I 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 :
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I don”™t have songs (most of which I”™m not listening to) clogging up all of my computer space.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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?
- Staying Connected To Your Students - February 6, 2022
- The Art of Finding New Music In Spotify - December 17, 2021
- Favorite Track(s) of The Week - September 7, 2021
I second the Pitbull reference Chris – a crowd pleaser in class, but not something I’d have playing in the garage.
Also – since we don’t work in the same club I’ll be “borrowing” your Summer Cycling Mix from Spotify to use in a class I’m subbing this morning 🙂
I do not like the idea of renting my songs from a company. Let me explain why:
– To begin, you are subject to the ever changing EULA (End User License Agreement) and it’s terms;
– You HAVE to use their software to play the songs which may change overtime in a way that is not conducive to do any kind of classes;
– Updates to the player may happen to add features that get in your way. Or even worse, remove features you use;
– Songs may become unavailable due to changes in agreement between licensing parties;
That said, it is is a great end consumer product but I would not use it in a professional setting. And I find it useful to share playlists with friends and peers.
However, if I want to provide my students with the best spin class experience possible I will be in control of as many variables as I can. And because music is such a central piece to a class I must control how I play my music.
If all else fails I can still go old school and burn a CD with my music and use it in class.
Finally, it is a matter of personal choice and I respect other people’s choices. Personally, I’m annoyed with the people that keep pushing Spotify as if it was the best invention ever. I tried and I didn’t like it.
I have spent some time with other fitness instructors and most are not fond of the idea of using Spotify on their classes. Some use the club’s CDs, some us their own CDs, and very few use their music devices (smartphones, music playesr, etc.).
Didn’t find this much of a debate, but rather a justification for why you like Spotify, which is great, I’m glad it works for you. Here’s what I like about Spotify, and the only reason I use it, the social aspect. I can see what music Chrispins (and others) are listening to and be exposed to new music/artists, beyond that the $120/year is well beyond what I spend for music annually, and believe me I buy a lot of music (added 303 songs to my library last year alone; legally I might add).
Thanks for your comments Alan and Chris.
Through my blog and several other indoor cycling groups that I am a part of, I am in contact with a good number of indoor cycling instructors. Many of them are using Spotify in their classes and sharing music with them through Spotify has been a tremendous resource for all of us.
I often receive the ‘Do I own the music?’ question from instructors that are considering Spotify. I figured that if there were instructors contacting me with this question, there are bound to be many more instructors wondering the same thing. My goal with this post was to answer that question and yes, to let instructors know why I choose to ‘borrow’ my music over buying it.
I guess the debate part comes with the comments. â˜º
Post class follow up from today. I think I’m moving to teaching more with OPM (other people’s music) – at least for those situations where I’m subbing for another Instructor who’s very different from me.
My friend Gayle is on vacation for five weeks and I’m covering her 9:30 class. It’s a textbook “housewives class” that I’ve subbed a half dozen times over the past year. They’ve tolerated my music in the past, but today was all smiles when the Grease medley came on + multiple “that was fun/great/I really enjoyed that John”. I couldn’t have done that without two things; Spotify and Chris’ playlist I’ve linked to above. What made this class was 85% the music, music I wouldn’t have ever considered purchasing.
That’s great John! The Grease Medley is definitely a crowd pleaser. It’s not for everyone, but my audience always loves it. It’s also one that I’m not ashamed to say that I own. 🙂 (I’m kind of in love with that movie.)
I agree that Spotify is handy when you’re short on time or inspiration!
Grease Medley…own it. Heck I have it on LP. Yikes!
Great conversation! Spotify is a double edged sword for me:
+ I get bored of music very quickly, so having music on loan is fine for me.
+ Accessing other’s playlists for ideas has been great. I don’t use other instructor’s full playlists though- I must be too much of a control freak :).
+ I have found many great new artists from ‘friends’ (not necessarily co-instructors)
+ I love being able to find extended play versions of songs I like, but that really aren’t long enough for profiles in their original version.
– It seems whenever there is a Spotify update, my phone (Droid) does not update correctly and I lose all my downloaded playlists. This has been extremely inconvenient when I show up to teach my classes. I feel I cannot count on Spotify 100%. However, everything is on my computer, and it is easy to re-download.
– Not everything I want is available on Spotify, although a lot is.
– I would love to be able to have some of my playlists on my i pod, as I have a few teaching situations where I cannot use my phone.
All said, the positives outweigh the negatives for me and I will continue to pay the $10/ month for Spotify at this point.
Haven’t used the Grease medley. Probably won’t…..haha.
Amy, I don’t use other people’s playlists either. Probably for the same reason! 🙂 I also never thought about the convenience of finding several different versions of favorite songs, but that certainly is a plus!
I think my feeling about spotify has been clearly stated in the past. Primarily, I don’t see it as an instructor tool but rather a slick music delivery system that is appealing from a cost perspective.
That said, I do continue to pay my $9.99/mo. to keep Spotify on my iPhone. Why? To use in an emergency. Usually the emergency is I somehow managed to arrive to teach my class and find I left iPad home. My favorite playlists are available offline. Plug in the cord and press play. BTW my favorite playlist are the iTunes playlist that Spotify conveniently pulled from my computer.
Chris I get one question that has not been answered here yet. If one is using the premium version (not streaming but available offline) how does Spotify store the music on my computer?
For the moment let’s assume that it does. Then the cluttering of the hard drive argument goes out the window. Frankly unless one is using a 20th century computer hard drive space is really not an issue.
While Spotify saved my butt again last night (at least I had music) the tools I use to make an ordinary class extraordinary were sorely missed. And to me that is the point. Spotify does not lend itself well to such and as a Alan points out, changes at the whim of the Spotify developers who – it would seem – could care less how indoor cycle instructors use it.
Chuck-While I have not had trouble with space on my computer, I have had trouble with it on my iPhone. I keep my most current (2or 3) playlists offline’ most of the time and the rest I do not make available offline because it takes up storage space on my phone.