I have been using Spotify for the past 2 weeks, the free trial of course, and realised very quickly that it just doesn’t feel right to me. I have no qualms with the service or the performance because it is actually very impressive, but the thought that music is so disposable doesn’t sit well.
Simply picking a track or an album and then playing it or saving it offline is easy, but it is also too easy to drift past music because so much is available. No longer does buying an album feel special or something that should be considered in its entirety. The temptation to jump from song to song is too much and as such the tracks themselves feel like GIFs posted on Twitter to be listened to once and then forgotten about.
I am not sure why purchasing and downloading an album from iTunes should feel any different because it is just a set of files after all, but it does. I’m not a luddite, I have embraced everything in the digital world, but maybe this is a step too far for someone of my age? Or maybe it is just that I have always been very into the music I like and tend to treasure it.
When I was 20 years old, I spent an inordinate amount of time searching for an album by the Violent Femmes called Hallowed Ground. It took months to find it and I was quite happy to pay £35 for it in a second-hand record shop. I then spent many days listening to it in the hopes that it was as good as their other albums and it was a simple experience I will not forget. Somehow it made the album feel more personal, more complete and more special. Seeing Hallowed Ground listed on Spotify as a thumbnail felt like nothing at all really.
I get that for the consumer streaming services can be a great thing, but to me it just doesn’t feel like music should be delivered that way. Then again, I have no problem at all with TV shows and films being delivered digitally and actually prefer it so maybe it is just my personal preference and the importance that music holds in my life.
The same is true of watches. As you may know because I write a lot about them, I have a deep affection for watches and the reasons for this are numerous. They, to me, feels like objects that should be treasured over time and which should not be changed too often. The longer you wear a watch, the more affectionate you are likely to feel towards it.
And now here we are in a world where Apple, Pebble and the rest would like us to see watches as upgradable, potentially disposable, and objects that are merely designed to perform tasks. This goes completely against the crazy marketing Apple has used in creating the Apple Watch Edition to make them seem like real watches. You cannot on one hand suggest that an Apple Watch is something to treasure and pay for a fortune for and then on the other hand expect the customer to upgrade it in a year.
I am conflicted on this. I love reading books on my Kindle, I love watching films and TV shows on my Apple TV, but I don’t like streaming music and I don’t like smart watches. It would seem that one half of me is getting older and the other half is still down with the cool tech kids…