Spotify is always running in the background when I'm at work. I have it installed on my laptop. What I especially love about it is that I can chose anything I want. Whether I'm in the mood for rock, pop, r'nb, soul, the current charts or whatever it's there and ready to be streamed and listened too. I don't create my own playlists as I'm not really into it but I have a few lists that I'm following and they always updated the newest tracks. Therefore I'm always up to date about new songs coming out. I like it better then listening to radio as they always stop for the news and random chats. The free spotify desktop version does have adverts on it and they can be annoying but it's really no big deal. If you want it advert free you can upgrade and pay a certani amount each month for it to have no adverts. You can also stream the app to your mobile phone and listen to music on there. Once again, if you don't have a premium account you won't be able to select songs and skip them, plus you also get adverts on it. But it doesn't bother me as I have an MP3 Player to listen to music offline. It just comes in very handy at work, I start the laptop up and open spotify and start listening to music. If you want to make friends there's also an interactive side to spotify but I have never used it as I mainly just use it to listen to music.
Spotify has changed the way I listen to music. Spotify is an online music streaming program which is available for Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android OS and iOS. I first discovered spotify a few years ago and I haven't looked back since, spotify has changed the way I listen to music. I no longer have to download music to all of my devices which was an annoyance, I can just install spotify on each device that I own and my playlists are right there in front of me, there is also the option to listen to playlists offline if you are a spotify premium user. If you're not a spotify premium user you will have adverts between songs and you will be limited to how many times you can play songs and skip songs and if you're anything like me that's not a good thing, I could easily listen to the same song 10 times in a row if not 20. This is why spotify premium is so worth it, you do not have those restrictions and you can listen as many times as you want.
Spotify saves so much time, all your music is in one place and it's so easy and simple to use. You can also share playlists with your friends which is helpful. Spotify is great if you're at a party because everything can add the songs which they want to the party playlist which saves a lot of arguments! I would recommend spotify to anyone and I think that spotify premium is well worth the money seeing as all your music is in one place and it's so easy.
Spotify is a music player software that allows you to stream songs over the internet for free.
Music has been a big passion of mine since my early teenage years and I like to always have something on in the background while I'm in my room. I love discovering new music and that's why I use Spotify.
I hate downloading music illegally - I just cannot bring myself to do it. The bands I listen to work really hard to produce these albums and it seems so immoral to essentially steal it! I have spent an absolute fortune on iTunes and on Amazon MP3s, but as I said earlier, I like to listen to new music all the time and I can't spend £8 every time I want to hear a new album! That's why Spotify is so great; I can listen to new band after new band for free and know that they are getting something (probably a very small amount, but it all adds up) from it. It's also good for their publicity because if I can listen to their music, I might go online and choose to buy some of their merchandise or go and see them play a gig when they come to town. I also might decide I want to listen to them on my phone or when I'm offline so I'll actually buy the album. It gets them known which is important for any artist!
There are very few artists that I haven't been able to find on Spotify - the library is huge! They always have new albums out usually on the day of release. They have also added 'apps' to the programme which let you do all kinds of things with your music such as find lyrics, find gigs near you, socially interact with other users about the music you're listening to and all sorts. I use apps to find similar artists and create playlists of new music so I can discover great new tracks!
Spotify can also be linked to your Facebook account so you can post what you are listening to and share your playlists with your friends or see what they've been listening to. This feature can be quite good and you can turn it off temporarily to have a private music session if you're embarrassed of what you're listening to!
I have had some problems with the programme itself - it's a very big programme that requires a lot of memory and it can make my computer very slow. Quite often if I'm having a problem on my computer, if I close Spotify, the problem will go away! It can take a while to open, but once it's open it's generally ok. My computer is quite slow anyway so most people won't have a problem.
=Premium and Unlimited=
I have considered buying premium on a number of occasions because I would like to have my music on my mobile, but Spotify keep making the free version better and I so I keep thinking "oh it'll do". When I first got Spotify you could only listen to a song 5 times before it was unavailable to play - they have since got rid of this rule so you can listen to any song as many times as you want.
The sound quality is meant to be better for premium, but I've never thought the sound quality was poor so I'm not even sure I'd notice!
And of course, you don't have a time limit or ads. I have exceeded the time limit on Spotify sometimes and it's annoying, but if I just wait a few days it gets reset back to normal and I can carry on listening. In the mean time I do have plenty of albums that I own that I can listen to on iTunes.
But as I say, the free version always gets better and so I never feel the need to get premium so I can't really comment on if it's worth it or not.
Overall I give it 5/5 - for a free service it couldn't be much better. If you want more - pay for it! I honestly can't believe how good this is for not a single penny! Yes the ads are annoying, but that's what you get in exchange for a huge library of free music and I'm fine with it that way.
Spotify is, to me, is a product which has genuinely changed the way I listen to music and for the better. Having used the Free account for a year or so, I upgraded to the Premium service last December, mainly because I had bought an iPod Touch and wanted to use Spotify on there. So this review is primarily about the premium service.
So there are a couple of ways you can use Spotify. Originally, when using the Free account, I mainly used it to try out new music, and to listen to music when I happened to be using my PC. If I really liked an album after listening to it a few times, I might then buy it. This was really useful as it enabled me to try before I bought, meaning no longer would I need to buy albums that just weren't good enough. Alternatively, I could use it to cherry-pick a couple of good tracks from an otherwise naff attempt.
The Premium account is the best part of £10 a month and involved a shift of mindset. Until I bought the iPod Touch, this monthly cost never seemed worthwhile to me as I could only listen to Spotify on my computer, when actually I listen to music far more in the car or when out running etc. But Premium users can download an app for the iPod touch (or iPhone or Android phone and also a limited number of BlackBerry devices) allowing you to stream music through that device over WiFi. It also allows you to store up to around 3,000 streamed tunes on the device at any one time (as well as any tracks you actually own), which means I can store playlists to listen to in the car when I'm not connected to WiFi.
For me this is great. It means that I can listen to any music I like (so long as it's on Spotify - see below) wherever I have my iPod, for £10 a month. This does involve a change in mindset. I've always liked to "own" music before, but if £10/month is affordable (and I'd have easily spent that on buying MP3s before) then it makes sense. So now, I effectively pay a monthly fee which allows me to listen to almost any track I want.
So on to track availability. Not everything is on Spotify. But most things are, and I've rarely got annoyed at not being able to find what I want. I'd say a good 90%+ of whatever is in the charts at any one time is on there, as well as decades of back catalogue stuff. Some music is withheld for a couple of weeks after release - the last Coldplay album took a while to appear and there are notable absences such as most of Adele's stuff or The Beatles. But if you like the Beatles you probably own the best of their back catalogue anyway and you can import MP3s you own into Spotify and therefore include tracks in playlists.
Playlists are easily created by dragging tracks into folders on the desktop app, whilst the iPod app is equally intuitive. Playlists can also be shared with others (if you want to make them public) so if you want to hear a collection of 1970s rock songs, chances are that someone has already created a good collection for you. This listening to other people's playlists can be addictive and is a great way of discovering new music.
More recently, Spotify has introduced various Apps within the desktop version - I haven't used many of these so can't comment much, but for example The Guardian newspaper has a music review app where you can listen to tracks whilst reading their review. Useful stuff.
Finally, I also like the fact that Spotify seems to be always innovating. Both the iPod and desktop versions are constantly being updated with new features, many of which are actually useful (compare and contrast Apple's iTunes app which hasn't added anything genuinely useful in around 5 years as far as I can see!)
My favourite recent innovation on the iPod app is crossfading between tracks, so that they blend into each other like on the radio. And that's something I've wanted my MP3s on my old iPod to do for years but Apple never found a way to do it. Fortunately Spotify have, and it sounds great.
I haven't really been using Spotify that long, around 5 months now, but its great, pretty much any music I want, there and then!
I started off with the Free membership, which is great. But, it's not so good if you have made a playlist, and wish to listen to one song after the other. The reason being, Spotify have incorporated adverts in-between songs.
This got really annoying for me after a while, so I am now paying £9.99 a month for a Premium subscription to Spotify.
What are the differences between subscriptions I hear you ask?
FREE - Access to all the songs on Spotify
UNLIMITED - Same as FREE, without adverts
PREMIUM - Same as FREE and UNLIMITED with the option to sync playlists for offline play. Allowing you to listen to your music while you're not connected to the Internet.
These are the main features, all of the features in a more depth view are available on Spotify's website.
Overall, Spotify is a great online music database. With millions and millions of music, and hundreds of songs added daily, you are spoilt for choice. But if you are going to use Spotify, I'd definitely recommend paying out for a subscription rather than the free version, believe me, the free version is annoying!
I had a free Spotify account for about 6 months and have now got a premium account for 6 months as part of my Virgin Media package. Spotify was not available in the country where I used to live, so being able to use it was one of the things I was really pleased about when moving back to the UK!
=== Free Account ===
The free account is definitely worth having but its limits can be slightly annoying if you are a heavy user. Your music is interrupted by adverts roughly after every 4th or 5th song. I recently discovered there was a limit on the number of times you can listen to the same song in a month (5 times) and the total time you can spend streaming music per month (10 hours). This 10 hour limit seemed to come and go, as I definitely listened to more than 10 hours on many occasions, but last month I was stopped after 10 hours. If you have the free account you can log in to Spotify while out of the country and benefit from your music while travelling, but if you are away longer than 2 weeks your access will then be stopped, as I discovered when I went to America for 3 weeks in the New Year!
Looking past these limitations, you have access to the same huge music bank as the paid users. You get whole songs, not clips. You can listen to nearly all albums as soon as they are released or sometimes even before. When you search for an artist you can see their most popular songs, all albums and tracklists, similar artists, playlists which users have made featuring this artist, etc. You can create your own playlists or just search and listen without saving what you have listened to. There is also a radio where you can listen to certain genres or music which is similar to a certain artist etc.
I introduced my dad to Spotify and he was so impressed with it. He has a large CD and vinyl collection and thought he could get rid of a lot of it to save space and just use Spotify. He also liked the way he could find related artists and catch up on old releases which he had missed. I agree Spotify is a great way to keep up to date with music and try things which I might have wasted money on before by buying the album and finding out I didn't like it.
If you want you can link your account to Facebook, Twitter or Last.Fm to share your music with your friends, track your listening habits and get recommendations. I like the Last.Fm link as I am a regular last.fm user and I find it useful to be able to get a record of what I listened to, for example if I heard something good on the Spotify radio and later wanted to find out what it was.
=== Paid Accounts ===
There are two subscription options at £5 or £10 a month. If you pay £5 you get unlimited access to the music with no adverts and no restrictions on how much you play. If you pay £10 you get this as well as offline mode and ability to play music from Spotify through your phone. I received the £10 premium suscription from Virgin Media, but really the £5 would be enough for my needs. I will get that once my 6 months from Virgin have finished.
=== Overall ===
I really recommend this.
I wasn't going to write this today but then I noticed it would be my 50th review and that's a milestone worth getting to. Spotify needs no introduction but I'm going to give it one anyway. Here it comes.
Spotify is a cross platform music service which enables you to stream music for free. It also offers enhanced functionality for it's premium subscribers (I'm one of them). To use Spotify you'll need to visit the website and download the Spotify client program which suits your operating system. Currently Spotify is available for Windows and OS X with a beta version available for Linux although it apparently runs fine under Wine. You'll need a Spotify account too, this dictates what features are available to you depending on your subscription (free, unlimited or premium). I'll give you the low down of what you can do with a free account and then delve into the unlimited and premium subscriptions extra features later.
Spotify Open is the name of the free service and it really now serves as a taster for the more premium services. It used to offer unlimited ad-supported streaming but now imposes a few restrictions to try and entice you to subscribe. The Spotify catalogue consists of over 13 million tracks and is constantly expanding as new albums are released. Upon joining Spotify you are awarded with 20 hours of listening time. This then gets expanded by 5 hours a week which rolls over up to a maximum of 20 hours in total. After 6 months you'll be limited further however. The maximum time becomes 10 hours and the increase will be a mere 2.5 hours a week. Additionally you'll only be able to listen to an individual track 5 times in total. On the Open plan, music will be interspersed with various audio advertisements. This happens between songs not during so it doesn't really get in the way too much. Bit of a shame if you're listening to a concept album though or you're trying to set any kind of mood. Another strange limitation of the free service is that you can only use it abroad for 14 days whereas Unlimited and Premium don't discriminate against where you are.
So that's the bad stuff out of the way. Spotify enables you to create playlists of your favourite music which you can save and then share with your friends. You can do this by linking your Spotify account with your Facebook account. Once you've done this, all of your friends who have done the same can be displayed in a menu bar to the right of the interface. If you click on a name you can see their playlists too. You can send them tracks and playlists which will appear in their inbox too. It works really well and I have a great time sharing tracks between friends. Since it's aim is to become your number one music solution, you can also import your local tracks into Spotify to play along with your streamed tracks.
If you're looking to find new music then Spotify can help. When you search for an artist you can either choose the 'Artist radio' tab or the 'Related artist' tab. Artist radio will play some songs from your chosen artists and mix in some tracks that other people who have listened to that artist have also listened to. It works pretty well but I find that it plays a lot of tracks that aren't to my tastes. The related artists tab is much better, it displays those other artists in a grid for you to take a look at the artists's biography etc and listen to their tracks. I've found many new bands that I'd not heard of before by using this feature.
Spotify Unlimited offers pretty much the same functionality as Open but you can listen to as much as you want and without advertisements (and the whole abroad thing I mentioned earlier). That's pretty much all there is to it. It incurs are monthly fee currently set at £4.99. Not bad if you always have an internet connection.
Now the Premium service is where Spotify really shines. OK it's £9.99 a month but hear me out, this is some serious value. You get all the functionality of an Unlimited subscription for starters. With a Premium subscription you get to save your music for offline listening. So even if you have no internet connection you can save your favourite playlists and not have to worry about a journey without internet. What? you don't want to have to take your PC or Laptop with you on long journeys? Hmm OK well luckily you can also use Spotify Premium on your mobile smartphone or tablet (Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows Phone and Palm Devices). This is why I pay for it. I can have whatever music I want and synch it offline to my phone (which I've also reviewed it's a HTC Desire and it's awesome if you want to check out that) for my listening pleasure. You can have a maximum of 3,333 tracks synched offline at a time and on a maximum of 3 different devices at one time. That's a lot of music. What's cool is that you can edit your playlists on the fly and when you're sat at one device, they will synch to the rest of them too. £9.99 a month for over 13 million tracks? Yeah please. I know you could always illegally download your music but to be honest that isn't half as convenient as Spotify is. I don't use this feature because I'm too poor but if you have a Sonos home system or an Onkyo cinema receiver you can also use your Premium Spotify streaming on those which adds even more value to the service.
The only thing that Spotify needs to dominate the world is cloud storage. It would be better if you could synch your local files to an online server and then be able to stream those from wherever you are but to be honest that's just me being me. I think they'll probably add that in at some point anyway.
I believe Spotify to be the number one music service in the world today. If there is something better out there then please comment and tell me about it because I'd love to see it. That's it, the end of my 50th review ever. Thanks for reading.
I first started using Spotify 2 years ago when it was in its (relatively) early stages. I was amazed that I could listen to almost any music I wanted for free, in full quality, with no streaming times - and the best part of all: It was LEGAL!
I was fascinated by the capabilities of the software; I could build playlists, explore 'similar artists', listen to radio channels - all in a simple interface similar to iTunes. I could also connect to FaceBook and browse friends' music and even co-create shared playlists with friends, and then sync all my music to my iPhone.
After several months, however, the unfortunate but inevitable happened - adverts started appearing. Initially there were always adverts, but they appeared as images in the sidebar and were a minor nuisance. Ideally, Spotify would make money from commission on downloads when people downloaded the song directly from within Spotify, however this was slightly unrealistic because Spotify was such a great platform for listening to music that there was little need for downloading the tracks.
I therefore accepted the necessity for more adverts, particularly as you could previously navigate away from Sporitfy and music would continue playing with the adverts hidden from sight - audible adverts seemed a logical conclusion.
Many of these adverts were for Spotify premium accounts which had a lot of benefits over a free account. Not only did they eliminate adverts, they also gave premium users advanced previews of albums, allowed people to take their playlists offline, and supported Spotify on iPhone and Android. I was not particularly concerned for these features, however, so for the next year continued to use my free account as the adverts frustratingly increased in frequency.
It was this year, however, that Spotify made what the majority of users believe to be the suicidal decision to restrict listening on free accounts - essentially forcing people to pay for a premium account. Listening time was capped at 10 hours per month and there was a maximum play frequency of 5 plays per song. I have now made the decision to listen to free and legal music elsewhere (Grooveshark) and many other free users are following suit.
I'm disappointed that Spotify, with all its great features, has decided to force it's users to pay monthly premiums rather than making the advert-funded system work. Spotify recently overtook iTunes in music revenues, however the promise of FREE and legal music has gone. This is a shame because Spotify has far a far greater interface and features that its competitors, and forcing people to pay a monthly premium will likely drive many users back to illegal piracy.
this has been my best buy this year, i was presented to this by my father in law when they moved int there new home and installed heaps of wonderful things, i originally thought you had to buy sonos equipment but boy i was wrong
you simply download the software from spotify web site, this can be used as a free service with adverts between songs and quality of sound is reduced, i decided to rid myself of the ads after 2 days and signed up to a premium account for £10 a month and lets say equivelent to buying a cd per month but instead of maybe 12 songs i get a data base of thousands of songs to choose from
for me this is the best bit, when on a premium account you can take advantage of spotify for the ipod/iphone through i tunes or it is available on android handset, u can also download the spotimote software for your ipod/iphone or android handset which then acts as a remote to play the songs you have added to your playlists.
i have my i pod attached to an ipod dock station and connected via 3.5mm jack to my dennon system, on my travels i take the ipod with me and connect to the car stereo via a 3.5mm jack to enable you to do this you need to make the music available offline
some obscure artists cant be found and same for say the Beattles are not available but no service is perfect and this is prob due to the music rights
Spotify would work great as a music streamer if it were not for them preventing it being streamed to synergistic devices ie Logitech Squeezebox.Sadly too much music industry paranoia to free the service up of technical blocks. Even by paying for nthe premium service they still will not let the service go though a local music server for fear of ????? Good service with its ankles bound together.
Whoever said that man's greatest invention was the wheel, had obviously never used Spotify.
Spotify is a piece of software, which when downloaded and installed, allows the user to listen to music as it is streamed straight from the internet. There are literally thousands of tracks available to listen to immediately just by typing in the name of the artist and/or the song title into the search box. In about a second or two the user is presented with a list of songs by that artist from the various albums that may have been released.
Before I discovered Spotify, I mainly used Youtube to listen to my favourite tracks and new songs from up and coming bands but I haven't looked back since.
There are three types of Spotify account which are as follows:
This is the free version of Spotify and is available to everyone by going to the Spotify website. Here you can create an account which is very simple and easy to do and download the Spotify client. This version is fine if you listen to music occasionally, but for serious music lovers it is quite a pain in the rear as there is a time limit on the amount of music you can listen to. Currently, Spotify Open users are allocated 20 hours of music per month. This might seem like an ample amount of time, but those hours soon run out. There are also adverts that are played autoatically inbetween every few songs which can get a little annoying but thankfully, the ads are quite short in length and usually last around a minute.
This is very similar to Spotify Open. The only real difference is that there isn't a time limit. There are still advertisements and the layout is exactly the same. To get Spotify Free, you first need to be sent an invitation link or code. Invitations are sent to users who are paying monthly for the Spotify service.
This is available for £4.99 a month and again is similar to Spotify Free. With Spotify Unlimited, there are no advertisements or time limits and you can also upload your own music to Spotify.
This is the ultimate version of Spotify but it will set you back £9.99 per month. There is no time limit and no advertisements. This version also allows the user to listen to music in offline mode which means that the computer doesn't need to be connected to the internet. In addition, it is also possible to download Spotify to your mobile phone, take your music abroad and apparently it has enhanced sound quality.
With every version of Spotify, you can link your account to your Facebook page. Doing this allows you to see if you have any other friends who use spotify and if so, allows you to view their music as well as enabling them to view yours.
Spotify has many nifty features. When searching through the music, you are able to create playlists of your favourite artists, listen to whole albums and so much more. There is also information about the selected album and band/artist and by clicking on the artists name, you are able to view every album they released and also listen to them to if you wish.
Spotify is also an excellent way to discover new bands that you may never have gotten the chance to listen to. When an artist is selected, you are presented with related artists. Clicking on one of these will take you to a list of their tracks or albums immediately. I have discovered many good bands this way.
I started off with Spotify Open and had been using that for a few months until I just couldn't cope with the 20hr time limit any longer. I went searching and searching for an invite code on the internet but was unable to find one. Recently I purchased an invite from Ebay for a one off payment £4.99 and it was one of the best things I have done.
If you are a music lover I definitely recommend this. It is very easy to use and the sound quality is absolutely great.
**Also on Ciao under the same username**
Who doesn't like free music? This is basically what Spotify gives you.
What is Spotify?
Spotify is a programme you download onto your computer where you can listen to an endless amount of tracks for free. I personally have the free Spotify account where I get 20 hours of play time within 30 days but this does come with an advert or two every 4-5 songs. You can choose to pay every month and you get a lot more benefits and minus the ads.
How does it work?
You download the programme from the Spotify website and then you are pretty much set to go. Type in a keyword/band/artist in the search box and search. You can listen to any song by anyone who is on the Spotify database (so to speak) and create playlists but having the free version means you have to be online to do this and you always will have to be online to listen to any playlists you have made.
I have an average connection speed but because Spotify is constantly streaming the song sometimes there can be pausing in songs for a second or so and I only have 20 hours a month. This is not a huge bugbear for me because I don't listen to music that much so it's a fairly good amount for me.
Also the songs only exist on your Spotify, you can't transfer them onto your mp3, although you can get Spotify for the iphone.
More vague or lesser known bands sometimes don't exist on Spotify so if you're into your really obscure stuff you may not be able to find anything to listen to.
Well free music basically. As well as being able to see all the music that your friends have on their lists. I connected via facebook and all my other friends who had done so are automatically on my list so I can use their stuff as inspiration for what to search for and for creating lists. You can also send recommendations to each other if you find something someone may like.
If you like to play music as you're getting ready for a night out, while studying or while playing games then Spotify is perfect. You can create your playlists from any songs on there without having to change CD's or updating the programme like a music player does. If you need inspiration for music you have your friends on there to help as well as searching through things you may have never listened to before.
Spotify is, almost, limitless.
I wasn't aware of the wonder of Spotify until i watched a Gadget Show episode which featured the product. I downloaded it almost immediately and have never looked back. Like most students i got most of my music from less than reputable sources but this has changed everything. Spotify allows me to listen to millions of tracks from my computer leaving me free to purchase the ones i really like.
Spotify is initially free with only the occasional advert every 5-10 songs to help keep it that way. The adverts are pleasant enough and never last longer than 30 seconds. While it may ruin the mood if you're using Spotify for your party it's fine for just general listening. There is the option to go premium for a small monthly fee or even pay for a one day pass purely for a special occasion.
There is also an on the go service should you wish to transfer your playlist's to a portable music device and there may even be an app for iphones but not owning one i'm not entirely sure. Overall for any fan of music i'd recommend this service. Get away from the illegal downloads and support your favourite bands. The variety in music in impressive with only a few major bands that i've seen so far omitted and in the case of others, brand new albums being released on this on the same day as the actual CD.
Spotify is, in the opinion of many, the future of music software. It a program that allows you to stream music from millions of tracks, ranging from brand new to retro, featuring thousands of artists. Prices range from absolutely free, £4.99/month and £9.99/month.
To get the software, all you need to do is download and install it from the spotify website [ http://www.spotify.com/uk/new-user/ ]. It only takes a few minutes to set up an account and get it up and running. The easy to use interface allows you to create playlists, add friends, share music with you friends, buy the music at cheap prices and even add your own music! It's everything you could ever need and more in a music player - easily beating all competition. Downside are that the free version (or "Open" version) contains the occasional 25-30 second advert every 7 songs or so and only allows the user to stream 20 hours of music/month. However, this version is free so you can't expect the very best.
The next version up ("Unlimited" for £4.99/month) is all of the above but with unlimited streaming and no adverts. This is less than 17p per day for all your music needs... well most.
For all your music needs, the best version ("Premium" for £9.99/month) has everything - for less than 34p per day. It has all the features of "Unlimited", and even more! It streams in a higher quality (320kbps), this is 'near CD quality' according to the adverts. It allows you to download your playlists so you can play them offline without an internet connection, and if you can listen to spotify on the move with the spotify mobile application (compatible on many phones nowadays).
I would definately recommend that everyone give spotify a go, if only for a month (but 99% will use it forever). It's so easy to use, and spotify's vast library will introduce you to music that you've never heard of before but will become you new favourite songs/artists.
Spotify is a music-streaming programme that is fast becoming a phenomenon. 'Spotify free' allows you to play music that you don't own by paying for it through advertising, any time. This means you can search for music (from a truly extensive database), and play it all the way through for free, with an advert every four or five songs. Most people choose to use Spotify by adding their favourite songs or albums to playlists which they can access at any time, and connecting their laptop to a pair of very good speakers and a subwoofer!
Spotify free is the version that those of us who are lucky have. There are other versions: Spotify Open, Spotify Unlimited and Spotify Premium, which I will explain below. Spotify free is an absolutely legal way to stream music for free. This is an infinitely preferable way to listen to your favourite songs than, say, youtube or an illegal site. It is better quality, and you know that the artists are receiving money for the songs.
There are many other features which make Spotify free an absolute joy: the fact that the song database is very large and allows you to find new music very easily and in different ways; the play queue which allows you to queue songs and to see what you've been listening to; and the biographies about artists you're interested in, to name but a few. In fact, the disadvantages of Spotify free are few. The adverts are very short and far less annoying than ones on the radio, although more repetitive. The connection is dependent on the quality of your internet, unlike, say itunes, but this can be overcome with the paid versions.
- Day Pass - for £1.99, you can get ad-free music for 24 hours - perfect for parties!
- Share - you can connect to your friends' playlists by being on facebook, and thereby share and compare songs.
- Search - you can search for a song by its title, its artist, its album or its label; very useful for all of those hardcore music fanatics.
- Library - with this, you can upload songs from on your computer (e.g. from itunes) and 'star' songs.
Of course, this all sounds too good to be true, and that's because Spotify has become so popular that in order to use it free, you now have to have an invite (which can only be issued by Premium users). This brings me to the other versions of Spotify you may wish to consider, the first two of which are brand spanking new:
1) Spotify Open - this is a free version of Spotify, with adverts, that doesn't require an invite, but you can only use it for twenty hours per month, and I don't know about you, but this is not long enough for me. You still have access to the millions of tracks in the entire database, however, and can still add local files and use the share feature, for example.
2) Spotify Unlimited - for £4.99 per month, you can have ad-free music all the time. It doesn't have every feature that Premium has, but it has no adverts ever, which is a significant advantage.
3) Spotify Premium - this is the one Spotify want you to buy, because it has all the fancy features like offline mode (so your internet connection doesn't matter), enhanced sound quality (close to CD quality, so they say), and exclusive content (i.e. they get recent releases faster than the great unwashed do). It costs £9.99 per month, and has no advertising on it.
There is a full run down of each version's features on the Spotify website.
All of these versions have fabulous features. The programme's name and design are both sleek, for example, and it is remarkably easy to use. I actually think it works faster than itunes and crashes less, but I may be wrong there, and itunes is a much bigger application. I must stress that the advertising doesn't bother me much, and I really hate adverts usually. If there's one particularly annoying, you can mute it and press play, or just turn down your speakers. Furthermore, Spotify find out your age and gender when you sign up, so that you're not "bombarded with ads not meant for you". Supposedly.
There are some weaknesses of the programme. It's a small thing, but it drives me mad: when artists are alphabetised, the beach boys would be under T for 'the'. I don't think I would find this so annoying were it not for itunes and ipods getting us used to not having to worry about whether the arctic monkeys are 'the arctic monkeys' or 'arctic monkeys', but there it is. Another issue is that not all artists have allowed Spotify to buy their music. Most notable is the absence of Beatles songs, of course, and I know a lot of users feel that loss. Another massive weakness that I have to mention is the gender/age aimed adverts. I know I said before that they were an advantage, but as a seventeen-year old girl, I was getting driven mad by 'don't put up with abuse' and 'take a condom' and 'come to Edinburgh Penrier university'. Conversely, one of my male seventeen-year old friends had 'don't abuse girls' and 'use a condom' ads thrown at him. Since Spotify ads have a rather repetitive nature, you can understand our irritation.
Despite this, I would not hesitate to say that Spotify has changed my life. Sad, I know, but it has introduced me to countless new artists, allowed me to enjoy songs I haven't heard since year 5 and entertained me for probably thousands of hours, for free. If you want to understand the mind-blowing nature of this fantastic music player, visit the Spotify website and watch the short video about the Spotify Story. I read recently that Spotify hopes to be able to replace itunes, and I can honestly see this happening if there isn't too much backlash from artists (Spotify means less money for them), because it has improved so much recently and in a very large way. When I joined, you didn't need an invite for Spotify free, and there were many issues with the application. Now, however, it is a music machine, and I hope lots of people are buying Unlimited and Premium. It seems to me that if it can draw people away from youtube and illegal download sites, it is a very good thing, and once you're on it, it's amazingly addictive. I have become used to a musical soundtrack to everything I do, and I can honestly say it never gets boring. Download Spotify as soon as humanly possible!