Spotify has brilliantly convinced many people to spend $120 per year on music. The average CD-buyer spent much less than that. It's become normal and acceptable to have a subscription to this stuff. It was hard to imagine in the early 2000s when so many pirated their music for free.
Pre-Spotify and pre-bandcamp, getting music you could play on multiple devices was hard. Piracy was the only reliable way you could have the same songs on your walkman, your mp3 player, your phone, and your computer.
Bandcamp is nice, in that it offers DRM-free music in high quality, but Spotify offers raw, unadulterated convenience.
And Convenience is King.
Netflix is already seriously less useful than it was a few years ago now that more and more copyright holders are pulling their content and starting their own streaming services...
(There’s two DVD rips listed by the indexer I use but neither of them is the complete film, and no streaming service has it.)
I found it using this:
(This appears to be a recent change by Netflix where they list movies that can’t actually be viewed. Another example of a movie listed by Netflix but not viewable there is the documentary “The Wrecking Crew” - https://www.netflix.com/title/70105364)
This movie really doesn’t seem to be legally streamable. I found a supposed Bluray rip of it via TPB, and an HN reader emailed me links to a couple very poor quality DVD rips on various sketchy web sites, and there’s some even worse quality CD sized rips on Usenet. The physical media is no longer for sale, and I’m not sure it was ever released to BR, the torrent I found (and still transferring) notwithstanding.
(I know, I know, it's one of their least 'significant' movies -- but IMO it's their most fun and watchable one).
piracy is currently the most convenient way to consume content now that all the streaming services/labels want to fragment their libraries
I guess for someone starting from scratch, "what streaming service(s) should I should I subscribe to?" might be a difficult and paralyzing question to the point that the answer might be, "who knows, screw it, I'll just pirate everything".
I'm not sure. A friend watches shows on a pirate streaming site, even though they are available for free (but add supported, not that this matters with addblock) on a legal streaming site. It's just easier to always first check the site that always has the desired content available for that particular target audience than some try and error or even an additional google search.
But context matters. If you pay for a subscription, wanting to get the most "value" out of that makes sense psychologically (just like the other mindset... "already payed for that, who cares where i watch"). Also if you already got the necessary subscriptions and google always directly leads you to the latest weekly episode, starting there doesn't make a difference. One that's not the case (e.g. you can only watch ever other show an the high sea)... well, having to repeat the search on more than one site would certainly be more effort.
good thing there are piracy streaming sites with all the content then :p
all the properly licensed streaming services are about as and a little more convenient than 2004's piracy-scene was for me
the licensed music scene is top notch for me between soundcloud, shazam and spotify
just need to let youtube know that youtube music is never going to happen, and let the other guys know not to mess their things up
for music I only pay for spotify
and if spotify messes up in the availability, I rip the same song from youtube in HD and put it in my spotify library
I use Spotify to listen mostly to classical music, and I might want to hear something performed by 10 or 20 different performers. There is no way I could afford that by buying "songs" individually.
As a side note, Spotify treats classical listeners horribly, ignoring their requests (such as to show more of song titles, or search by label), which I do not understand, because these are the customers that would most likely pay a premium to get better features.
This is actually largely to do with what metadata they take and then how they present it. And it’s really tricky.
The metadata associated with classical music is generally speaking more complex than (say) a rock track. Until relatively recently there was not (IIRC) a clear format laid out in the DDEX standards (which are the metadata standards associated with delivering music and other media) for how you present the numerous different elements of metadata associated with a classical release. So it is a real mess.
I don’t think Spotify necessarily even takes the full metadata spec that you can associate with a classical release.
So for example: you may have a recording of the Allegro - which is the third (also written III) movement from Beethoven’s Symphony number 6 - also know as the Pastoral, also known as Op.68 or Opus 68 (and as the “Pastorale” in German) which is in the key of F major.
I need to be sure that the track I’m listening to is not the 4th (IV) movement which is also Allegro and definitely not the 1st (I) which is Allegro but not too much - Allegro non troppo.
Now - I want the version recorded in Austria by the Weiner Philharmonic conducted by Simon Rattle produced by Stephen Jones and released on Warner Classics. You however may well prefer the Decca version conducted by Erich Kleiber with the London Philharmonic (but not the London Philharmonia!) produced by Victor Olof. Or you may want the Kleiber-conducted version with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. How do you distinguish?
As you can see there are a whole load of different pieces of metadata on which people might search - and when it comes to classical repertoire these things really matter to the listener. The way labels try to address it currently on Spotify is to simply stuff as much as possible into the track title. Spotify now have some of this listed in the “song credits” but that is relatively recent. And the info on many tracks is far from complete.
There are some specialist classical services addressing this - but the problem is I would prefer not to have to subscribe to an additional service just for classical music when most of it is sort of available on my streaming service of choice.
So yeah. It’s a mess :)
This really doesn't take that much and it isn't an impossible goal. And yet Spotify wasn't able to implement these two things for years, even though people keep begging them to.
Amazon music downloads & Bandcamp downloads are even easier.
What’s not easy is needing to manage a subscription account, log in on multiple devices, and either manage caching music local to the device (and frequently needing to clear items out of the cache to switch with other items) or always use cellular data services to stream music.
I obviously cannot argue with massive consumer trends, but personally I do not understand how anyone thinks streaming services are more convenient. I cannot empathize with any use case where streaming would be more convenient.
Whether I’m discovering new music, sharing music, making playlists, or anything else, the absolute number one thing I need is the raw music files. Convenience starts & stops with that.
>For me, buying a physical disc
physically drive to a store, find the cd, purchase, etc. or buy online, wait days for it to arrive, etc.
>transferring the files to my computer
hook phone up to computer, extract files, load onto dropbox, and then finally have access
>manage a subscription account, log in on multiple devices
you literally click one button. that's all. And you login once and never again. no more difficult than logging into dropbox.
>either manage caching music local to the device
again, one button. on your spotify playlist / album there is a "download" button. click it. boom. done. listen all you want, without internet.
>absolute number one thing I need is the raw music files
you and about 1% of people. no one else does, hence why spotify is a billion dollar company and cd's are obsolete.
Somehow doing this with Dropbox is easy, but not with Spotify?
You can't imagine that it's easier to search for a new song on Spotify and play it immediately VS buying a physical disc, transferring the files to your computer, then transferring them again to each of your devices?
Just finding the physical discs is huge inconvenience
I want a radio experience, where some nice person somewhere else (or an algorithm, whatever) picks music for me. Bonus points if they don't come on after every song to tell me all about whatever. I'm not worried about the cost or inconvenience of using cellular data services to stream music, that's the primary reason I have a data plan.
I use a curated streaming service, but I can see the appeal of Spotify, because thanks to the mandatory licensing regime, they can literally stream any released music in a radio context; and having access to everything is amazing. When Launchcast was a thing, it's recommendation engine was pretty great, although they lacked depth in the genre's I want to listen to; I strongly suspect Spotify does too.
Yet you seem to do it with Dropbox just fine... You make it sound onerous. The reality is it's a one-time effort of about 20 seconds for each device. Drop the hyperbole, it just makes you look silly.
> and either manage caching music local to the device (and frequently needing to clear items out of the cache to switch with other items)
How is "putting them into Dropbox or transferring them via VLC to each of my devices" materially different from "manage caching music local to the device (and frequently needing to clear items out of the cache to switch with other items)"? If you want to put music on a device that's already full, don't you have to delete something first whether you're transferring files manually or downloading them through Spotify?
> buying a physical disc, transferring the files to my computer, and either putting them into Dropbox or transferring them via VLC to each of my devices
is harder than
> Search for song, click "Play" on song
And let's not even get into backing up, keeping in sync, correct song metadata, etc.
If you honestly can't see how much easier the second thing is compared to the first, I would honestly go see a medical professional about it, because you're literally delusional.
This mindset is the reason why all software is terrible.
Also, it used to be 10,000 across 3 devices and bizarrely only 333 on each device (even if you only used one device)! I think they have since fixed that.
But couldn't you legally copy music between devices without being a pirate?
Also, surely nobody tried to have music for an MP3 player AND a Walkman. Those have got to be mutually exclusive, don't they? Even smartphones and MP3 players didn't exist together much.
I personally started paying for Spotify to help myself feel more ethical about my music consumption. And it is very convenient. Except I haven't ponyed up for the family price yet, so only one person in my family can use it at a time.
Since streaming became the norm, we've not made that amount in over 2 years. We get streams, but the amount you get is miniscule compared to a single sale.
Now if only MPAA and friends would listen...
My understanding is that total spending on recorded music is way down from heights in the 90's. I could be wrong though.
Eventually, this also helped set the stage for Napster, etc. The public didn't want to spend $15+ dollars for s single. And after getting too many one-hit wonders the public was glad to have it's needs met and were even happier when that was also form of revenge against the music industry.
The artificial peak of the 90's was also one of the reasons the music industry took so long to adjust to digital (read: a return to singles buying normalcy). They go so used to those revenues that they forgot what reality was like.
Cherry picking from the article from 2014:
> At the 1999 peak ... according to the music trade group International Federation for the Phonographic Industry, across the total 18-and-over population (both across many countries or individually within one), the average amount spent came to $28 per consumer.
> But that includes people who did not buy any music that year. If we look at just the consumers who bought music, they spent $64 on average that year.
> Another study by NPD Group in 2011 found similar spending, about $55 per music buyer per year on all forms of recorded music
Note, that's all forms of music.
> about $12 per iTunes account per quarter is spent on music, or about $48 per year.
The recent uptick is certainly interesting though.
Given the amount of music I listen to, if I was to buy the singles or full albums I'd be paying significantly more. If I was to buy on iTunes for $1.99 each song that I wanted to listen to now, I would've paid a lot more money than I do now through the subscription model. As I am not limited on price whenever I decide to listen to different music.
I love Discover Weekly and get excited every Monday morning when I start work and remember there's a new playlist with music I'll probably like. I created a separate playlist called "Discover Favourites" and when I hear a song I like I put it in there, and it's got hundreds now. I've found so many artists I never would have heard of.
One thing that stuck out to me:
> Because you can only submit one song, it’s best to space out releases. That way you can have ten singles considered by Spotify editors— rather than one single from an album for an entire year.
I've wondered why so many artists were releasing a ton of singles on Spotify. This seems like a gameable system.
He explicitly says he's not trying to earn a living from it.
> Of course that’s not enough to support a full-time artist but that’s not what I’m trying to be. I don't tour, I don't sell merch and I'm not on a label. I just want to make music and Spotify is making that possible.
Singles is where the heart of the artist lie.
I wish I could have playlists that get ignored from Spotify's recommendation engine. Because I totally get it, Spotify thinks I'm into that kind of stuff so it's what I use Spotify for the majority of the time, however I have such a hard time finding new music to listen to on there :(.
I have "work music" (ambient, house, instrumental), "work out music" (hip-hop mostly) and "music I actually listen to". The made for you playlists seem to auto-organize pretty well into those categories.
I've also found that creating custom playlists and using the "recommended songs" that pop up at the bottom works pretty well.
But I agree, it would be nice to have an "ignore this type of [song/genre] when auto creating playlists" option would be nice.
Sometimes I'll have a couple hour car ride, or be relaxing at home and try and use Spotify to find something and just never seem to find a good way to find something quick. I'm shit when it comes to knowing what I like and what kinds of genres I'm into and that's why a radio style suggestion thing is good for me, it's just been broken by my heavy workout usage.
I've actually as an alternative sometimes been using Google Music instead and been quite happy. I just don't like the selection and do prefer Spotify all around.
Then there's the Daily Mix playlists that partly addresses this issue. Ideally you would find that there's one Daily Mix with your gym type songs and up to five others with other genres you listen to. But it's as much for discovery of new music so it doesn't fully fix the problem when that's the goal.
> Note: Anything you play privately may still factor into some of the personalized mixes we make for you (but not Discover Weekly).
So it really only would fix the discover weekly partially. But the issue is that they still see that I have workout playlists that I am following and using a lot and still factor that in. And I've found that it can be quite tedious everytime I open Spotify at the gym to have to go in the settings, scroll down a bunch, and then turn it on. It stays on for 6 hours. I'd love if that feature even simply had an option to turn on based on my location.
That would be sometimes 5 times a week everytime I'm at the gym I have to find that option in the settings and turn it on, and then also turn it off if I don't want to have it stay on for the next 6 hours. Not to mention I already have to spend time in Spotify to find the playlist I want to listen to for that day at the gym. So it just feels like a lot of manual work I have to do in the app for a small gain.
Most every song hits a "I 100% understand why you're recommending this. It's superficially similar to some stuff I really like. I hate it though".
Almost like a bad cover band of your favorite artist.
Finding new music on Spotify could use a lot of improvement, especially for mobile. After a while, it seems like I'm just listening to the same playlists over and over.
The mobile app I feel like has only gotten worse. They removed tabs on the bottom and made the search page have more on it, and it just feels even more painful to discover new things. And the homepage is basically just chalked full of "new music" that is based on me apparently being super into hip hop and rap music. Which on the surface may seem true if you look at the workout music I listen to, but in reality is the complete opposite of what I enjoy listening to anywhere else.
It's also a bit annoying to have to everytime I go to the gym not only have to find what I want to listen to, but also remember to go into the settings, scroll down, and turn it on, and make sure to turn it off in case I don't want it to stay private for the next 6 hours.
I wish it turned on based on location. Hell even if there was some intent or way I could trigger that to turn on/off from Tasker I could automate it myself :P.
I'm really bad at finding new music or just music to enjoy in general that I'd like and it's a huge annoyance to have shitty suggestions. Lately I don't even use Spotify much and have been considering just cancelling it.
But my point is that Spotify is everything Apple Music should be. I'm an avowed Apple fan owning and using many of their products and services for decades so when I say Apple Music is terrible it's not coming from a place of otherwise disdain that some have for Apple. Frankly, the whole iTunes and Apple Music teams should be embarrassed with what they continue to release. And if the Podcasts app isn't part of those teams it should be, because it is every bit as bad.
I hate to be negative but a spade needs to be called a spade in this case. Apple needs to be called out on those shoddy products.
> For an indie artist like me, the major difference between Apple Music and Spotify is Discover Weekly. Apple Music has no equivalent.
This is just not true, Apple Music sends you 3 different personalized weekly playlists, two of which from Music you do not already have in your library. I have discovered tons of indie artists (many with < 100 followers on Twitter) through these playlists.
They easy enough to find on Android, all are in "Library > Made for you"
As an amateur pianist myself, $400 isn't a lot of money per month. I can pull $100/hr in an afternoon at a classy gig playing Classical/Jazz/Folk/Pop, you do that once per week and you're well over the $400 total for the month, without all the long history of recording/mixing/mastering/promoting that OP has done. This has allowed me to focus much more heavily on my musicianship and expanding my repertoire, rather than on recording tech/marketing. My ceiling for income is much lower this way-- I can't/don't want to find enough gigs to solely perform...but that's why I code to pay the bills.
Also, for some people recording is more interesting than performing.
Is the new way music made.
If I wanted to trickle out a series of singles leading up to the release of our album to "prime the pump" on all platforms at once (like CDBaby), what service can you recommend that might be the most affordable to do this? Secondarily, what would happen when all these tunes are collected later to become an album? Would we have to pay again and re-upload the same tracks?
Thanks in advance,Steve!
Most conventional methods used to recommend based on what other artists people with the same taste as you like. This method is biased against newer artists as there is no easy way to bootstrap them into the process. Their new technique circumvents this problem and as a result new artists get more exposure.
It is really great that Spotify is putting small to tiny artists into their mass-market playlists. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Is this actually the case / is there data to back this claim outside of generic google bashing? The sole reason I love my discover weekly is I find music I've never heard of, and I can listen to my friend's discover weekly to get new music from their genres. Only supplying big name music would defeat the purpose.
IMHO overall it doesn't feel like the situation has changed all that much in this era though. The same huge institutions remain magnets for a handful of lottery-winners (big labels, funded orchestras, etc) and everyone else is scraping by in myriad ways, though the ways are a bit different now.
Discover Weekly is how I find a lot of new music similar to my music, I trust it more than most of the other playlists Spotify or Apple Music create. So far, I've probably discovered 300-400 new songs using Discover Weekly.
Typically I start by defining a main loop, and then have a synth of my choosing randomly select notes and timings. I listen to this randomness until I realize what I don't like about it, then I change the parameter.
Something that helps is every time I instantiate a Tone object I make sure to copy paste the entire params from the Tone API, that way the code itself is the "knobs and buttons" I am used to fiddling with on a real synth.
This is a brian eno tip but I listen to the track at x2-x4 the bpm of what I actually want the track to end up being, it makes protoyping faster while still allowing complex composition.
I keep adding loops and chaining effects until I find something 'almost' complete that needs a human nonrandom touch.
Then I connect my PC output to my OP-1, record the output onto a track, and finish the song on my OP-1.
I plan on recording the midi output of my op-1 and feeding that into Tone so that I can record some more complicated key movements without having to literally program each key press and release. The path is OP-1 MIDI->MIDItoJSON->Tone.js
If you do know of a programming language/library/software like Tone.js but more suited to generative audio I am 100% interested in this field. I am looking to pursue creative coding once I am out of undergrad. I see it as an easy way to stay away from RDBMS which make me feel a sense of corporate dread.
I feel I have run out of brian eno to listen to and I would like to make some of my own.
So because I spend so much time listening to the work playlist it's began to influence the music on my Discover Weekly which I used to use to curate new hip-hop/metal music for the gym. It would be nice if Spotify gave you finer control over the type of music that hits your Discover Weekly because it really would suggest good music for me occasionally.
Higher for Apple Music as they don’t have a freemium audience.
I wonder if this approach is fraught with risk though, in the sense that if Spotify tweak the algorithm and suddenly his listener numbers drop. I guess in his case the snowball effect is already in motion, but a tweak could curtail that growth.
As people share on this thread, convenience is winning the game but there's a rising market for other people that value supporting the artists directly.
Keep it up and great work!