As I gradually wind down for the day pondering the thought on how my weekend would actually unfold, I began to scroll through the music apps in my smartphone in an attempt to track down music that I deem sacred for listening only for the weekend.
You see, over the last 15 years music has been an enveloping element in both my private and work life. Editorial decisions involving music reviews at work are usually panned towards the more popular choices and why some of the latest music releases deserve a wider audience. But on weekends, the hermit in me coupled with the intense desire to bath in ‘me time’, would normally fall within these two humdrum order:
- On a good weekend, I’d choose a mammoth work to digest. These could be anything from listening to a collection of albums of Bowie; all symphonic works by Gustav Mahler; to over-indulgence of Nat King Cole. Nevertheless, weekends are made for overwhelming great classics.
- Having ended, or still recovering from a week’s arduous deadlines, I would have no pleasure in tuning into any frequency whatsoever. I may allow the scant chirping of the common Eurasian Tree Sparrow outside my window, but that would normally just bounce me back to music that reminds me of, in this context, birdsongs; remember Olivier Messiaen’s “Abyss of the birds”?
With so much being said already about how I’d work with and enjoy music, subscribing to any music app for that matter, has practically assisted me big time in abandoning the CD and vinyl collection I’ve had so earnestly compiled over the years. In an attempt to put into perspective how and why my physical collections are worth more time and appreciation than the premium subscription I have with Spotify, I’ve decided to review some of the options that would benefit both work and personal hours.
While there may be many reasons why one should keep their premium accounts, here’s why I’d cancel my premium Spotify at work, as well as for personal use, for now.
1.0 At the office — How we’d use Spotify premium: For a long time, our premium Spotify account has allowed us access to an infinite library of songs where we could create and share playlists, or as reference for music reviews, etc. However, as concise as it is with new releases and the latest pop craze, having music at our fingertips has altered the way we consume and appreciate artistic content, especially when it comes to albums.
As much as we are still using it for listening, the majority of time spent on the app are used to search and verify creative sources (ie. the record label, producer, publisher, etc.). By cross-checking with other video platforms such as VEVO, YouTube, and reputable sources from the web, we are able to understand the extend of the work; latest music video, artist’s discography to full-length biographies, and even reviews or comments on their music.
“I used to play some of my favourite songs or instrumental music on Spotify while I work, in the shower and even when I’m reading. But I’ve completely stopped doing that now. With top classics at my finger tip, I no longer treat them with careful listening,” said Lucas Tan, assistant editor at Music Press Asia.
“With over hundreds, if not thousands of new releases a week, Spotify has given unprecedented possibilities to amateur and professional songwriters to produce and publish; equivalent to a busy market of varying standards and options,” he added.
1.1 And so discovering a talent in a haystack is just as hard as what any A&R division is trying to do on any given work day. With more producers opting out from any plans to release physical copies, the creative process of producing music just wouldn’t seem that exciting, or even valuable anymore. For that matter, Spotify has become the ultimate platform to distribute, but hardly a tool to discover credible music, and perhaps even worthwhile creators.
1.2 Buggy software: This happens every time we’d try to link a song we are reviewing. On a good day, our functional desktop would black out whenever we copy the link onto our content management system. Normality resumes only when Spotify’s browser is terminated. On other days, the black out would last as long as a few minutes while we try to restart our hard drives.
1.3 English-focused music curation: As in the nature of our music demographics focused at Music Press Asia, apart from the Indonesian, or rather Bahasa market, QQMusic, JOOX and KKBOX have been our faithful counterparts in understanding the popular demands in the Mandarin/Chinese segment that populates a large Asia-Pacific market; including Taiwan, China, Singapore and Malaysia; a matter of diving into another music library, per se. Even when genre options are varied, we just knew that
1.4 Audio vs. visual: When your work inbox gets filled up with hundreds of music review request on a daily basis, filter options are best applied to singles from the albums. And yes, even to new artists’ releases. Consequently, music videos are another classic option in determining the quality and amount of hard work put into releasing a collective work, unfortunately. While we may occasionally discover music of Spotify, we tend to look them up on YouTube as well. Without a music video, we hardly press on further. YouTube, in this respect, kills two birds with one stone.
“YouTube has allowed us to focus on the artist’s entire music career, via visuals. Not withstanding that meta data from certain artists on YouTube could began even before they were signed to a record label….when they were just recording from their own bedrooms,” said a manager who works at an international talent agency.
2.0 After work — Decreased appreciation of genuine work: There’s nothing more satisfying than setting a specific time just listening to a complete album… READ MORE