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Spotify The Dog

I’ve always been an anti-establishment bean. Right from the off I knew I wasn’t going to go down the paths chosen for me and climbed out of my mother’s mouth instead. This free-spirited nature feeds into my view of the world around me and I now find myself hating chain stores, supermarkets, online dating and large corporate monopolies. I hate monopolies so much that if I play Monopoly I just head straight to jail and wait it out. I’m not willing to engage in any system that tries to place a monetary value on the human right to housing, or where second prize in a beauty contest will only win me £10. That’s probably why nobody plays with me. Saying that, I do love Spotify. I get that some people hate it: 'It’s killing music, they pay musicians a pittance, stick it to the man, fight the power, Corbyn for PM’ etc. But even with all that righteous anger brimming in my ears I still think it’s great. It’s not that I’m opposed to buying music. I spent all my formative years buying CDs. When others spent their money on more practical things, like driving lessons and drugs, I bought CDs. Before Spotify, when folk had to download music from the internet illegally, I recoiled in horror. How very dare they, the swines. Purloining from the pockets of hardworking musicians, and why when I try to do the same is my computer smothered in a stableful of malicious Trojan horses? I didn’t want any knock-off Nigels or hooky Henrys, I wanted the real McCoy. The physical artefact in my hand with a colourful booklet to peruse at my leisure. But by the age of 26 I figured that I'd heard everything and owned every CD I ever needed to own. I was bored of music. Trying to discover new music before Spotify was like looking for cotton buds in a wool factory. Once you found a band you liked, mainly through happenstance, you then researched what bands they liked or other more tenuous links, like finding out who the bassoonist was that played on the final track of their coveted b-sides album. Then you'd trawl the markets and record shops, breadcrumbing your way in search of these hallowed new bands, return home, play the CD, feel disappointed, return to the shop and swap The Clash's London Calling for the Best of The Cranberries. In hindsight that wasn’t a good swap, but we didn’t have hindsight back then, we had the Best of The Cranberries. Sometimes this process was sped up by a compilation CD. I discovered many new bands through the glory of the Shine indie series, but it was all so time consuming and ball-breaking, and by my mid-20s I couldn’t care less any more. I was happy to play the same albums on a loop until that final karaoke gig in the sky. Spotify rescued me from this Sisyphus drama. It really is a dream for those who wish to devour the fruits of new music. Their weekly compilations based on tracks you already like is a marvel. I pick and choose my faves, usually only one or two, but then by the end of the month I’ve discovered ten new acts without exerting any effort whatsoever. Suddenly you’re in a position where you know which classical composers aren’t shite and you know all their greatest hits. ‘Do you like Debussy’s 'Clare de Lune'? Oh, you should try Christian Sinding’s 'Frühlingsrauschen, Op. 32, No 3'.’ That’s some solid smarty pants party repartee you’ve just learned to guff out your mouth. That’s the brown triangle of Trivial Pursuit covered, all because of Spotify. It doesn’t stop me purchasing music. It’s just that now music has to be exceptionally good. I don’t just settle for any old average tosh. I’ve already had to listen to each track a hundred times before I can unequivocally say it’s the bee testicles and I need it in several different formats, including on a keyring. The only irritating thing is the adverts, but when have McDonalds, Tesco, Greggs and Sports Direct ever ruined anything? )

Next article in issue 106

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