Spotify

While clicking through the website, testing, tweaking, etc. I noticed my Deezer vs Spotify post of a year ago. Curious is anything changed during year, I took a little peek again. 

A thing that immediately caught my eye is that Deezer nowadays has an enormous list of similar artists to Genocide Organ. And what a shitty list it is! There are Brighter Death Now, Sutcliffe Jugend and IRM, but how are artists such as Lux Interna, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, Igorrr, Tropic of Cancer, Xeno & Oaklander, The Orb, Flying Lotus (is this a rapper or what?) or Fever Ray similar to GO? And where are artist such as Consumer Electronics, Operation Cleansweep, Ex.Order or Gnawed?
With such a list, what is the use of an artist radio?

Spotify has a much shorter list, but one that makes much more sense. I wonder what Deutsch Nepal and Karjalan Sissit are doing there and I miss a range of artists that are available on Spotify, but not listed. The list looks a bit like that of Last.fm but this one is longer, also longer with ‘Spotify artists’.

Deezer still has artists that have no similarities, such as Gnawed. See Deezer and then Spotify.

This is a big reason to not really reconsider Deezer I must say… Not that I use the artist “radio” of Spotify a lot, because they have the bad habit of putting other artists than the similar artists in the artist radio. Very annoying!

So what about the listening experience?

A year ago it was a setting in Spotify to play without pause. Now it not a setting anymore, but music is always played without pause, that is: just as the music is on a cd. I do not know if Deezer changed this already, but they used to have a second of silence between two tracks which is extremely annoying. This is probably the biggest thumbs up for Spotify.

I am very disappointed by the way Spotify works with playlists. Using any of the Spotify apps to find a playlist is bound to fail. Often searches do not even present my own playlists! Therefor I have started to use Playlists.net. A downpart: users have to add their Spotify playlists for Playlists.net to find them, so you are not going to find all Spotify playlists that way. A good point is that you can start Spotify from the Playlists.net website. That integration with other websites is another good point for Spotify.
But in general I am quite disappointed with Spotify playlists. With all these users I seldom find a good playlist that I have not made myself. The other way around, nobody has found any of my playlists, so my guess is that other users have similar ‘playlist finding problems’.
In Deezer, a playlist was usually (but indeed not always) shown even when there was only one track of a certain artist listed or listed when you look at an artists overview page.

What I really dislike about Spotify is that I have to click to my recommendations, which are then not really good and seldom change (and no personalised new releases…). I rarely use the ‘Discover weekly’ playlists simply because they are not good enough and I never use the ‘release radar’ for the simple reason that I do not want all different types of music through each other and this radar is not really good either.

Also annoying is the face that I “follow” quite a few artists, but I seldom hear of their new releases before I heard about them another way. Deezer was better in ‘pushing’ new releases in the ‘general feed’ on the start page. Spotify needs a lot more searching and hence, much less ‘accidental discoveries’.

Deezer is quite a social platform. You can follow friends and recommend music to them which will appear in their feed. In Spotify I have found no way to find other users (not even when I know their account) and when I “follow” a friend, there is nothing much use to that. What is even worse, I have no idea how to click to the users that I follow, so how can I look at their playlists and playing history?

A good thing about Spotify is that I can use my phone to control what I listen to through the laptop, or another laptop to control the ‘listening laptop’. I can see that such a system works well in a Sonos (or similar) surrounding.

I think I use Spotify about as much as I used to use Deezer. I listen to quite some music that is not available and I am still an old fashioned listener: I look up an album (in my own collection or on Spotify) and play it. “Radio” functions simply are not good enough. I do play my own playlists occasionally though when I have a few hours to fill.

And there I come to a bad, bad, bad part of Spotify. In Deezer you can add a track, album or even an entire playlist at the end of the current queue. So often I would pick two albums of the same artist to play after each other (or add a few albums and then hit ‘random’, this is not possible in Spotify either). In Spotify I can only manage to add something after the track that is currently playing. What is even worse, I can change the order of the playing queue (which is something), but when I do that, the replaced tracks will stick in the queue until I manually delete them. It often happened to me that after a couple of days I am suddenly presented with tracks from an old queue. Aargh.

Spotify badly needs to improve their interfaces (and please do not make completely different interfaces for the Windows app, the browser player, Android and iPhone). Have a good look at Deezer. Improve searching. Some functions need to be brought back/in.

Last but not least, I recently upgraded the ‘radio laptop’ to Windows 10 which seems to have made it a little more stable and even faster. I need to try the Last.fm integration with Spotify again. This is potentially still very interesting.

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