Friday Top 5: Subscribe
There was big news recently about Spotify bringing their all-you-can-eat music service to America hammering the tech sites and delighting music fans. Now, this concept is nothing new to me as a long time subscriber and advocate of Microsoft’s Zune Pass. It has however been a chore to evangelize the merits of renting your music catalog. Let’s face it, there is a warm fuzzy around “owning” your music, isn’t there. But let’s go over the Top 5 reasons why you subscribe to a music service, especially as there are now several great multi-platform services to choose from.
When was the last time you left the house the 11 million songs? I do it every day. And before you say, “Yeah, but most of them suck,” remember that you never know when “Total Eclipse of the Heart” will make a poignant entry into a conversation. I have a few playlists I sync up to the phone. But sometimes, I want to hear Motorhead or Iron Maiden, reminisce with the Smiths or rediscover why it is I like Radiohead in the first place. Hear a song on Radio K you like, you can pull that artist’s entire catalog and sync it to your PC later. Fill in those gaps, teach your friends. Be the DJ at every party. All you need is 3G and some battery life.
The key part of Spotify and Zune experience is the social aspect. You can send music, share playlists, share your favorites, share your recent listens; sharing is caring. I have Zune friends I have never met or talked to, just share musical taste. And you know you are the friend with good taste in music. Prove it. Invite your friends and become their DJ. Feeling really social? Try turntable.fm (while you can). I think it will be a matter of time until many of the subscription services have “clubs” to hang out in where you and your friends can spontaneously spin and share.
Big labels, indies, long gones – all are represented in the subscription service. You can bounce from genre to genre, generation to generation. It is addictive. Not sure what you are in the mood for? Let’s go with anything. Subscribe, stream, discover. Go on four hour interactive download benders. Create a Pet Shop Boys playlist for the wife or girlfriend or boyfriend. I won’t judge you.
iTunes sucks. It really does. It is horrible. Just plain awful. I guess my biggest problem with Spotify is that it is too much like iTunes. I get enough spreadsheets at work. Why would I want it in my music collection? I don’t. Spotify is at least a little more visually pleasing. Rhapsody, Rdio and Pandora (premium) are certainly prettier. Zune wins here, though, with Tiles, animations, transitions and organizational beauty. And a final bonus, the lack of dread if your computer fails. I just fire up the software and restore downloaded tracks. At this point it may take a few days…
You no longer have to be a hackorz with l33t skillz to eat all the music you wanted, you just need a torrent client. The problem is that makes you a thief. I have seen every excuse online. “I buy it if it is good.” “I’ll pay for tix to the show when they come through town.” You are lying. And really, you have no excuse with as much free music there legitimately is online these days. Just look to the right. You see the ATH Player? Everything there is a freebie.
So get out there people. Don’t be afraid to test the DRM waters. Protected content isn’t the social pariah it used to be. And best of all, you get to do your part in supporting the labels and artists that you love. Subscribe today…
…or just go get more vinyl.