Spotify Doesn’t Fill the Need of the Collector in Me

Spotify Doesn’t Fill the Need of the Collector in Me


A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Spotify and the social features that are built into it.  I praised how easy it is to share music and I thought the service as a whole was the coolest thing since sliced bread.  Soon after beginning my Spotify usage, I qualified for a free month of their Premium plan that allowed me to listen to music ad-free and on my smartphone via the Spotify application.  It has now been three weeks since I’ve started using Spotify, and I’ve come to realize a few things that are pushing me closer to abandoning it entirely.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love Spotify and all that they offer.  They have a huge music collection, and I’ve yet to search for a song that they didn’t have available.  The songs load fast, don’t skip, and offline playlists are great for going through country roads far from cell towers.  So with all this greatness, what could possibly make me want to abandon it?  Well, I’ve become too reliant on it and I’m afraid of being stuck with a library full of songs that I don’t really own.

When I first received my Premium account, I immediately downloaded the application to my android phone.  It was great, now I could make playlists on my phone or computer and they would automatically be on the other device when I went to use it.  This caused me to become sort of a Spotify addict.  I used it via my phone on the way to work in the mornings, at work through my computer, and again once I got home in the evening.  If I heard a song I liked, I would immediately search for it on Spotify and it would typically be the first thing to pop up.  No more making lists of songs to remember to download in the future, I would just search and add to a playlist on the spot.  This was all fine and dandy until I was going on a weekend trip in a friend’s car.  I had a great playlist put together and I knew everyone in the car would enjoy it.  That is, until I found out there was no way to connect my phone to the car’s stereo.  No auxiliary plug and no cassette adapter meant no streaming Spotify.  We could have bought an FM transmitter, but I’ve never had much luck getting clear audio through those.  My friend suggested I burn the playlist to a CD, but since I didn’t really own the songs, that wasn’t an option.


Perhaps most new cars have auxiliary inputs and/or a way to hook up devices like mp3 players and smartphones, but this scenario still brings up a huge concern about Spotify.  If you pay for Spotify Premium and build your entire music collection using their songs, you are stuck continuing to pay for that subscription for as long as you want to keep listening to those songs.  Let’s say you pay for Spotify Premium and use it for two years, then something terrible happens and you lose your job.  You need to cut back on expenses, and a luxury like Spotify is usually the first to go.  Now, your entire music collection that took you two years to build is basically gone.  You can keep a free account and listen to it via the desktop application, but if you’re anything like me you listen to more music on the go than you do sitting at your computer.  You may not think you’ll ever want to leave Spotify right now, but you never really know what the future will bring.  Maybe you’ll move to a remote area without mobile data, buy a car that has built in music storage, or even just decide you don’t want to pay for it anymore.  Whatever the reason may be, do you really want to get there and have to decide whether to lose your music or keep paying Spotify for the rest of your life?  Probably not.

Spotify is not alone in trying to keep customers coming back.  Several companies, especially Internet based ones, create products that users get so intertwined in there’s no easy escape.  This doesn’t necessarily make them bad companies, it just means we as users need to be more aware of what we’re getting into.  Think about a company like Google, they provide an array of products that millions of people use in every aspect of their life.  Separating all ties with Google would be difficult for most people, but since it’s free (and will most likely remain that way) we don’t often think about the future.  If Google charged customers to use their services, people would be much more hesitant of creating such a deeply integrated relationship.  By combining your existing library, social networks, and giving you the ability to add new songs, Spotify is trying to connect with you in this same fashion.  But unlike Google, Spotify is making you pay for the best parts of the relationship.

Again, I’m not saying Spotify is bad or that you shouldn’t use it.  I’m simply sending a warning out that, depending on how much of a music junkie you are, you might want to think about the future and what’s going to happen when you and Spotify decide to part ways.  An alternative would be to continue buying each song, which of course will probably cost you more than the $10 a month Spotify Premium charge.  If the streaming aspect of Spotify is what you like best, there are still plenty of ways to stream music to your phone.  So, what do you think?  Are you willing to take the risk of building up your music library in Spotify, knowing that at some point in the future you might have to start all over?  As for me, I think I’ll quit my addiction after my trial is over and go back to purchasing each song individually.  It will take more time because I’ll analyze each songs worth, but I just can’t imagine the day I decide to stop paying for Spotify and lose the thousands and thousands of songs I will have undoubtedly built up.



  1. Arena917

    first of all … #firstworldproblems

    that said, I tried spotify and had the same issue – I vibe much more off my collection and can’t really roll with renting music. Even if I was ok with renting music, I don’t have time to build playlists and so forth. Finally .. I listen to a bunch of music I can’t even find on spotify.

  2. JJ

    Thank you for giving a very clear explanation regarding if you can still listen to your stored music on your phone/computer after you discontinue the premimum service.  Their webstie does not answer this question so you just assume you still can after you don’t have the premimum service anymore.

  3. Drew Rogers

    I’ve become a Spotify addict. I’ve gone strong for nearly 4 straight years now. Over the past year it built and the past 2 months I’ve gone on super frenzy. Every day, I’m adding more songs. I’ll add more playlists, mostly subgenres. I’ll rearrange playlists and break it down further. I’ll go subgenre crazy and feel its not enough if I only get 20 songs but I need a good chunk say 60, 150 to feel satisfied. I have 112 playlists, some have 20 songs, most have 120, handful 400, while the most has 1,000+.

    Being into every genre possible and the world of electronic music doesn’t help. I’ve spent all nighters finding new music. Its abnormal for me to listen to entire song. I bump exactly to I know where the chorus, or beat drop is- approximately 1:10 for electronic and :55 for more rock or pop. I’ll make a maybe 2 second decision sometimes, whether its worthy to add (most are) and what playlist it should go into.

    I have been thinking about the obsession and tried to stay away for a couple days. I went to my less severe drugs, Soundcloud and Youtube. I got back in 3 days later and have gone the hardest I’ve ever gone the past week. I’m guessing I’ve added ~500 songs in that span. My computer has taken a memory hit, getting overworked as well as my brain is getting inundated.
    Its one thing to fear for my sanity and laptop’s life. Another for more music collection. One day, Spotify won’t be around. Sure, I have old cd’s, some bought, hundreds of burnt ones, and an old iTunes library with 5,000 songs. The songs are outdated for my interest. As a music junkie or geek, what do I have to show now. “Hey, check out my mass collection of songs” with probably 1/3 I haven’t listened to fully from start to finish. It loses its authenticity. Songs are less powerful. I usually rode an album out for weeks or months. I remember buying Revolver, Dark Side of the Moon, or Desire when I was younger. I use to get engulfed with an album, each song. I gained meaning out of the album and it became a benchmark for that time of my life. Now, I have thousands upon thousands of songs that fly by my head. I’ll be hooked on a song for a day or two, if I’m lucky a week, and before I know it, that song is gone in the ether of the Spotify database.

    YOu mentioned going back to buying songs. I spent approximately $250 on iTunes alone, which isn’t a lot over 8+ years. Still a lot compared to the $0 I’ve spent on Spotify since 2012. I would chuck a lot of my Spotify collection if I had to pay for it. Songs I need to have, still would be close to $500. That’s a lot of money to drop.

    Sure, spotify has opened me up to floods of music. Its too much. Too easy. It takes away from the hunt. I’m like the lion poachers who buy the lions and put them in parks to hunt (I don’t support this activity in anyway). They still get the prize, but its dirty and feels unauthentic. If Spotify was gone, I just create or buff up my profiles on Youtube and Soundcloud. Those are less accessible and would curtail my addiction more. Right, now its like fucking heroine.