Freemium music for almost everyone
Spotify is a freemium streaming app that aims to bring great music to everyone. Although the music, songs, podcasts, and bands it offers are not exhaustive, the variety of music and platforms that makes it available almost anywhere you go makes Spotify the king of music apps.
Constant access to your favorite music
Since its release, Spotify has slowly and steadily taken over the world of streaming music. With over 50 million songs and 217 million users, there’s good reason it’s so popular - it’s available on an eye-watering variety of platforms (Windows, Windows 10, Mac, tablets, iPhone, Android, car systems, Playstation, Xbox, TV, and web app), has multiple premium plans as well as free version, and offers a great variety of curated music, for when choosing from those 50 million songs becomes too much of a challenge.
How do I listen to Spotify on my computer?
Listening to Spotify on your computer is easy. On Windows, you can either download the Spotify .exe or install the Microsoft Store version. The download and installation process is easy and straightforward. Once you’re up and running, you’ll have to sign up, either with a password or a Facebook account.
Is Spotify free?
Spotify is freemium, which means that a basic version is free with ads (much like YouTube and YouTube Premium) - and you have to listen to music in shuffle mode. There are various premium options, including one for families and students. There’s also a generous 3-month trial period.
What does it look like?
Spotify is a nice app to work with, although the interface is quite crowded. This isn’t entirely surprising - there’s a lot of information they need to fit in there. Along the left-hand side, you’ll find 3 main tabs: Home, Browse, and Radio.
Home is where you’ll find songs and playlist you’ve been listening to recently and curated playlists and suggestions from Spotify. Browse allows you to do exactly what you might expect - browse through all of Spotify’s options filtering by type (podcasts, genres, charts, new releases, concerts, etc). Finally, the last tab allows you to listen to Radio, which is a selection of music based on type but which you haven’t actually chosen to listen to - much like a traditional themed radio station. There various versions of these options, based on your musical tastes and things that Spotify’s AI reckons you might like.
Navigating Spotify doesn’t end there. Underneath the three principal tabs, you’ll also find Your Library and your Playlists, as well as the ability to add a new playlist. Once you choose some audio to play, it will display in the main part of the screen with the control options (play, pause, skip, etc) in the bottom bar.
Down in this bottom bar you’ll also find the option to cast to another device. Right-clicking any option will give you lots more options, especially when clicking on a song or playlist. There are lots of smaller Spotify features that are nonetheless useful, like the ability to queue songs, share songs, and some quick shortcuts relating to playlists.
Personalizing the Spotify experience
By accessing the settings under your name in the top bar, you’ll be able to customize the way you use Spotify. This is the part of Spotify that inevitably gets most complaints - most of the tweaks you can make are connected to the functioning of the app, what it looks like, and how you relate to other Spotify users. You don’t have much control over the actual music playback, although you can make some small tweaks (and set up a proxy) by clicking “Show advanced settings”.
For most, Spotify is where the music’s at
If you’re the kind of person who likes a lot of control over their music, then this last point - the lack of playback customization - is likely to be a dealbreaker. That said, if you are that kind of person, Spotify isn’t really meant for you. Between the playback options and, until more recently, the lack of certain artists on the app (although the number missing has dropped hugely in recent times), Spotify is aimed at the casual music listener and not the true music lover.
If you’re a lover, you’ll probably be happier playing your own music with a highly customizable app like VLC or Winamp. If you fall into the category of a casual listener, however, Spotify is an unmissable app, up there with the likes of Google Play Music or Apple Music on Android in terms of ease of use and variety of music. It works perfectly and manages to produce music (pretty much) any place, any time. For many, it's the perfect music app for the modern world.