Like many others of my age, I grew up with 45s, LPs, and cassettes, long before music went digital. Our idea of a playlist was the rather burdensome, yet exciting process of carrying a box of cherished records to a party, perhaps even with a Dansette record player under one arm, hoping to catch a smooch with the prettiest girl in the room. Later, with the introduction of cassette tapes, music became more compact. Then CDs came along, followed by numerous other improvements to the point where you could carry an entire music collection on a pen drive. Fortunately, smooching never went out of fashion, but how we listened to that music changed forever when it went digital.
File sharing by the likes of Napster, The Pirate Bay, and others made music even more accessible, albeit illegally. In fact, it was not that long ago when I was fixing customers’ PCs for virus infections with the majority of those machines having Limewire, Kazaa, Demonoid, and other file-sharing programs installed, and most of the time, the most common avenues for virus infections. But the point here is that millions of people regarded file sharing as a legit way to acquire music because it was easy and didn’t cost a penny. The music industry simply buried their collective heads in the sand, hoping the problem would go away and yet continue to reap millions from their artists. But music was changing and with the iPod launch in 2001, you could carry your music with you and listen to it anywhere, regardless of where you had acquired it.
Fast forward to 2008 and Spotify was launched by Swedish entrepreneur, Daniel Ek, who somehow managed to bang some music industry heads together and reach licensing deals with some of the major players. One could say the rest is history, but it was a rocky road for Mr. Ek because many of the big record companies didn’t want to share a slice of their cake, in spite of the fact that so much music was still being pirated.
One could say Daniel Ek levelled the playing field and singlehandedly democratised music, but that would maybe be too simplistic. He certainly revolutionised the industry in much the same way that Travis Kalanick of Uber fame revolutionised the ‘taxi’ industry (now known as rides), but maybe with a little more finesse.
Do You Spotify?
As I’ve already mentioned, I’m an oldie and my earliest playlists were always on cassettes for listening to in the car on long journeys, later moving on to CDs and blasting out Deep Purple’s Highway Star when I was a lover of fast cars. Yes, I love music, from Beethoven to Black Sabbath, yet I don’t need it everywhere I go, so when I want to listen to America’s Horse With No Name or Avicii’s Wake Me Up, I can now go to Spotify. Previously, I had relied on YouTube playlists, naturally with an adblocker, but over time it became clumsy and you never knew when a song would be deleted for one reason or another. In fact, it was my stepson who got me on to Spotify, and being a lad in his early twenties, there aren’t many places he goes without his earphones plugged in, or buds as they are called nowadays. When I first signed up with Spotify I went for the free version which is fine, but quite limited, and then discovered that in Argentina, even after taxes, the premium version only costs a couple of dollars a month. So I signed up for that just before our wedding in October 2021 which made putting together a wedding playlist a walk in the park, naturally avoiding Chris De Burgh’s Lady In Red, but definitely including Sex Bomb by Tom Jones, if you’re vaguely interested.
Spotify Is Very Fast
I know Google search is fast, but the speed at which Spotify comes up with search results for the most obscure songs is quite remarkable. If you get the chance to watch The Playlist on Netflix, you’ll see that Daniel Ek wanted perfection when developing the program and he wasn’t satisfied with a delay of even five seconds when searching for a song and now the result is instant. Naturally, this time of year is prime time for music and I expect I’ll put together a New Year’s Eve playlist which can be played off my phone over Bluetooth to the soundbar.
I can also recommend Shazam which is a very handy little app for those times when you hear a song on the radio and you go, “That’s whats-his-name, isn’t it..?”. Just hit Shazam, point your phone at the radio and in seconds you’ll be told who the artist is, which is when you can add it to your Spotify playlist.
For me, the beauty of Spotify is that it’s there when you want it. As I’ve already said, I don’t need to be plugged into it 24/7, don’t listen to music on my motorcycle and for $2 a month, I know I can listen to any song that was ever released when and where I want to.
10 thoughts on “The Wonder Of Spotify”
Spotify is an amazing music service. However, to have the ad-free version, it costs me $10 + tax a month. I’d love to have it for $2 a month. Please tell me where I can get that deal!
I’d like to get that deal too… without moving to Argentina!
Hmm. I searched for Spotify Argentina and used the Google Translate extension to sidestep my Spanish deficiency. We can sign up for three months of premium for free, but then the cost skyrockets to 279 pesos per month. That sounds utterly HUGE, but when I checked a currency converter page, that turns out to be only $1.58 US per month. The question is whether it’s safe to enter a credit card number to sign up. I’m not quite that brave just now.
Your comment got me thinking and I’m currently writing another article on this subject, with particular regard to geographical pricing. I can’t advise on specific instances because numerous factors are involved, per country.
I will however try to explain how it works in further detail, specifically Argentina which has its own peculiarities.
Thanks for all your comments about signing up with Spotify in Argentina and I hope this post hasn’t been misleading.
Many online services use what I can only describe as geo-pricing which is based on a country’s cost of living and other economic factors. Many companies (Steam is a good example) use this formula in order that their services are affordable in such countries as Argentina.
For obvious reasons, I can’t advise on how to obtain such prices, but clearly since my PC is physically in the country, affords me that benefit.
I’d imagine that they’d require an Argentina address or catch on if they saw that the service was never being used from there. I suppose one could get around that by using a VPN with a node there.
To @GrannyGeek – If you sign up (free) with Privicy.com you can create unique credit card numbers for one time or recurring use with set $ limits. Great for trial subscriptions or other times where you don’t want to give out your real number. Charges are taken from your checking account. Been using this for years.
I hang out with a bunch of Audiophiles on another site and their opinion for what it is worth isn’t so hot on Spotify or anything else as far as that goes. Even Qobuz has taken some hits lately and that was everyone’s golden child. You don’t dare even mention Youtube to them. The funny thing is like I told them just this morning, my equipment tells me exactly what bit depth, etc I am listening to, and though you can’t ever be sure that someone didn’t take a 16./44.1 CD and save the tracks as 24/192 or something even higher. but the same can be said about the original quality of the engineering of the music or what about the Studio work or the pressing factories? You can’t be so sure you just don’t have a cr@ppy recording, to begin with. Especially stuff from the late 60’s and 70’s
Love it! And a few ads? Not a Big deal to me, although the repetitive ad “wouldn’t you rather go ad-free with premium?” Every 3rd song is a bit annoying, and wouldn’t that tick off the clients who are paying Spotify to run their ads?
I do find, however, it’s easier to google search a song then click over to it when a Spotify link comes up. Seems sometimes google finds the song better than Spotify’s internal search does.
The introduction to new music via “you also may like….” has definitely put me onto new and unknown old music with new artists that have gotten me off the Highway Star on repeat road.
I forgot to mention that I cancelled my sub to Spotify a few months ago and went free because I wasn’t really using that much. Unfortunately this meant that most of the tracks in my ‘liked’ library were greyed out and unavailable and I couldn’t tolerate ads between songs, so I went back to Premium, which at this cost, is a no-brainer.
Doesn’t greyed out mean they’ve asked to be removed? I had to, well,wanted anyway, buy Smokes and Chicken by the perpetrators after they wanted out (Joe Rogan thing) and I could no longer play it on Spotify, so it’s on iTunes now, my go to music for on the road and unable to have consistent toonage through the Rocky Mountains (looking at you Sirius)
Like you, I need choral to Ac/DC to ZZ-Top to blue grass…24/7