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September 25, 2016

I have praised Spotify before, but the other day I had a reminder why I love this product.

I was reading an article on Haley Bonar in my local newspaper. I was vaguely familiar with Bonar and the article gave me the itch hear her. So on my morning run I scratched that itch by listening to her new album Impossible Dream on Spotify.

In the evening of that same day I was spinning an LP and reading Twitter and I saw a promotional post from Fifth Element record store on a band called The Outer Space that sounded intriguing. Bam I listened to Chase Across Orion in bed as I went to sleep and again at 4:00 am when I put out the dog.

This kind of immediate access is beyond comprehension. And the price is unbelievably low: a family plan – which is 6 accounts – is $14.99 a month ($2.50 an account). A student plan is $4.99 and a regular plan is $9.99. I recently posted, in context of an album review, how historically inexpensive this is.

As an app, Spotify it is easy to use and has some great features like the ability to download for offline listening. I am getting turned on to new music via curated playlists like Release Radar.  It is easy to share music with friends, family and readers.

Spotify is not perfect: artists are still financially getting screwed, fidelity is merely OK (but better than audiophiles will admit) and some artist don’t get the new reality and don’t make their material available. The concept of exclusives (e.g. only available on competing services like Tidal and Apple) sucks. Sometimes Spotify is so easy that it causes you to not really listen due to lack of financial and emotional investment (see this album review to see what I am talking about).

As a music head, despite a huge LP and CD collection, I end up doing most of my listening via my iPhone and Spotify.  I end up buying as much music as ever (CDs and vinyl LPs).

I did recently did break down and buy a Tidal account to for exclusives, but that is only necessary for the truly obsessives. Besides exclusive content Tidal has a high fidelity option (overpriced) that only makes sense if you do a lot of streaming through a hi-fi system (I don’t – I would rather listen to vinyl or CDs at home). Tidal’s user interface is not as good as Spotify, but in general it has most of the features.  It is not as good a bargain and it does not have the free option that Spotify has.

In summary if you love – or merely like – music you have got to subscribe to Spotify.

By the way Haley Bonar and The Outer Space’s new albums are pretty good.

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