Spotify killed the radio star

My mom once showed me a meme that said: “Opinions are like mixtapes: I don’t want to hear yours.” I laugh because it’s true: I only want to hear my own mixes.

I have been making mix CDs for the past few years as time capsules of my life, freezing who I am and what I’m listening to at the time, many also co-compiled by my best friend. I grow attached to these mixes, eager to bring them anywhere I go.

When I came to the disappointing realization that I can’t always bring tote bags full of CDs everywhere, I downloaded Spotify. This was just about two months ago. Now I can pull up my mixes in anyone’s car at any time, circumventing ever having to turn on the radio.

While still figuring out the ins-and-outs of Spotify, I have grown to appreciate it and see why it surpassed 50 million paying subscribers in early March.

Spotify now has almost 30 million more paying users than Apple Music. I haven’t cared to try Apple Music for myself. However, Cheryl Tettelbach, a junior accounting major, is a firm believer in it.

“I use Apple Music every day,” Tettelbach said. “It’s my primary method of listening to music in the car or when studying and I can’t think of a day where at least one of those hasn’t happened. For me Apple Music is number one, the ability to build off of my iTunes account, an account I’ve been growing since around 2007/2008, meant I wasn’t starting back at the beginning.”

Tettelbach still has Spotify, but uses it far less frequently.

“Not being able to download and save music on the free account is a huge disadvantage and I probably wouldn’t have the app on my phone if it wasn’t connected to my friend’s account,” Tettelbach said.

Rachel Wathne, a junior graphic design major, has had her Spotify account for three years and uses it daily.

“I would use it over any other music-playing app,” Wathne said. “I’ve heard things about Apple Music, but haven’t really been curious enough to feel it out. Spotify is old-reliable for me.”

With these apps playing such a prevalent role in young listeners’ daily routines, I wonder if they are completely replacing actual, “old-school” radio. I personally hate trying the radio for an alternative hit that I might like, and Wathne and Tettelbach agree.

“I used to listen to the radio in my car when it didn’t have an aux cord, but now it does, and I use Spotify for music in the car,” Wathne said. “I would say that listening to the radio has slowed down.”

Tettelbach also weaned off of radio, and is selective about where she tunes in.

“I still use radio when I’m back home in Ohio,” Tettelbach said. “Not being a local student means that I’m not aware of the local stations…so I probably only use or anticipate using the radio five weeks out of the year.”

When listeners get the option to choose their favorite songs or scramble through various radio DJs’ picks, it’s obvious that radio is crushed in comparison to these medias. But which service is actually better?

For both listeners, familiarity plays a significant role in what they continuously choose to use. However, for a newcomer like myself, I wouldn’t know that difference. And both listeners said that their digital music service was worth the money to pay to subscribe, especially with the student discount.

I do prefer Spotify because it provides a greater connection with my favorite artists. Many put together their own playlists for fans to listen to and some have their own exclusive live, acoustic or reimagined “Spotify Sessions” to enjoy.

“I love their new edition of the concerts tab,” Wathne said. “It tells me when all the artists I listen to are having concerts in the area, so I don’t have to go searching for it. I would say that better connects me to the artists.”

We can’t get that from radio or my ripped-from-YouTube mixes.

It obviously comes down to personal preference. I would still choose CDs over Spotify and Spotify over radio. And while Spotify is currently at the top spot among digital music services, all options have their own pros and cons. Except my fire mixes. But then again, those are just opinions as well.

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