Larry Ryan: A gift for those who don't want to illegally download

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The Independent Culture

I've always been too cowardly to illegally download music, so, in 2008, when a friend first showed me Spotify, it was a precious gift.

I plucked a song out of my head – I think it was by LCD Soundsystem – he typed it in, and within seconds it was playing online, no payment necessary.

Since giving up my quest to own every "essential" album – I could never afford it – I've found Spotify a perfect way to scratch the surface. D'Angelo's classic LP Voodoo from 2000 was a record I always intended to buy but had never got around to. I had it instantly on Spotify and it's damn good.

There's a catch, obviously: those dreaded ads. You can pay for the "premium" ad-free version (which some friends with iPhones swear by). But a few radio-style announcements in between the odd song seems a reasonable exchange for having such a wealth of music freely to hand.