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Free, On Demand, Streaming Music

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I've been using Grooveshark for over a year and have really enjoyed the lack of restrictions, vast library and simple playlist management.

I've been reading a lot about Spotify recently and how it's going to change music and social networking, blah blah blah... Well, I finally received an invite this morning to join-- Spotify has not officially launched yet in the US-- and have spent the day playing around with it. The interface resembles iTunes and the amount of music is simply staggering. I just did back-to-back searches for Albert Ayler and Eric Dolphy and the results gave me virtually all of their official recorded output. The audio quality is also excellent. It gives reviews and background info on albums as well, which I suppose is cool, but unlike Grooveshark the free version spews out audio commercials every 30 mins or so. Of course, the ability to expose your playlists to your extended Facebook and Twitter families is also a selling point for some.

Anyone else toying with this or any of the other on-demand music sites out there? I guess we could talk about how these sites are going to effect the bottom line for struggling indie musicians and smaller labels, but for now this technology ain't going away.

Edited by Greg P

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Honestly, I'm less concerned for indie musicians and smaller labels. They can be remarkably flexible and adjust their distribution models to include these new services more easily than the big labels. For example, I know of several labels that are using Bandcamp to offer streams of their albums (full or partial) as well as multiple download versions.

Edited by opus

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Posted · Report post

Since I've been ahemed, I'll re-post here:

While this is old news to our friends in Europe, the music service is Spotify has landed on our shores. While in beta testing, the free version is available only via invite.

While it has the ability to sync your entire downloaded musical library, I'm interested in full-album streaming of albums I don't have. And it is fantastic. So far the advertising has been much less obtrusive than say AM/FM radio and only manifests itself every 5 songs or so.

Depending on the size of the library, this has the ability to revolutionize the way I hear and decide on music.

However, since I'm not interested in paying anything and I'm paranoid about maintaining my carefully constructed i-tunes library I haven't made the decision to make it my default player ... yet. On things like this I'm not what marketers call an early adapter, so I'll wait to hear from more people about how it works with i-tunes.

Has anyone else started using it?

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Posted · Report post

I'm pretty enamored with it so far. Streaming the Pernice Bros "Yours, Mine & Ours" and Husker Du's "Warehouse..." right now and loving the ease of use, audio quality and emphasis on complete albums. Grooveshark frequently had lousy rips, incomplete tunes or misnamed files. Finding an entire album was also sometimes a pain. Spotify gives the other apps a swift kick.

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Posted · Report post

I'm currently using MOG which, outside of the buggy mobile phone app, has been pretty great. It's also not free -- but is Spotify supposed to stay free once it's out of Beta testing?

MOG also has no advertisements to interrupt the streams.

What exactly about Spotify seperates it from the pack? I realize it's just in Beta-form, but is there something particular about it to push it ahead of other online music-streaming services?

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Posted · Report post

2 things:

The quantity of music offered.

The audio quality is rather good next to most streaming services (160 or 320 kbps ogg vorbis).

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Posted · Report post

Three hours in, and I am blown away by Spotify.

At some point I will settle down and just listen to albums. But right now I am jumping back and forth between checking out new artists I've wanted to hear forever, searching for albums by long-time favorites just to see if they are available, hunting down non-album tracks I've never heard from long-time faves and listening to random curiosities (Shakti, Joe Henderson) I own one or two albums from, but not their entire catalog.

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Posted · Report post

Spotify seems to have really good publicity people, because i'm amazed at how many column inches it gets compared to, the superior in my view, we7.com. I recognise the greatness of Spotify, and my subscribing friends love it. My problems with it are twofold. Firstly o have to download the software, which when you use various computers becomes a bit of a pain, but perhaps minor. The main drawback, in my view, is the bandwidth issue. Spotify is peer to peer and I've found it uses huge amounts of bandwidth. The month after we discovered it we got a letter from out ISP because we'd somehow used 125 GB. We hadn't used it a great deal. We searched a bit online, found something to confirm our suspicions, and then ditched it. No letters from the ISP ever since. I also strongly suspect that it is responsible for Internet problems at work, but the IT guy is a fan so nothingness really happened on that front.

I don't know if we7 works stateside, and I'm not enough of a muso to know how the range of music compares, but that's my two penneth worth: the hype doesn't quite match the product.

Matt

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I've been using Spotify for about a week and love it. The biggest selling point to me was the library size (~15 million songs), which is larger than any direct competitor (that I know of, i.e. Rhapsody, Slacker, Rdio). The biggest downside, though, is in accessing local music files through the Spotify desktop app. For the most part, it works, but any metadata differences (like song title punctuation) will fragment albums, and sometimes my music won't show up at all if the artist isn't represented in the Spotify catalog.

Edit: Just saw this.

Edited by sanshiro_sugata

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Posted · Report post

After further use, I will add that I'm beginning to see some initial weaknesses. As you said Matt, I used it on my work laptop and then again at home tonight on a separate laptop and just got a pop-up warning about configuring my account for multiple locations.

The most annoying disadvantages right now are:

1) Ads/Audio Commercials-- today I got one in the MIDDLE of a tune! It was an eight-minute instrumental piece from a soundtrack, but still... that really bites.

2)Do a search for Led Zeppelin and see how weak this thing is in some areas. ZERO tracks. Grooveshark has got EVERY Zep album and bootlegs too. Also wanted to hear "Hard Times" from Harrow and the Harvest-- there's nothing from that album on there either. They've got Bobby Darin's live version of "If I Were a Carpenter" (which is a plus for me) but NO "ACHILLES LAST STAND"??? There are lots and lots of of gaping holes in the library.

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Posted · Report post

I am still really impressed by what Spotify can do. I have listened to just about every 2011 release that I was anxious to hear but hadn't bought yet in the past 24 hours.

The bandwidth complaint does give me a huge pause. I do not want the IT dudes breathing Red Mountain Dew breath down my neck, so I will stick to this for home use only.

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Posted · Report post

I'm iceybloop on spotify, btw. You can add me (or anyone) by typing spotify:user:USERNAME (except in all lowercase - no spaces) into the browser.

I had someone try to add me, but couldn't, so I'd like to know how to remedy this if you know (or if he just did it wrong, that might be helpful, too).

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Posted · Report post

I just got a handful of new invite codes for Spotify today, if anybody wants to try the service.

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Posted · Report post

Not surprising, but The Beatles aren't on Spotify. Well, they have an artist page with a bunch of tracks, but they're all interviews and tributes/compilations.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Not surprising, but The Beatles aren't on Spotify.

Shocking. My initial enthusiasm on this thing has completely soured. There are so many artists, albums and tracks missing from Spotify, I've officially abandoned it in favor or my old Grooveshark account-- which has never once come up empty on a song or album search I've done. Also, I couldn't stand listening to a reflective classical soundtrack, and getting blasted two tracks deep by a blaring, 30-second commercial for some new Top 40 artist.

Really, Grooveshark is just much better. Are there any other sites or services anyone uses for free, streaming music?

Edited by Greg P

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I'm pretty sure Grooveshark isn't supposed to have the Beatles, either, if it does.

Also, I couldn't stand listening to a reflective classical soundtrack, and getting blasted two tracks deep by a blaring, 30-second commercial for some new Top 40 artist.

Spotify does need smarter advertising, based on what the person is listening to.

Edited by bloop

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Does anyone else keep getting the "Can't Play Current Track" message on Spotify? It happens when it's switching from one track to the next. If I click on the next track manually, though, it will play.

Also, MySpace is taking on iTunes.

Edited by Tyler

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Posted · Report post

Hasn't happened to me lately. Is it doing that just after a commercial (because I have had that problem)?

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Posted · Report post

I haven't gotten that error message, but it is an existing bug that Spotify has mentioned on their Twitter feed. Wednesday they tweeted, "Glad to report that we'll soon be rolling out an update to our client that will resolve the 'Can't play the current track' bug. Stay tuned!"

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Posted · Report post

Hasn't happened to me lately. Is it doing that just after a commercial (because I have had that problem)?

It usually happens when it should go to a commercial but doesn't and freezes instead. It's happened after the commercial a few times, too.

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Posted · Report post

I haven't had the issue since I just paid the $4.99. It's bad to reward them for this, I guess, but I wanted to be able to play my music on the speakers with the kids in the house without some dude telling me to hit up his mother___ing single. I try to be mindful of them.

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Posted · Report post

Spotify's artist compensation is just terribly terribly bad. I don't think it can be justified. I'll stick to my vinyl and paid MP3 downloads, thanks, even if it means I end up hearing less new music.

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I've been using Rdio.com for the past couple of weeks. The free version has a limited number of hours you can use in a month, but there are no commercials. I also like how it's browser-based — for whatever reason, Spotify is a RAM hog on my computer. And while Rdio's artist selection might not rank up there with Spotify, there's still plenty to choose from.

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Posted · Report post

"Why Spotify Doesn't Make Sense for Musicians"

Zoë Keating, a cellist, composer, and occasional Radiolab guest, has released into a public Google Doc how much money she made from Spotify between October 2011 and March 2012. Spotify pays per listen, so every time someone plays one of Keating's songs on the service, she earns a tiny chunk of money.

Between October and March, Keating's songs were played 72,800 times on Spotify.

For all those listens -- those hours upon hours of music -- she earned $281.87. Every time someone listened to one of her songs, she made, on average, three tenths of a cent*.

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Posted · Report post

Plus, Spotify's advertisements are completely obnoxious.

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