Monday, 2 March 2009

A good spot if I am correct...


It's not often that you can read a blog post and feel anything other than spiritually and intellectually enriched. In fact even that is extremely unlikely within these meagre portals. However, if you keep reading this particular post I promise to make you several hundred, if not thousand, pounds better off. Honestly!.

Like most Baby Boomers my teenage years were spent developing an acute awareness of the value of music. A single 45rpm disc cost 6 shillings and eight pence and a vinyl LP £1-17-6d, which for modern readers equates to around 33p and £1.75 respectively. That probably doesn't sound much to you but in terms of the number of weeks delivering meat for the butcher on a Saturday morning to the cost of a lovely, shiny, cellophane smelling gorgeously beautiful Shadows' album it was an extremely highly-geared ratio at which even Sir Fred Goodwin would baulk.

Because of this relatively high real cost, music was something one was conditioned to want to possess, to own exclusively. It wasn't as readily available on the Radio (unless you could take it heavily watered down by Danny Kaye and Burl Ives) and to buy a lovely new LP was a rare and gratifying experience.

The music industry played the same trick on my generation in the 80's when we were all persuaded to gradually re-buy our entire music collections at £12.95 per album in the form of Compact Discs - some people even re-purchased them in Compact Cassettes in the 1970's for their cars. We didn't really mind that we were paying for Mickie Most's second private aircraft of Mike Oldfield's home in Ibetha, we had shelf loads of physical music with iconic outer covers that were imbued in the national consciousness.

Then along came the Internet.

Current generations see music as a small file name on their computer or phone with a maximum value of 79 pence but very often as a resource that one simply downloads free (they would say "for free") from file sharing sites. They think nothing of spending £40 a throw to go and see Coldplay but have the album on their Ipod for virtually zilch.


It has taken me a while to overcome my nurtured desire to possess physical albums of music and I have always steered well clear of "free" music downloads - probably more to do with my historic inflated sense of music's inherent "cost" than any particular adverseness to the slightly illegal aspect. But now all my old CD's are stacked in the back of an upstairs cupboard and I'm beginning to treat it in a much more free and easy fashion.


The latest step in this path is the one which will save you a small fortune and which has occupied far too much of my time for the last couple of days. It's the web site http://www.spotify.com/ which is basically a "streaming" music service - you fill in a form to create a free account, download their small player software and suddenly have access to just about every track you ever wanted for nothing. Yes, that's right, nothing. The only "cost" is that you have to listen to a music ad every half hour but that's hardly a trial.


I'm currently digging into deep and long-lost corners of Richard Thompson's back catalogue whilst snapping up single tracks of this and that which I've always fancied but never enough to buy whole albums for a tenner or so. I'm building the most eclectic of playlists with Laura Marling rubbing shoulders with The Lovin' Spoonful and Justin Timberlake and Primal Scream proving serendipitous bedfellows. This is cloud computing at its most Cumulo Nimbus, so get yourself over their and start building your own crazy playlists pronto!


If you jumped straight to this sentence to save the money without reading my blog post - tough titty! There's no such thing as a free lunch.

22 comments:

Dave said...

The Times had an article about this at the weekend, which I pulled out, intending to follow-up at some time. Thanks to your link, I won't have to type in the address.

I hope there's lots of religious music.

john.g. said...

I'm listening to a legally bought Dire Straits CD, am I NORMAL?

Rog said...

Dave: The Times beat me to it again! You'll find Judas Priest, Charlotte Church, John Wesley Hardin, Madonna and St Bono of Dublin Bay all featured.

John: Nope. There's 203 Dire Straits tracks in digital clarity on Spotify waiting for you to make your own albums up. And it IS all legal!

Dave said...

Kaz: if you read this post without seeing the response to your comment on the last post, please have a look. Who is blogger B? It's driving me mad.

Rog said...

Kaz: Don't tell 'im!

KAZ said...

Thanks for the summary of my music buying history and the Spotify tip.
When I was eleven my mum bought me a Grundig' reel to reel' so I probably caused most of the problems in the music industry.
But - later on - I bought the LPs for the covers and the sleeve notes and the joy of possession.
And I worked on a butcher's van as well.

KAZ said...

I didn't read Dave's comment so I can't possibly tell.

Geoff said...

Downloaded the software yesterday and tried the radio section. I won't be trying that again: 2 Elton John "disco" tracks and John Fogerty under New Wave!

No Amon Duul and only one Clock DVA track. I want to find stuff I haven't heard before!

Rog said...

Kaz: Ah, sitting there on a Sunday evening trying to press "record" just after Alan Freeman stopped talking - I remember it well. We all need to get reel.

Geoff: They have had a few thousand tracks removed but I've yet to find anything it hasn't got. But I'm a bit more middle of the road - in a flat hedgehog sort of way.

Dave said...

Hmmph.

Betty said...

I saved up forty eight New Pence from my pocket money to get Telegram Sam by T-Rex from Webbs Electrical Store. I think it was on cylinder.

All of the people who are enthusing about Spotify seem to be middle aged. Perhaps young people don't listen to music, preferring instead to hang around on street corners or steal cars.

Rog said...

Dave: A sad loss to ISIHAC.

Betty: I always the latest TREX waxing was some sort of ear treatment involving cooking fat. Thanks for the term "middle aged" - I'll invite you to my 120th birthday.

Dave said...

Since signing up to this system, my computer speakers have broken. Can I send the bill to you?

Rog said...

Yes of course, I enjoy the Bill. On DVD with the adverts removed will be nice.

zIggI said...

I was going to leave a comment here saying THANK YOU THANK YOU because it's fab but then I read Betty's comment and suddenly I feel it's much too old for me.

Rog said...

Ziggi: I hope you're not going back to haging around on street corners and stealing cars.

Hotter Than... said...

I thouht emusic was bad enough (or fabulous and cheap for new music), you've just made my life even more musically obsessed.

Rog said...

Hotter: It's great isn't it? It's as if the music industry have said "Oh soddit, here you are take the blimmin' lot!".

Beth said...

I was sniffy about it for a couple of days, but love it now.

Am struggling to work out how to access other people's playlists though, am currently stuck with David Hepworth's. Anyone any the wiser??

Beth said...

Hang on a minute - they don't have 'Wide-eyed & legless'! I take it all back. Spotify's rubbish.

Rog said...

Beth: I've not bothered with other people's playlists and can't find them now you mention it.
The Bible was the first artist they've failed to provide but more than made up for by the wonderful Al Stewart's complete back catalogue. I've lived without Andy Fairweather Friend for so many years I won't miss him now altjough he seemed a nice chap on the radio recently.
You have the biggest MP3 Player in the World anyway surely?

Beth said...

It's true, I probably do. And it's not full yet! But there's always something missing. Right now, for example, I'm listening to 'Puff the Magic Dragon'. There'll be tears before bedtime.