The Greatest App of All Time Day 12: Evernote vs. Spotify

The Greatest App of All Time Day 12: Evernote vs. Spotify


It’s Day 12 of Gizmodo’s March Madness bracket challenge to name the greatest app of all time and we may have a new frontrunner. With over 77 percent of yesterday’s vote, Flashlight left Tinder dead in a ditch. Today we have what was once the king of note-taking apps going up against the pioneer of on-demand music streaming.

If you’re just tuning in, you can read all about our selection criteria for this historic contest right here. Check out the full bracket of contestants embedded below. And as always, if you think we missed your personal favorite app of all time, yell at us in the comments. Now, let’s get into today’s contestants.

I’m of the mind that the best app for notes is the one you use. I know that there is a large ecosystem of feature-rich notes apps out there but I still use Apple’s boring old Notes because that’s where my notes are and I don’t want to make the move. But the fact is, people get very passionate about their favorite note-takers and there was a time when Evernote inspired extreme loyalty in its users.

Evernote rose to dominance with its ability to sync notes across devices and its openness to various forms of media like photos, video, and web content. That stuff is par for the course these days but when it launched in 2008, Evernote’s organizational prowess and flexibility were unparalleled. It was so popular, the company even launched a special moleskin notebook that used a custom tagging system to upload and organize your IRL notes.

These days, Evernote fans are hard to find. A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of forum posts proclaiming the app dead. In 2023, it imposed serious restrictions on free users and lost even more clients. But it’s still chugging along thanks to the headache of moving elsewhere.

Taking on Evernote is an equally flawed and groundbreaking app that was once beloved. When Spotify hit the scene in 2006, getting an invite was the most coveted ticket in town. Music piracy was widespread and torrent sites were thriving and the music industry was on life support. Even if you were a loyal fan who shelled out for CDs or MP3s on iTunes, it just made sense to supplement your collection with pirated files after hitting your spending limit. Spotify “solved” this problem.

It was magical to open an app and find practically any piece of music you could ask for. The curation of playlists could be a full-time job, and eventually, Spotify hired people to curate them for users. The ability to integrate with Facebook and see what your friends were listening to was a fresh novelty. And best of all, for a low monthly price you’re conscience could be clear in the knowledge that artists were getting paid. Or so we thought.

Spotify didn’t really save the artists, so much as it threw a lifeline to the labels. Over the years, it’s become abundantly clear that the musicians are getting stiffed in this deal and as much as 80 percent of the talent never sees a dime. Some other percentage will literally see a dime. The fun social integration was an early peek at the app’s potential for emotional surveillance. And Spotify’s biggest competition, Apple Music, doesn’t have to be profitable, it needs to sell phones. That’s made Spotify’s business increasingly tenuous at this point.

But like Evernote, user lock-in has helped the app survive. People just can’t go through the hassle of moving over all of their beautiful playlists to a new platform.

So, reader, what’ll it be? Did Evernote improve your life enough to forgive the sorry state it finds itself in today? Or has Spotify provided so much joy, you just have to send it to the next round?

Voting has closed and Spotify heads to the next round!

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Graphic: Google

Image for article titled The Greatest App of All Time Day 12: Evernote vs. Spotify

Graphic: Vicky Leta

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