Well today the United States got itself access to Spotify, the music streaming service that’s taken pretty much other countries and territories by storm. We’ve been teased about it for what seems forever, “Ha! You Yanks don’t have Spofity! You live in a third world country!” While I may be paraphrasing that last bit, what this does mean is the program should have access to a large as hell comedy database, we took it for a spin to see what our initial thoughts on what it’s comedy programming has to offer…
The Catalog is Big But Not Deep
This is something that comes down to the labels involved really. Though a quick browse of the program shows the “icons” are represented – Cosby, Carlin, Hicks, Pryor, Williams, Bruce, they are all there. But the depth of the catalog is something to be desired. There’s enough material in there to serve as “coverage” but it’s not all there, most notably George Carlin, who has an incredibly deep and long catalog of comedy but there’s just not much represented here, including his landmark album, Class Clown. But there is an option to link your own library to the service so it can operate in an iTunes-like manner/sync with your iPod (after it erases it) along with the streaming services.
Newer Comedians Are Well Represented
Searching for some of the newer guys on the scene shows their catalog is better fleshed out but this only makes sense since they probably have less material recorded and scattered across less labels. But it is great to pull up new names on smaller comedy labels and see them represented.
Picking Favorites is A Snap
As with other programs, picking your favorite comedy bits is as simple as a starring system. But…
Playlist Rebuilding Is Annoying
It’s not bad to build a playlist at first, but with every new technology it has to be done again. Man of us have already gotten used to firing up iTunes, playing your top rated tracks, and not worrying about the playlists for the rest of the day. Or tune into a streaming service and/or radio channel that will make the decisions for you. If you are at work and need to spend time building a new playlist before you can fire up the jokes is a bummer. Additionally it appears you can’t just pull up an album and play the whole thing from front to back without hitting “play” for each track or playlisting the whole album, in essence forcing you to create a playlist even if if you are just interested in hearing bits as background as you are at work or doing things around the house.
There Are Commercials/Ads
Yup, they play them, and there are ads all over the thing. Not surprising since access to the service is free, but you will hear a some commercials in between tracks and ads can be removed from premium services.
There Are No Share/Social Features
Ever tell a friend about your favorite comedy bit and need to call it up right then and there? Of course you have and if a friend is standing next to you, it’s easy to do just look it up pretty much anywhere, including Spotify. But if you needed to share the bit with your friends who weren’t in your presence, there’s no easy way to copy/paste a link or tweet a track, post on Facebook, or embed on a blog post. These are actions that are pretty much required these days to share.
Overall, Spotify is a strong competitor to the already existing options for streaming comedy. Is it going to make people change their already ingrained habits? Time will tell. The layout is easy and borrows liberally from the iTunes layout so there’s an air of familiarity, the user tools are no different than anything that doesn’t already exist, and the best way to describe it is, “iTunes connected to the biggest audio library in existence” which is definitely something that will be more than intriguing to any comedy fan.