Big news today for your favorite music streaming platform. No, not Pandora. Let's start this again.
Big news today for Spotify.
The music streaming service is announcing that they are partnering with several high-profile sites to launch their new Spotify Play Button. Essentially, this is an embeddable widget that lets you post Spotify playlists to any blog, Tumblr or website. That sounds good so far. Here's the skinny straight from Spotify:
The new Spotify Play Button makes it easier than ever to deliver all the world’s music to your online fans. No more distracting banners and pop ups, no more legal takedowns, just millions of songs available in top quality audio.
Spotify claims bragging rights to several partners in the launch, including:
The Huffington Post
Time Out Group (New York City, Paris, London)
And, true to form, all these partners are very excited to be working with Spotify on this launch. Spin.com, for example, is putting Spotify Play Buttons in its reviews section. Handy.
Moviefone put together a playlist of "The Best Songs in Cinema" to showcase the Play Button capabilities.
People Magazine did a playlist about "what really matters" in beauty. The playlist is called "Beauty and the Beats" and features tunes by Christina Aguilera, P!nk, Cyndi Lauper and Beyonce.
Entertainment Weekly did three playlists to get thing rolling over there: EW Recommends This Week; The EW Ultimate 2012 Playlist; and EW’s 30 Greatest Artists Right now [sic].
Arianna Huffington over at HuffPost shared her own personal playlist, called simply "Arianna's Favorites". It includes tracks by Willie Nelson, Alpha Blondy, The Decembrists, and Fleet Foxes.
Tumblr was excited about the news:
Listen to this! We just teamed up with Spotify so you can post tracks, playlists, and full albums from their very extensive library. Search for tracks or paste a Spotify link to embed your music — without the daily limit.
To celebrate, we’ve put together this playlist featuring musicians from theTumblr Spotlight. Hit play and enjoy!
So, it's all just wonderful, right? Anybody can listen to your Spotify playlist on your blog or Tumblr now, right?
Sorry, there is a wrinkle in the plan. It might not seem like a big one, but bear with me. If you've tried to follow the links above and play those playlists, some of you know this already.
Unlike Youtube embeds, where anyone can view the video, even without a YouTube account, the Spotify Play Button requires you to sign up for Spotify before it will work. In fact, you not only have to have an account, you have to have the Spotify app installed on the computer you are on.
So, if you are at work and have an itchy IT department, too bad. If you are at a library, computer lab or someplace else you can't install what you want, tough luck, It won't play.
But, hold up. What if you CAN install Spotify? The question now becomes, do you want to? Unlike the invite-only days when I first got my Spotify account (and went Premium - I love the thing), you now have no choice about signing up for Spotify through Facebook. It's the only way in.
This may not seem like a big deal now, but this "sign up via Facebook" stuff is going to get old. Look at the opinions of Facebook that have come to light with the Instagram buy. It's not what it used to be. It's invasive, it's gaudy, and it is getting tiresome. Users want to have more control over their Facebook experience, not less. But, outfits like Spotify (and Pinterest) are now forcing Facebook integration down our throats.
You know what happens when you sign up for Spotify through Facebook, then start playing tracks? This:
This is my FB ticker. Those are tracks that a friend is listening to. He does not know that I can see all that. Last night he had a solid hour of bump and grind music in my ticker. Good for him. I guess. You shouldn't have to do a morning Facebook walk of shame because Spotify wanted to integrate with the biggest kid on the block. Of course, you can go hunt around for the "listen privately" function in Spotify. It's moved into different menus three times in the last year and even been disabled completely before. Bad form, Spotify. Give us the option to uncouple our music from our Timeline.
So, the Play Button is cool - if you managed to get a Spotify account before the Facebook integration went in. Then again, the fine folks at Spotify and Facebook may just bank on people like me being an anomaly. You know, people who don't like being bent over? There are plenty of other sheep. Maybe they figure the only way they're going to survive that early period when people are doubting their business model - that period when artists and labels are skeptical about their legal streaming notions - is to shove it socially on as many people as possible to get some momentum. Get an API out there and launch tons of flimsy apps and integration around the web so there is no choice. It's too bad a good idea has to stoop to this.