Why I love Spotify: Discovering Covers

Spotify has had a lot of buzz. Like iPhone 4 buzz. A friend on Facebook told me it would change my life. Another said it was like the feeling of using Napster–except legal.

But when I got Spotify I realized something–I don’t need much more music. It wasn’t like Napster. I have thousands of songs on iTunes that I’ve already paid for that I love. I own my favorite songs. If I already knew I liked a song, I would just buy it. I find new music: listening to Pandora and Turntable.fm brought me new music. And if I loved a song, I bought it.

But there was always a gap in my life. I always complained that there were no “covers” radio stations on Pandora. I love covers. I love hearing different artists perform the same songs. I like some covers more than the originals–especially true of Leonard Cohen (John Cale’s version of Hallelujah, REM’s First We Take Manhattan). And I don’t own hundreds of covers on my iTunes.

Spotify fills that gap. And, for me, it was actually something I’d thought about. It was a real “consumer need.”

So this morning, I searched for “Swing Low Sweet Chariot.” I love the Johnny Cash version. I love a version in a terrible movie called “Be Kind Rewind.” I’d never heard the Etta James version. It was awesome. I was living the dream.

Then I searched for one of my favorite love songs, “Such Great Heights.” At least I think it’s a love song. There are two famous versions, one by Iron & Wine and one by The Postal Service. After my search, I clicked on the first one I’d never, by a band called Confide. It was a death metal, screeching, yelling version. Not at all what I expected. I did not want to go to such great heights and get yelled at, in the language of Metalcore. But still kind of awesome.

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