I guess that makes Grammys worthless then?
Beautiful, just beautiful.
Spotify have now climbed into bed with Facebook, requiring a Facebook account to sign up.
Sorry Spotify, I’ve been vocally supportive of your service, and been a long time Premium supporter, but this is just a fail.
There are approx 6.25 Billion inhabitants of the planet who are not on Facebook, I’m just one, but I have no intention of being part of anything that requires Facebook membership, and neither would I ever recommend such a service.
You started to get close to altering the music business, but you have already failed.
Pink Floyd on iTunes! I missed that.. Spotify next?
Not on Spotify as of 23/10/11
Err, no. £3.99 is very acceptable, downloading a special piece of software is not.
Don’t even get me started on iTunes pricing.
That leaves Spotify then, except that Spotify can’t sell you the album at any price in the UK.
Damn you music biz. What can be listened to on Spotify can be mine to own for ever, regardless of my Premium status.
A nice piece in the Independent, a few weeks back now, but I found it just before our holiday so didn’t get time to post then.
Someone has decided that this rot is popular, but it isn’t
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
In these discussions about the use of torture, everyone seems to have missed the growth of one barbaric practice rapidly on the increase, which is the enforced playing of Magic FM in public places. This hideous fake-soothing, “easy-listening” evil infests a huge number of cafés, minicabs, shopping centres, leisure centres, pubs. It’s unstoppable, and unless we reduce its emissions by 90 per cent by 2020 the planet will become uninhabitable.
It takes immense planning to avoid being subjected to its Phil Collins and Abba-dominated pap, involving long periods in hiding and careful reconnaissance, with training from veterans of the French Resistance.
And when one of these records stops, before you can process the thought, “Ah, a moment’s respite”, the faux-jocular DJ is telling you, “Wow, we’ve got some great music coming your way. I hope you’re having a fantastic morning, and if you’re in that 25-mile ice-bound tailback on the M3 just sit back and relax, this is ‘Candle in the Wind’.”
And you know that if a nuclear bomb went off he’d say, “My word it’s 8.6 on the Geiger counter this morning so whether you’re digging a bunker or already disintegrating, I hope you’re having a wonderful day with our classic tunes, and don’t forget the mystery voice competition will be coming up right after Lionel Richie.” And all punctuated by adverts for car insurance.
Soon there’ll be loudspeakers playing it on every corner. It will be on in operating theatres and in courtrooms during murder trials, and crematoriums will replace funeral services with Magic FM, so you’ll all stand there for a few minutes through “Knowing Me, Knowing You” and the travel news, then send the coffin on its way and leave.
This is all because someone has decided this rot is popular, but it isn’t. Some people tolerate it because it lulls the listeners into a semi-coma where the real world can’t get in, acting as a type of morphine so they can drift off to “Every Breath You Take” and gently wait to die.
But few people can truly enjoy it because it’s the same every single day. So you’ll never hear anyone say, “Wow, did you hear Magic FM this morning?” because you’d have to follow that with “You’ll never guess what happened – they played a track by Billy Joel.”
It can’t even work as nostalgia, because no one can think, “Oh marvellous, they’re playing ‘Fernando’. I haven’t heard this since 10 to three and it’s nearly half past now, doesn’t seem possible does it?”
Occasionally they do play a classic Motown song, or Dusty Springfield or something with a hint of stimulation or sexuality, but in some ways that’s even worse, because they’re playing it as genteel background lift music when it’s supposed to be electrifying. It’s like seeing footage of George Foreman being knocked out by Muhammad Ali, but on “You’ve Been Framed” with a presenter saying, “Uh-oh, here’s another chap who’s taken to the floor, heh-heh.”
Obviously people should be free to listen to whatever they like, but when this stuff’s thrust at you from all angles all the time, you enter into a philosophical debate about liberty that could keep universities busy for decades as they consider the moral implications of forcibly subjecting people to Chris de Burgh’s “Lady in Poxy Red”.
I might have a day where I play a selection of particularly manic African rap, or the entire works of Nick Cave, but I wouldn’t suggest it’s blasted into every café, shopping centre and minicab. Well I would, to be honest, but the point is I wouldn’t get away with it.
But also, if you complain to whoever’s playing Magic publicly, a common response from the staff will be, “You don’t like it – we have to listen to it all bloody day, it drives us MAD.” Surely this is an act that contravenes several clauses of the Geneva Convention. These poor sods would probably rather listen to Dentist FM, with a DJ saying, “Remember this stubborn little incisor from 1982, an absolute classic – vvvzzzzzhhhhh vvvzzzzvvzzzzz.”
And the worry now is that other radio stations will try to go the same way. Radio 2 has announced its intention to deepen its appeal to over-65s, which I hope isn’t code for becoming more like Magic. Because this is how dictatorships start.
I bet if you look at the Soviet Union in 1930 there was a radio station playing a handful of mindless tunes all day across the farms, and before long the population was in a trance, and its disc jockeys were purring, “OK, it’s minus 27 degrees out there but never mind, if you’re being worked to death in a salt mine just relax in the frozen wastes and enjoy the great sound of Abba. This is “Gimme Gimme Gimme a Man After Midnight”.
More from Mark Steel
So to all the people who said it would never be approved as it is likely to prove the end of iTunes, watch this space.
Spotify is not iTunes, it is a paid for streaming service, that with the iPhone/Touch will allow you local storage so the content is available when the network is not.
Spotify is not an all you can eat music download, and you will not lose your tracks if/when the service goes down, or you cancel your subscription, simply because you never had them in the first place, you only paid for the streaming service.
There are ways around this if you wish, Audio Hijack is one method on the Mac, and there are other similar methods on Windows, but this was always a way to capture any audio stream, I used to do this years ago with Winamp and my favourite internet radio stations. It also appears that in the standard desktop application the tracks are cached to your hard drive, and surprisingly so far no-one has attacked this storage to gain full access, so there is nothing really new in the iPhone app other than making this cache available to another application.
My best guess is that the Spotify availability will be announced at Apple’s scheduled event on the 9th September, and I’m certainly happy with the service so far, and happy to pay the premium to have the full streaming ability on my iPhone. Long term, who knows, but I’m glad that sections of the music industry are finally learning to listen, and act on the advantages of the internet instead of constantly criticising and fighting their own customers.
This is not the verdict I was expecting, I really did think it would have gone the other way, but I doubt it will make any real difference.
As the BBC article, and linked comment suggest, this was all a show trial, and shutting PB down was not the aim, but the music/movie industry really do need to get a clue. This whole trial itself, and the media circus with it will have increased public awareness of the ‘service’ that PB provide, and will have by now made people who are hardcore users at least look into alternative providers of tracking services. Whether they are as good is another question.
I have personally never used either Pirate Bay or Bit Torrent for either music or films, but I do know this is an option, especially when the other option is only the recording industries ‘packaged’ product.
Movies are not my thing, music is, and I can fairly confidently say that with services like Last FM and Spotify I would never ‘need’ to buy music again, but I can certainly say that I’ve spent more on iTunes since DRM was scrapped than in the whole time before this decision was made, and this does not include the upgrading to DRM free content that I’d already been forced to buy from iTunes previously as there was a lack of down-loadable options. I’ve also used other digital download services during the same period, and again because there is now a reasonable choice of product, though I’m not talking about the US/UK Top 40 sh!te they pump out, that is a whole separate subject.
My favorite download method was always the MP3Tunes service, primarily used at getting back catalogues, mostly of stuff I still own on LP. Now that was a service, huge choice, fast downloads in a format I could choose and essentially paying only a bandwidth cost. If the music industry would look at that delivery method/costing then they would kill PB/BT downloads of music, and what is to stop them using the same model for movies?
Now software, that IS something else….
I yielded to the glitzy delights of iTunes. Said I wouldna, but was nicely tempted by a couple of Roger Waters protest songs. Naa, that sounds so sixties, but sadly entirely relevant today. I think I need to set a budget….
The Great Linux Experiment is confined to 3 virtual versions now, I do plan to go back to a real machine, upgrade of workstation pending. But…
Updating will take a back seat again as another machine not only fancied a wrestling with me, but turned belly-up and sparked itself out right in front of me.
The amp connected to the workstation has died…. Not wholly unexpected, things had been slowly dying on the thing for a while, but spectacular all the same. It even fooled me into a emergency shut down of the workstation thinking it was the sound and smell of a frying sound card! Checking inside the box revealed no cause for concern in there, and a few tests later revealed a terminally dead amp.
I now have its replacement lined up and ready for installation, meanwhile the replacements replacement is safely installed in the comfort of the living room, shiny silver, 6 speakers and DVD player….. and very expensive. The one really good thing to come out of the little incident is that I can now hook the record deck back into the loop and continue in moving all the old collection into digital media.
Thats my work cut out for a while then…