For as far back as I can remember I have enjoyed listening to music. In my youth I would buy vinyl albums. In my 20's I would buy CDs. Later in life I dispensed with physical media and became an iTunes kind of guy. Regardless of how I obtained the music, the pattern was the same.
- I would hear a song on the radio or see a performance on TV - such as The Midnight Special, In Concert, or Saturday Night Live. I would like what I hear so I would purchase the album.
- During the first week that I had a new album, I would pretty much listen to nothing else. I would be engrossed in the new music.
- After the initial immersion, I would simply add the music to my mental repertoire and revisit it when I was in the mood to hear it.
The last part is key. I would be so familiar with the music that I would play it when I knew I wanted to hear it.
Now let's consider how we watch movies or TV. It is rare that I will watch a TV show I have already seen or a movie twice. Video is different from music. It's why services like Netflix are successful. People don't need to own movies like they do albums. So unlike music where for most listenings I know what I am in for (except for that very first time), each time I watch a movie, I don't know what I am in for because I haven't seen it before.
Now along comes Spotify... Spotify is a service I subscribe to for a monthly fee. Paraphrasing from its web site: "There are millions of tracks on Spotify. So whether I am working out, partying or relaxing, the right music is always at my fingertips. I can choose what I want to listen to, or let Spotify surprise me. I can browse through the music collections of friends, artists and celebrities, or create a radio station and just sit back."
Spotify has made my music experience like a video experience. As a service that gives me access to lots of music, I now tend to pick music that I don't own. If I owned it, I would just play my iTunes copy. So now listening to music is a "I don't know what I am gong to get" type experience. I guess this is all part of a cultural shift away from owning things (even music files) to simply having access to them instead. There's also the social aspect in that what I listen to is shared on Facebook. That feature helps me, as well as others, discover new music. Facebook is the replacement for The Midnight Special, etc. It feeds the cycle of discover, immerse, and file away for the future if I choose to revert to my old ways.
I got my first iPod because my wife bought it for me at COSTCO. It sat unopened for two days. I wasn't sure I wanted to be an iTunes kind of guy. I was a PC user — not a user of Macintosh software. I had thousands of physical CDs in my collection. Eventually I made the switch and was so glad I did. Downloading music at $9.99 per album was easier and cheaper than trekking to the store to obtain a CD. Using a search engine to locate music was also easier than thumbing through hundreds of CDs on the store racks.
I became a Spotify user because our CFO, Mark Hawkins, insisted that this was right up my alley. At first I was hesitant. Now that I have made the switch, it seems so much easier to keep my music in the cloud and access it from any device I need to hear it on. It's much like CAD software. Once users make the switch, it will be so much easier to create, modify, and share their designs in the cloud instead of locking them away in files on personal computers.
Rental music is alive in the lab.