Spotify-vs-itunes-300x184I get a lot of questions about Spotify, but the one question that I get over and over  from people that are interested switching from iTunes is:  "Do you own the music?", or “Can I sync music from Spotify to my iPod or burn it to CD? “ And my answer is always the same: “No, you can”™t, but you won”™t believe what you CAN do for only $9.99 a month!”  Now I know that bothers a lot of people.  What's the sense in spending $9.99 a month and having nothing to show for it?  How is this worth the cost?

It seems that when it comes to music for our cycling classes, there are two camps: Those that want to own all of their music, and those that see their music as more disposable and don't mind 'borrowing' it.

If you are strictly an iTunes user, then you own the music that you purchase. Well, at least you own the license to listen to songs on many devices.(* Here”™s an interesting article from CNN that raises questions about digital music ownership.)  It”™s all yours.  I once strictly used iTunes and now I own a LOT of music.  Most if it I rarely listen to or use in my playlists anymore.  It just sits there taking up storage space on my computer.

If you are a Spotify user, you are essentially borrowing the music.  You are paying Spotify $9.99 for UNLIMITED access to their extensive library of tunes.  I (along with many other cycling instructors that have jumped on the Spotify bandwagon) believe that the borrowing is the way to go.

Here are my top 8 reasons why I would rather borrow music from Spotify than buy it :

  1. I have unlimited access to music.  I rarely am unable to find a song that I am looking for.  If that does happen, I will purchase the song on iTunes or Amazon, but I”™m still not spending as much money as I was pre-Spotify.
  2. I can listen to a song all the way through and then decide if it”™s something I want to use in my playlist. I can”™t count the number of times that I have purchased a song on iTunes and then later found that it was not suitable for my playlist.
  3. Spotify has a radio feature that allows me to ‘like”™ songs as I listen.  These songs then go into a file called ‘liked from the radio”™ and can be easily accessed for future playlists. This is a great tool for finding new music.
  4. I don”™t have songs (most of which I”™m not listening to) clogging up all of my computer space.
  5. I  can take my playlists ‘offline”™, which means I can use them anywhere, even without an Internet connection. **You do need to have an iPhone or smart phone device to sync your music.
  6. I can follow other instructors and see what they”™re listening to. I can check out their playlists and if I like what I hear, I can pull a few of the songs over to my own files.  If I”™m in a bit of a rut, I can even follow someones entire playlist and sync it to my device to use in my own class. (Tip: This is frowned upon if you work in the same gym.)
  7. Many songs that I borrow, I may only use a few times.  If I use it more than that, it will always be there.  If I don”™t use it again, I won”™t feel that I have wasted my money.  There are many other songs out there just waiting to go on my next playlist.
  8. In my leisure time, I do enjoy listening to music.  The music that I listen to at home or in the car is not always the same as the music I listen to in my cycling classes.  For example, I love using Pitbull in my classes.  I can honestly say that I would never listen to his music outside of my class.  So owning a bunch of Pitbull does not seem cost effective to me.  Here”™s another example: My all time favorite band is the Beatles.  I have rarely used any Beatles tunes in my classes, but I love to listen to them in my leisure time.  Do I own all of my Beatles music?  You bet I do.  And if I want to borrow it from Spotify, I have that option too.

Spotify is the best $9.99/month I have ever spent as an instructor.  It has made my class preparation less time consuming, more fun and much more convenient and to me and that is worth every penny.

What do you think? Do you feel more comfortable owning your music or are you OK with borrowing it?



Christine Hawthorne
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