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Spotify, National Anthem, Blue Ivy

By Mike Breen · January 10th, 2012 · Minimum Gauge


If It Seems Too Good to Be True …

When Spotify was introduced to the U.S. last year, the streaming music service with a massive library seemed to be the best thing to happen to music fans since P2P file-sharing. It was fairly comprehensive, legal and, most shocking of all, free. But anyone who has used the service without a monthly subscription knows how badly Spotify wants everyone to pay to listen. Initially, the streamers tried to wear down moochers with pesky commercials every three songs. But apparently the company has been working from the corner crack dealer handbook all along — free samples up front, then, once you’re hooked, no more unlimited music unless you pay up. It is being reported (after someone actually read Spotify’s “terms of service”) that the company will cap free usage at 10 hours a month once someone’s been a member for six months. It’s kind of like Golden Corral turning its “all-you-can-eat” buffets into “all-you-can-eat-in-15-minutes” buffets. 


A Patriot Act

Indiana State Senator Vaneta Becker is working day and night to make Indiana a better place to live and help residents through this tough economic climate.

Oh, wait — actually, she’s been busy working on a proposal that would fine people $25 for singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” incorrectly. What constitutes a proper performance? Becker told the Indianapolis Star that the national anthem should be sung “the way that we normally have it sung or heard throughout most of our state and our country.” The proposal — reportedly inspired by a single phone call reporting a performance where the lyrics were parodied — would result in fines only when the American-hating song interpreters destroy the national anthem during events at public schools and state universities. So heads-up, Jose Feliciano — if you’re asked to sing your stirring rendition of the anthem at, say, a Ball State Water Ski and Wakeboard Team event, it’s just a revenue-raising trap.


Marital Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Blue Ivy Carter — the newborn who will one day be asking, “Mom, did you seriously use the MTV awards as my birth announcement? Tacky!” — entered the world Jan. 7. At least one Northern Ohio man was probably not smoking a celebratory stogey upon hearing the news, but he was a lot more familiar with the main players in the Lion King-like birth. According to police, the unnamed 48-year-old was stabbed exactly one week earlier by 31-year-old Ronald Deaver for the heinous crime of … not knowing that Blue Ivy’s ma and pa, Beyonce and Jay-Z, are married. The lesson? If you don’t read TMZ, Perez Hilton and other such gossip sites daily, you will get shanked.



01.11.2012 at 04:43 Reply

A bigger concern is that while Spotify is willing to harangue users into paying, they're unwilling to pay artists a fair rate for what they stream by either method (pay or not). Meanwhile Apple's MusicMatch, which compensates artists for music you got free on Napster a decade ago (and legitimately sells more music annually than any retailer in history) is technically crippled by majors so it's slower access makes it less satisfying to use. Of course most users don't realize that they're Facebook's product, not customers. So it's not surprising that people don't notice the same thing on Spotify (they're pimping your ears, not renting you music). Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.


01.13.2012 at 12:16 Reply

Seriously?! If Spotify starts charging me for more than 10 hours, I'm going to need to start getting paid. ("Uh. Can you just pay me with a Spotify suscription, please?")


01.16.2012 at 12:40 Reply

If you use Spotify more than 10 hours a month, you probably like it enough to pay for the subscription and you're missing out on it's best features. As a Premium User, I'll never be limited.

I personally don't understand how an avid music fan gets much out of the free version (especially not for 10 hr/month)  since you don't get access to mobile usage - where all your collection, playlists, and same Spotify database are all available on the cloud. That's where more than half of my listening happens...

I plug in when I'm driving and listen to playlists on my phone that I created on my home computer. I can even use the search feature from my phone to find a new song that someone riding with me wants to hear. I use it when I go running, on the bus, etc.

I just don't imagine that people who only listen to Spotify's free service at home have enough interest in music to end up affected by this limit. If you're not accessing Premium features then you might not even need to be in Spotify. You can access your own collection through other players, you can stream random music through sites like Pandora or on the radio, and I'd be surprised if you still needed 10 hours of service from Spotify's free access. The limit helps stop the same people who ended up messing up Pandora - users who just leave their computer streaming music on the service when they're not even listening. It makes sense considering they pay each time you play a song, so if you're not really there listening, you're hurting the whole community.


01.16.2012 at 04:32

I feel like you just said I can't be an avid music fan because I can't afford a premium subscription to Spotify or a fancy phone that will support the app.  I think it's in everyone's best interest if I leave that alone. 

However, Spotify and Pandora are incomparible.  With Pandora you can't listen to the exact song you want to hear at the very moment you want to hear it.  Instead, you're most likely going to just listen to something that sounds similar.  That's fine.  There are days when I miss my favorite radio station and all I want to do is listen to 90's Rock.  My Smashing Pumpkins station plays exactly that.  However, I usually prefer to listen to the exact song I want, followed by whatever song that one makes me think of, followed by my current favorite song in the world.  That's a feature Pandora can't offer but Spotify can. (Spotify also allows you to listen to the same song on repeat, if you want.  It's embarrassing just how much I use that feature.)

As far as listening to your collection and playlists in the car... If you only ever listen to the stuff you already know, how does your collection ever grow?  While I admit that I spend a decent amount of my drive time cursing at the music that the radio offers, I've also discovered plenty of new songs/bands on the radio.  When radio fails? I use this really ancient technology called a CD player. 

When I find something I like on Spotify, I buy the album in some sort of format.  Like Mike said, artists don't get paid much when you listen to their stuff on Spotify.  That doesn't change just because you have a subscription.  An avid music fan knows the importance of a band's longevity and does everything possible to support them.  Instead of handing over my very tiny paycheck to Spotify, I prefer to buy a couple new albums each month. That way at least a little more of my money is going directly to the bands I love.