Spotify turned the world of online music streaming upside down, providing users with access to a massive music catalog anyplace, anytime.
While comparisons with other similar services – such as Last.fm – are inevitable, Spotify has certain characteristics that make it stand out from the rest. You can search the entire Spotify music database in several ways (by artist, album, genre, decade, label brand…), create as many playlists as you want and share them with other users, and learn more about your favorite bands thanks to extensive, highly detailed biographies. Spotify also helps you discover new music through the “Related artists” and Radio service.
There are three types of Spotify accounts: Open, Unlimited and Premium. Free is limited to 10 hours of free ad-supported a month (approximately 200 songs) and lets you play each song up to five times. Unlimited has no ads and no playback restrictions. Finally, Premium includes high-quality MP3 (also with no ads or restrictions) and also includes an offline mode for playlists.
The one big criticism of Spotify was the lack of social features. Luckily the developers took note of this complaint and include a bunch of new social elements in Spotify’s next version – together with the Library, a centralized area from which you can manage your music collection – including Spotify’s lists and your own MP3 files, which you can now import into Spotify from your hard drive, your Windows Media Player Library or your iTunes library.
The brand new features included in the latest version of Spotify now let you manage and sync the music in your iPod, iPhone or Android. Also, the Spotify mobile app has been made available for anyone, and not just Premium users. Last, but not least, Spotify has launched its MP3 download service, thanks to which you can buy and download individual songs and also your custom playlists. The price depends on the number of songs you want to download – the longer the playlist, the less you pay for each track. You can pay with credit card or Paypal, though the latter is not accepted if you only purchase one song.
Just like a good wine, Spotify gets better with age. If you don’t mind the limitations in the Free version (or you’re willing to pay for the Unlimited/Premium one) it’s probably time to ditch your old desktop music player.
Spotify lets you browse, play, share and buy music, including not only your lifelong favorite bands, but also brand new styles and artists.
- Gapless playback and cross-fader options added