My Spotify Experiment is Over

I'm one of those people that prefers music published as part of an album. But I'm told the world is moving towards music as a subscription and albums are rapidly becoming a relic of the past. So at the beginning of this year I signed up for a Spotify subscription. I canceled that subscription last week. Here's why.

I had a few really good moments with Spotify. One time a playlist somehow ended up being built around Lonely Soul from U.N.K.L.E.. That was pretty awesome but I could never find the playlist again. Maybe it was just a playlist for that moment. It worked.

In general, I liked the curated playlists in Spotify when I wanted to simply listen to music. However, and this is where the Spotify Experiment started to break down for me, I don’t spend a lot of time just listening to music.


Easily 95% of my music listening is in front of my computer while working. While working is the operative point.

Since I discovered music in high school music became a way of drowning out the world allowing me to focus on the task at hand. I specifically remember learning trigonometry while listening to hardcore techno or Metallica’s Metallica album. I was never into metal but Enter Sandman is fundamentally an epic song.

The only important aspect of music that I listen to while working is that I know it. I need to know the song. I need to know the next song. I need to know the last song. When I subconsciously know everything about the song and what comes next, the song blankets my environment drowning out the distraction.

New or unexpected music in a Spotify playlist is simply distracting.


The other 5% of my music listening happens while driving. I don’t drive much, especially since I work from home now. My driving is mostly transporting my kids wherever we need to go.

In that setting, my only real option is CDs. My vehicle is 15+ years old and has only a radio and CD player. No auxiliary in port or anything like that to play music off another device.

So I have a rotating collection of CDs that my son and I choose songs from. Everything from Crystal Method and Glitch Mob to Kimbra to Black Eyed Peas to Alison Krauss & Union Station. For a long time, he was stuck on “The White Room” by Kimbra.


The final place where I wish I listened to music but don’t is while cooking or just hanging out with the family. You see my wife isn’t big on the “extra stimulation” so music isn’t part of our life there.

If it was, I think I could find a place for Spotify in my life. I think it’d be great to discover new music as a background task to cooking and eating.

But as it is, Spotify is just a distraction. So I’m going to take the $10/month and put it towards funding my old-fashioned music habit.

In the meantime, keep coding. You know I am (while listening to one of my ripped albums).

PS: If any of these artist or albums sounded interesting to you, feel free to use the links below to help fund my music habit a little more:

  1. U.N.K.L.E. - Psyence Fiction - out of print but totally worth a copy if you can find it (for less than $20).
  2. Metallica - Metallica - the only metal album I’ve ever owned, it’s that good.
  3. The Crystal Method - everything by these guys is awesome. If I could only take one album with me I’d take Vegas.
  4. Glitch Mob - most recent group to rock my world. Everything they’ve done so far is awesome as well. Want more albums. :)
  5. Kimbra - Vows - Kimbra is amazing, my son loves her. “Vows” is the best… her second album takes a while to warm up to.
  6. Black Eyed Peas - Monkey Business - B.E.P. is on v3 and I liked v2 (Monkey Business and “Elephunk”) better than v1 and v1 better than v3.
  7. Alison Krauss & Union Station - Contry? Aww, hell no. Bluegrass? Yeah, I’m down with that. See “O’ Brother, Where Art Thou?“.