As I’ve been using Spotify more frequently over the past few weeks, I’ve heard a promo from them every now and again that suggests that piracy is passé and users no longer have an excuse to download songs illicitly now that many songs are hosted on the service.
Spotify, I’ma let you finish, but piracy had the greatest yield of all time. Until I became addicted to music blogs that always had the freshest leaks, I was a slave to pop 40 top radio hits and whatever odd artists and songs my brother and sister liked. New songs would come to me in waves, depending mostly on whether TRL needed new music videos to premiere.
Around 2007, things changed. I started to figure out for myself what artists I liked superlatively, and followed them through leaks and by downloading their back catalogs. At first, I did the responsible thing: if I liked the album and played it enough, I’d go out and buy it. By the end of 2007, my collection got so multifarious and large that this became infeasible.
Not only that… I was stocking up on music that would have never likely been released, ever, anywhere if it weren’t for them being posted on blogs. Music that Spotify will never have. I found out about artists from California to Denmark to Japan thanks not to Spotify, but to my now antiquated method of rifling through numerous blogs for links to what I hoped would be great music. The hunt was the digital version of digging into vinyls in the back of the record store.
To reminisce about my formative days of musical independence and music-hunting, I just ordered Natasha Bedingfield’s 2007 album N.B., which was never released stateside. It contains seven tracks not included on 2008’s Pocketful of Sunshine, which is on Spotify (whereas N.B. isn’t).
With Spotify, the search is limited to what they can acquire for you to hear (which sometimes is great, but not always what you want). In other words, it’s like watching Adventure Time and thinking, “This is awesome, but I’d rather be watching Dexter’s Lab… but Cartoon Network won’t air it and they only ever released Season 1 on DVD so I might as well torrent the whole series.”