I’m saying goodbye to Spotify. For now.
My Premium subscription is ended (I never got around to updating my credit card details) and my partner and I are saving for a house. If you live in London, you will know just how difficult getting on the property ladder is. Every unnecessary expense possible needs to be slashed, including my go-to music service.
As I contemplated whether or not I could tolerate listening to ads again, I took stock of how and what music I actually listen to on Spotify.
If I’m honest, I rarely wander very far from the same few playlists (either personally curated or created by Spotify), occasionally saving new tracks to my music without ever even catching the name of the artist, let alone the name of the tune.
I realised – to my horror – that as a result of this my relationship with music has become very shallow.
That’s no way to treat my #1 non-human companion in life.
Music streaming services either employ people, or use clever computer algorithms to serve its users a weekly dose of recommended music. To me, its very much akin to letting someone – or something – else find me a romantic partner. I’m not judging anyone who prefers it that way, but it’s not for me.
Neither is having new music spoon fed to me. Sure, once in awhile I shuffle on to a real gem, but what I miss most in my relationship with music is the pursuit…and the intimacy.
Maybe I’m just showing my age. Maybe what I really miss is having the time to just sit and listen. Maybe it’s not even Spotify’s fault at all. I’ve just allowed music to wallpaper nearly every waking moment of my life, never stopping to appreciate what I’m listening to.
Music streaming services (and not just Spotify) make that all too easy. Meanwhile, I have a dozen radio, podcast and other music-related apps (all free to use) in a state of virtual languish on my phone.
Because they don’t spoon feed me music. They require an active effort to find something, and active effort almost always leads to knowing music more intimately than you might do simply by clicking “Shuffle” or “Save”, hoping to spend time with a song later on (which never happens).
So starting tomorrow, the 1st of April 2017 (no, it’s not a joke in the making), I won’t be listening to music via Spotify (or any other major streaming service) – for a whole year.
Instead I will be exploring online radio, podcasts, SoundCloud*, blogs, apps, music sites – hell, even magazines, festival posters, other people’s music collections. Anything but a streaming service.
What I will do is use Spotify to save the music I actively find and enjoy, assuming its available.
Where and when I can, I’ll post the gems on Twitter, just look for the #substreaming hashtag, follow me (@ericabasnicki), or simply check back here.
The year begins in T-minus 16 hours and counting. Now if you’ll excuse me, I am going to hit Shuffle on my favourite playlists one last time.
Where do you find new music? Share your favourite links in the comments below.
*I know SoundCloud is technically a streaming service, but since it doesn’t (yet) provide one-touch music wallpaper, I’m allowing it.