Friday, December 27, 2019

Spotify Versus Pandora

Every music lover secretly wants to be a disc jockey. When I was eleven, I spun 45-RPM records in my basement for my now-husband, in an effort to educate him in the ways of brilliant music. He would have done the same for me had the tables been turned. (I, of course, had superior tastes, but that'll just be our little secret.)

It's an inexplicable yearning, much like foodies who coax you into trying some exotic dish you've never tasted. Generally, the response is, "Ehh, it's okay", or if you're a jerk, "What the hell is this?? It reeks!" I've had responses like the latter when I've shared my music, but there's always that one person who marvels at your exquisite taste; and it only takes one ~ one who gets it.

I don't use streaming services as a rule, except for Sirius Radio. I possess thousands of dollars worth of music that I have personally chosen. And, sadly, even some of that is bad. I generally like to choose which songs I listen to, because no bot's tastes match my own. Bots are essentially stupid. "Oh, you like Tracy Lawrence? Then you'll certainly love David Lee Murphy. They're both from the nineties, after all." Yes, I base my musical preferences on which songs include a "9".

I wouldn't even have given Pandora a second thought except for the fact that Sirius has partnered with it; and I did find one pretty decent listener-created station (conceived by one of those people who "get it"). So I created my own station.

Granted, I'm not paying for a prime membership, but my research tells me that the same glitches exist, paid or unpaid. I compiled a list of my favorite country songs from the nineties and added them to my newly created station, which I had no control over naming; thus it became "Sticks And Stones Radio", based on the first song I chose. I figured, I'd search it out on Sirius and get to listen to some of my favorite songs with a simple mouse click.

So much for thoughts. Number one, Pandora kept adding tracks to my station that I didn't want or even like. User control was non-existent. Would someone listen to my station and think I liked these songs? How mortifying!

Secondly, my station is not searchable (or findable) on Sirius. Maybe one's creation has to compile a certain number of "likes" before it appears on Sirius's results page; or maybe the whole thing is a scam. Could be either, but I'm still not forking over $9.99 per month for a premium membership (for music I can get for free? C'mon, man.)

On the other hand, Spotify has a much more intuitive interface. One can bestow any title on their playlist they choose, and the site doesn't arbitrarily add random songs to it. My friend April Tompkins created a Spotify playlist for her novel, "Radio Crazy" and linked it to her website. She was able to add her URL to the playlist's description, which is simply smart commerce.

If you are an artist and have your music featured on CDBaby, one of the perks is automatic inclusion on Spotify. Red River's music is there; in fact, I can view Spotify play statistics anytime I choose. Pandora, on the other hand, requires a submission request (as if they're so highbrow, they will only sanction certain tracks). I've not submitted to Pandora yet ~ I may ~ but I bet I'll still not find it via a Sirius search.

As an amateur internet sleuth, I find Spotify to be far superior to Pandora. I won't pay for either, but if you are in the market to fire up some choice tunes while you're pounding your work keyboard, choose Spotify. You'll still have to deal with commercial breaks unless you fork over the dollars, but musical control will be at your fingertips.

And as every amateur disc jockey knows, control is key.

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