Spotify has done a pretty solid job of improving my enjoyment of music. Not only do they have a larger collection than I could possibly ever acquire (legally), but they have an application that is just so painless that I actually want to use the software. Whether I'm listening on the phone, the tablet, or the Ubuntu-powered notebook, the company has offerings that make it easy to sync playlists between devices, pick up listening to a song between devices almost to the second, and download locally for better listening1. One of the basic features that I've enjoyed more than I ever should is the playlist builder. Creating playlists in a music application is nothing new, of course. What Spotify does well, though, is present similar songs that might also be added given the recently added files.

The algorithm they use is just wonderful, but there is a pretty dire consequence: I want to sing.

Microphone Up Close

My wife has on numerous occasions asked me to not sing as fate has made it impossible for me to carry a tune in a bucket, even if it had four handles. This doesn't stop me from trying, though.

When she's not home, I'll turn off the TV, fire up Spotify, and hit shuffle on my "Let Me Sing" playlist. The boy even gets involved by following along with The Cranberries, Pearl Jam, Cornershop, Fatboy Slim, Sting, Phil Colins, and dozens of other great artists. It's hard not to. Music is the universal language, and singing is just downright fun. That said, I do wish I were better.

This need to karaoke at home was not instigated by Spotify. I would often do the same when all of my music was stored on a hard drive and played through WinAmp, or sitting in iTunes available across several Apple devices. Each of these earlier systems had just enough friction in place to prevent a spontaneous song and dance show. I doubt this is just because of how easy it is to create, modify, or load a playlist. If anything, what makes this music service worth the annual subscription is how instant everything feels. I could search for something truly obscure like Takuro Yoshida's classic Ningen Nante2 or Billy Ban Ban's I'm in Love With You Again3 and be listening in the span of 10 seconds. Music has never been so accessible and it's completely changed my relationship with the art form.

Hopefully I can share my love of music with the boy for a couple more years before he starts to leave the room whenever Sting's Fortress Around Your Heart plays over the speakers. If all else fails, perhaps a sound-proofed room where I can let loose with the well-timed, out-of-tune lyrics is in order. At the very least the space could double as a podcast studio.

  1. These are all things that Apple could have gotten right with their streaming subscription service several years ago if the iTunes and Apple Music development teams weren't so hell-bent on making something so awful that a combination of Windows Media Player and KaZaA seems a step up.

  2. This can be found by typing "Takuro 人間". The full song's name is 人間なんて.

  3. It's hard to believe that また君に恋してる has just 63,000-odd listens given how it's one of my favourite Japanese songs ever.