Friday, July 15, 2011

Hello New Visitors From The U.S.

I just noticed that within the first 24 hours after Spotify launched in the US, the traffic of my site went tripled. Most new visitors came in through googling different variations of Spotify and classical music.

I'd like to say hello to new visitors of this blog in the U.S. Spotify is amazing for classical music: decent sound quality (comparing to most other streaming services), comprehensive catalog (which other service has six complete sets of Bach Cantatas?), great user interface and super fast too. Try it for yourself, it even has a free version. If you are still looking for an invite, we have over a dozen here, thanks to Sven. It would be much appreciated if you can leave a comment in that post after taking an invite, so others will know which one is already used.

If you are already amazed by what you saw on Spotify so far, lo and behold, the best is yet to come. I have tried a Spotify US account yesterday, and based on what I saw, Spotify is still adding many contents into their US library. In some of my playlists, up to two thirds of the tracks are currently not available in the US. Like: New Yorker: Songs of the Years 1925-2010. See what it looks like in a US account in this picture. However, I think there's no need to get frustrated too soon. Spotify may need a bit more time to sync all contents to their US servers. You can still subscribe to the playlists that you are interested, and see if more tracks will become available in the future.

I have published more than one hundred playlists on this blog so far, below are some of my favorite ones that I want to recommend to new visitors:

Classical Music Used In Stanley Kubrick Films

Classical Music Inspired By The Sea

Deutsche Grammophon and Decca Series and Editions

Complete Chronological Catalogue of Mozart and Beethoven

An Index for 2011 New Classical Releases (nearly 700 recordings and growing)

NPR Classical 50 and 50 Great Voices

A Brief History of Post-World War II Music

Pop Songs Based On Classical Works

And all closing credit songs from HBO's The Sopranos (yes I occasionally cover pop and other good music as well)

Happy exploring and listening. If you have any problem regarding using Spotify for classical music, feel free to drop me a line. I hope Spotify will make good music easier to access for more and more people.


  1. I have some invites left too:







  2. I love your blog, and I am a Spotify Premium subscriber in the US. I don't know if anyone else is having this problem, but many classical tracks are missing, for example in your 2011 new release playlist, a lot of music is greyed out

  3. Just joined spotify from the US!

    On XM/Sirius Radio's classical station XM pops, they have a program called "boundaries" that explores "classical crossover" music.

    It contains things like pop music played by orchestras and "modern" classical artists.

    Do you know if spotify has any classical crossover type playlists created already? I liked the boundaries program, but my XM trial ran out and i don't feel like renewing it.


  4. I've signed up for Spotify Premium in the hope that it is better than Rhapsody, which I've subscribed to for about a year. I'm quite concerned about the fact that I've found several classical albums for which all tracks are streamed on Rhapsody, but only some of the tracks are streamed on spotify. A good example is Keith Jarret's recording of the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues. 7 of the 24 tracks are not streamed on Spotify. Those same tracks cannot be purchased individually on Rhapsody, but they can be streamed. I hope, as you suggest, it may be a matter of gearing up. What happens on the UK version for this album? Thanks.

  5. An excellent analysis of the difference between Spotify Europe and Spotify US:

    I've been using Spotify since 2009, and many classical albums and labels were added gradually (before April 2010 or so there was no DG/Decca). I will try to find out more about Spotify's licensing deals in the US. In the mean time there are still lots and lots great stuff already on Spotify US that worth exploring.


    You can search for "classical crossover" here:


    ECM is not even available on Spotify UK anymore:( see my previous post:

  6. Hi, I've been reading your blog, and I'm wondering how you compile all the specific series in Spotify? Can you direct me to a website or tutorial that teaches how to search for classical music by series? (For example Deutsche Grammophon Entrée or Panorama)

  7. Thanks for the useful observations and links. I'll see what happens over the next month. One thing I have noticed is that album tracks that are unavailable on Spotify/US are usually tracks that can be streamed, but not purchased individually, on Rhapsody. I assume the logic of this is that customers have to buy the entire album if they want complete versions of any of the compositions on the album. Hopefully, Spotify will eventually have these tracks available for streaming as well. In the meantime it puts Spotify at a distinct disadvantage for classical listeners.

  8. I haven't seen such a tutorial myself, may write up one when I get time. Label search is easy though. For EMI Icon box-sets, search for:

    label:emi icon

    For DG releases, search for:


    Please note the dash.

    And you can also try combinations yourself, like:

    label:harmonia-mundi bach year:2011

    For now no easy way to find a series like Panorama in one search, unless the album titles were are tagged with the series name, like Icon. What I did was going through the list on DG's official site and added the albums into my playlist one by one.

    Hi David,

    It seems all Naxos and Harmonia Mundi albums can be streamed in their entirety on Spotify USA. Try my Naxos playlists Naxos series playlists:)

  9. Hi, Ulysses -

    I have just signed up for a free account in the US, and am using your links to access classical music. I am having a problem: when each track ends, spotify stops playing. Is there a way to get it to keep playing through, like on iTunes?

    Thanks, Jay

  10. Spotify "free" is definitely #fail. The commercials are killers. Too bad. Nice playlists you've offered.

  11. Hi Jay,

    I tested with my US account. When I play an album or a playlist, it keeps on playing, but when I play a search result, it stops when each track ends. I don't know why is that. Spotify Europe used to be like that too, but they fixed it after many users complained about it. Maybe it's a technical glitch in the US version and should be fixed soon.

    Hi Linda,

    Yes I cannot stand the ads either, so I got Premium. You may give Unlimited or Premium a try too.

    Or try this ad-free playlist:)

  12. Hi Jay,

    A Spotify staff explained this on Twitter:!/ricardovice/statuses/92877373862707200

    Paying users don't have this problem, but users of the Free version, both in the US and Europe, can't play tracks continuously in search view.

  13. I've narrowed the issue of missing tracks. Many albums from Decca/Philips/DG have unavailable tracks. Must be something with the the agreements with Universal for the US. It's odd that the missing tracks are the same ones that Rhapsody streams but does not sell individually. Hopefully the fact that these do not stream on Spotify is a technical issue in getting up and running and not a more permanent condition. I'm not interested in paying a monthly fee to listen to a subset of movements of classical works!

    OTOH your site is a big advantage for Spotify over Rhapsody. Thank you for it.

  14. Ive started a playlist for classical albums missing tracks in the US to draw attention to the issue and make it easy to see if the problem has been fixed:

  15. Any open invites left for Spotify? I've been trying since Friday, but it seems even these are harder to come by than ones for G+ ... :-/

  16. I requested an invite for fun last week, and received one today. Enjoy.


  17. You are a godsend! I'm a new US premium Spotify user and I listen to mostly classical. I just found the Penguin Guide Rosette winner playlist and I'm on cloud nine! Thanks!!

  18. Thanks for the informative blog. On some of the playlist links (e.g. Steve Reich), I get Error 503 Service Unavailable. This has happened on other playlist sites as well. I am in the US, using Chrome. Any ideas? Thanks!

  19. Strange problem, sounds like a Chrome issue to me. Try copy the playlist url and paste it into Spotify's search box, then open it from there.

  20. The missing tracks tend to be ones that are 7:00 or longer, with only a few exceptions, especially on Decca, Archiv, and DG. I have been assuming that paying for premium does not unlock these tracks for streaming...

    1. No, I have paid for premium and am discovering - to my enormous annoyance -- that I can listen to isolated movements from all sorts of pieces on DG, but about 1/2 of the tracks are "currently not available in the United States".

      These seem to be the same tracks marked as "album only" if you try to buy them individually on iTunes or Amazon.

      This is tolerable there, since it's clearly a reasonable marketing ploy to make people buy the entire album. But I've just paid good money for a Spotify subscription, on the assumption that Spotify is paying money in turn to DG to stream their music. And I didn't think I was paying Spotify for a sampling service that encourages me to buy, but rather for a listening service that in turn has bought the rights to redistribute the music.

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