Friday, 12 December 2014

Spotify My Soul

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is Spotify.

If the Ohio Players had wanted a string of unlistenable adverts played after every two tracks of their Live 1977 album, they'd have put them in - like or Jay-Z. Nothing ruins an album like a whiney Christmas advert or some prick telling me how much I need a phone that doubles as a hipster beard trimmer. Spotify will gleefully interrupt my '70s funk to play me some contemporary bullshit which it insists is incredible, despite the audible evidence to the contrary.

Why not just turn down the volume? Because Spotify is very clever and pauses the adverts when you mute them - they know when you're not paying enough attention, like the telescreens in 1984. Why not just take out your headphones? Because then I don't know when the advert's finished and end up missing the first 15 seconds of Sweet Sticky Thing - it's easy to overestimate the length of the adverts, because when you hear them they seem to go on for ever.

An album is a piece of art - unless it's Jake Bugg, obviously. You wouldn't draw a McDonalds logo on a Turner painting, or try to sneak a PC World advert into a Jane Austen novel - "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a tablet that can replace your laptop." 

I understand that Spotify is a business and it's free to use, using the absence of adverts as a tantalising incentive to pay for a subscription. But the sheer frequency of the adverts, coupled with this unnecessary telescreen technology, suggests that Spotify doesn't really care about music - it cares about selling you expensive crap you don't need.

If this is in any doubt, look at this picture - Spotify have helpfully compiled a playlist of all your favourite songs from adverts. It's one thing to subtly use advertising to fund your passionate project, it's another to force adverts down our throats disguised as art. But the big question is - who listens to that?!

Probably quite a lot of people, which is extremely depressing. The John Lewis advert that I've not seen but is definitely awful was released alongside a penguin toy that cost £95 - and sold out in under 24 hours. And as for that Sainsbury's advert - sticking a corporate logo on the end of a completely irrelevant film about World War I is all kinds of wrong.

But I digress. If you're on Spotify, you can listen to loads of great stuff. You can listen to a Grateful Dead show from 1966, or Blind Melon's first two albums, or a Grateful Dead show from 1973, or James Brown Live at the Apollo, or a Grateful Dead show from 1982. But no. You're listening to the music off of adverts. I hope you have a terrible Christmas.