Thursday, May 21, 2015

Spotify suddenly obsessed with running

How can you tell Spotify has reached middle age?

It's suddenly started becoming obsessed with keep-fit and the gym.

Yes, as well as adding podcasts and video in the big announcement yesterday (or "moving on from doing one thing well to trying to do lots of things other people already do better", to use the technical term), Spotify kept banging on about running. Like that bloke from the office who had a mild health scare and suddenly started showing up in a tracksuit, thrusting his fitbit under your nose in the breakroom.

Spotify Running. Every week millions of you lace up and hit the road to Spotify.
Yes, we lace up and hit the road. But what about when we get back from travelling corsetry show? What then, Spotify?
Music is the perfect running companion but sometimes you need even more motivation to push on.
I have some sympathy for the poor sod who had to churn this paragraph out, because the announcement is little more than 'you can do something with Spotify and the Nike+ you almost certainly don't own, and we've put together a playlist of some fast songs', but they're having to try and milk a couple of hundred words out of it.
That’s why Spotify Running is all about helping you go the extra mile.
Fortunately for an announcement about keeping fit, although this announcement is packed with words, none of those words contain any calories whatsoever.
We’ve combined the best music on the planet – recommendations based on your listening history, multiple-genre playlists and original running compositions written by some of the world’s foremost DJs and composers – all tuned to your tempo and seamlessly transitioned to ensure you’ll never miss a beat.
"Original running compositions".

You know how that conversation went:
- Hi, foremost DJ, it's Spotify; we'd like you to compose something running for us
- What does that mean, even? I don't think...
- We will give you lots of money - tonnes of the stuff. Loads more than if you were a composer providing the music for our core business, ironically. Lots of money.
- Really? Hang on a moment.
Goes to Mac, drags half-finished song from Trash, renames file 'Hitting The Streets.mp3'
- Sending something across now.
Start running and Spotify will detect your tempo, matching the perfect music in time to your step – making you a harder, better, faster, stronger runner.
I don't know much about running - although I did once get to prance about wearing one of Steve Ovett's Olympic medals - but what Spotify seem to be pitching is a metronome which adjusts down or up to your pace.

Which isn't really what you want in a pacemaker, is it? The idea is that you choose a song, and try to pace your running to that song. If the song switches the pace you're running at, what is the point?

And will the music start lurching around stopping and starting? You're off like a shot and Icona Pop are I Don't Care-ing it, but you suddenly get a stitch and out of nowhere Morrissey appears? Will, should you collapse to the ground in pain, clutching your arm, Spotify notice you've stopped and lob on a Lake Wobegone podcast?

Then Spotify do this:
The new Now experience will begin rolling out today to iPhone users in the US, UK, Germany and Sweden – with more markets and platforms to follow in the near future. Spotify Running will start rolling out to iPhone users globally today.

That’s entertainment.
And, yes, "That's entertainment" links to That's Entertainment.

Spotify spend a long time making a pitch for how they're awfully clever at choosing just the right song for the right moment through algorithms and brilliance, and then illustrate this ability by showing how entertaining they are with a song that is using the word "entertainment" with an irony so bitter they could put it in bleach to stop toddlers accidentally swigging Domestos.

That's entertaining, Spotify, but not how you think.

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