Fighting with computers

Computers are not always friendly.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Technological jumps


From time to time we witness significant changes on how things are done. In terms of how we listen to music in the last ten years I've seen several interesting changes.

Ten years ago I bought my wife her first MP3 player: It was Diamond Multimedia with 32 MB (yes, Megabytes) that could hold a couple CDs of 128kbps MP3 music. Since then on I've bought many other MP3 devices for my household. However, that marked the end of traditional media (CD-audio) for our portable uses.

While MP3 players have been around for quite a while, it seems that Apple's iPod is now the king. And while kingdoms do not last long in this market I guess Apple has done something right.

Many people (like myself) are device-centric. For quite a while I favored Creative players and while I've never bought music from iTunes, I've bought some software there. Meanwhile I've stopped buying from Creative after problems with several players.

And now that I have time I've played a bit with another thing that could change the way we listen to music at the computer. In the same line as Napster and Audiogalaxy helped people to download music from each other and later where shutdown for copyright infringement. Spotify presents us a compelling service that delivers music to us from a huge selection, I mean huge, over the Internet. Their service is not about downloading files but streaming on-demand music to your computer.

Spotify had a catch that prevented me to use it more: It only worked on Windows and OSX. However, it works over wine too. So that means Linux users can happily use the windows binary.

I know this is old news for many, but till now I did not have the time to learn more about Spotify. Whether you use the free service (that contains some ads) or the fee-based one (ad-free) the system is easy with a clean interface. It just works.

Apparently, Spotify is not available in USA. I'm sure the agreements for not being sued haven't been signed yet. I guess Spotify business is going to be based on the fees collected from subscribers and commercials (both on the UI and the audio of free service). So I really would like them to succeed as they seem to be offering yet a new way of doing a business that till now proved quite elusive: Recording Industry seemed to oppose to any change to the status quo. However, while doing that they are putting every time more and more on the edge of extinction.

Give Spotify a try and listen to some old or new music.

There seems to be an iPhone version coming soon.

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