Spotify – My Cost per Minute

On a per minute basis, Spotify is the cheapest application I use

My favorite application – Spotify – sent me a note today with my listening stats for the year.  I think when people hear me say Spotify is my favorite app and that I listen to it all the time, they don’t understand just how much I enjoy it – or the utility I get out of it (if I can use that word in this context).

How much do I listen to Spotify?  The objective answer to that question requires some math.  How many minutes are there in a year?  There are 365 days in the year, with 24 hours in each with 60 minutes in each of those hours.  Without considering leap days and other obscuria, there are 525,600 minutes in a year.

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Spotify is telling me I spent nearly 10% of 2016 consuming their service.  Specifically, the service reports I spend 53,235 minutes this year.  I enjoy the curated playlists, and I have a few to which I keep coming back.  I have the kind of job where I’m either in a meeting or sitting at my desk. When I’m at my desk, I commonly have Spotify on.  It’s not surprising then to know that most of my time on the service occurs during the week.

I won’t tell you how much I spend annually on online services.  It’s embarrassing and worse you’d tell my wife, and she would be angry with me.  But I will say I pay for a handful of services, some of which cost more than $100/year.  I guarantee none of those other services will ever tell me how many minutes (or transactions or any other metric) I consume from their service.  They won’t tell me because they want to continue to receive my money and I would probably stop doing so if I ever learned how little value I get for them.

I pay $15/month or $180/year.  I’m sure you can see where I’m going.  I spend approximately .3 cents/minute. Read that closely.  That’s 3/10 of one cent.  But wait you say, the $15/month rate is for the family service.  Why are you paying that much?  My family all use the service.  I doubt any of them use as many minutes as I do, but that per minute spend rate is only going to go down as I add my families minutes to the equation.

Let’s put that rate in context with the alternative approaches to consuming music – chiefly radio and purchasing the songs directly.

According to Spotify, this year I listened to 2,543 individual tracks from 2,392 unique artists.  iTunes sells most songs for 99 cents with more popular songs going selling for as much as $1.29.  None of the songs I listen to are popular in a contemporary sense, so I’ll just use the smaller amount.  That math is easy.  2,543 songs would have cost me $2,517.

The math for the radio is much harder and requires many more assumptions.  I don’t pay for radio (assuming you don’t count the cost of the radio in my car or on my desk).  First, I would have to find some combination of local radio stations which play my preferred music.  Assuming that’s the case, I would then need to factor in the number of minutes of advertisements I would need to add to the total time it would take to cover the songs to which I listen.  I’ll assume that in any given hour on the radio that fifteen minutes are consumed with ads and on-air personality radio chatter.  Now, I’m listening to the radio for 66,543 minutes to hear all 2,543 of those songs.  My time is worth something, even if that’s not always apparent from the ways in which I choose to spend it.  Let’s make the math easy and say an hour of my time is worth only $10. The additional 220 hours I spend listening to ads would then cost me $2,200.

Well worth the money.

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

—James Baldwin

Modern Gothic Blues

I really enjoy Jamie N Commons’ style.

I’m sitting at work listening to Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist while finishing up some audit work.  I commonly listen to less engaging material while I work so I can focus on the work but I felt like some variety this morning.  Most of the playlist is forgettable – but I will credit the curators with the inclusion of Jamie N Commons.

Any performer categorized as Modern Gothic Blues has to sit in a pretty narrow niche.  I’ll follow the path into the Related Artists Spotify recommends but I’m guessing he has very few contemporaries.  His voice is compared to Tom Waits – and I get that, but the variety of styles he successfully synthesizes with the Blues is separate from my experience with Waits.

I’m not certain which of his songs to recommend – but I’ll go with the latest from the performer.  Glory.


Almost 50 Years Later – Apollo 11

There are still people walking the face of the earth who wrote Assembler code to get the Lunar Module to the surface of the moon.

47 years ago, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module and onto the surface of the moon.  For the first time in human history, a man walked on the surface of a different celestial object (can’t really call the moon a planet can I?).  All of seven years old, I sat in front of our family’s tiny black and white tv watching the historic moment.

In 1969, we all used rotary phones and rotating platters of vinyl under a thin needle to produce sound.  Everyone smoked cigarettes thinking they were cool.  Presidents were Presidential. Starting with 2001, A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien, Battlestar Galactica and their ilk, the idea of space travel feels almost commonplace. But in 1969, nothing was certain – and nothing was easy.

This modest tweet made its way into my feed earlier today:

And by source code, we mean Assembler code.  Yea – we made it to the moon with Assembler code.  I’m guessing most everyone reading this has little understanding of what it takes to program in an environment that measures space in Ks – not Ms, not Gs, not Ts.  The phone I slip into my pocket every morning has several orders of magnitude greater storage and computing capacity than the one cubic foot computer which rode to the moon.

There are still people walking the face of the earth who wrote Assembler code to get the Lunar Module to the surface of the moon.

If you are a real nerd, you can read the actual source code on Github.  Yea, that’s right. The actual Apollo 11 source code is on Github.


July 21st came and went and I neglected to post this.  I’ve post-dated the post, but this is actually being published in August.

Updated 12/28/2016:  The link in Brian Carpenter’s original Tweet no longer redirects to the article URL.  The Hackaday link was likely renamed after the Tweet was posted with a forwarding link being provided.  Here’s the current link.

Highpoint on Columbus Commons

Michelle successfully secured a design role with R.G. Barry in Columbus. We are really pleased for her and happy both kids now are employed in jobs they consider rewarding.  The company looks to be really progressive in their policies and is well thought of in the Columbus market.

She was hired on a Thursday and committed to starting six business days later (a Monday).  Finding a place to live quickly became a priority.  To her credit, Michelle found an apartment in downtown Columbus just 15 minutes from her employer.


Taylor Communications

The only constant is change. For the third time six months, my employers name has been changed – this time to Taylor Communications.

I work for a new company.  Earlier this month my employer changed its name from Standard Register Incorporated to Taylor Communications.  In reality, this is the third company I have worked for in the past six months – all without getting out of my seat. The last time I went through this many employers was in 1986.

In March of 2015, The Standard Register Company declared bankruptcy. On August 1st, the company name was changed to Standard Register Incorporated (a wholly owned subsidiary of Taylor Corporation).  People bemoaning the name change and the loss of a Dayton-based institution ignore the first transition.

I am excited by the name change and the opportunity it represents.  Over the past 15 years, change has been a constant.  The Standard Register Company has had cycles of success and failure in that time – but serving a contracting market ultimately resulted in more failures than success. The leadership team in that period worked hard to ‘rewire the plane in flight’ and transition the company to a different marketplace.

To be very honest, the loss of the company name does sadden me.  It is hard to work for a company as long as I have and not have a sense of loss.  Part of my identity has been attached to the company name.  I understand the business imperative behind the name change and accept it – but I will take some time for me to transition to the new world.

Bourbon Trail

In keeping with my longstanding tradition, I’ve written some notes from our latest jaunt through the countryside.  This past weekend, Becky, Michelle, Matt and I followed the Bourbon Trail  (Bourbon Country).  Specifically, we visited a handful of the distilleries between Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky.  We started with the Bulleit Distillery in Louisville.  The next day we visited both Makers Mark and Four Roses.  On the third day (Monday) we visited the Buffalo Trace and Woodford Distilleries near Frankfurt.

We decided back in August our grown children would enjoy a family vacation if we visited the different distilleries in Kentucky.  Being able to tour distilleries with your children is best done when they are adults.  We could only afford to spend three days, so we needed to be efficient with our time. We avoided several of the larger distilleries in the Louisville area so we could visit the less commercial manufacturers. We resolved to purchase those bourbons less likely be found on local shelves. Not every bottle we purchased is obscure – but several can only be purchased at the distillery.

My recommendation to anyone interested in enjoying the Bourbon Trail would be to spend some time researching the distilleries understanding the hours of operation for the tours and the length of time individual tours can take.  Were I to sample the distilleries again, I would focus on those which offer unique varieties for sale. While the Buffalo Trace distillery produces a number of labels, the three they sell at the distillery are all available in our local liquor store.  Woodford Distillery and Maker’s Mark both offered unique bottles unavailable locally.  The tours are great – but you’ll enjoy the unique bourbons when you get home.


Below I have included pictures (with commentary) of the different bourbons we purchased on our trip:

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