Monday, April 7, 2014

I want a Spotify for everything

I admit it: I use Adblock. And perhaps I do a lot of other things content creators don’t like. I’m used to getting a lot of things for free, even if they actually aren’t. I basically only pay for things I can’t find online. Although it might take some time to find something for free, sometimes the free alternative is just better, as is the case with Popcorn Time, it’s so effortless. It’s not hard do download a torrent of course, but even my mom could use Popcorn Time without asking for help. I can’t say whether it works better than something like Netflix or not (I tried Netflix for a month), but on PT I can find the latest films.

Once in a while I read the local newspaper my parents are subscribed to
— not that I’m really interested in this type of news — but I never buy other (Dutch) papers. I think I don’t see the value of it and as far as I know, most of my friends aren’t buying them either. I can find news anywhere online for free, so why should I pay for it? Also, on the internet I can choose what’s news to me, what I am interested in. There are even apps to serve these articles. In a paper, I get to see articles arranged in a way that is determined by the editors.

Every now and then I see an invitation in my Gmail inbox to try a (digital version of a) paper. And of course I accept the offer; it’s free! I won’t say I never read an interesting article, but most of the time I just flip through the paper without reading a full article. And articles about tech are mostly based on English articles or they are just too mainstream for my taste. This new Dutch initiative called Blendle (“iTunes for journalism”) tries to bring the papers to the internet. And it succeeds. I’m finally able to find newspaper articles based on what I search for. For example Google or Ajax Amsterdam. Flipping through papers is free and you can buy separate articles for 10 or 25 cents. I’m a beta tester and I spent 25 cents so far, because even in Blendle I found a way to get the articles for free… It’s not even an exploit or a bug. It’s so easy that I don’t understand the developers didn’t think about it.
But would I pay for it? I don’t think so, because most of the articles about football or tech are opinion based and most of the time I disagree.

Spotify is an example of a service that is free, legal and great to use. All the music in one place, synced between multiple devices. The amount of advertisements is not too high. For me there is no need to go premium, so it’s completely free, but there isn’t an alternative that does it better. I think there should be more initiatives like Spotify for other things like movies or books. Spotify is better than illegal alternatives and I’m sure people can find ways to build a digital book store around the same business model

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