Spotify has been in the United States for over a month and it is already boasting roughly 2,000,000 users with 180,000 of those being paid subscribers. We have spent the last month enjoying Spotify, and it is clear we have something exciting at our fingertips. Now is an amazing time for music fans. Major music labels have begun to realize they are fighting a losing battle in regards to people listening to music for free. We want what we want when we want it! Your best option for free, instant music gratification was youtube until recently. Youtube’s sound quality is not consistent though, and organizing music to listen for extended periods is laborious at best. Pandora is great for enjoying and discovering music, but you can’t listen on demand to specific songs. Grooveshark is almost a suitable alternative, but it has a clunky interface, and many times songs will stop half way through because they aren’t uploaded correctly. The place we have known the greatest control of music was on our own media player using our own music collection. Now, imagine your collection has 15,000,000 songs and there are resources everywhere to help you enjoy it. That is what we have in Spotify. If you are not familiar with Spotify, read about it here. To see how Spotify’s features stack up against other services, visit this page. In our opinion, Spotify beats them all. This article talks about what to expect and how to get started enjoying Spotify immediately.
As of 09/22/11 you no longer need an invite to join Spotify in the U.S. Simply go to spotify.com, enter your email. The download and install is no problem. When you open Spotify for the first time you are presented with an “iTunes feeling” interface. Since the majority of all music is available to stream for free, the focus becomes how to find what you want to hear. There are many ways to do this. Type any song, artist, or album name in the search bar and Spotify will pull up what is in its database. Click on a song to start listening. You can then navigate all around Spotify without interrupting the music flow. If you click an artist’s name, you will see Spotify’s collection of them. Easily build your own “greatest hits” collections by dragging and dropping songs into a playlist you create on the left side of the player. At the top of the artist page, you can choose to read that artist’s biography, view related artists, or play the “artist radio”. This last option is similar to how Pandora works. Spotify will play its own version of what it thinks you want to hear based on the artist you enter. Unfortunately, you cannot drag and drop songs playing from the “artist radio” into your playlists. It is easy however, to create playlists of your own, discover others, or collaborate on playlists with your peers. Spotify is all about playlists! Also, it is easy to import your local mp3 collection into Spotify to make it the ultimate player.
To get the most out of Spotify you should use external websites. Spotify has existed since 2007 all around Europe, and there are numerous websites to help you enjoy it. Below are some that we use and recommend.
- Spotibot and Spotiseek assist you by choosing artists similar to the ones you enter and arranging them in a playlist for you. You can drag and drop songs that you like into your own playlists to listen to later. The problem with playlist genies like this is they are programmed to pick similar artists, but not necessarily their best songs. You may discover some new artists or tunes, but the listening wont be consistently great.
- Sharemyplaylists lets you browse playlists created by other users, magazines, websites, etc. At playlist sharing sites like this, you have to wade through many sub par mixes to find good ones. Playlist sharing sites do not review for content, so some mixes are much better than others. We are solving this problem at Playlist Professional. Only quality playlists are featured here.
- Keep an eye out for auto updated playlists. They keep you plugged into what’s new by rotating current music at regular time intervals. Topsify has some good top 40 auto updated lists.
- For underground music interests, try Pitchify. It gives Spotify links to high rated albums from Pitchfork.com
- Playlistify transfers your current media player playists (iTunes, Winamp, etc) into Spotify playlists.
- Use spotify super search to search for music on Spotify with advanced queries like year, and genre.
- Firefox and Chrome have in-browser controls that make adjusting volume and skipping tracks extra convenient.
**On December 9, 2011 Spotify rolled out apps for Spotify that can now do from inside its interface what many of the sites above do. Read our review of the apps here.
For the majority of music listeners we would go so far as to say Spotify is the best thing to happen to music since…ever. The sheer amount of music, ease of use, on demand selection, social features, external resources, portability, and free to low cost subscription rates make Spotify nearly impossible to resist. There are some drawbacks, however. A few times over the last month there have been listening glitches for us where the player would stop after each song or a song wouldn’t play at all. Searching for artists doesn’t always yield perfect results either, and finding other users can be troublesome if you are not already friends on Facebook. A bigger issue is that some music isn’t on Spotify. The Eagles, AC/DC, and The Beatles are some of the bigger artists that do not have their music on Spotify. Disappointing to be sure, however there is so much other music at your disposable, you are not likely to stay hung up about it. New titles are being added regularly as Spotify continues to work out remaining kinks with music labels and rights holders. Many smaller labels have pulled their inventory from Spotify because they do not find its streaming payout favorable. Spotify will need to address this if they continue to use the motto “Any track at any time”. Hopefully as more people sign up, they will do just that. Don’t forget about the independent labels guys! Some have suggested that Spotify is primed to pull a bait and switch on us in the future. This is possible, but if you take it for what its worth today, its hard to beat. We use the $5 a month plan to skip the dreaded commercials, and we recommend all music lovers do the same. Hiccups are occasional, but enjoying music has never been easier, cheaper, and more legal than this.
If you have a playlist you would like to share, please contact us with the http link so we can review it. Follow us on Spotify or Facebook to stay updated on all the great playlists we find and other music happenings. More Spotify resources can be found here. Be sure to check out our Spotify app reviews to help you get even more out of Spotify.