If you’re not an avid music listener, the landing of Spotify in South Africa might have passed you by. The figures pertaining to the global music-streaming service burble with millions and billions: 159-million users worldwide, 2-billion playlists, 35-million songs, and so on. This might mean nothing to you if you prefer to hang on to your perfectly good iPod.
If you’re an avid reader, though, Spotify has got stuff for you.
Most obviously, it carries audiobooks and readings from novels, poems, and short stories. Next, it features writers reading their own work: think Allen Ginsberg reading his demented poem Howl in Chicago in 1959: “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix, angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night”, or Sylvia Plath talking, slightly strangledly and nervily, about poetry: “Poets must manipulate their experience — even the most terrifying, like madness — with an informed and intelligent mind. Poetry should not be a shut box, mirror-looking, narcissistic experience. It must be relevant to larger things.”