Johnny Cash’s “A Boy Name Sue” was my first record. I think I had three copies of the record because I kept wearing it out on my father’s turntable. But that was forty years ago. Now, I just say “Alexa, play “A Boy Named Sue” and she says “Now playing “A Boy Named Sue” from Bruce’s Spotify.” It is miraculous! With Spotify, I have instant access to 35 million recordings. In fact, right now I am listening to Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Before that, I was listening to Harry Belafonte. When this song is done I will listen to The Ramones and then maybe some Miles Davis followed by Shubert followed by AWOL Nation. When I think back to buying vinyl, then cassettes and then CDs I am astounded by the progress we have made.
Now let’s do the money math on all of this. In 1995, a CD cost, on average $16.98. So, if you were like me and bought two CDs a month, then you were spending over $34 a month on music, after taxes. The average CD had 12 songs on it. So by the end of the year, you would have spent $408 to get 288 songs. And that is in 1995 dollars. Adjust that number for inflation to get 2019 dollars and you would be paying $676 for 288 songs. Compare that to $9.99 per month for Spotify! Access to 35 million songs, with more added every day, will cost you $120 per year. In 1995 dollars that would be about $73!!! So in 1995, personal access to a single song / track would have cost me $1.96 each. If Spotify existed back in 1995, then personal access to a song / track would have cost me $.0000021.
Now don’t get me wrong. Not every song is available on Spotify. For the longest time, I could not get Joan Jett’s Bad Reputation on Spotify…but guess what. It is there now. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest songs ever recorded. However, you must be warned about the addictive nature of Spotify. For example, I once had a Vivaldi CD that was produced by L’Oiseau-Lyre, the French music publishing house. The album was breathtakingly beautiful but I cannot, for the life of me, remember any of the tracks. I have spent hours searching Spotify via my laptop browser but to no avail. The tone of the album was similar to JS Bach’s Cello Suite no 1 in G Major. When I hear it, I will know it and I will be happy again. If and when I retire, I will split my time between the golf course and exploring music on Spotify.
One last note. Spotify has an incredible family plan for $14.99 per month. You can invite up to five other people to share the Spotify experience and it works out to $2.50 per person per month. Compared to 1995, that is an incredible bargain!