Spotify is Worthless If You Own Music

Paul Thurrott1 wrote a piece yesterday about how woefully inadequate Spotify is for people like him who want to bring their personal music collection with them.

Spotify, alas, does not provide this feature. I’m actually quite surprised by this, given how popular it is, and initially assumed I was missing something. But no: Spotify will recognize any music that’s on the device you’re currently using. But if you make a playlist that contains that local music, it will not be available from the web or from other instances of Spotify on your PCs, tablets and phones. (Unless you go through the arduous task of copying the music around, I guess.)

That is unacceptable.

He concludes that Google Play Music is the best fit for him, and that he actually likes Apple Music, although its lack of a web player is a deal breaker.

I’m completely behind Paul on this one. Spotify is pretty nice in many ways, but it critically does not allow me to carry my entire collection around with me, and that’s a baseline feature that I personally need to be there. The majority of my music is available on most streaming services, but not everything.

People talk about the iPad being able to do 90% of their work, but they keep the Mac around because of that last 10%. That’s how I feel about Spotify. It has 90% of my stuff, but I really miss the 10% that’s just not there.

And when you think about how many artists are starting to have music that is exclusive to one streaming platform or another, this gets even more dicy. Drake just released his album exclusively on Apple Music streaming, but if you don’t use Apple Music, you can buy it from iTunes and upload it to Google Play Music or even Microsoft Groove. However, if you want to listen to it in Spotify, you’re shit out of luck. Even torrenting it won’t get you very far because you won’t be able to get the tracks into Spotify on your phone.

I understand that I am a bit of a relic and “the kids” don’t have MP3s anymore, but somebody’s buying all those Taylor Swift songs on iTunes! For now, I’m going to stick with Apple Music because not only do I like its streaming options more than anyone else, the ease at which it lets me listen to my entire collection, no matter the source, is critical.


  1. Who I actually like the majority of the time, even if I have written a few critical pieces in response to some of his other pieces.