Barking out a song request at my Amazon Echo smart speaker, then hearing the track magically start playing, makes me feel like I’m living in the future.
Unfortunately, that feeling evaporates when the song isn’t part of the relatively skimpy Amazon Prime Music catalog. If it’s not there, Amazon’s AI assistant Alexa queues up an annoying 30-second sample — and that makes me realize I’m living in the very buggy present.
Luckily, you can fix that. Here’s how to make Amazon Echo default to Spotify so you don’t get stuck with those annoying song and album previews.
Stroll into your local record store and you won’t find the dusty-floored wasteland of empty bins you might imagine. Chances are you’ll see something that’s more vibrant, relevant and vital than before.
Like the nerdy know-it-alls at specialty wine stores and comic book shops, today’s typical employee at an indie record store is still a tastemaking wizard — just turned up to 11. Staff picks bear the unerring zeal of the true believer, and staffers are more focused on uncovering stuff that you’ll never find on a Walmart CD shelf.
“Since there’s been a turn to Spotify, Bandcamp and iTunes, we sell way more vinyl,” said Jim Haynes, assistant manager at San Francisco’s Aquarius Records. “We’re at about 75 percent vinyl to 20 percent CD and a smattering of cassettes. People are turning to an even more seemingly obsolete medium.”
Predictions of the end of physical media are as played-out as those reports about the death of rock ‘n’ roll, with everyone and their mother proclaiming that Spotify and other streaming services have killed the local record store. That fear-mongering sounds smart and might even contain a kernel of truth, but the reality is much different.
iTunes Radio has barely been around for six months but after launching alongside iOS 7 in the U.S., Apple’s music streaming service has already knocked Spotify off the #3 spot among the most popular music streaming services in the country.
When Apple announced iTunes Radio at WWDC this June, it looked like a lot of subscription radio services would take a massive hit. But for Pandora, things couldn’t be better. Since Apple’s new service made its debut alongside iOS 7 back in September, listening has increased by 9 percent.