There was a time when all I could think about was Napster. In those days it was amazing to see how the internet could be used to share stuff. The legal issues were there from the beginning but the law didn’t really know how to handle it. But Napster changed the way we listened to music. So did the MP3 player. I remember getting my first iPod (3rd Generation, which I still have) and showing it off to friends. No one really realised how big there were to become. Within 2 years everyone had one, sometimes two.
When the iPod came over to Windows, it ultimately meant that iTunes became our player of choice. It’s a program that I use, but I’ve never particularly liked it. It’s bloatware. It takes up far too much space for a program that struggles with the basics. The Mac version seems a bit more stable (as you’d hope it would be) but still it doesn’t really do it for me. The problem is, I did like the fact that if I wanted to listen to a track (at any point) I could go to the iTunes Store and purchase it there and then (assuming they had it). Instantly it would be on my phone and desktop. It was great. I spent hours building playlists, perfect for every occasion. Again, I could take them with me wherever I went. I could also download them straight from the cloud. It was fantastic. Of course, problems always began when you got a new device. The transfer was never simple and over time you found yourself having to rebuild those playlists and repopulating iTunes. It became tedious.
Whilst I still have all my music on Buffy (including iTunes purchases) I rarely use iTunes now. I obviously use it to transfer films and TV shows to my iPad but that’s about it. I occasionally listen to music through it but everything changed in January 2013 when I began to use Spotify.
Let’s get the financials out of the way first. I pay £10 per month for Spotify Premium. That gives me access to the whole catalogue… Everything. I can have the music on Buffy, my Mac, my iPhone and my iPad. Wherever I want it. I can download the tracks straight onto my phone, hundreds at a time … thousands if you have the capacity. I can create playlists or indulge in ready made ones (and there are seriously thousands for every occasion or mood). I can import playlists from other apps and software. I can import all my pre existing music (from any computer, not just five pcs) into Spotify and find it on my phone within minutes. For the music lover it is the future of listening to music.
It also serves as a fantastic ‘discovery’ tool. This was the reason I got into it in the first place. You can play a radio playlist based on one particular track or one particular artist. Invariably you find lots of new stuff that you didn’t even know existed. You get suggestions and recommendations based on what you have previously listened to and you get all the new releases sitting waiting for you. I calculated that in one month, if I had listened to the same music on iTunes I would have spent (on the basis that an average new album on iTunes costs £10.99) £230 in one month for the equivalent music. That’s almost 2 years worth of Spotify subscription.
For anyone looking to discover new music, check out Spotify.