Spotify: 30 months later

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It’s been two-and-a-half years since my post about Spotify when it had just rolled out in The Netherlands. At the time I was cautiously enthusiastic with quite a list of complaints too. In the meantime Spotify has replaced iTunes for me and I have become somewhat of a Spotify evangelist as it has fundamentally changed the way I listen to and discover new music.

Back in the summer of 2010 I thought I wasn’t emotionally ready to let go of albums. That has changed. I am now also very much a single-track-per-artist listener within playlists. I realise that not everybody will experience or want to experience the same change in listening habits, but it has contributed to how I discover new music through Spotify.

Discovering new music
Thanks to the improved social aspect of Spotify (choosing who to follow instead of being subjected to the listening habits of your entire Facebook friend list) I have selected a handful of friends to follow whose musical tastes overlap mine. Unfortunately the friends activity feed seems a little buggy. It often doesn’t refresh and shows different results when I have Spotify open in multiple locations which is strange.

Anyway, when I see someone in my feed listening to a track / artist I have never heard of, I click the feed and get to listen to the track. If I like it I immediately add it to my seasonal playlist repository. I make four playlists a year to collect such new ‘orphan’ tracks and listen to them more regularly. Spring, Summer, Autumn and yes, Winter. It has resulted in some pretty nice lists, even if I say so myself.

Here’s my Autumn 2012 playlist, a personal favourite of mine:

If you like the tracks in this playlist, you can follow it. I’m not adding any new tracks to it though, as the current active playlist is Spring 2013.

Spotify Apps
Apart from discovering new artists through friends, Spotify now also has apps that can be installed within the program. Many of these offer playlists tailored to specific music tastes. One of my favourites is MoodAgent (which is a lot like last.fm) which creates a playlist based on a track you give it.

Another nice one is Tunigo which offers playlists based on mood or activity.

Missing artists
Many of the artists that were missing in 2010 have joined the ranks of Spotify, although there are still some big names absent such as: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Metallica (who cares?). Nevertheless, it’s thanks to Spotify acquiring so many artists that it has been able to replace iTunes for me. On the rare occasion I want to listen to Led Zeppelin, I will fire up iTunes (which sucks big time since version 11, but that’s worthy of another post).

Premium Spotify Membership and Offline Playlists
I pay €10 per month for Premium membership and do so gladly. I think I might even be prepared to pay a little more as I love it so much. For €5/month you get rid of commercials on the desktop version and the €10 membership adds the ability to use Spotify on a mobile device. It’s the only source of music in my car and on my bike nowadays. Obviously you need to keep an eye on data-usage if you have a limited plan, but if there are playlists you listen to a lot, you can make them available offline. What this function does is download the tracks to your phone within the Spotify app. You cannot access the tracks through anything except Spotify, but listening to them when on the road no longer uses up any of your bandwidth (it syncs the offline playlists when you are in range of WiFi).

Conclusion
So obviously I am very positive about Spotify and cannot imagine living without it anymore – and that’s part of what scares me a little. I have these painstakingly compiled playlists which I am very attached to. If Spotify were to suddenly pull the plug it would feel like I had lost music I owned – particularly because I wouldn’t be able to reconstruct the playlists from memory. Once I realised this, I bemoaned the baffling decision Spotify made a couple of months ago to disable the option to buy tracks and have been making screenshots of my playlists now – as a kind of backup plan.

Meanwhile though, I am still a very happy user. There is certainly still room for improvement, but I simply love Spotify.

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