I was a fervent Spotify user, from the morning routine to the late-evening runs my daily life background score was fueled by Spotify. My very first introduction to Spotify was as a teenager – one of my closest friend’s NRI cousin had come visiting from the US to India and already owned an iPhone 4 in 2010 itself – true to an Apple snob he rubbed in all the features of his latest gadget that had yet to be released in India at the time.

Now, I was one of the lucky children who had her own mobile phone before I had even left school and the only source of music then was to transfer it from CDs or download it from Limewire and if you didn’t have the internet then you’d be dependent on friends to share their music via Bluetooth. For those of us who were caught off-handed with a limited playlist on a traffic packed ride back home we would all agree that radio was a savior.

“Does your iPhone have radio?” was my only saving grace where I thought I could redeem the non-iPhone users like me. “Oh and you said you don’t even have Bluetooth is it?” came the second blow instantly on sensing the silence from the first – my confidence beginning to grow back.

That’s when NRI cousin said “I don’t need the radio! I have Spotify!”


Coming back to present-day music streaming and online ads – almost all of them powered by a certain level of user search and browsing history. Given most Spotify accounts are linked to Facebook, how difficult would it then be to atleast tailor the ads to match the demographic segment of the listener? Why would I as a single, late-20s working woman want to know about pillows being on sale in HomeSense? Or that tissue-papers are 50% off if I buy in bulk this weekend at Walmart? Or be interested in an Arctic Monkeys concert happening in town when I don’t even listen to that genre of music?

It has been bringing me limitless irritation that it’s not the selection of music on Spotify but the sheer annoyance of the dumb non-targeted ads that Spotify runs is pushing me to buying a Premium membership, and the ads are all the more frequent now – going from one 30 second ad after 3 complete songs now to a three 40 second ads after 4 songs or skips.

Does that mean I will switch over from Spotify after being a loyal user for over 5 years? Maybe, or maybe not – the other providers don’t seem to have as great a prediction and playlist generation system as Spotify does and Instagram and Amazon Prime Music aren’t fully functional in Canada yet.

I have transitioned from “Listens all the time and talks about it happily” to “Listens sometimes angrily”. The volatility in my cortisol levels as I listen to Spotify could certainly be proof to that. And at C$9 per month do I want to feel like I’m being harassed into purchasing the Premium membership? And who’s to say they won’t still have the banner ads which almost instantly seem to have been magically pressed since every third banner seems to automatically open up in the browser window. It’s almost childish.




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