I’ve got to be honest with you, I ran out of things to write about on Thursdays pretty quickly. I have a few ideas pondering, but the whole point of Things I Like Thursdays was to be something that really caught my attention that week. This week, a new piece of software really did catch my attention, and it really is one of the coolest new things in the future of web media. That’s why this Thursday I like:

SPOTIFY!!!

Spotify has “most” of the cool features that you like from Apple iTunes, except with one major difference… on spotify it’s FREE! Actually, if you use iTunes for anything other than music, there’s actually several things different, but I don’t so Spotify has become an awesome change of pace.

Spotify is a music software program you can download from their website (www.spotify.com) that gives you free access to pretty much every song ever recorded. So far I haven’t found anything not on their (granted I’m not a big music buff). Even my church band’s album is on it! You might remember Napster from several years ago, and you remember that what they did was totally illegal. Spotify is different…. It’s completely legal! They make it free by putting commercials after every few songs and have licensing agreements with all the major producers.

I’m using the free version of Spotify, but for $10 a month (yeah, it’s a bit too much for me…) you get rid of the advertisements, and get 1 more big benefit. You can download all your music so it can go on your phone (if you’re more tech savvy than me) or other mp3 devices. You also get better sound quality… but it’s pretty good even on the free. And since you download the songs, you can play them without internet connection.

Spotify is basically the hulu of the music world. It’s got all the music like iTunes. It’s gives you good suggestions based on the music you have like Pandora. It gives you the ability to listen for free like Grooveshark. It gives you the ability to see what your friends have been listening to like Ping.

So here’s what you got to do to get it… Essentially you have to be invited. If you go to their website and connect with your facebook account and send 1 invitation yourself (I sent to my roommate who already had Spotify) and they’ll send you an instant invitation. Or you can give them your email address and after a day or two they will send you an invitation — if you’re cool… like my roommate did. When you get your invitation, they will let you download it. It only takes a minute to download and then it will let you transfer all your local music, and music from your iPod or Android to it’s library so it has a starting place for music selections… or you can always still listen to your old music if that’s what you REALLY want to do…

As an example, I am currently listening to the new Grungor CD, Ghosts Upon the Earth, on Spotify. I’ve heard of them and have heard one or two of their songs, but never owned any of their music. BUT, several of my friends have either bought the CD or they’ve already listened to it on Spotify, so I got the recommendation to listen to it too. It’s actually pretty good… so I’ll recommend it to my listeners. I know the name makes them sound like they are a hardcore or metal type of band, but they are actually pretty listenable. It’s actually REALLY soft music.

So, I am really interested to see how the music industry will function in the near future. First, buying movies started going out of style with the advent of Netflix (let’s ignore their current issues). Next Hulu took it a step farther and started the beginning of the end for cable/satellite tv by creating instantly available, tv shows on demand for free (or a MUCH bigger selection for just $10 a month). Newspapers have long since been replaced with news website…. iTunes destroyed the concept of buying an album— now you just buy the songs you like. So, does free, legal music mean the end of buying media all together? So much of it is free and instantly available that I don’t see a large market for any sort of hardware attached to music in the next 5 years (except of course there will always be some nostalgic people who insist on the hardware…but they’re dumb). It will be interesting to see how all this turns out.

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