A few weeks back when we drove down to London for a house gig, there was a conversation that cropped up between a few fans, Jonathan and myself. It revolved around the classic question 'What was the last album you bought?'. I could not really give an answer as even though I love music, I have not bought an album since last year, and Jonathan was the same. The fan in question seemed a little taken back and said he regularly buys albums, weekly in fact. He loves the feeling of buying an actual product, reading the liner notes in the sleeve and actually having it in his hands. This is something so beautiful and simple that it made me realise I kind of miss it. I came to thinking about this past conversation as I was assessing the music I have found this year trying to come up with my top 5 list of 2010 (to be published here in a week or so). The reason I have not bought a single album is simple. Spotify.
For those who do not have a clue what I mean, Spotify is a piece of software that can be downloaded for free, legally, and contains a gazillion songs, albums and more (spanish lessons for one I found out). The best way I can describe it is that it is a personal radio. Type in the name of an artist and it will show all the albums and singles they have released and just by clicking on one, it plays straight away. No downloading. You can click and drag albums and songs to create playlists. Currently I have just made a Christmas playlist and have it on random play. It is the best thing to have come from the Internet in my view, ever.
As it progressed and became a bigger thing, there were added features, including linking to facebook. So now, my friends on facebook who have Spotify, can send me a song instantly if they think I might like it, and I can do the same. Jonathan and I often send each other new bands and songs we have found.
When I was younger I used to listen to the radio, especially Steve Lamacq on from 8-10 on radio 1, who introduced me to new music. Now, Spotify is king. For example. If I typed in Starsailor, at the top would be a 'you may also like' section. So Elbow, Turin Brakes and more who are in a similar vein come up. By continuously clicking this feature I have come across so much more music that I would have if I was still listening heavily to the radio. In fact, my album of 2010 was found via this method. I do still listen to the radio (in fact Steve Lamacq on BBC radio 6 is one of my faves) but with 99% of the worlds music (not just British rock, it has classical, electro, rap and every other genre immaginable) at my fingers, I often sit and spend 2-3 hours just clicking and listening.
Using another program called 'Replay', I 'record' the songs and stick them straight onto my MP3 player or a CD for my car, and everywhere I go I can listen to what I have just found.
I honestly cannot see myself buying another CD ever again, which in one way is sad. part of my past dying, but at the same time if I did buy a CD, it would be ripped and stuck on my MP3 player, then shoved in my CD rack to gather dust til I sold it at on ebay. It's economical.
MP3 has been king for a while now but with Spotify, I have been converted.
I got Spotify in its infancy so have unlimited access. Now, however, as it has increased in popularity, you can still download it for free but only have 20 hours a month free. If you pay I think £10 per month you can get it anytime with no limits.
This was not meant to be an advert for Spotify but a debate on MP3 vs CD's. As a musician the idea of having my music available to millions at the click of a button (also on an iphone) is great, moreover, I can see that our CD sales will suffer and will not get as much money. But for me Spotify can do no wrong.
To end, after thinking of my top albums of 2010, all of them were found via Spotify. I highly recommend it.