Cutting the Spotify cord

I’m going against the trend and cutting off Spotify cord.

As I’ve told my friends several times, subscription music is like cocaine. I have to keep paying to get my musical fix.

While it’s good to have access to the millions of songs I most likely won’t listen at all, it’s really a pain to know that the moment I stop paying, the relatively few songs that are my favorites are gone. Forever. Or until I pay again.

It’s also disturbing that during the last two years of Spotify subscription, I’ve seen some of my favorite songs disappear (i.e. greyed out) because the artists had a disagreement with Spotify, and reappear sometimes if they can sort things out. Of course, I want Taylor Swift and Adele.

Reasons Why

It may really be true that streaming music is the new way of listening to music. Or it may just be an experiment. Regardless, there are four scenarios that can play out and I see no good benefit to be in any of them.

In A, I could simply just stop using the service (such as now) or there is a possibility that I could move to a place where Spotify can’t legally stream the contents. I will be left with nothing and a big trouble to re-assemble my music library possibly by buying my favorite songs.

In B and C, as with all business entities, there is always a risk Spotify could shut down, or get bought and shut down. It doesn’t really matter in this case if Spotify shuts down or I stop using it. It’s a similar scenario as A anyway. It may be relatively easier to find another cocaine dealer than switch to another music streaming service if indeed Spotify shuts down.

In D, if I listen to Spotify from age 25 to 75, I will have paid $6000 and enjoyed access to a very large library of songs sans Taylor Swift. Alternatively, I could have spent $6000 buying about 4600 songs (which is one new song every 4 days). It may seem like the benefit is similar in this case except that I will be 4600 songs richer in the latter, and if and when I die, I may even be able to pass them down as part of my estate.

Music Discovery

I’m sure I will miss the Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify as well as other well curated playlists. The good thing is I can still listen to these playlists on shuffle on my phone and even pick and choose which song to play on desktop, except I now have to listen to some ads which is totally fine for the kind of discovery service I get from it.

Extra Contents

I’m guessing that both Apple and Spotify notice that in order to keep their streaming users, they have to provide more than just songs and playlists. Indeed Apple is making its own original video content although it’s not yet clear if it will be part of Apple Music or be sold separately on Apple TV in a similar service to Netflix. Spotify on the other hand is adding podcasts, news, and documentaries to its service (I’m not sure if I can access them on free ad-supported tier).

If indeed Apple bundles Apple Music and some video service with comparable variety as Netflix and sells it as a package, the needle could tilt me towards it since I’m already paying for Netflix. But that’s a big if and it will not be easy for Apple to catch up with Netflix.

How about Netflix?

Video streaming in my opinion is very different than music streaming. Entertainment value of a video drops dramatically after the first watch. So, we don’t normally re-watch the same video again and again. But we do listen to music repeatedly. Because of the same reason, I also don’t feel like I want to own the TV episodes and movies on Netflix. Once I watch them, I rarely enjoy watching them again, so I don’t really care whether I still have access to them in the future or have a copy in my possession at all. I can see myself keeping Netflix because I don’t need to own the video files myself and I want access to some contents that are only on Netflix exclusively.