Friday, November 16, 2012

No More Guilty Pleasures: What I’ve Learned From Spotify

Since I started listening to music through Spotify, I’ve thought a lot about the nature of guilty pleasures. Spotify settings allow the user to choose whether or not to share with facebook. Sharing, in this case, means each song I listen to is listed in the update feed and the most listened to are published to my wall. I decided to leave sharing on because I believe music should be social.

This sort of publicity holds me accountable to claims I’ve always made about music:

1.) I like all kinds of music.
2.) I have no guilty pleasures.
3.) I don’t judge others for their music preferences.

When I’ve asked the question, “What kind of music do you like?” most people I’ve talked to have made statement #1. The distinction has to be made, here, between liking all genres and liking all genres equally. I enjoy variety in music, but I’ve found that the more I experiment with different genres, the more I can pinpoint favorites. Public visibility of my listening habits encourages me to branch out and listen to something different everytime I turn on my computer (or steal my dad’s iPad), which, then, helps me more specifically answer the question, “What kind of music do you like?”

Speaking of my dad, like me and pretty much every other human, he used to claim that he had no guilty pleasures. Sure, sometimes discussions of songs would require a preface: “I know it’s not a good song, but...” So, really, who were we kidding when we said we had no shame when it comes to music? When my dad got an iPad, the first thing I did was download the Spotify app. First, my dad agreed with me that it’s pretty awesome, and then something horrible happened. He “accidentally” (suuure, Dad) listened to a Taylor Swift song and there it was on facebook: Gary is listening to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift. Suddenly my dad had to think about all his colleagues and high school friends that watched as that update crawled up their screen.

Do you have any guilty pleasures? Most people do, and that’s why you shouldn’t care. Even if you repeatedly listen to a track of a screeching sound, and that’s it, I say good for you. Maybe listening to a screeching sound on repeat triggers a euphoric feeling, and I never would have known if you hadn’t shared that track.

Accept the challenge.

(Note: I plan to experiment with other music streaming services and I’ll let you know how it goes.)

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