TIDAL HiFi, Why I Kicked Spotify To The Curb

Four years ago, I became a Day One subscriber to Spotify for $9.99 a month after I kicked Zune to the curb. I subscribed to Spotify for two main reasons. 1) Spotify promised better audio quality than the MP3 Freemium music distribution model. 2) Spotify promised to pay artists better royalty payments with a “portion” of the $9.99 a month they collected from me and others. After four years as a Spotify subscriber I have pulled the plug on Spotify Premium. I cancelled the $9.99 a month option. Spotify from my experience failed to meet the “two commitments” I wanted from them as a customer. I witnessed and read how “little” Spotify was paying artists for their content.  I never received more than 320 kbps audio sound from Spotify. In the four year interim 2011 to 2015 digital audio quality improved. I own and use a high resolution PONO Music Player. I can truly hear the difference with HiRes sound. I switched my subscription to TIDAL HiFi last week, $19.99 a month. I am finally listening to the high fidelity audio music quality Spotify failed to deliver upon. I am confident TIDAL HiFi will pay artists higher royalties. After all they aren’t “owned” by a record company as an investor. They are an artist owned platform. The “sweetener” for me is TIDAL HiFi and Sonos. I itch to own a Sonos Play:1 sound cube that allows me to hear hi-def music wirelessly. So long Spotify, Hello TIDAL HiFi. #TIDALforALL

Spotify, Why I will be kicking Zune to the curb

File:Spotify logo.pngI didn’t expect for the following sentiment to take place today, but as you will read, I had an “aha moment” with music software. I browsed over to Spotify‘s Web site this morning to learn more about their music cloud service which just reached our shores yesterday after a two-year wait.

I was skeptical about the Spotify offering as my first perspective was oh not another Web music service in a very crowded field of offerings too many to list, discern or mention. I must admit I was quite uplifted by what I discovered and interpreted about Spotify.

I was motivated further to explore Spotify as my car CD player has stopped working and I need to replace it soon. So I have started playing the iPhone in the car as a substitute.

File:Zune logo.svg

I have been a loyal Zune software subscriber since its start in 2006. I have accumulated 5,913 listens to Zune in that time frame. I subscribe to Zune Pass at $14.99 a month, which also gives me 10 free songs a month. But Zune is starting to crumble as a solution and has not shown much innovation of late. Also it is having a problem downloading albums I buy in sequence, skipping songs in their logical order, which is a hassle. Zune is failing to keep up with the times, c’est la vie.

I have been eagerly awaiting Zune to supply a couple of  “promised” features which I doubt are ever coming in spite of Microsoft’s Cloud initiative.

Microsoft Zune is failing to live up to my expectations as a Web music service offering. The most notable Zune technology failure is the lack of social networking capability and integration Microsoft “does not supply”. Sharing has very little fellow Zune subscriber participation.  It is a promise in principle unfulfilled. Microsoft failed to innovate the music software sharing options I expected them to carry out, such as more immediate Web music locker sharing, Facebook integration etc. It doesn’t seem that Microsoft will ever leverage its 1.6% investment stake in Facebook to become the “Facebook Music” solution.

It is very clear that Spotify has secured that leadership role and is declared “Facebook Music”. When Mark Zuckerberg is endorsing your product solution you have “arrived”.  Spotify is destined to conquer the American music subscriber’s market with its ease of use and focused integration with Apple iTunes, Windows Media Player files (that’s how I will reuse my Zune music library and cut the cord with Zune Pass…).

“Spotify is so Good”
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Facebook

I purchased a Spotify Premium Service subscription today to get a better idea of what Spotify offers a music subscriber. I like what I am experiencing thus far. Spotify has indeed done their homework with their technology edge.

I really like that for $9.99 a month  with Spotify I have 13 million songs readily at my disposal with the  iPhone Spotify cloud app. It was effortless to search and hear music through the Spotify Cloud to my iPhone. I rather like how they smartly randomized Neil Young’s catalog for me as I drove home from work this afternoon. Zune can’t do that….

As the Microsoft Cloud forms I don’t see the Zune solution leveraging the music locker experience effectively or at all for that matter.

I will save $5 a month with Spotify versus Zune Pass and I can have very high quality stream/sync functionality.

Spotify you are my new Web music subscription service. Microsoft’s Zune say hello to the curb. Oh and Microsoft speculation about XBox Music doesn’t move me…..

What recording to buy next?

Easter 2011 has come and gone. My Lenten promise was not to buy any new music recordings. If you know me at all, I trust you’ll agree that was not an easy 40 day sacrifice for me.  I buy 70+ recordings a year between CD, vinyl and digital download 😉  I was only able to honor Record Store Day 2011 in principle, not practice.  This was the biggest Record Store Day yet!

I am looking at my short list for what recording I should buy first. My short list of recordings includes:

  1. Paul SimonSo Beautiful or So What? (We are scheduled to see him at MGM Foxwoods on May 29)
  2. Foo FightersWasting Light (Heard Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins on the Howard Stern Show)
  3. RadioheadKing of Limbs
  4. Steve EarleI’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive (Available tomorrow April 26th, which is when I am hoping to listen to it on Zune).
  5. Ray DaviesSee My Friends
My next step is to give each of these a listen on Microsoft Zune. The beauty of a Microsoft Zune subscription is that I can listen to any recording available on Zune. Each month I get to download 10 tracks free. So it’s time to start listening and making a selection 😉 Teeing up Paul Simon first…

1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, By Tom Moon, Daily Post 2011, #22

I received the perfect book for an obsessive/compulsive music junkie like myself ;), 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die by Tom Moon. The book has been in print for 2 1/2 years now (August 2008). I’ve picked it up a dozen or so times at Barnes & Noble in the past,  now I finally own a copy. It’s a great book to hunker down with and study. Its becoming an invaluable desk reference for the Microsoft Zune Web listening I love to do.

My perception was that as an avid music collector for 45 years I would probably own about 400 of the 1,000 recordings. I was quite surprised to learn I only own about 130 of what Tom has listed or 13%.  Granted my collection is more focused on rock, blues and jazz as main genres, where Tom Moon’s book covers the following genres.

Jazz, Opera, Hip-Hop, Rock, Gospel, Musicals, Country, Classical, Blues, World, Heavy Metal, Vocals, Swing, Celtic, Samba, Pop, Songbook, Folk, R&B, Dance, Punk, Doo-Wop, Psychedelic, Fado (What’s Fado?,  I learned something new today about a music genre I never knew existed…), Bluegrass, Zydeco, New Wave, JuJu, Electronica, Bossa Nova, Reggae, Soul, Rap, Rockabilly, Dub, Techno, Ska, Funk, Salsa, 39 genres in total.

This book will stretch my musical curiosity in many ways and directions. That’s my first pleasant surprise about one of the dimensions this book presents the reader.  I find Tom’s book very well researched and coördinated.

I take issue with some of Tom’s choices of the “definitive” or “essential” recordings of certain artists.  For example, he lists for R.E.M. Fables of the Reconstruction, Murmurs and Up as their essential recordings. He overlooks Automatic for the People which I find the most playable, durable recording in my entire collection.

Differences of opinion when it comes to personal musical taste comes with the territory. All in all its a great book Tom, thanks for authoring it and for the companion Web site where we can keep in touch with you.