It might sound weird to many but I have almost never maintained a music library. Most of my friends went to great lengths to find, curate and maintain their respective libraries. Often, they would toil over the minute details of naming the files, organizing folders etc. iTunes obviously solved a majority of their problems, but it still required some work.
It was too much for me. It just didn’t make sense. Once in a while I would copy over some music from friends to listen to, but would often grow tired of listening to that same sub set of music, and finding and curating music just felt like highly tedious exercise. So, in my 3rd year of college, I just decided to give up on music. Don’t get me wrong – I love music. I just didn’t love having to find and organize music.
In 2007, I proudly remember telling my friends – I am not going to maintain a library. This is not how music should work. We should just be able to stream whatever we want from the web. I believe Spotify and Pandora had existed back then, but nothing had managed to reach Singapore, which is where I lived then.
In 2011, we moved to the states and I got my hands on Pandora. Wow. Life changed. My need for a completely web based solution was fulfilled. The recommendation engine was so powerful that I almost never had to un-like a song. Just enter a song, artist or album and it would generate a never ending playlist. Exactly what I had wanted. Almost no work required with strong results. I became a staunch Pandora user. Used it on my desktop, my phone and my Boxee (now Roku).
In 2012, when everyone was salivating over Spotify’s entrance to the US market, I was unimpressed. It felt like we were regressing. I would have to search and add files to my library manually – one by one? What? Are you serious? These were my answers to friends who swore by the service. I stuck to Pandora. However, as these things go, one day I felt like listening to one particular song and obviously there was no way to do that on Pandora, so I decided to download Spotify and test it out. From then on, I would use Pandora and Spotify in tandem. Pandora for general listening and Spotify for specific songs and playlists.
This is when things got interesting. Slowly, over the last year, I have switched permanently to Spotify. Their discovery features now parallel Pandora’s or may even exceed them! Radio, What’s New, and Discover – all three are killer features. My wife asked me today whether we’re still paying for Pandora and that’s when I realized that I have not switched it on for more than a couple of months. Amazing how fast tech and preferences change.
There is still some thing that I would like Spotify to work on – a family account. I believe Rdio is the only one in the industry that has one and I would love to try them out some day. The only thing holding me back is that now all my songs and lists are in Spotify.
Well, in any case, kudos to Spotify for building a pretty awesome product.