Feeds

Spotify: We kick the tyres

Best thing since sliced vinyl?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The Spotify repertoire

The company has earned itself a good reputation for being meticulous and above board with licensing. Licensing digital music is a nightmare, and requires a major investment, but Spotify is trying hard: the four majors are present, indie network Merlin, and Orchard.

And unless the first thing you want to hear is one of the big-name hold-outs - Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd - you'll be pleasantly surprised at the extent of what's an offer. Here, at last, is all the stuff you never got round to hearing, or buying. Hear 15 versions of Spooky in a row! Hear all those old mid-70s Rolling Stones albums you never got round to buying!

Then, unfortunately, the gaps start to become apparent. Whole genres are absent (trance), and in some genres, there's a patchy make-do selection (techno with no Derrick May?). Well, maybe you don't dance to techno anymore, but you might want to dig out originals of your favourites: here's where a "universal" jukebox can and should provide a service over the best second hand record shop, by virtue of completeness and instant availability.

It's not radio, just links to a few more artist

Alas, many artists are represented only by their "greatest hits" collections, and this is often a cheesy re-re-packaging. This has some strange consequences. You can find many cover versions of She's Not There but not the Zombies' original - something hospital radio can deliver OK. Cult classics like The Small Faces' Ogden's Nut Gone Flake are absent. How do you make your own decent playlist or compilation when so much is missing? There's just one Funkadelic song.

Frustratingly too - I found this quite bizarre - where the original albums are included in Spotify, the year of release may be of re-release. With so few options with which to browse the service, this is needlessly confusing, but poor metadata plagues these services.

Now there are two caveats to these criticisms.

Firstly, they aren't necessarily the fault of Spotify. The huge gaps in a "universal" service are an illustration of the mess of digital licensing. If you go to Amazon.com, you won't find those missing Small Faces originals for MP3 download either. Not all labels have gone to the trouble of making high quality digital masters available to be licensees, and some haven't bothered making them at all.

No Funkadelic or Led Zepp - but will this do?

Secondly, the gaps are being filled. Only last week Patti Smith's Horses appeared, along with 1,600 new additions (updates are listed in this document) including ... Perry Como's Christmas Songs. Aaah.

But it does offer a sharp reminder that the real benefit of P2P isn't actually technical - it's completeness. Someone, somewhere will have what you're after - and fans also provide the bootlegs, concert recordings and other material not in the official catalog.

So for now, for all Spotify's riches, you end up listening to music you didn't get round to hearing in the first place, or buying. There may be actually reason you're listening to that music now, though: it just wasn't very good in the first place. Sorry, Keith & Mick - those mid-70s albums are alright, but they're not great records.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
Class war! Wikipedia's workers revolt again
Bourgeois paper-shufflers have 'suspended democracy', sniff unpaid proles
'Aaaah FFS, 'amazeballs' has made it into the OXFORD DICTIONARY'
Plus: 'EE, how shocking, ANOTHER problem I face with your service'
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.