Spotify – A new way to listen to music

Visiting a friend yesterday I discovered Spotify.  Its a little hard to explain what Spotify is in one sentence so I’ll just use the description from their website.

What is Spotify

Spotify is a new way to enjoy music. Simply download and install, before you know it you’ll be singing along to the genre, artist or song of your choice. With Spotify you are never far away from the song you want.

There are no restrictions in terms of what you can listen to or when. Forget about the hassle of waiting for files to download and fill up your hard drive before you get round to organising them. Spotify is instant, fun and simple.

Because music is social, Spotify allows you to share songs and playlists with friends, and even work together on collaborative playlists, Friday afternoon in the office might never be the same again! We’re music lovers like everyone else.

We want to connect millions of people with their favorite songs by creating a product that people love to use. We respect creativity and believe in fairly compensating artists for their work. We’ve cleared the rights to use the music you’ll listen to in Spotify.

So basically Spotify is an internet radio station where you choose the songs.  Either by choosing the genre and year or by artist, album, song.  Make your own playlists and you can listen to your favourite songs again and again.

The Basic Functions

Spotify Search Screen
Spotify Search Screen

Above is the Spotify Search screen for the search John Williams as you can see this gives an impressive 1361 tracks.  One good function is to then sort by popularity and just start listening.  Alternatively you could add tracks to your own playlist (I have set up a playlist call favourites.)

Spotify, The Artist Screen
Spotify, The Artist Screen

From the search results screen I clicked on the Artist which matched my search and it brings up the above screen, this is amazing!  It lists the top tracks (by Spotify popularity) and every single album the artist has released or been featured on.  There is also a biography, and an artist radio, this is a really interesting feature, if you know the artist you like but want to broaden your musical horizons, Spotify will play on the Artist radio your selected artist and similar artists that you may enjoy.

My only complaint about this screen is it doesn’t have the sort functions that the search results screen has ie if in search results there were a mixture of artists so I select my main artist I now can’t search by popularity.  Of course I could set up a playlist and do this.

Radio

If you don’t know what to listen to just use the radio function when you can select the genre(s) and the decade(s) and let the music play.  My only complaint with Spotify is this function, there are so many Best of’s and re-releases that the music isn’t necessarily from the year you want.

What’s the catch

There isn’t much of a catch, there are three pricing structures.  Free, day pass (currently 99p) or a Monthly subscription (currently £9.99 a month).  I listen to the Free service which has adverts.  Listening for 30 minutes I only heard one 20 second advert, much better than my local FM radio station where I hear adverts more than I hear music.

Song availability

There are occasionally songs or albums which are highlighted in Red to show that they are not available in the United Kingdom (often because the  but often just by clicking on the track you want to listen to you can find it available on a different album.

A Warning

I always think it’s worth having a basic understanding of how a program works, Spotify works through P2P (Peer to Peer) don’t worry not all P2P is illegal dispite what the papers try to make you believe.  But it does mean that once you have downloaded a track to your PC you will be sharing it with other Spotify users (otherwise imagine the massive load on their servers) so if you have limited internet access this is probably not for you.  Also therefore Spotify will be storing songs on your PC (not in a format that you can use them other than on Spotify).  You can manage the amount of disk space it uses in the preferences.  By default this is set to 10% of free space.

Suggestions

I’m sure I will grow to love spotify in the coming days / months / years and it is still a young service which is developing.  My suggestions would be, get the year to be the year of the song not the year the album was released (I don’t want to listen to 60’s music if I select 00’s on the radio function) and secondly and I am hesitant in saying this, perhaps develop a social side, see what your friends are listening to, Starting from nothing it is a bit daunting trying to build up whole playlists, perhaps if I could just copy the best bits from friends lists.

Summary

If you listen to a lot of music at your desk this is brilliant, It gives you a jukebox that you can queue up, listen to in high 160kb/s quality with almost every song ever on it!  I look forward to delevloping my playlists and really getting into it (I’m sure I’ve missed several features out.).  Also it is seemless no buffering ever (yet) I can jump to different points in a track and as I click it starts playing

Find out more about Spotify here at http://www.spotify.com

Try it out and leave a comment letting me know your thoughts

Just one more thing

If your wondering I have spent approximatly an hour writing this post listening to Spotify and have heard one short advert!

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