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?
Pulling a move from the Beatles' playbook, Pink Floyd won't let Spotify stream most of their catalog, but Dark Side Of The Moon is easy to find on several other streaming sites. Even the Flaming Lips' version of that album is incomplete on Spotify. It's there, but tracks one and three, “Speak To Me/Breathe” and “Time/Breathe,” pop up with “The artist/label has chosen to make this track unavailable.”
Grooveshark apparently didn't get that memo, because when I paid a late-night visit to my former flame, I found every single Flaming Lips Dark Side track.
I'm not ready to dump Spotify, because much of the time it's a reasonably good provider. But since it still leaves so many of my needs unfulfilled, I've come to the conclusion that a monogamous relationship is out of the question. Grooveshark has its flaws as well — goofy labeling, tracks that don't play — but it also does things for me that Spotify just can't.
I tried staying faithful to a single streaming music service, but learned that I just don't swing that way — it's going to take more than one service to satisfy me. So when I'm out, I'll use the Spotify on the mobile, but I still plan to keep seeing Grooveshark on the side, and I don't care who knows it.