Actually, I was going to title this post as “I Invented Spotify!” or “Spotify Stalked Me in High School and Stole My Idea!” , but I didn’t. Back in the early 90’s we used to make “mix tapes” with our favorite songs and swap them around. And when I say mix tapes, I do mean cassette tapes. For my younger audience, they are these . Eventually, we morphed into CD’s. Now, that was nothing new. People made mix tapes all the time and shared them with friends. But what I did was something a bit different.
My father taught me a lot when I was growing up, so I was always tinkering with things. Learning to solder circuit boards was something quite enjoyable. I remember repairing old 286 and 386 computers with him in the living room using screw drivers and soldering up some boards. I used this skill to try something.
I realized that there is a wide spectrum of frequencies for FM radio stations, and several of them were unused, notably FM87.5. I picked up an electronics kit for an FM Transmitter similar to this one. I built it up, got a little project box for it, tuned the frequency output to FM87.5 and connected my CD player. It worked! I threw in a CD and did a low power broadcast of what was playing on the CD player to a radio in the house. Eventually, I moved this to the car and hid the box under my seat. During a mini road trip with the family, I was able to do this broadcast of what we were listening to in one car, and shared it with the other family in another car, albeit up to 100ft away. It was a one-way solution, but it worked. We shared music.
Fast forward to today, I saw all the hype about Spotify, and wanted to give it a try. Amazing product. Don’t think it’s anything ‘new’ (Rhapsody was the first attempt at this from my memory), but it is a fun, easy way to solve this problem of sharing music, legally, with your peers. A game changer. I was amazed at the amount of music that is currently available. Many of which I used to own on CD and Tapes which I have misplaced over time. Friends and I would build playlists and share them with each other much like we used to do. As an added bonus, we could collectively share a playlist and both contribute to it. If opt-in, you could see what your friends are listening to and easily play that song too. Throw in Pandora like features, mobile app, and also in-app Apps, and you got a great product. I wish Spotify the best, as I see a very bright future for them.
What’s the future for Spotify? Acquisition? Sounds like there are some people talking on the web that Netflix would be a good fit to acquire Spotify. I could agree with it. Apple apparently has already tried to block Spotify from entering the US, but has since failed. Cloud products are everywhere now which has morphed from mostly enterprise products into consumer. Music in the cloud is here. We used to buy music LP’s and CD’s from music stores. Gone. We used to download it from friends via Napster. Gone. Buying digital music online? Not yet gone, but it could be if music in the cloud works out. If I added up the 1,500 songs I have just in playlists on my Spotify, that would be $1,500 worth of MP3’s I would have purchased instead. But for the price of $0.00, or $10/mo if you want to take it mobile and ad free, I’m already ahead with access to more music I could ever listen to.
**Update** Well then… Looks like Spotify has something going on with Y!. http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/26/a-new-chapter-for-yahoo-music-a-deal-with-spotify-replacing-rhapsody/