The way buying and listening to music keeps changing has long pissed me off. I’ve gone through vinyl, 8-track tapes, cassette tapes, compact discs, MP3s and a variety of music players and streaming apps. With the possible exception of the awful 8–track, each has pros and cons. Spotify, however, tops them all and keeps me decidedly less crotchety.
Though many consider vinyl the gold standard, it ain’t perfect. My favorite albums had warps, skips, sticks and other flaws that messed with the sound. Listening to one or two specific songs was too much work. I’d stack three or four of my favorites on the turntable (hence all the damage) and would eventually end up liking the entire side.
My album collection disappeared in the late 1990s. I left them in Lexington when I moved to DC in July. No way they’d survive the two-day trip in the back of a Ryder truck. To this day, where they ended up is a mystery.
I’ve lost my music collection several more times. Cassettes and eight-tracks didn’t hold up. A Rubbermaid storage container in my garage is filled to the brim with CDs I finally put away because finding the one I wanted at any particular time was too much work.
Converting my favorite CDs to (MP3?) files took months. Then I switched to Apple and lost them. Yeah, I know. There are ways to convert the files, but by this time, I’d spent enough time effing with digital music.
Pandora was kind of cool, but I soon lost interest. The ads were annoying and I didn’t feel like paying for something I could easily live without. I made do with radio and a hundred or so songs on my phone until earlier this year when I finally grew sick and tired of my entire collection.
Buying more music was pointless. Better to rent. I asked friends and students about music streaming services. Almost everyone said to go with Spotify. So I did.
Wow. Listening to exactly what I want to hear has never been easier. Almost every song I’ve looked for is there. It’s amazing! I’ve listened to Christmas albums from my childhood, soundtracks for movies and Broadway shows I love and/or always wanted to see, and favorite songs and albums from different times in my life.
The variety is great, but the playlists are the best thing about Spotifiy. Sure, you can create your own, but why bother? A quick search for any subgenre artist, or topic you can imagine quickly produces a long list of playlists created by other users.
My favorites are the customized playlists Spotify creates around my preferences. Most include much-loved songs I’d forgotten about and would never have thought to seek out. On occasion, a song plays that I don’t remember but still somehow know all the words.
Unlimited access to every kind of music ever recorded is hard to beat. I bounce between Country Hits of the 60s (I have never bought country music — ever), show tunes from MGM Musicals (may have bought a few of these…), classic R&B (I’m a soul man at heart), and gay club music from the 70s and 80s (no explanation needed).
I do pay — $9.99 a month. Other than ads, I have no idea what you get with the free version. They offer a free one-month trial. I highly recommend giving it a shot.