Friday, July 22, 2011

Spotify 1

I've had Spotify on my computer for the past few days, so I thought I'd write something about it, the good and the bad so far.

I got the Premium subscription because it says you get better quality audio and can take songs with you on an iPod or phone. I got a new iPod, had to upgrade because it wouldn't work on my 1st generation iPod Touch.

If you want to use an iPod, you have to abandon iTunes and let Spotify transfer your tracks. What I was hoping to do was put a bunch of my albums on this iPod along with tracks that I don't own from Spotify. And that works, you can do it, but at this point there's not a good way to organize your albums. They don't show up in alphabetical order by artist. Instead, they have to be part of playlists, even if you make a playlist with nothing but one album. Then the playlists don't alphabetize.

So instead of doing that, I decided just to abandon the putting on of my own albums in any systematic way. At most, I'll put an album or several depending on what I want to hear at the time. But my real intention is to continue to use my 1G iPod Touch for my own albums and the new iPod for downloaded Spotify tracks.

For downloading tracks, there's no problem with that, except you just have to have a playlist for everything to go to. Meaning what you're going to see in the end is just a hodgepodge of tracks. That's not really the way I'd like it to be, but it works OK. Other than that, what I'm doing is downloading playlists from ShareMyPlaylists and I'll listen to those and probably shuffle them. It's a hodgepodge, but you can discover a lot of stuff that way. And that's very nice.

Of course you can listen to anything they have on your computer easily, and that's a terrific thing. The songs usually take off really fast, but like any website once in a while there's a delay or pause in the middle of something. I have a line out from the headphone jack into my stereo, so the tracks sound very nice.

You can search around and find tracks you to listen to, and apparently there are millions of tracks, or you can get these playlists ready made and listen to them. And you can click on the album title and see the album in order and play it in order if you want. It's great.

I have a few gripes in addition to the organizational issues described above. I occasionally like oldies, but it seems like the oldies market has been overwhelmed by re-recordings by members of the original groups, and those are thick like weeds in Spotify's track list. Sometimes they're marked as such, sometimes not. It's like getting a 1000 bucks and having 700 of it be counterfeit. And there's tons of karaoke and tribute versions of things. Occasionally you might want a karaoke track, but why you would to listen to The Pop Heroes' version of "Fireflies (made famous by Owl City)" is anyone's guess. Or how about Studio 99 doing sound-alike versions of '70s songs? The phrase "vast wasteland" comes to mind!

But in amongst the bullshit is of course plenty of treasures. There's numerous omissions, but I'm astounded by the amount of great stuff there is that I already know about and great stuff yet to be discovered. It's a bargain!

Someone in a Facebook comment said it was the same as Napster 2005, which is far from the truth. I had Napster back then, and in 2006, and Spotify is far better. I don't know what Napster is like now, but back then you sometimes had to sit and wait forever for a song to start, and downloading was a trickier business. The tracks didn't work on iPods but on such garbage players as the Gigabeat. I had a Gigabeat, a piece of (unsupported) Toshiba shit if ever there was one! It would randomly wipe out its entire memory.

And I always thought Napster's interface sucked too. It was extremely clunky, like if you were looking through the new albums and you were way down the page. When you clicked an album and then went back, you were back at the top. There were plenty of other objectionable things about Napster at the time that I've now forgotten, maybe not least of all, their abysmal customer support. I can't be sure, but there's probably people from 2006 still trying to get through to cancel, since you had to phone in to a number that may have been unmanned 23 hours a day. (I exaggerate, but not by much.;) )

In short, there's no comparison between Spotify and Napster 2005-2006. You certainly couldn't wirelessly download thousands of tracks from playlists people made! We are worlds away from what we had back then!

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