The Art & Science of Sound

Spotify: Radio Station, Record Store, Both?

By Jack Sharkey, October 10, 2017


I went down to the sacred store, where I’d heard the music years before, but the man there said the music wouldn’t play. 

Don McLean - American Pie


Invisible airwaves crackle with life,
Bright antennae bristle with the energy
Emotional feedback on a timeless wavelength
Bearing a gift beyond price
Almost free

Rush - Spirit of Radio

Now that Spotify Connect is a standard feature on your LS50W* let’s try to answer the not-nearly-age-old question: Is Spotify a radio station or a record store? The short answer is yes. Now before all of you audio purists take me to task over high-resolution, let’s just keep in mind that your FM radio, cassette deck and most of your CDs were not and are not high-resolution. I would submit to evidence that high-resolution should be a listening experience reserved for those times when listening to music is your sole activity. But for every other moment in your life, the high quality streaming from Spotify, especially through the LS50W, is way better than anything available to music lovers ever before – for reasons we couldn’t even have comprehended a decade ago.

Spotify is a radio station. Hard to argue that point. Except now I am my own Program Director so therefore my Spotify radio stations run the gamut from my Classical and Baroque favorites to my Hossam Ramzy station to a bunch of different rock and pop stations. Plus there’s the Release Radar to keep me curren

It as well as the somewhat creepy Your Time Capsule station that uses an algorithm to play me songs I love but haven’t heard since, well, a long time ago. Radio killed itself through cookie-cutter programming and generic DJs, and I really miss radio, but I have more music available to me than at any other time in my life, so it’s kind of a win. Sorry radio, Spotify is my new radio station.

Spotify is a record store. First let me be totally clear – the greatest use of space in the history of mankind is the record store. Your cool factor goes up like 10 points as soon as you enter a record store, except for when it is filled with really cool people, then you are just the same dweeb you always are but at least now you’re surrounded with like-minded people and all of that…music. Buying albums will always be one of my life’s great pleasures and if you have a record store near you go and spend some time and enjoy that other part of being a music lover – curating your library. But to me, Spotify is the perfect record store sampler: Now I can listen to an album from an artist I’m not familiar with without shelling out an extra fifteen bucks for it. I find myself listening to – and buying – more new music now than I have in a long time.

A couple of tips to get the most out of your Premium Spotify music: 
• Be sure Music Quality is set to High Quality Streaming
• In Advanced Settings be sure that Cross-Fade and Set the Same Volume Level For All Songs are both disabled (those settings add an extra level of dynamic compression to your music)

* - Click here to get your LS50W updated.

I’ve curated a Spotify Playlist of songs that sound really great on the LS50W – check it out!

Spotify Connect & LS50W

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