and american readers of this blog – at least you’ll know you have to keep an eye out for its release across the Atlantic), and just listen.