I Have a Love/Hate Relationship With Spotify

No, I’m not switching to Apple Music.

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Spotify

Spotify has been a big part of my day-to-day life for the last several years. Living in New York, I typically walk to and fro between work and my apartment, and before heading out I’ll usually download a playlist, album or podcast onto my phone, pop in my AirPods, and go. (Now that I have an unlimited data plan, I don’t care as much about downloading these things beforehand.)

Of course, there other services that can effectively do the same thing. Apple Music is probably Spotify’s biggest competitor, and some even expect it to overtake Spotify as the most popular music streaming service by the year’s end. And I’m an Apple guy — I have an iPhone, MacBook Pro and Apple TV. Even if it makes perfect sense to subscribe to Apple Music, I can’t get myself to switch over. Spotify has been too good to me.

I tried, don’t get me wrong. For a few months, while testing Apple’s HomePod smart speaker, which only accepts voice commands for music if you’re an Apple Music subscriber, I took the bait. I took the “first three months free” deal, and three months later I switched back to Spotify. I didn’t like the layout of Apple Music; I didn’t like how its podcasts were in a separate app (Apple Podcasts). And I didn’t like how on Apple Music there was no straightforward “Download” button to download tracks, albums or playlists to my device; instead, it said “Make Available Online,” which is just semantics but still feels overcomplicated. Just say “Download.” Thanks.

But this isn’t to say that I find Spotify perfect. I don’t. A few months ago, I switched from being a Spotify Premium subscriber to being part of a family plan with my brother and parents. You know, to save some money and beat the system. Plus, we bought my parents a Sonos One for Christmas and they needed a subscription to play music with voice. Since then, my Spotify keeps pausing and flashing a message “Spotify has been paused because your account is being used somewhere else.” But the app doesn’t tell me which device is playing which is really frustrating because I want to know who in my family to yell at. I even went to Spotify’s Help section on its website to talk to one of their chatbots, but it only confirmed that there was no way to know where the music was playing. Spotify, please fix.

As a tech writer and all-around gadget guy, I have my Spotify account connected to a lot of different devices: a number of different Amazon Echo devices, a Google Home, an iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro; a Google Pixel and a Samsung Galaxy smartphone; a running watch. And now, two Sonos One speakers: one at my parents’ house and one at my apartment. Basically, if one of those devices is playing without my knowledge — say my roommate is playing music on my Google Home or my mom has somehow switched to my Spotify account instead of her own, then it affects me.

There are other things that I wish Spotify would adjust. It has a three-device limit for downloading tracks and, selfishly, I wish it were higher. I carry around a few phones and test a number of smartwatches and tablets simultaneously, and if I go back to one my older devices, it often deletes my downloaded tracks. I also wish there was an easier way to, when listening to an artist’s radio station, find previous tracks. Too many times have I heard a song while in the middle of something and been unable to find out later on what song it was.

Like I said, Spotify has been a big part of my daily routine for years. And I’m not likely to abandon it anytime soon, but there are little tweaks that I wish it did better just to make my experience a little simpler. So Spotify, please, get on it.

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