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Embracing the future: why I’ve ditched MP3s and signed up to Spotify Premium

Spotify logo

Image BY-NC Rsms @ Flickr

I like music. A lot. I listen to as much as I can as I believe it makes me more productive.* As a student I worked in HMV at Meadowhall in Sheffield and bought a prodigious amount of CDs. When I did my MA in Modern History I sold many of them to fund my living expenses, but still many remained. I hadn’t ripped them all to MP3 but still had around 100GB of my 250GB taken up with MP3s. I deleted all of that today, leaving only my downloaded podcasts:

iTunes data

After my week of divesting the only CDs that aren’t in boxes ready to be sent off to Music Magpie or Amazon customers are those (nine) that I’ve decided to keep as artwork.** I signed up for a Spotify Premium account the day after their iPhone app became available. It costs £9.99 per month to upgrade from the Free account. For that you get, amongst other things, the usage of their iPhone app (which doesn’t work with a Free account), a higher streaming bitrate and no advertisements.

That’s not to say that Spotify features every album and every piece of music that I’ve ever listened to. But I reckon that they’ve got about 90% of the stuff I search for. That’s good enough for me, especially given my eclectic, ever-changing taste in music and the fact they add thousands more track to their library every week – check out their blog!

The streaming model makes sense. Now that a decently-fast internet connection is available to me pretty much everywhere I go, there’s no need for me to manually sync and carry around with me a partial collection of music I like. Much better to have access to a much bigger collection everywhere I am. :-)

Of course, there are times when your internet connection isn’t so good (or even non-existent). It’s for these times that Spotify has made playlists that you create available offline. Up to 3,333 tracks can be cached for offline play at any one time. That’s certainly enough for me!

Finally, then, there’s the problem of making Spotify’s vast library user-friendly. A start has been made via SpotifiTunes (see my library here) which takes your iTunes XML file and creates a list of Spotify links. Wanting an up-to-date version of this, I’ve created a workspace on my wiki dedicated to this. To access this, click on the ‘Music’ link at the top of this blog or click here!

What do YOU think about Spotify and the like? Will you be signing up any time soon? :-D

* I recommend you read Lifehacker’s The Best Sounds for Getting Work Done

** See CD wall tiles @ IWOOT)

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  1. I too have been thinking about ditching the itunes space and using spotify premium – brave man indeed for deleting your entire library. What about syncing to your iphone? Is spotify available offline for long travel journeys where internet connection holds no reliability? This question re: iphone synchronicity is putting me off: I know they’re is an app but the idea of pressing delete re: my itunes library makes me feel…… well a little bit ‘disloyal’ for some ridiculous reason.
    Strange really!!!!

    • Interesting – disloyal to whom exactly?As I stated in the post, you can make Playlists available online for up to 3,333 tracks. With that and podcasts on my 16GB I should have enough for any trip! :-)

      • Ahhhhh. That’s brilliant for offline use.

        My ‘disloyal’ comment was regards to my iTunes library: the link between ripping my old CDs and ‘good times’ I’ve had with the old CD cases / sleeves. Pathetic I know

        • I too struggled initially with the ‘but I like seeing who produced it’ issue, the album artwork, etc. However, there’s such a wealth of information on the Internet (via Wikipedia/MySpace/Last.fm profiles) that I can find out probably more than I needed to anyway… :-)

  2. Think Spotify is clearly the future if you don’t have too much hard drive mp3 music and you listen to music in particular ways. Personally I use my lovely sonos system at home so until it is integrated with it I won’t be ditching my 100gb music collection (plus I have a slightly weird alternative / indie taste with obscure bands so not everything is on Spotify… yet!) However, I know a couple of people who have followed exactly what you have done and haven’t looked back! It completely makes sense that in a world we we are connected 24 hours a day that the music we access is also centrally stored and served.

  3. Mmm… I’m not ready to jump ship yet for a couple of reasons.
    a) I want to own the music I pay for. That way I can copy/burn/use in movies as necessary. Added to which, It allows me to share it by making a CD for going in the car or as a present (yes, I’m a child of the mix-tapes). At the moment, Spotify will not allow me to do any of these things (unless I use something like Audio Hijack Pro…)
    b) 90% of my collection is good, but it’s not 100%. In addition, I have no control over the content that Spotify offer. If they fall out with a record company, then the songs I want to listen to could be removed from Spotify (think Kindle, think 1984 fiasco)… It is probably just a matter of time before Spotify fall out with one of the record companies…
    and c) How safe is Spotify? Do they have a viable business model… and if not, what do you listen to when/if they go bust… There are some real doubts about whether Spotify will last!

    So… You’re a brave man and a real early adopter, but I’m not ready to join you yet! Having said that, I am loving being able to hear new songs (and old ones I’d forgotten about)… Spotify is the best radio service I’ve found yet!

    ;o)

    • Good points, Neil, but…

      a) Do you actually ‘own’ MP3s/CDs/DVDs? It’s my understanding that you’ve got a license to play them. Making CDs for the car, mix-tapes, etc. is actually technically illegal. Not that I particularly care about that (the law can be an ass) but it’s worth thinking about. And you can always still gift people music via iTunes.

      b) That’s a good point, but I’m only tied in to Spotify on a monthly basis. If their offering is degraded or there’s a better alternative it’s easy for me to jump ship!

      c) See above. :-)

      And, of course, I use more than just Spotify. I also like the Last.fm player and Brian Eno-endorsed ‘Bloom’ on my iPhone.

  4. Brave of you to go over so completely Doug! I also bought a subscription, mostly to access their mobile app. I also find it very useful to be able to access music I want to listen to on many computers without having to duplicate my iTunes Library.

    I have two problems with Spotify though. The first is that as someone into DJing and music making you cannot actually do anything with the music other than listen to it. You can’t put it into DJ software, and you can’t play with it. Pretty specialist concern I know.

    The other is the fact that I have read in several places online that artists are making next to no money from spotify plays. As someone who used to work in this industry and who has many talented friends trying to scrape a living from making music I am worried that this model is yet another way to exploit the creators of content when it should be rewarding them for their efforts.

  5. Doug – What if you get a proper hi-fi system? MP3s and other lossy compressed music files sound rubbish with a decent set-up…be like going back to VHS tapes after watching blu-rays.

  6. interesting… very interesting. This summer I purchased a re-furbished 2nd gen. itouch. I have yet to use it though! The thing is that I run linux and itunes and linux are not very friendly, so I’ve been waiting for people to hack into the whole itouch/linux relationship.

    Could spotify help me out here?