It is, in a scientific definition (mechanical waves transmitted through a medium). But doesn’t feel the same as a physical album, obviously, or a mp3 stored in your pc or player, more surprisingly.
It feels like a radio of a tons of albums where you can jump on and off freely from an artist to another and from a “cd” to another. It’s fun, it’s quick and it’s great to discover new music. Yet it deprives artists and the music art of its intrinsic value as an opera. It’s something that has already happened with the singles but then they were at least a physical copy of a song (up until the very last years) and also part of a bigger piece of art, the album1.
With Spotify, or Rdio or Pandora etc., it’s like having a long, long, extremely long list of singles that only happen to be listed under a album but that can be freely mixed up and jumped whenever wanted. Gone is the concept of an opera as an artistic expression from an artist under the form of an album. It’s worse than buying albums in electronic format because even if you could listen to just some songs out of it, you at least paid respect, and money, to the way the artist conceived its music. You had the album, even if you only ever listened to 1 or 2 songs out of it. The opera wasn’t destroyed, your freedom of choice what to listen was preserved too. With Spotify only the latter is saved. The concept of album is gone. And also the comforting thought of having your songs on your hard disk, carefully tagged and named maybe, is no more: now they are just cache files like 812c5e45e354f7327347970e17fca5b340814552.file. Meaningless without the Spotify software.
It’s just a radio with offline songs. A custom one, sure. To me, It doesn’t feel like I’m actually listening to music from an artist, whole albums or not. It’s like a mix of various music coming from various sources that are nowhere in my possession. I don’t own the music, I haven’t the opera that the artists wanted me to listen to and, what’s perhaps even worse, I have no control to what I will listen till the end of my days. What if an artist disappear from Spotify? What of all those who aren’t there yet? What of those who maybe will never be? In a shop, online or offline, you could request the album you are searching for and have it available sooner or later; or maybe try another shop. How do you do this with Spotify?
You can’t. That’s it. You only listen to what Spotify and the recording industry wants you to listen to. It’s fascism under the form of pretty playlists.
Will an artist even exist if he’s not on Spotify, in a foreseeable and dreadful future?
not always true but most of the time this is correct ↩
I finally have come to understand why I don’t like any albums of hers but for the, stunning, last, Let England Shake: it is the only one where she is her and is not trying to sound like somebody else.
Dry and Rid of Me sounded way too much like a Nirvana/Tori Amos stepchild, failing at being better than both (especially the former).
Uh Huh Her was vastly influenced by Nick Cave without having any of his majestic theatricality or profound gloominess.
White Chalk was aiming again at Tori Amos but lacked the power of the redhead singer. It came out more like an Enya album but with gloomier melodies.
Stories From The City Stories From The Sea was like an album that could be given birth by a collaboration between Radiohead and Bruce Springsteen but in pop sauce: very weak.
Let England Shake is finally PJ Harvey’s in all and thoroughly. A new PJ Harvey, a more genuine one. She doesn’t try to mimic anybody else’s music, she tackles a topic that is very close to her heart, her country England, and sheds much of what she did in the past, punk/grunge influences above all, to find a middle way between folk and rock with a mellow voice that wasn’t hers for much of her career but I do find fits her much better than her more aggressive one. One has to strike a line between what wants to do and what is capable of and she has finally struck hers. Let’s hope she isn’t going to revolutionize again her sound just for the sake of change; PJ Harvey has found her natural musical bed and would be a shame if she forsake it again.
Oh btw, where pc don’t go, humans will. I’ve taken the long way and started to filter all my songs in different, mood-based, playlist. Listening and adding them all one by one. I don’t plan to finish before next Christmas…
In all the years that I’ve been listening to music and consequently trying multiple audio players to find the “perfect” one, I’ve never found one that permitted me to sort music based on my mood or make a playlist according to it. I’ve now mostly settled on Mpd with Ncmcpp and the combination suits me perfectly. But I do miss a way to have a playlist according to my current mood, when I don’t have anything more precise in mind.
The only software that I’ve found that comes close to what I want is Moodagent, which is Android/iOs only. I tried with my collection and it has potential but fails to really understand the tone of many songs. It catalogued Fade to Black as “sensual” and there is nothing sensual about depression and suicide (unless you are very morbid). It’s not precise enough to work, basically.
Therefore I got another idea: why not adding the mood in the idv3 tag of every song? It would be a hell of a job carefully listening and adding the correct mood to every song in my collection but then I could make a search based on the string in the comment tag and have all the songs that matches the mood. It’d be tiresome but most of my songs don’t change and thus once done it would be useful forever. Thing is, with Ncmcpp, the search doesn’t work. Or, it works for a mood only, if I add more than one it doesn’t. Angry, dark is different than just Angry and looking for the latter doesn’t return the former too. Very unfortunate.
So either I change Mpd frontend, something I would not do, or I find another method to automatically create a mood-based playlist. No clue as of now how to.
The Archlinux forum is a well of hidden software treasures. Yesterday my attention was caught by glyr which aims to be a metadata crawler and downloader for music, indipendent from any music players. If you are wondering why should you use it instead of your music player of choice, it’s not for you.
I, instead, like the idea of a cli program indipendent from any players that I can use to get info about my music collection whenever I want, with little to none dependencies. Glyr permits to search for cover art, lyrics, photo of the artist, biography, similar artists, similar songs, album reviews, list of albums of a given artist, musicbrainz’s tags and relations (what does it means?), tracklist and even guitar tabs. All without requiring to actually listen to the wanted cd/song/artist. Absolute freedom.
I’m not sure I really need it but not because it’s not good, it is indeed, but because I’m so used to use google images to look up album covers and have already lyrics search into my player of choice that I see little need to use another program to do the same plus other searches that I hardly ever do. But I dig the idea, especially great for scripting, and I hope it’ll receive the deserved attention. Who knows, perhaps it’s the beginning of a standard library to do these searches that in future all Linux players will adhere to.