Music & Spotify

In case it hasn’t been made obvious I love music, it is a really important part of my life. The same is true of course for a lot of other people… but I have heard a lot of people say that they love music, but they haven’t bought music – this is especially true for younger people.

I personally see this as a form of theft. And I don’t think that’s acceptable.

Musicians spend time creating their music, they invest in instruments, equipment, lessons, time. And that deserves recognition.

There have been many musicians – most notably Portishead* (a seminal band for me growing up) saying that they make pittance from Spotify et al. David Byrne in his amazing book ‘How Music Works’ * has said something similar.

I had been quite anti the idea of Spotify, but I have reached an agreement with myself and it. I LOVE their playlists, it is helping me to find new artists I wouldn’t have come across otherwise.

I pay for the Premium subscription and I think it is well worth the money because I get a lot of enjoyment from the playlists. It also means that I can listen to pretty much any music at will – which is helping to expand my music ‘vocabulary’ as I listen to music that I wouldn’t necessarily have bought an album from.

BUT, I am still buying albums – electronically rather than physically, I love how mp3 and ebooks means I have so much less stuff now.

I buy three albums a month. Three is a slightly arbitrary number, but it’s because the iTunes app shows the last three albums added at the top, so they are easy to access. I could, quite frankly, buy three a week, but there is only so much money to go around. I do make sacrifices to get my music – both in terms of lessons and the music I consume. Just putting it out there – if anyone has an electronic piano going spare please do let me know.

Yes, I know that I can download albums from Spotify, but there are a couple of reasons why I don’t. It doesn’t seem fair to me. I really geek out about the new albums I buy and possibly listen to them at least twenty times each month. I want those artists to know that I care enough to at least spend the £5-£8 on their album. I want them to keep making their music. Going to concerts isn’t that easy for me any more – especially as I can’t stand for more than a handful of minutes. There is also the concept that when you get stuff for free you don’t value it. Yes, I know I pay out each month for Spotify, but that is an automatic payment, I don’t click ‘purchase’.

In addition when I am listening to playlists I hit the ‘save’ button a lot, which means I have a lot of artists that I like, so seeing albums which I have decided to down load means they get lost in the vast number of artists I ‘like’. .

I’m also not listening to full albums on Spotify before I buy them. Yes I know that is rather weird and a potential waste of money, but it means that I really listen to new albums and work with them, I have spent money on them and I am not going to just listen once and then give up. With Lana Del Ray’s recent record I wasn’t that impressed the first few listens, but it did start to grow on me, it is a much subtler album than her first.

What I love about Spotify is hearing new artists, I haven’t been exposed to before. Out of the three albums I have bought this month 2 of them were from playlists that I have been listening too.

When I read M Train by Patti Smith* a couple of months ago I dived into her back catalogue on Spotify and then bought her latest album.

I don’t know, maybe I am just weird, but I want to pay out for music and I always have done. I don’t really care about clothes, make up, beauty products, shoes or handbags etc. But I have always spent on music and books. When I earned my first pay cheque at fifteen working in a care home (which I’m fairly sure in hindsight was illegal) I went straight to buy books and music, after putting the money aside for my car savings account. (I lived in rural Surrey, getting that car was vital).

What about you? Do you download music illegally? Do you just stream it all through Spotify? Am I totally weird for doing this?

If you are interested in music I write about the three albums I buy in my monthly newsletter.

Things marked with an * are affiliate links

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  1. I use to buy CDs to listen to my music, but since I now have both my IPad and Laptop, I just listen to my music on YouTube. I always subscribe to YouTube. I listen to music in my radio too. I go to concerts to listen to Classical music. I love music very much, because I feel that it relaxes me. I even taking singing lessons as a hobby.

  2. oh music lessons are the best things ever!!

    I hope you enjoy them – have you thought about joining a choir? I highly recommend making music with other people (not a euphemism)

  3. Jen, I sang in a church choir once, but my choir master complained that my voice did not blend well with the other women, so that is why I could not sing in concerts at the church. He said that I sang beautifully, but it was having to put two people together. He said that I just sang well as a soloist and I just sing in concerts as a soloist.

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