back to article World's biggest music streaming service launches - for tech idiots

A new music streaming service launches today in 23 territories, the biggest launch so far. You're unlikely to want to sign up - it's aimed not at the tech-savvy user but at someone who has broadband but finds Spotify too complex. That's a surprisingly large demographic, however, and given how much unpaid technical support time …


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  1. squilookle

    How do people who find Spotify too complicated hang onto jobs to pay the subscription for this??

    I think I'll cling "barnacle-like" to Spotify, as I'm happy with it, but good luck to them, I suppose...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "How do people who find Spotify too complicated hang onto jobs to pay the subscription for this??"'s surprising how many incompetent idiots there are in the working world (I'd say at least 95% of people are everywhere I've worked), even in tech companies I've worked for it's kinda shocking when you hear so called "senior" developers asking questions such as "what's remote desktop and how do I use it?".

      1. Jean-Luc

        "I am an incompetent idiot" @ AC 16:01

        Because if I haven't come across your company's particular version of remote desktops, then I may ask how around how to use it rather than wasting my employer's time being too cool to ask.

        In fact, your point about the remote desktop can be more generalized. There are many bits of software that person A rarely uses, because it's not central to their job. If person B then thinks person A is stupid solely because of that, then I find Mr. B fits the stereotype of arrogant IT twats perfectly.

        "95% of people are incompetent idiots"

        And you must magically be one of the 5%, of course ;-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 16:01

        Two things. 1) If you meet someone who gratuitously slags off people (e.g. "idiots") who aren't in their 'group', or good books, I guarantee you you'll be one of those sooner or later who gets verbally attacked by them. Unreasoning rudeness is a poise, a character fault, and you can almost guarantee it'll be repeated by its holder, for no good cause.

        2) Barter, it is said, ends, at the point in a nation's history when money exists: it enables people to develop expertise in a small area, and not have to learn to do a large number of things incompetently merely to maximise the odds of having something actually required by those who have what we require. We no longer have to be able to do everything, indeed better if we don't even try.

        Assuming that's the case, it follows someone who doesn't know how to use Spotify fully, is not necessarily an idiot of any kind, indeed likely the contrary: someone who values more highly and has dedicated their time and learning abilities to another thing or things. Like learning how some other bloody thing works.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        for reminding me why I keep some of my techies away from the client.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yup and no doubt.... are an expert in molecular chemistry. My friend is, but dammed if she'll know how to set up a play list.

      5. Woodgar


        "it's surprising how many incompetent idiots there are in the working world"

        So says the Anonymous Wanker who hasn't even managed to work out how to sign up for an account.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          I agree...but before AC16:01 replies

          You have to have created an account to submit an anonymous comment (I think).

          Just like this one in fact.

          Your sentiment is spot on though...'people who don't know what 'I' know are incompetent idiots' - so either he/she knows EVERYTHING, or they themselves must be 'an incompetent idiot' at something.

          And I bet I know more than him/her on 'remote desktops' anyway - incompetent idiot that they are.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Clearly someone has not seen the "Post anonymously?" box.

          Thus proving my point about incompetent idiots. ;)

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Nice try...

          Except you have to have an account to post here - even if you post anonymously.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If AC16:01 worked in a car showroom - a play in 1 act

        [Scene] AC1601 arrives home from a busy day at work to be greeted by their partner 'X'...

        AC1601: "Hi dear, you'll never guess what happened at work today.."

        X: "Oh really, go on then"

        AC1601: "Some guy walks into the showroom wanting a car...waffling about just needing it to get from A to B with efficient fuel usage and comfort...blah, blah.."

        X: "..go on.."

        AC1601 (chuckling): "And I started talking about the twin overhead cams in the latest XYZ model..."

        X: "..yes...."

        AC1601 (still chuckling): "...and he said..." (stops to contain chuckles)

        X: "...yeessss.."

        AC1601: "...and he said.......'What's that!'......arhh-ha-hahaha"..(rolling on floor)

        X: "...and..."

        AC1601: "He said 'What's that!'. He didn't know what one was...ha-hah-ha"

        X: "...."

        AC1601: "I thought 'what an incompetent idiot' and laughed at him"

        X (mumbling): "The only incompetence is your understanding of English"

        AC1601: "What was that dear?"

        X: "Nothing. Do carry on."

        AC1601 (smiling): "So this guy leaves, and good riddance too if you ask me. But my actions didn't go un-noticed."

        X: "Go on.."

        AC1601: "When he left I was called into the manager's office. The manager said he saw how I handled the guy and gave me a form".

        X: "What was it?"

        AC1601: "You know me...I know cars but am rubbish when it comes to forms and stuff - not my job to know these things is it."

        X: "So what was it?"

        AC1601: "It's a P45 - I think it's some sort of wage rise."

        X: "Incompetent idiot!"

        AC1601: "Sorry?"

        X: "Nothing dear".


    2. Tom 38

      Spotify does have some daft concepts in it though

      Most frustrating (imo) is that it plays playlists rather than playqueues.

      Making a playlist play should involve either replacing the playqueue with the songs on the playlist, or appending them to the end of the current playqueue.

      When I add a song to the playqueue, I should be able to add it to play next or play last.

      When editing the playqueue, I should be able to re-order the songs however I want.

      When browsing music, if I double click a track, it should append it to the playqueue, not replace the current playqueue with whatever playlist context the song was found. This was the #1 noobie problem when I ran spotify under vnc and plugged it into an amp in the office - people trying to queue a track and accidentally changing the underlying playlist being played.

      In the mobile client, I need a way to add songs to the playqueue. In fact, I need a way to view the playqueue on mobile at all.

      Spotify also need to do something clever with all the metadata that they can collect. Their 'radio' is perhaps the most god awful way of listening to music - itunes genius actually is pretty good at generating playlists I will listen to.

      In conjunction with this, they should change the 'star' system so that I can actually rate songs I like from 1-5. With this additional information, spotify would be able to make informed suggestions on songs/artists that I do not currently listen to, because they are ranked highly by people who rank highly the things that I rank highly.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Spotify does have some daft concepts...

        All things I noticed myself from being a Spotify Premium subscriber for over a year. Totally agree. But in addition to your list, their social networking bothered me. I already had a dislike of it's default broadcasting of everything I listened to and when. When it rolled out tighter integration with Facebook, I cancelled my subscription and told them exactly why.

        It seems services for people willing to actually pay for them with cash, rather than by trading vast quantities of personal data for it, are a dying breed.

        1. Gareth.

          @H4rm0ny & Tom

          Yep, like you guys I'm another user frustrated with the Spotify GUI.

          Their back catalogue is OK (although there's not enough trance music for my liking), and I love the speed with which tracks start after I press the play button... but bejusus I get frustrated when using the GUI. It resembles something a first year student of A Level computing would come up with... and would then instantly improve once they'd realised how bad it is to use.

          Creating playlists is tedious, searching tracks is painful unless you happen to use the exact term, searching for new artists using their radio feature is a (not funny) joke, searching for albums with generic titles is virtually impossible. And as you say, it has an annoying tendancy to want to share details of every song I might've listened to on Facebook... or rather, it shares on my Facebook page any song my nipper listens to - and we've definitely not got the same taste in music, so my friends are often puzzled by those updates.

          I keep hoping that someone, somewhere will write a decent UI that hooks in to Spotify's APIs... but I've not seen anything decent yet. If someone knows a better client, please post details here - thanks.

    3. AlexH

      They're called [a significant portion of] 'the over 35's. There's a lot of them about. They've been around and doing useful things since long before you had your first Internet 'girlfriend' and this has allowed them to accrue quite a bit of cash.

      I recommend you get down off your high chair and start thinking about them in a more complimentary manner if you ever want any of that cash.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Raise that number a bit.

        > They're called [a significant portion of] 'the over 35's

        No one under 55 has any excuse for being such an inflexible idiot.

        Whether or not such people "do useful things" is open for debate.

    4. mike2R
      Thumb Down

      Well you have lived among people, even perhaps worked with them, for decades, and you seem to understand very little about how they work. You don't even seem to understand how ignorant that makes you. Yet you presumably manage to support yourself.

      It's kind of like that. People aren't good at everything, nor do they need to be.

  2. jai

    oh really?

    "HP has agreed to bundle the service on their hardware"

    and I seem to remember they said they were going to bundle WebOS on their hardware too... we'll see how long they stick to their word, eh?

  3. fifi

    Doesn't really surprise me, the level of technical ability (or lack thereof) of many people I encounter scares me. Don't forget that by even reading el Reg, you'll probably going to be years ahead of the average in terms of technical ability.

    (explosion icon as that's what some people seem to expect if they press the wrong key)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple Interface = Bad?

    You seem to suggest that we should ignore it because it's got a graphical interface and doesn't talk about tech details. Why is a simple, intuitive interface bad? Why should techies ignore things which aren't simple text lists (which is essentially what Spotify is)? Why should I really care about caching anyway, as long as it just works?

    As long as it's functional, then a nice interface can be a good thing.


      Lowering the bar.

      > Why is a simple, intuitive interface bad?

      It isn't. Except that's not really what we're talking about here.

      No. Instead we're talking about taking that "simple intuitive interface" and getting rid of it for something more limited and less useful.

      Perhaps something that emulates the interface of record players should be next.

  5. CraigW


    YouTube is so ad- and spam-infested now, not to mention hideously ugly, that I it could easily be killed-off by the end of the year. It's a market ripe for the picking if anyone was to come up with something half-decent. Why doesn't Spotify or others do the videos?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      YouTube has adverts?

  6. John A Blackley


    Those "tech idiots" are known, in the real world, as "retail consumers" and without them you can kiss goodbye to many a global enterprise and millions of jobs so a little less condescension please.

    1. Richard 120

      This is The Register, where technical people read articles on particle physics and reminisce about the days of computing when there were punch cards, or you had to do your own memory management malloc & calloc etc.

      Surely we can be as condescending about tech idiots as we like, it's our domain.

      People are just as condescending if not more so about us (techies, geeks or nerds) when they're in their domain, so I'd say they're fair game for cendescension here.

      If you don't like it go read the daily mail.

      1. AlexH

        "Surely we can be as condescending about tech idiots as we like, it's our domain."

        Can I send that to your GP?

        I don't find people to be condescending to me when they're in their domain.

        I don't find it necessary to be condescending to people whose specialisms lie elsewhere and they need my assistance.

        I wonder if these two things are somehow linked...

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Some of you are a really cynical sad lot!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @John Blackey - You hit the right spot here!

      Together with steel and oil, idiots are among the precious basic resources of every economy that respects itself.

  7. HP Cynic

    When I first saw the changes I thought it looked OK.

    Then the adverts began to bug me even more than before and I noticed I could see nowhere near as many thumbnails as before so I'm watching far fewer of the videos posted by my Subscribtions now.

    They really have messed it up.

    Like Facebook really: the News Feed column has narrowed quite a bit allowing the adverty column to encroach ever further.

  8. John A Blackley


    Enjoy. I reckon I'll be able to recognise you by your crappy attitude if ever you apply for a job where I work so don't waste your time.

    Oh, and don't tell me what to do. I have habits that are older than you are.

    1. Richard 120

      Condesceding much?

      "don't tell me what to do. I have habits that are older than you are."


  9. SleepyJohn

    "It takes a genius to make it simple"

    Who was it said: "Any fool can make a thing complicated, but it takes a genius to make it simple".

    To suggest that people are stupid because they appreciate simplicity and have no time for complexities that are irrelevant to their lives is quite breathtakingly stupid.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Users Suck

    There is a category of person who resents having to figure out how to do something, and refuses to ask reasonable questions (e.g.: I wanted X to happen, so I did Y, and was astonished to find that Z happened instead).

    This is not tech thing. It's a personality thing (e.g.: I wanted the brownies to release easily from the pan, so I buttered the pan before cooking, and all I got were oily brownies that STILL didn't release).

    If I were a brownie expert, then I know just what's going on, and I can offer solutions that will help the person get their brownies to come out to their satisfaction.

    But there's no help for people who just say "Oh, I can't cook" just like people who say, "oh, I'm just not tech savvy."

    I'll help people forever if they participate in their own solution, but I have only contempt for folks who are too self-important to learn.

    1. Goat Jam

      Hear Hear

      The moronic talking heads on TV and radio promulgate this attitude constantly, proudly announcing at every and any opportunity "Oh, I don't know how to use <slightly technical thing>" as if it is some sort of badge of honour to be displayed with pride.

      As for people who just want you to do it for them rather than participate in the solution I'm with you there.

      I'll _guide_ you towards the answer but I sure as hell won't just do it for you just so you can maintain a pseudo-elitist position where you are not required to comprehend anything that you consider to be beneath you.

  11. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Artist:____ Album:_____ Track:____

    I already have the music I like so I'm looking for music that I don't know about; I need a replacement for pathetic FM radio stations. That's where I found Spotify to be frustrating. The first thing it did when launched was ask me what song to play. I could pick a familiar song and have it play it at an inferior bitrate with no EQ. Then I had to pick another song to end the silence. It was boring and tedious after 30 minutes. It's nice to tell a service what you like and have it make some educated guesses. I'm using Pandora now and would welcome other options.

  12. Barry Rueger

    Obnoxious Twats!

    C'mon folks - usually if someone doesn't know how to use a program or OS or website it's not because they're lazy or stupid, it's because they haven't had a particular need to know before.

    Music? I've made my way from 45s to 33 1/3 to cassettes, and 8-tracks, and since then through probably a dozen computer programs at least. Choosing a record and plopping it on the turntable was easy and obvious.

    Making your way through the interface of iTunes, or Banshee, or Rythmbox is an order of magnitude more complex. My fall back is still Winamp (or the linux variant) not because it's the most feature rich, but because I know it, and can make it do what I want without mucking about with submenus. help files, and "helpful" dreck like Geniuses.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Amex, No iPhone, No iPad

    I am a network engineer and sysops consultant. I love simple. Simple means users dont call with complaints and they get their work done. A tool is supposed to make you more productive and get out of your way so you can accomplish the task. I sell PCs but use Macs. They just work about 90% of the time without any additional effort. For the other 10% I either drop to console or lite off a Windows VM. Love the concept and was more than willing to give it a try, but no Amex, iPhone or iPad are all gating issues for my intended use.

    Napster/Rhapsody are now one and a little long in the tooth. Spotify... eh, another metwo. To bad iTunes doest stream. Love the new iMatch.

    NO ONE has gotten it all right yet and each platform seems to appeal to a different demographic.

    Make all my clocks sync to my phone, my calendar set of my alarm clocks, the food I pull from the fridge scan the upc codes for a head start on my grocery list.

    Me... I like simple

  14. SuperTim

    Tech savviness.

    Wouldn't a tech-savvy music afficianado have better places to go to get music? Surely they would forgo a paid service to instead stream their own music to their own devices etc. Seems to me the spotify et al is for the money rich, time/inclination poor user who has an awareness of the way the internet works.

    Personally, I don't have any use for a paid cloud based music system. I have a server, and it fulfils my needs. It costs a lot less to run than even the most basic online system and i have tremendous flexibility with it. Next step for me is to automate my home (which will cost money).

    No, I get the feeling that these services are not aimed at tech savvy, merely at tech aware.

    People like my father-in-law would find even the most basic systems a bit of a stretch, as he still doesn't quite understand copy/cut/paste and has lost countless digital photos, while having multiple copies of others. If he can't buy an app on his ipod, he doesn't want to know.

    1. CD001

      Not quite - whilst I _could_ set up a private bit on my personal website from which only I could stream songs I'd uploaded... there are a couple of drawbacks that keep me using Spotify.

      1: I own more than 500 albums on CD... most of which are ripped; but I don't really relish the prospect of uploading some 20+ gigs worth of music.

      2: I often get the urge to listen to something that I don't own, normally inspired by a random conversation (ZZ Top the other day - I'm not a ZZ Top fan, I'd probably never buy one of their albums but I'd just had a conversation about "Smart dressed men" which put the song in my head)... and at least Spotify gives me a legal way to steam tracks like that.

  15. Archie Woodnuts


    With NoScript enaqbled the entire website is a blank, black screen and for that reason, I'm out. It's curmudgeonly, I know - and I accept that their target demographic probably won't have NoScript or similar installed, but still.

    Also, I share anon's contempt for people who have no interest in figuring things out and are content to remain ignorant. The only reason I'm even vaguely techy is that I decided to utilise what is known as curiosity and get involved.

    1. The First Dave

      Well what do you expect? If you choose to block a site then of course it will appear to be blocked...

  16. David Evans
    Thumb Down

    Easy to use, really?

    For a supposedly non-techie easy-to-use service, it fails massively at the first hurdle. You can't see what you're really going to get until you cough up the cash. There's not even a demo walkthrough (and no, a shitty 360p YouTube video doesn't count). They are trying to use the FAQ as a sales tool and a support tool so it fails at both.

    All they need to do is offer a small sample of free demo tracks on sign-up and the ability to browse the site without playing and they probably wouldn't even have to have the substantial 3-month discount they're currently offering. At the moment it doesn't really matter if its €99c or €2.99; its the same act of getting your credit card out that's the biggest barrier to sign-up. People can decide if they like the Spotify UI by using the ad-funded version; if you can't or won't go down the ad route, then you need an alternative way to sample the site. Its not rocket science.

    If you're going to pitch simplicity as your USP, that means everything, not just a shiny media player.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      mod parent insightful

  17. Semaj
    Thumb Down

    Still too Expensive

    You can buy albums for about that much (less if you buy second hand). So why not just buy a new album or 3 every month instead.

    $5 and maybe I'll be interested. Oh and if it were available in the UK of course.

  18. TonyHoyle

    Not simple at all really

    If you're using the 'wrong' browser, it kicks you out (what is this.. 1990?)

    If flash isn't install/working/the wrong version it kicks you out

    Then it asks for a recurring monthly fee - the same price as spotify (after 3 months anyway), without any attempt to justify the cost, or letting me compare to see if they have more or fewer of the things I listen to.

    I *suspect* the reason for no iOS support is it's all flash based - wouldn't surprise me if the DRM on the files was flash based too so until they've sorted out that little wrinkle apple is out in the cold.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lol she's getting everywhere, found the /src/

  20. Keep Refrigerated

    Appropriate Oatmeal reference

  21. noad

    Dolby Pulse

    Anybody ever hear anything in this format?

    Are the benefits mainly for sound quality or data quantity?

    I think Spotify is 160 and Napster 128. Without going through an empirical process, was wondering how Dolby Pulse compared?

  22. DanM

    23 Territories and Australia aint one

    So, kind of just like Spotify then.. Oh well, back to my AC DC and INXS 33's

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