You probably know Spotify as a streaming music juggernaut, but its business model has grown far beyond just music. Last year, the company paid a reported $100 million for exclusive distribution rights to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. But now Rogan's penchant for interviewing controversial guests, some of whom propagate disinformation about Covid vaccines and climate science, has riled up Spotify users and artists alike. In response, prominent musicians like Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and India Arie said they would pull their music from the streaming service unless Spotify dumped Rogan.
This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED senior writer Kate Knibbs joins us to talk about the big Spotify dust-up. We also offer some advice about how to manage your streaming music library across platforms … just in case you might want to take your playlists to another service.
Read Kate’s story about the Spotify and Joe Rogan saga. Read Adam Speight’s story about how to move your Spotify playlists to Apple Music. Reece Rogers has advice for getting started on YouTube Music.
Kate Knibbs recommends the novel The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan. (Read her review of it here.) Mike recommends the sci-fi show The Expanse. Lauren recommends an REI Nalgene water bottle with a small mouth.
Kate can be found on Twitter @Knibbs. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.
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Lauren Goode: Mike.
Michael Calore: Lauren.
LG: Mike, if you had to give up Spotify right now, could you do it?
MC: Well, I mean, for how long? For like an hour?
LG: Forever and ever.
MC: I mean, I would survive, but I think my enjoyment of life might go down maybe one notch. What about you?
LG: I mean, I'm not saying give up music. Just Spotify.
MC: Yeah, I know. I understood the question.
LG: All right. I think I have thought about Spotify in the greater context of things this week. And yet every time I get in my car or I go for a run, I open Spotify.
MC: It's there.
LG: It's just there. Well, let's talk about this.
[Gadget Lab intro theme music plays]
LG: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Gadget Lab. I'm Lauren Goode. I'm a senior writer at WIRED.
MC: And I am Michael Calore. I'm a senior editor at WIRED.
LG: It's great to have you back, Mike.
MC: Oh, well, thank you.
LG: We're also joined this week by WIRED senior writer Kate Knibbs, who is Zooming in from Chicago. Kate, it's great to have you back on the show.
Kate Knibbs: Thank you. I'm so happy to be back.
LG: If you listen to any podcast other than this one, you've probably heard about the recent controversy involving Spotify and the podcaster Joe Rogan. So to quickly recap, Spotify, which is primarily all about streaming music, has been pushing deeper into podcasting in recent years. And then last year it paid a reported $100 million for exclusive access to the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. Now Rogan, to put it one way, he's had some questionable guests on his show in the past, but it hit a kind of boiling point over the past couple of months when he interviewed guests who promoted misinformation about Covid vaccines, and people reacted.
So in response, a group of 270 health care workers wrote an open letter to Spotify condemning the Joe Rogan show. And then, most recently, artists like Neil Young and Joni Mitchell said that they were going to pull their music from the streaming service unless Spotify broke up with Joe Rogan. Other artists have also done this, including India Arie and Graham Nash; the writer Roxane Gay removed her podcast from Spotify. And as of right now, when we are taping this show, Spotify doesn't seem to have been swayed by any of this pressure. Kate, you just wrote a story for WIRED.com about how Spotify has hedged its bets on Joe Rogan's podcast. What's really at stake for Spotify here?
KK: So there is a lot at stake for Spotify right now because you don't pay a reported $100 million for something on a whim. They paid $100 million reportedly for Joe Rogan's podcast because it is the centerpiece of their push into podcasting. And their push into podcasting is the centerpiece of their growth strategy. So even though we often think of Spotify as a music streaming service, I'm not sure that's how Spotify conceives of itself at this point. It is really aggressively pushing into media more broadly, in part because it just makes economic sense to get into podcasting. Every time you listen to a song on Spotify, Spotify doesn't get all the money for that. They have to pay the record label or whoever owns that music. Whereas if you listen to Joe Rogan, they get all that money because there's no middleman they have to pay.
And what's more, if you are paying for Spotify and you're not using the freemium model, you don't get ads when you play music, but you'll still get ads when you listen to podcasts. So that's two different ways that Spotify will profit more from people spending more time listening to podcasts over music. So yeah, this matters a lot to them. I don't know. If they had to get rid of Joe Rogan, that would be horrible for them. They're not going to get rid of Joe Rogan. I would be absolutely shocked. I went pretty hard in my piece saying that they would basically never get rid of him. I might walk that back a little bit.
If every single major streaming artist demanded that their music be taken off of Spotify, I do think that would be a serious problem, but I think it's going to take a lot more than every single legendary classic rocker, even though I love them. And I actually just switched from Spotify to Apple because I was like, "You know what, Neil Young is right." Or if they really started losing a ton of customers, maybe they would consider, but I don't think they're going to because we've seen this kind of controversy before and it's really never ended with the service removing the person when they've paid the person.
LG: That's interesting. Kate, I'm glad you mentioned switching from Spotify to Apple because in the second half of this podcast, we're going to talk about how to do that. But first, Spotify had an interesting response to this flare-up over Joe Rogan, right? They put out some new disclaimers. Take us through that quickly.
KK: Yes. So the way that Spotify responded was they made their rules or criterion for what they allow on their platform public. So you can go online and read them right now. And they do prohibit some content. It's not like you can upload just anything you want to Spotify, even if you are Joe Rogan. And there's some of it that doesn't have anything to do with Covid misinformation. Like you're not allowed to have content that promotes violence toward another person, that sort of thing. They are claiming that none of Joe Rogan's podcast violated these rules, which is interesting because I think if you read them carefully, people might disagree there. But now they're being a little more transparent about these rules, at least. You couldn't access them publicly before this.
The second thing they did was now they're putting disclaimers on some of their podcasts or content that might be promoting bad information about Covid. I'm not sure exactly how they're deciding what to put disclaimers on. I'm assuming that they're still using these publicly available rules, but again, if they're saying Joe Rogan didn't run afoul of them, someone should probably interview the person who's making the decision over when to put a disclaimer on what. But yeah, those are the two steps they've taken, is making their rules public and then adding these disclaimers to certain content.
MC: I also want to get your thoughts about the Instagram video that Joe Rogan posted in response to this whole controversy on Monday. It's like a nine-minute video. He spends maybe three or four minutes telling stories, but the rest of it, the meat of it is that he apologizes to Spotify for bringing them into this and causing such problems with the company, but he stops short of apologizing for spreading misinformation. And it's pretty clear that he doesn't necessarily believe that he's spreading misinformation. He doubles down on his line that he always gives, which is that he's just a guy who brings on interesting people to have interesting conversations. And he doesn't say that the two guests that he had who talked about Covid vaccines and actually said things that have been fact-checked and proven to be wrong, he didn't say that they were wrong, which I think is the sticking point for a lot of people. So I'm curious to hear your thoughts about how Rogan is handling it.
KK: So I am actually quite surprised that Joe Rogan apologized for anything in this circumstance. I really did not think he would say sorry to anyone, even Spotify, his employer who have given him a ton of money, who he's very financially incentivized to keep happy. It just doesn't seem like it's his style. And I don't think he thinks he did anything wrong here. I think he was clearly a little bit spooked by the backlash and the potential financial repercussions if Spotify were to turn on him. That's why we saw that sweaty, long, rambly video.
LG: Yeah. That video momentarily had me convinced though, I'm not sure of what. It had this kind of veneer of authenticity. Like, here's my shiny face in the sun. He looked like he was maybe standing in a backyard somewhere. And I'm wearing a sweatshirt and I'm just going to shrug my shoulders and say, “Hey, I'm just a curious person who asks a lot of questions. I have a variety of experts with expert credentials on my show. And I try to interview people with different viewpoints.” Right? It was like he was Section 230 immunity personified, but then it's important to remember that he has this audience of tens of millions of listeners, that he has had conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on his program. And that as a result, he is paddling harmful or hurtful misinformation.
KK: Well, he didn't get to be super popular because he is hard to listen to. I think that it should be said, Joe Rogan is a compelling presence. Way back in the day, I used to sometimes listen to The Joe Rogan Experience. Actually, the only Twitter fight I've ever been in my life was with one of my favorite comedians, sadly. I got really mad when I was listening to The Joe Rogan Experience and Nick Kroll was a guest. I was listening because I love Nick Kroll. And Joe Rogan was saying … I forget exactly what he was saying, but I remember fuming because I knew it wasn't true. It was something to do with Antifa in Seattle. He was saying right-wing talking points about Antifa violence and Nick Kroll was sort of nodding along.
And I angrily tweeted like, “How could you not call him out?” I don't know where I'm going with this story, but just to say that I listened to him at some point. I know a ton of people who listen to him and not all of them are who you would think a typical Joe Rogan listener is. He has the most popular podcast in America, in Canada, in the United Kingdom, in New Zealand. New Zealand's doing everything right with Covid and they still have tons of people listening to him. In Australia, probably in some other countries, too, but definitely those because a lot of his conversations are pretty interesting. He's a good interviewer. Unfortunately, he chooses to interview people who are spreading harmful disinformation, and he chooses to sometimes spread that information himself. But yeah, he's not someone we can really dismiss even if the ideas that he is putting forth are dismissible, just because he's so popular.
LG: It's also important to not just use the phrase misinformation broadly when it is not misinformation. And I think one of the more compelling arguments he made in his video is that some of the ideas that have been put forth on his show over the course of this pandemic—is that we had this idea about masks and then that evolved, or we had this idea about vaccines and then that evolved. And so there are these evolutions of ideas that are happening throughout this pandemic and as science evolves, but still there are instances where it's actually harmful misinformation that is being put forth on the show.
KK: For sure. And when it's something like Dr. Robert Malone, who was one of the guests that really made health care providers and people who know about epidemiology angry because he is fully an anti-vax figurehead. I don't even know if we should call that misinformation when it's probably disinformation. He knows what he is saying is wrong and he's deliberately spreading it. Yeah. I definitely don't want to downplay the wrongness of what's happening here. I just want to say Joe Rogan has a lot of cultural capital right now and I'm surprised that he even apologized because he has so much cultural capital. I'm surprised he's that shook up about this all.
MC: Yeah. And it really put Spotify in a tough position because Spotify, in this case with a podcast that they have exclusive rights to, is a publisher. So when a publisher puts out something that is wrong, it is their responsibility to correct it. To say it was wrong and issue a correction. If the Washington Post gets something wrong, if The New York Times gets something wrong, if WIRED gets something wrong, we publish an update, we give a correction and we publicly tell everybody this was wrong. So maybe putting those disclaimers in front of podcasts is a step in that direction, but really saying you were wrong and not perpetuating the error by republishing it or allowing it to continue to exist out in the world, that's something that I feel like publishers should do. So I just want to say that.
KK: Absolutely. I was just thinking how ridiculous it would be if WIRED took this approach and just started slapping content warnings on articles we hadn't fact-checked that might be wrong or soliciting op-eds from people who were clearly way outside the Overton window of acceptable viewpoint. The way that Spotify is handling this is pretty mind-boggling when you remember it's a publisher.
MC: Yeah. It's a whole new world.
LG: And I don't think this story is going to end here, but we are going to continue to follow it closely at WIRED. For now, we're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to talk more about Spotify, but from a user experience.
LG: Spotify may be one of the most popular streaming music services out there, but there are some other options. And it's also relatively easy to transfer your collection of music and your playlists from one service to another, if you are following all this news and you're second-thinking your Spotify subscription. And I'm going to turn to Mike for this because, Mike, here you are. You are in how many bands these days? At least two.
LG: Seven bands. You are a resident musician and audiophile. We just had a really enlightening conversation in the newsroom about Taylor Swift a bit ago.
LG: We'll save that for another pod. But, Mike, when you are not listening to vinyl, how are you streaming your music? And we talked about this. Are you going to leave Spotify and port your music over?
MC: Probably not. I'm pretty invested in Spotify at this point. I'm also not the only person who lives in my home, and we have a family account and it's tied into the Sonos and we have a bunch of playlists for the kitchen and sleeping. And it's just part of my day. I would say I probably listen to streaming music about four to six hours every single day, whether I'm at home or at the office or out walking around or on the rare occasions I'm driving a car. Almost always streaming music. So I don't know if I'm necessarily going to leave, just because I'm pretty invested in the platform. Now, I know that a lot of people have been bailing, at least just anecdotally talking to people. Kate mentioned she bailed and switched to Apple Music. There were a lot of people on Twitter talking about switching.
I was kind of hoping that you could look at Spotify's stock price going down as this controversy that went on over the last few days, but actually their stock price has gone up considerably, between 10 and 15 percent, depending on what day you're looking at it. Either way, this has happened before. People have been bailing on Spotify for a number of reasons over the years. A lot of people left to put pressure on them because there was this mistaken impression that they weren't paying artists. There was a lot of blowback from the recording industry community and people who publish music saying that they weren't getting big checks from Spotify, but that's just because the economics of streaming are different.
There's also a lot of people who left to get HD music because high definition music came out on Tidal or Amazon HD and people made the switch for that reason. And a lot of people went to Apple Music when it launched. And then again went to Apple Music when Apple One, the subscription package, launched. So if you like arcade games and you want to do the workouts and you want access to iCloud and you want Apple Music, you can get all of that for a lower—
MC: Yeah, a bundled lower price. So yeah, it's not new.
LG: So how would one go about, and I'll open this up to the both of you, go about switching from Spotify to another service if you have tons of playlists in Spotify and you don't want to lose those?
MC: Well, there is a piece of software you can use, but I'm curious to hear Kate's firsthand recent personal experience of switching.
KK: OK. So I would've probably benefited from doing any research before I switched because what I did was angrily delete Spotify. I didn't use any of those services. I know they exist now, but I was just like, "New year, new me. Goodbye playlists." And I had a lot of playlists that I liked. So I'm sad. I'm trying to recreate them on Apple Music, but I don't know, maybe it's … I thought it was a good chance for a fresh listening start, see what a new algorithm thinks that I'll like. I do openly admit, though, that I miss my playlists. If you're going to make the switch, I recommend looking into porting them over if you like your playlists, because making the fresh break is a pretty aggressive move, which I did.
LG: What happens if someone has shared a playlist with you on Spotify? Like, Mike, I have one of your playlists downloaded to my Spotify, your dinner party one.
LG: And then just last week I went to a yoga class, really liked the playlist, went up to the instructor afterward, said, “Hey, what was that playlist?” And she just airdropped me a Spotify link. Can you port those over to a new account, or do you lose those? Can you only port over your own created playlists?
MC: I have no idea.
LG: Huh? We're going to have to follow up on that, folks. And thanks for listening to this podcast. Well, that's been … OK. Continue, please.
MC: There are tools that you can use to port your own playlists and sort of any creation that you've done in Spotify. You can port it to pretty much all of the big other services, not just Apple Music, but also things like Tidal, or Cubase, or … I'm probably saying that wrong, or YouTube music is a good contender. Our colleague in the UK, Adam Speight, wrote a really great guide to switching and specifically about how to take your playlist with you. The tool that he recommends, which is the same tool that I've used a couple of times, it's called SongShift. You download an app, you log in to the service that you're leaving and the service that you're joining, and then you just click a button and it syncs all of your preferences and all of your saved playlists over to the other service.
Now, I don't know if you're following somebody else's playlist and you select that, whether or not it will recreate it on the new service, but I would imagine that it would work. I can't say for sure. So maybe if there's a listener who's tried that, they can tell us. There's another piece of software called Soundiiz, and it's the word sound and then the letter I, and then the letter I again, and then the letter Z. So it's S-O-U-N-D-I-I-Z. Very similar service. I think it has a few more services that you can port to. The big one is Plex, which is a streaming service, as well as you can have your own music server in your home, which is another thing that people might want to do.
LG: And they support video as well, right? In Plex media.
MC: Yes. Plex is also a video player. So it's like a full home multimedia system. But yeah, Apple Music is the big one that a lot of people are leaving to simply because if they have an iPhone, it's the most convenient. It's there on your phone, and because of the bundling options it's also the same amount of money. If you don't have an iPhone, or if you don't want to join Apple Music, and I know that there are many reasons why, I would recommend that you take a look at YouTube Premium because YouTube has a music service that's basically just like everybody else's.
There's a lot of music on YouTube, and that's 10 bucks a month with a free trial and special offers, the same as everybody else. But they also offer for $12 YouTube Premium, which gets you access to YouTube Music and gives you an ad-free viewing experience on YouTube. So if you watch a lot of YouTube, you can imagine how amazing an ad-free experience is on YouTube. You also gain the ability to play videos in the background, play music in the background, download things to your phone or to your computer to watch them later, or to listen to them later. So I would recommend that you consider YouTube Premium to be a contender, especially if you live your entire day on YouTube like so many of us do these days.
LG: And we should note, Apple Music does work on Android phones as well, but you're just saying that when you have an iPhone or you're in the iOS ecosystem, you could potentially get that bundle, and then you're going to have just a more Apple-y experience.
MC: Yeah. If you already subscribed to Apple services and you use Siri a lot, then Apple Music just makes sense for you. But there's a lot of people who don't like the interface or they just don't like the way that playlists show up in there, or they don't like Apple. There's a lot of reasons why you wouldn't want to be on Apple Music. So, Kate, I'm curious, if you listened to podcasts on Spotify, now that you are not on Spotify, how do you listen to your podcasts?
KK: So I downloaded Overcast, which is a podcasting app, and it is OK. I didn't say it's great. The discovery is pretty mediocre, but it plays the podcast and that's good enough for me. I do need to make a disclaimer that I'm kind of a goblin when it comes to consuming media. I'm the person who pays less for SD movies in streaming. I don't have very refined taste. So, yeah, I'm just going to stick with this random app I downloaded.
LG: Which brings me to my next question, which is, you mentioned earlier HD music streams, Mike. And we've heard a lot about this. We're starting to hear more about spatial audio being offered in these apps. How much of a difference do HD music streams actually make? Because when Tidal launched, that was one of its selling points, and now more services have it. And can you tell the difference? What is the difference?
MC: I'm going to get a lot of hate mail for this, but I am going to say—
LG: Not as much hate mail as Joe Rogan.
MC: Thankfully. I don't have the audience of Joe Rogan, but I will say that those services that offer HD streaming, if you can tell the difference and it's worth it to you, by all means, go for it. But if you're curious about it and you think that you're going to get this big jump in quality by moving up to it, you'll probably not. First and foremost, you need to have equipment that can play back that high res music at its full resolution, right? Your regular AirPods are not going to do that for you. Your AirPods Pro that go on your head, the $800, $900 Apple headphones … How much are they? $600.
LG: Oh, $500, I think.
MC: I can't remember.
MC: Anyway, the crazy fancy Apple headphones that can support that and can play back. Or if you have a high res music player in your home, something like a Bluesound or Naim Audio, or something like that, like one of those machines and you can play back, then you already know about lossless compression and signal chain and all that that you need to know in order to get the full experience. If you have a HomePod or an Alexa or a Bluetooth speaker, don't get it because you're not going to notice that much of a difference. Honestly, if you want better quality, the best thing you can do is go into your streaming app, whatever it is, and select the highest quality available in the streaming platform that you already pay for. And you'll notice a big jump. I defy anybody out there to do a blind test to tell me the difference between a compact disc and Spotify on the extreme setting through the same piece of equipment. You literally cannot tell the difference. And if you can, it's just because you got lucky on a 50/50 coin flip.
LG: Fair enough. So it sounds like if you are considering switching from Spotify to another streaming service, what you have to consider, the key takeaways: price, user interface, because how easy it to use is really important, particularly if you're fumbling through it while you're in your car, or while you're on a run or whatever it is. Then you have to consider what kind of other services or tie-ins there might be if you're living in the YouTube universe, if you're living in the Apple universe, that sort of thing. And less important is whether or not it's super-duper high-quality music.
LG: And probably less important would it be whether or not podcasts are integrated into the app itself because as Kate pointed out, you can always go to another app to get your podcasts.
MC: Yeah. One thing we haven't talked about is catalog,
LG: Right. Well, but most of them have access to the same catalogs, right? They all have deals with the big music publishers.
MC: Not all of them have deals with all the music publishers. Almost all of them have deals with the big music publishers. If you want to go deep into specific things, like if you want to go deep into world music, Spotify has the best representation that I've found of anybody from different countries, right? There're services like Cubase. I never know if I'm saying that correctly, but the one I'm talking about, they have a lot of classical music and a lot of different kinds of modern music that you can't find elsewhere. Amazon Unlimited—
LG: Oh yeah, we haven't even talked about Amazon.
MC: They don't really have as much deep catalog, but they have all the big ones. And obviously, if you like Joni Mitchell or Rickie Lee Jones, if you're Joe Rogan … He misidentified. He said that he loves “Chuck E's in Love” and that's his favorite Joni Mitchell song. And that's actually Rickie Lee Jones' song.
LG: And then he actually meant it was Rickie Lee Jones. Yeah.
MC: So if you want Neil Young and Joni Mitchell and Crosby, Stills, Nash, then yes, you have to. You can't go to Spotify, but almost all of them have almost everybody. And catalog means a lot less than it used to, which I think is why we've seen streaming services come out with things like HD music and spatial audio because they need something else because catalog is just kind of the same everywhere now.
LG: Right. And probably why we've seen more bundles being introduced, like the Apple bundles we discussed, or whatever deal you could get from Amazon if you happen to also be a Prime member and a Dash member and have bought a private flight to space on Blue Origin. Actually, I don't know if that's a thing. I don't think it is, but …
MC: Free lifetime Amazon Unlimited if you buy a ticket to space.
LG: If you buy a ticket to space.
MC: I mean, honestly, it's a good bundle.
LG: I'd consider it. Kate, if Spotify did lay down some hard and fast rules, or let's just say it booted Joe Rogan from its platform, would you consider going back to Spotify?
KK: I need to see whether I like Apple Music or not. It's kind of too soon to say. I will say, I love that I now have access to Joanna Newsom's entire catalog because she's not on Spotify. And I had purchased a few of her albums on Apple to make up for that gap, but now I have access to the whole thing. While I was looking into this, I found out that Apple does pay artists a bit more than Spotify, still probably not what they deserve, but … I don't know. I think I'm just going to stick with Apple Music for now, unless I find out I hate it, which it is kind of … I'm confused, but I'm easily confused about the interface.
LG: No, you bring up a great point. Earlier when I was saying here are the things you really need to consider, you should also consider how much a service might be paying out to artists. I mean, those are the people who are making the amazing art, the amazing music that we're listening to and experiencing. And musical artists have gotten screwed for decades now.
MC: Go to Bandcamp.
KK: Yes. I mean, Bandcamp is great. When comes to catalog, that's the time when you just can't find everything.
MC: Yeah. It's mostly indie.
KK: Yeah. And I'm kind of hoping maybe that this whole rigmarole makes people realize that what we're really missing is a service that might be significantly more expensive but is actually fair to artists. The idea of “you pay $10 and you get access to every song ever” doesn't really make sense for the artists. So, I don't know, maybe this'll be the beginning of people doing like … In the same way that there's a rejection of fast fashion, maybe there'll be a rejection of unlimited streaming. I don't know.
LG: Can you imagine if we offered access to 40 million writers per month for $10 a month? Subscribe to WIRED.
MC: They do that, though. The Apple News+.
LG: Oh, but that's a whole other bundle. That's a whole other bundle to unbundle.
MC: Yeah. We can go deep on the economics of the publishing industry the next time.
LG: All right. Let's take another quick break. And then we're going to come back with our recommendations.
LG: Kate, as our guest of honor, what is your recommendation this week?
KK: I would love to wholeheartedly recommend a new novel, which is called The School For Good Mothers. It's by Jessamine Chan. It came out last month and it is one of the best dystopian fictions that I've read in recent years. It reminded me a lot of Never Let Me Go by [Kazuo] Ishiguro, which is one of my favorite books of all time. It's just a very upsetting but wonderfully written thriller. If you want to ruin your week, definitely buy it and read it. It is wonderful and upsetting.
LG: Yeah. I was just thinking there really aren't enough things out there that are ruining our weeks these days. Mike, what's your recommendation?
MC: I'm going to recommend The Expanse, the television show. It is on Amazon Prime Video. I've recommended it before back when it was a young pup of a show, but I'm going to recommend it again because it's done. It's all over. They wrapped the show. They wrapped the series. So it's a science fiction show, if you're not familiar. It takes place in the far future. And it portrays a human society that has spread beyond earth to Mars and to the asteroid belt. And sort of humans are beginning their journey out into the galaxy and beyond. And it started on sci-fi. So the first couple seasons are pretty low budget and kind of thrown together, but then they got the Bezos money halfway through the series run and the production quality ramps up. And the telling gets really good.
I mean, it's good at the beginning, but also it's based on books so the storytelling kind of remains the same, but just the pace of the show and the production of the show just sounds better as it goes on. Anyway, I definitely recommend it if you already subscribed to Amazon Video and you haven't watched it, you're totally missing out. The Expanse. It's one of the best sci-fi sagas of our time, which is saying a lot because I know that also includes Star Wars. Way more engaging the Star Wars to this nerd's brain. So I hope you like it. The Expanse.
LG: The Expanse. Thank you for that very expansive recommendation.
MC: Oh, you're welcome. What is your recommendation?
LG: Can you hear it? My recommendation is a new water bottle.
MC: Oh boy.
LG: It's pretty simple. It's from REI, the REI Co-op, of which I am a member. It's a Nalgene. It is 32 ounces, but the key thing is that it's a wide Nalgene with a small mouth.
MC: Yes. I noticed this. Most Nalgenes have that big sort of 3- or 4-inch wide mouth on them, but this has a regular water bottle-sized mouth on it.
LG: Correct. And it's got a nice little hook at the top too, so you can hook your finger through it, but—
MC: No, you put that on a carabiner and you put it on your backpack.
LG: Well, right.
MC: So when you're walking around campus, it swings back and forth.
LG: Are you referring to this as juvenile in some way?
MC: No, that's what Nalgene bottles were always for.
LG: OK. Well, it's a great bottle. And one of my goals this year is to be more hydrated. And so I have found since I bought this, I just bought it on Sunday, I have been drinking water nonstop. And yeah, it's pretty easy to tote around. And I think the small mouth really does make a difference. This is the part where you joke, Oh, it was so small mouth for a big mouth, huh?
MC: So you did it for me.
LG: But yeah, I love this. I think it was $17. Totally worth it. I want to go back and get a bunch more.
MC: So there was this whole backlash against disposable plastic bottles, which is great. Plastic sucks, right? We should have less plastic in our lives. So the reusable plastics, not single-use plastics, and the stainless steel bottles, but I feel like people kind of went overboard with the bottles. Everybody went out and got a vacuum insulated bottle, but this is way simpler than that and it's probably going to last you a lot longer because it doesn't really dent.
LG: Right. You don't need the Ember Mug of water bottles. It's just over-engineered. You just need something simple that's easy to tote around and is going to, I don't know, make you drink more water. So far I'm feeling pretty good about this. I can't wait to put all kinds of stickers on it so I feel like I'm really a member of the REI Co-op. You know what I mean?
MC: Yeah. I'll get you one of those coexist stickers that has all of the world's religions represented in the word coexist.
LG: Nothing wrong with that. Yeah. Peace signs. That's right. Actually, I have one of the stickers from REI. I'm just waiting to slap it on here. It's like mountains and ocean and all that stuff.
LG: Yeah. I'm in the club. So I recommend the REI Nalgene water bottle.
MC: A liter of joy. Life-changing.
LG: All right. This has been a really, really fun show and maybe we got some things wrong. And if we did, we'll probably have to issue a 10-minute Instagram video apology in the coming days, but we promise we'll be sincere.
MC: I look forward to that.
LG: Thank you so much, Kate, for joining us. It's been wonderful to have you back.
KK: Thanks for having me.
LG: And Snack, thanks for always being a great cohost.
MC: Of course.
LG: And thanks to all of you for listening. If you have feedback, you could find all of us on Twitter. Just check the show notes. This show is produced by the one and only Boone Ashworth, who puts all of his content on YouTube.
MC: YouTube Music Premium.
LG: YouTube Music Premium.
MC: With spatial sound.
LG: Yes. If the incessant ads for YouTube Premium haven't gotten you yet, maybe this show will. Goodbye for now. We'll be back next week.
[Gadget Lab outro theme music plays]
MC: Totally not sponcon.
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