Spotify signups are back, new U2 album

Well, apparently I was wrong to think there was no way to get a new Spotify account from the US (or other countries where it is not allowed) without having someone do it for you from outside the country. There is a way to do it, using access to two VPNs in different countries to get past the blocks on Spotify’s website. I figured it out while signing up one friend, and promptly signed up another. If anyone wants an account let me know — quickly.

It’s a few steps beyond what was required before, but still very doable — hell, I figured it out this time, instead of relying on tips from the interwebs. And you don’t even need an invitation code, though I still have plenty of codes if anyone really needs one.

I’m at home, sick, today, and keeping up with my emails and calls but also laying in bed and listening to music. I’m part-way through the new, unreleased U2 album, No Line On the Horizon. It doesn’t appear in Spotify when you search for it, but users registered in the UK and some other Spotify countries can listen by clicking the direct album link:

.

I am a fan of early U2, not so much the last two albums. Also, listening to Live In Paris yesterday, I got so annoyed with Bono constantly shouting phrases and the names of each song before and after performing it that I turned it off. But I’m giving this a chance. So far, I’m not a fan of the up-front, droning whole notes in “Moment of Surrender” and some of that same feel, different sound, in “No Line on the Horizon.” But the music does seem like a good step for them, overall.

No more new Spotify accounts

The second workaround for accessing Spotify from the US was apparently closed off right after I used it. It isn’t causing me any practical problems right now, but I went back to create accounts for friends and wasn’t able to.

That workaround was using the free trial of Ivacy‘s subscription-based VPN service, which has a server in the UK that was perfect for Spotify. I didn’t come up with that on my own, and apparently a lot of people read the same thing I did and used it. I should have figured that would happen and did everything I needed to do right away when I found out about it.

I have this to say to the Spotify staff: Stop trying so hard to shut us down! You have to be very appreciative of the fact that so many people the world over are going through all sorts of steps to get around your geo-ip blocking system. That means people love what you have created and want to use it! Of course, you have license agreements and you have to follow them to maintain your reputation, to continue your operation and to expand it further. But you could make a show of that while allowing these workarounds to function for longer periods of time before you shut them down. I think it’s possible to keep this out of the mainstream (preserving your license agreements) while allowing it to grow underground in prohibited countries (ensuring you have a ready market in those countries when licenses, marketing and ad sales can be expanded).

Spotify workaround

EDIT: See the next post. This workaround is no longer functional.

If you were lucky enough to get a Spotify invite during the period when it was really easy to go through a proxy in the UK to invite yourself, only to find that the program started to realize you weren’t where you claimed to be, don’t give up.

And if you didn’t get an invite during that weekend, there’s still hope.

Short story, I’m back. It doesn’t even take that much technical knowledge…just occasional access to a VPN in the country where you live. And by “live,” I mean “live.” VPN access can be quite cheap for the few bytes that need to be exchanged to make this happen.

I love this service, and I can’t wait until they can fill out their catalogue a bit more (they say they have millions more songs under agreement awaiting the processing required to add them to the database). And I can’t wait until they really open it up to listeners in the US. This is going to be huge…really huge.

Windows 7 update

A few thoughts on my experiences so far with the Windows 7 Beta that’s been running on my laptop (my main computer) for a few weeks now:

– Speed is good, except when coming back from hibernation. Recovery from hibernation takes approximately twice as long as it did under Vista. It’s exceedingly annoying, because I rely on this feature daily, almost never shutting down. Even a non-techy friend who occasionally uses the laptop noticed immediately.

– 2 gb of memory is good, but for typical internet and office tasks it doesn’t seem to have improved much over the minimum 1 gb recommended by Microsoft for both Vista and Windows 7. If you’re running Vista, I would try running 7 without any upgrades — it should be fine.

– Since I don’t restart much, I’ve had the little red X box from the corner of a long-forgotten dialog box floating on top of everything in the middle of my screen for about a week now. It’s almost annoying enough to make me restart…tho maybe I’ll just name him instead. “Closeybox” is in the lead for names right now.

– The release date needs to be moved up. This OS is in much better shape in beta than Vista was when it shipped. Because spinning hard drives are so last-millennium, I want to put an SSD in this thing, and I want to time that to the ship date of Windows 7 so I can start fresh with the final release rather than a three- or four-step upgrade (Vista, 7 Beta, 7 RC1, 7). Another year is too long to wait for that.

Anyway, I’m happy overall, and I’d encourage you to try it. At this point you may need to find someone that downloaded it already, because I think the beta window is closed.