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Spotify: The Honeymoon's Over

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Wed, Sep 7, 2011 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge I cain't quit yew. - L.J. WILLIAMSON
  • L.J. Williamson
  • I cain't quit yew.
Last month I posed the question: Which Is Better: Spotify or Grooveshark? Though my comparison of the two music subscription services wasn't entirely conclusive, I reckoned that, in the end, "Grooveshark just has too many glitches, whereas if a track shows up on Spotify, you know it'll play. That means less futzing with the phone and more busting out the beats."

And, it's true. Hooking up with Spotify was as exciting as having a new lover. At first. Then, after we spent more and more time together, little cracks started to show. Little flaws that may not have seemed noticeable in the initial throes of that hot streaming passion were suddenly impossible to ignore.

Like any waning romance, my attention began to shift from everything Spotify had to everything it didn't. Nobody's perfect, of course, but Spotify really did promise us a rose garden, with all of their big talk about, "All the music. All the time." But would a rose garden smell as sweet if it didn't include "Do You Wanna Touch Me" by Joan Jett?

Discovering that omission was, to me, the first big chink in Spotify's shining armor. I could forgive it not having Malcolm McLaren's 1994 concept album Paris -- it's a bit obscure. Hmm, Mercury Rev's The Secret Migration was missing here too? Oh well. No Beatles, no biggie -- everyone knows those guys write their own rules. And though the notice that the L.A. heavy metal label Century Media pulled its songs off of Spotify gave me some pause, I'm not the biggest metal fan.

But I was out and out offended when Spotify tried to convince me that Joan Jett And The Blackhearts' biggest hit was a song called "Go Home." No, Spotify. You go home. And quit lying to me. It just makes you sound stupid.

Enter the act's name differently and you'll get a different -- though no less inaccurate --answer. The biggest hit by Joan Jett Ampersand The Blackhearts? "I Hate Myself For Loving You." That's exactly what I said to myself now, as it had dawned on me that Spotify's marketing slogans were nothing but sleazy pickup lines. Seeing that Spotify tried to deny the existence of a little song called "I Love Rock 'n Roll," one of the biggest hits of the '80s, the honeymoon was definitely over.

Spotify cites the lack of licensing agreements for the omission of certain artists, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the pattern of gaping holes, especially when compared to other streaming music sites. For example, in an interview, Adele's label called Spotify one of their "top digital partners globally by revenue." Okay, so why then does Spotify not have Adele's album 21, when Rdio, MOG, and Rhapsody do?

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