Hung Truong: The Blog!

Thoughts on Spotify

July 19, 2011 | 3 Minute Read

I was lucky enough to get an early invite to Spotify last week thanks to my high Klout score (I honestly think anyone with a pulse got an invite) and I’ve been playing around with it for a few days. Here’s my thoughts on the service thus far.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I’m using Spotify for listening to stuff that I don’t already have in my library. This is sort of weird because I recently switched to an SSD and none of my music is actually in my library. Yet I use Spotify for listening to stuff that’s not on my external hard drive (which I almost never have plugged in). I think this behavior might be due to the fact that Spotify is making me a fat kid in a candy store (but for music). I want to keep searching to test Spotify’s limits and see how much music it really has. So far it’s been doing really well.

Specifically, I have been using Spotify mostly to listen to music that was popular when I was in middle school (this was like, 14 years ago). This music is stuff that I’m either too embarrassed to have on my hard drive, or I simply never had. Yet it’s totally great for nostalgia’s sake. I’ve been listening to No Doubt, Toni Braxton, Weezer, Mariah Carey, etc. Stuff that brings me back to that era. It’s pretty cool.

One workflow that Spotify has replaced for me is the awkward one of going to YouTube and looking for a video of a song I want to hear. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to go to YouTube and searched for something like “Head Over Heels” by Tears For Fears just to listen to a song (it’s just a static image of the album cover). It’s much, much quicker just to search in Spotify and get super instant gratification.

Comparisons to the new hot startup, Turntable, are pretty much impossible to avoid. Turntable is really fun for interacting with people (and music discovery), but sometimes you just want to listen to what you want to listen to (and not wait for other DJs before your song comes on). I think the two services have very different use cases, and each works well for its intended use.

One thing Spotify could work on is music discovery. It’s kind of ridiculous the only music it pushes are the top albums, artists and songs. All the stuff on this list are top 20 bullshit that I really have no interest in listening to (just ignore the top 20 “bullshit” from the 90’s that I just admitted to listening to). In this day and age, it’s ridiculous for a music service to not include some kind of recommendation engine or radio feature. Browsing music on the service by genre, year or anything besides search is impossible. In terms of features, Spotify is actually kind of disappointing.

Despite the obvious shortcomings, I have a lot of high hopes for Spotify. It’s a really nice example of how consumers can enjoy getting stuff from “the cloud” without making it too complicated. I hope that it continues to improve, especially in the music discovery and browsing categories.