Wednesday, 4 March 2009


I've always loved music. It's what kept me going through my teenage years, and for a while there I was spending upwards of £100 a week in Berwick Street on the latest and greatest promos and CDs. Now my addiction has a new master and it's a lot cheaper than £100. I call him Spotify.

There have been LOADS of online music sites that have tried to sate a person's appetite for all things rhythmic, but most of the ones I've used have always had that little thing lacking. The other option has always been wholesale "piracy" which is always a double edged sword as it gets my goat that we have to pay over and over again for the same song (moving from vinyl to CD or buying a best of album).

Anyway, in the last few years I've been using Last.FM as my port of call for online music. Their player allows you to play tag radio. So if you want to listen to 80s music, you enter 80s as a tag, or ambient or synth pop. As long as there's enough material tagged accordingly you'll get a decent radio listen. If there's not, you can tag artists, songs and albums.

Spotify, however allows you to go one step further and listen to albums and singles by bands with seemingly no restrictions, apart from an audio ad every 20 minutes. The service is still in beta, so there's all sorts of things they could add, but what they have in place right now is amazing. The audio quality is pretty decent, the songs start right away and they have a playlist feature that allows you to collaborate with other Spotifiers to create "Now That's What I call a Playlist" (or similar).

Don't get me wrong, I still use Last.FM as it's been storing my music habits since 2003. Spotify even taps into that by allowing you to track or "scrobble" the tracks you listen to on Last.FM.

There's rumour an API will surface when the service is out of beta, and you can be rest assured that it'll explode just like Twitter did. My only concern is how the hell are they making money? I can't imagine one audio ad every 20 minutes is cutting it. They do have a paid service, but the only benefit seems to be cutting out the audio ad.

Since using Spotify, I've seriously begun questioning the need for a CD collection, something I never thought I'd contemplate. It's a decent piece of software that can make you do a complete 180 of your beliefs and perceptions. Good on ya Spotify!
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