The past few days I’ve woken up with the opening riff of Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir in my head. Which is weird, since I’m not a Zeppelin fan. Everyone else was when I was growing up – but I never liked bands just because other people did. Rather, I’ve always gravitated to new music. I don’t even own any Zeppelin in my library. But I wanted to hear Kashmir, so I signed into my new Premium Spotify account this morning and searched. There it was. I clicked. But it didn’t sound like Robert Plant. I looked, and saw that what I was listening to was by a band called Liz Zeppelin. A knock-off. I looked again, there were lots of knock-offs. I sighed and rolled my eyes. It was yet another blow to my experience with Spotify, the new music service that’s sweeping America.

I like music. In fact, it’s our family’s preferred form of art, followed closely by film. So I really wanted Spotify to work for me. Plus, all the cool kids were using it and singing its praises. I mean, just look at the testimonials at the bottom of the Spotify home page. However, after only a week of really trying to make a go of this service, it just feels like a fancier LimeWire. I’m already just about done with it. And it’s not only because of the Zeppelin thing. It’s a few things:


I hate lists. I don’t have any lists in Twitter, Facebook or Google+. The few lists I have in iTunes are to populate devices with new music I procure. I simply don’t have time to make lists.


Searching is time consuming. As mentioned previously, I like new music. It’s hard to search for new music when you don’t know where to look. I could spend hours looking backwards at old music on Spotify in order to make lists, but then it’s old. And I’d have to listen to the same songs over and over.


If I sign up to follow a list, I have to rely on the person who created it, to continue curating it. There’s just no point in listening to the same music over and  over. And the only way to avoid that, is to find new lists. Which goes back to the search thing above.


The main reason I went ahead and got the Premium service in Spotify was to have access to the music via my mobile devices. However, Spotify’s mobile app is dumb. It doesn’t recognize which songs in a list are not available to me because of copyright issues. So rather than hear the next song in a playlist, I get dead air.


Wow, this is a huge deal. I have tweeted @spotify a few times, but with no answer. If you look at their Twitter stream, it’s really just self-promotion. For the sake of the other users out there who have questions, I hope Spotify fixes this issue soon.


It’s terrible. I recently wanted to learn what all the little icons meant in the User Interface, but couldn’t find a guide anywhere. So I tweeted them – asking for a link. And of course they never got back to me.


Really? We are restricted to the playlists of people we follow on Facebook only? I don’t use Facebook that way. I have maybe 290 people I’m friends with there (and it should be a lot less). Sure, there are a few active Spotify users there, but man – open up this to my Twitter peeps, and I’ve got a ton more content to choose from. And yes, I know you can view lists of others, but it goes back to the search and curation thing that I’m not a huge fan of.


Each time I sign into my Spotify account now, there’s a bar at the top that says “You’ve been selected to give free Spotify accounts to your friends on Facebook” with a link to spam everyone I’m friends with there. Really? Just because I’m a Premium member I get to promote your brand? Right. Dude, just say what you mean – ‘Invite your Facebook friends to share music together. It’s simple. Here’s how. Oh, and thank you.” Deception is bush.

I like music. But I like it simple. And smart. Until this spring, I was an XM customer – for years. I loved that I had access to a wide-range of music, even though I only listened to a few channels there. But every time my subscription was due, they’d send me an email telling me I had to call their office because my payment wouldn’t process. So once a quarter I’d have to call in and give a CSR my credit card number. The same number I’d always used. And of course the CSR would make me run a gauntlet of upsell. This GoDaddy-like experience was too much for me to take, and so I cancelled my account. Besides, you had to pay extra to access your account via your mobile device instead of one of their proprietary receivers. Which is ridiculous. So then I was left only with Pandora. But the more I listened to Pandora, the more I realized that they have a very limited library. Which left me with regular, commercial radio. And I can’t STAND regular, commercial radio because of the ads (ironic, I know.) First, the ads are terrible. Second, there are too many ads. Third, the music on regular radio is dated and diluted – to satisfy focus groups to satisfy advertisers. It’s a cycle of bullshit.

I recently purchased a Logitech Squeezebox – and it’s pretty brilliant. From the Squeezebox, you can access a wide range of music via wifi. Including your iTunes library (and iTunes doesn’t have to be open on your computer – unlike iTunes home sharing), Pandora, XM and Spotify. I’d tried Spotify when it first came out, and didn’t get it. But I desperately wanted to – especially since all the cool kids were lauding it. So I tried Spotify again, and signed up for the Premium service – and now just don’t like it for all the reasons listed above.

It feels like I’m screwed. I could go back to XM and just deal with the billing and upsell issues, and then I’d have a couple of stations to listen to during the day that plays ‘newer’ type music. Maybe. Because I’m not buying XM’s proprietary hardware again, and they might tell me that using my Squeezebox is akin to a mobile device – and then I’m back to square one. Or maybe I just suck it up and listen to Pandora all day.

I just want new music. And I don’t want to have to dig around for it. Yet, despite the age of the Internet, I can’t seem to get what I want.

Here’s Kashmir, by the way. Now the opening riff is in your head. You’re welcome.


Jim Mitchem

Creativity v. Innovation
The Collaboration Con(spiracy)

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.