Friday, 15 April 2011

Spotify, Jelly Beans & Gary Neville

I was first given a Spotify invite ages and ages ago, back when it was in beta, and when pretty much nobody outside of Sweden (including myself) had heard of it. At the time I didn't really see much point in it. Sure, it would let me stream music on my PC, but I already have an extensive collection of digital music on my computer.

After a while, I found uses for it, and it grew on me. Sure, I had plenty of music on my computer, but there's also plenty of music I didn't have. Spotify also was way more convenient for single tracks, where buying/downloading the whole album is a bit awkward and excessive when there's just one track I want, and where YouTube has crappy audio quality even if it is convenient for single tracks.

So yesterday Spotify announced that the free service was going to be heavily limited. Something which most people seem to be fairly unhappy about, but then I guess that's sort of a given when you're going to remove a free service which people enjoy.

I'm still on the fence on the whole thing. Not on whether I'm outraged by this or anything - at the end of the day it's completely up to them to charge what they want for their service. More on whether I'm going to bother with the premium service, settle for the fairly crippled free one, or go back to how I used to listen to music and not bother with it any more. My guess is that a fair few people will just get premium (which, to be fair, has quite a few perks if you've got a smartphone) and that's the reason they're doing this. Given that the company is posting massive losses currently, then it doesn't surprise me. I think they're looking at it from the point of view that if they can't try and push people into paying by restricting the free service, then there won't be a Spotify service at all for much longer.

Either way, the free service was good while it lasted.

My next topic, linked by Luke McArthur on Facebook, is from the Metro. Even if it is a free newspaper, I've always sort of considered the Metro to be to the rest of the world what The Cambridge Student is to the bubble of student-run Cambridge newspapers. At the best of times it's a pretty shoddy attempt at journalism, and it doesn't even make up for it's lack of quality by putting breasts inside the front page. Anyway, the story of the day is that apparently Kate Middleton's face has been found on a jelly bean. Which made me laugh, if nothing else. It looks like a face, sure, but Kate Middleton? Really? It could be pretty much any woman so long as she has, er, long hair, eyes and mouth? Heck, in my opinion the person it most resembles isn't even female...


I mean, at the very least they could have found a photo of Kate from the same angle as the jellybean face so you can at least vaguely agree to the comparison. Really it's just the latest in the weird royal wedding hype that I don't understand. I don't find it particularly irritating (which is rare for me, I know), and when I see the daft merchandise in shops I just have a mix of amusement and bewilderment, no matter how RIDICULOUS it gets. Maybe it's because I've got an exam on that day, and I'm not even treated to a bank holiday for the wedding like most of the rest of the country is, but I couldn't really care less. I am happy at least that the face in the jelly-bean wasn't claimed to be some bizarre message from God.

The final thing for this post is that after sacking Andy Gray, Sky have finally found a replacement to fill their "biased wanker" role in the form of Gary Neville. And it seems that people aren't happy about it. Apparently there's also going to be a limited edition remote control to mark his appointment in the role.

I guess Man Utd fans would point to the fact that the vast majority of football pundits seem to be ex-Liverpool (Phil Thomson, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson, Jamie Redknapp and Gary McAllister just to name a few regulars), and that not all of them are totally impartial when it comes to games involving us. However, Gary Neville is an arsehole, and I believe that point stands regardless of the bias and standard of punditry in the British media.

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