Spotify: A Shameless Confession, Lunatic Rave, and Solemn Meditation
A Spotify user’s all purpose manifesto
I love Spotify. I love their wide selection of Deadmau5 and Duck Sauce. I love this eerie digi-romance group I just discovered called Kavinsky. I love that it connects to my Facebook. I love that without any effort on my part or theirs, all my friends are forced into knowing what music I’m listening to at all times. I even forgive Spotify for the obnoxious, interruptive ads with the breathy voices and awful guitar riffs.
It’s totally self indulgent—there’s no question. But it’s more than that. More than anything else online, Spotify situates me in the immediate present as an individual, solitary, human being while also making me feel vibrantly, digitally connected with everybody I know.
Kind of a paradox. Literally, I’m all alone. Just me and my computer! I’m not doing anything important. I’m stalking Facebook profiles but not even taking the time to look at the profiles I stalk. Just going through motions of stalking, as it were. And all this as a pretense so I can listen to music. There’s also the chance listening to music is a pretense to aimlessly, lucidly, go through the motions online…
But who cares about the literal world!? This is how I prefer to imagine it: there’s an invisible line that’s drawn between me and everybody else. In one corner of the universe there’s me, in a void, surrounded by blackness, a soldier nobly equipped with computer and headphones, on the battlefield, in the zone. This line (I picture something like an endless Flavin light fixture) extends from my body into cyberspace, through Spotify, more cyberspace, then enters the fortress of Facebook, is neatly compressed, and finally appears on my friend’s newsfeeds. “Kyle Kouri is listening to_______ on Spotify.” And as long as I’m hooked in, I feel warm, connected and secure. It’s a wonderful thing.
It goes both ways. When I see that “_______is listening to _______on Spotify” I’m inordinately pleased. I know my friend is serious and alone, on their computer, in their abyss, battlefield, zone, doing exactly what I’m doing. I feel more connected with this friend than if I was actually with them. Backwards conventional wisdom? Fuck it, who cares! It’s poignant, impressive and intoxicating. Unsatisfying real time happens even with the people you love the most.
Ironically, Spotify connects people by championing the idea that we’re all alone coupled with the traditionally dreadful realization that it will probably always be that way (Freud, Western Philosophy, Bret Easton Ellis, et cetera…).
Spotify says: Hey, we’ve created this really great new rectangle for you! Celebrate your solitude with all your friends. Parade the lonely to the soundtrack of Euro Electronica and terrifying, oppressive dub step. Barbara Streisand, Big Bad Wolf; sexy electric love in the digital world. Connected, connected…connected.
Follow Kyle Kouri on Twitter @KyleKouri
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