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July 28th, 2011

Life During Spotify

Spotify is… uh… still here!

I’ve been living with Spotify Premium – the version which allows access via smartphone – for a few weeks now, and I wanted to get a few of my thoughts out there.

The music selection is good. Oddly it seems that titles I see on MOG aren’t on Spotify and vice versa. Lately it’s been favoring Spotify for what I listen to, so it wins. That’s nice. Also, the streaming quality is good enough for me. It’s a higher-quality with Premium than other products. That, too, is nice.

Sharing tracks in Spotify is lovely. Once you have a person listed in your People List, just drag a track (or album) to that person and it arrives in her inbox. Great, dead simple, The Way It Should Be, etc.

Downsides? One is that just having music available offline is kind of wonky for the iPhone app. As far as I can tell, one needs to have tracks/albums in a playlist before they can be flagged for download. That means if I just want to listen to an album later, I need to go to the album, choose to put it in a playlist, and then designate that playlist as available for offline mode. It’s awkward. MOG handles this better: unless something’s changed since I last used it, one just taps a download button for an album or track or whatever. No playlist nonsense.

Then there’s the interfaces. Spotify requires a download for Windows/Mac, and the player aims to replace your existing player too. It actually absorbs in your existing music library so if a track is online or offline… it makes no difference. That’s pleasant. In response, MOG has a spankin’ new HTML5 interface that I love. Spotify’s interface, I just kind of like, and we needed to warm up to each other.

One of the biggest problems with Spotify is a lack of music discovery. One of the things I loved about Pandora back in the day, and MOG, is that I can say, “Ah, play me stuff related to the current artist.” And it would. Spotify has absolutely no way to do this. It’s a gaping hole. Then there’s that whole, “Hey, that song might not be there later!” problem.

I’m officially still on the fence when it comes to monthly music subscriptions. I like both MOG and Spotify for different reasons, but mostly find MOG more to my liking.

Posted in Consumer Commentary, Technology, Television, Movies, and Music

Paul July 29, 2011, 9:37 am

One thing that the mobile app also gets wrong: headphones. Really.

Say I’m listening to something with my headphones and then put the phone to sleep, remove the headphones, and so on. Later I jump back into Spotify without headphones plugged in. The app “helpfully” takes me to Now Playing, with the track I was on… and it starts playing. Out loud.

Gets me, every time. I have to play whack-a-mole with the pause button, and I don’t like that very much.

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