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Spotify is an Awesome Music Streaming Service

Are you are a music connoisseur looking for a great service and application to handle your streaming music needs? Today we take a look at the much talked about Spotify which is the coolest music streaming app we have looked at yet.

About Spotify

Spotify is a free music service based on P2P and client based technology and lets you listen to and discover millions of different music tracks. Each track is encoded with OGG Vorbis format and is protected with DRM so you cannot download and keep the music. The free version is ad supported and will play an advertisement occasionally while your listening.

Currently Spotify is officially available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain. We were lucky enough to get an invitation to the beta version for the United States service. Here we will take a look at the Windows version and see what you can expect when it is officially available for US users.

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Using Spotify

After creating an account at the website, download the player for either Windows or Mac (Linux users can run Spotify under Wine). When you start Spotify you will need to log into your account.  Checking to “Remember Me” will log you in automatically each time. 

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Their player has the familiar look and feel of iTunes. The features available in the player are very cool for a streaming music service.  You can create playlists by drag and drop, arrange songs in a specific order, and can view album artwork.

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When you search for an artist or band you will get results, details about the band, and notice the search queries are saved as well.

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Under the Radio tab you can pick different genres and dates to listen to.

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I did a search for Iron Maiden and got several albums in the results.  The cool thing is you can drag the entire album title into a playlist.

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You can also click on an album title to get more detail about it and read a review.

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Though currently not available in the United States, overseas users can purchase tracks tracks they like buy right-clicking and buying it.

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There is no buffering when playing tracks and they start virtually instantly and you can control the amount of cache space it uses on your hard drive. There is also the ability to scrobble the songs to Last.FM.

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When minimized you can control basic controls of the player which is always a handy feature rather than having to open everything just to pause a track.

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Premium Service

Their subscription model at this time includes three different levels free, one day pass, and premium membership. A day pass lets you listen ad free for 24 hours and monthly subscriptions are completely ad free, includes higher bit-rate OGG files, and other upgrades.

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Conclusion

I would say that Spotify is the greatest streaming music service I have used yet. One caveat is the selection of music is less than what I get from Pandora. That might be due to my tastes and the fact they are still in beta, but isn’t a deal breaker by any means. Again Spotify is officially available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain but there is a lot of talk of getting a final US version soon. I have been extremely impressed with Spotify and while I doubt it will ever replace my collection it is an incredible tool to have for the music enthusiast.  We are interested in what our friends across the pond, where it is officially available have to say about it. Leave a comment and let us know. 

Download or Find Out More About Spotify

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/14/09

Comments (14)

  1. Tristan Hargreaves

    The best part of Spotify which you did not cover in your article is the iPhone/Android app, which if you are premium member (£10 a month here in the UK) allows you to download your playlists to your iPhone/Android and listen to them offline.This is fantastic, the iPhone version has only been out a couple of weeks and I have already got around 25 albums stored on it through the Spotify app which I mainly listen to whilst driving. Whilst the £10 a month fee might sound steep to some, thats only the price of a couple of purchased albums but with Spotify you get unlimited music, available offline. It’s a steal!

  2. Alan

    Spotify was introduced to us with bredbandsbolaget as their ISP in Sweden as a free service. Its as you say, ad supported, but great to listen to albums or just tracks while playing a game or surfing the net. I am sure the people of America will enjoy it as much as we do!
    Regards
    Alan

  3. Calle

    I’ve been using the free version since it was available here in Sweden and I really like, especially the radio where you create your own mix. Since I don’t listen to Spotify every day I stick to the free version – the ads are not worse or more frequent than on commersial radio and definately less hysterical.
    It’s a pity that you can’t find everything but that says more about the music industry – they prefer to get paid in advance for an album instead of being paid for what people actually listen to.

  4. Adam

    I’m using Spotify in the UK and feel a bit behind the curve as I only started using it about 2 weeks ago! I’m using the free service and have to say I am very impressed, particularly with the playlists, and last.fm support. As you say, the music that is available isn’t exhaustive, but there is more than enough to keep you going, and I’m sure this will grow. I have not had any connectivity issues and the songs all stream instantly.

    I’ve not used iTunes (other than for podcasts) since downloading Spotify now, purely because whichever machine I log into at home or work, my playlists are all there as if I’m taking the music with me. I get a sense of ownership (even though that is not the case) which had previously prevented me from using streaming music services for any lengthy period of time.

  5. andreas

    I am a swedish user of spotify….I can only agree…it is awesome. it has already changed music habits here…the reason you dont have all the music you want yet is because of copyright issues. the major labels are already onboard here in europe… but I suppose they haven’t gotten around to that just yet. it does not only offer the listener a great free, legal (instant) music library but also a great way for the labels to actually make money. did I mention that the major labels own part of the service(but they did not develop it!)

    there is an Iphone app for this as well!!

    prepare for something thats better than myspace and Itunes!

    ..and no, I don’t work there I am just a happy customer.

  6. Spider86

    I’ve been using spotify for 2-3 months now here in the UK. I LOVE spotify. The audio and on screen ads in the free versions are not intrusive at all. I’ve just recently upgraded to the premium service though as I’ve downloaded the spotify app to my HTC Hero and needed to have preium account to use it. Is a great idea, i don’t need a huge memory on my phone now as all my music is streamed to me, and I can also cache music on my phone for offline playing (such as on a plane or on a subway or out in the sticks with no signal).

    Overall Spotify has completely changed the way I listen to music. I no longer download, and have near every song i want to listen to already in my library, with new songs being added all the time.

    Good work spotify!! Hope you guys in the US get it soon, you will fall in love with it as I have :-)

  7. JH

    Finally! Something we have and the Yanks don’t! Rock on Sweden!

  8. upkerry11

    I do not understand why people accept the crappy sound streaming music delivers. People fell for mp3 hook line and sinker because they could fit 4000 songs on an ipod. Why listen to yet another version of FM radio (with ads no less) when I can listen to whatever I want to , whenever I want to, in better quality and not have to put up with ads? Why do you get so excited at what is essentially the same old thing?

  9. Peter

    @upkerry11
    With a monthly cost of 9$ and with a bit rate of 320kbps (ad-free), I don’t feel like complaining.

  10. Zymastorik

    I reject any service which will not allow downloading of the files to my notebook or desktop. What good is a huge library of crap I cannot get to if my internet connection is down? Not all of us have stupidly expensive phones that are carted around to look suave.

    This is the same garbage as Hulu and all of those other lame services which wanna push tons and tons of garbage to your machine(s) so they can make more revenue. It’s a sad world we live in where nothing is tangible any longer and everything can vanish in an instant when these services disappear or begin to rake you over the coals for a subscription service adfter they’ve hooked you into their prop software.

    no thanks.

  11. Scott

    Been using Spotify in the UK for ages. You think it won’t replace actually owning songs but I hardly use itunes anymore. When you log in on different computers your playlists are all there. Just right click on an artist or album and you can save them to a new playlist. There is also a S60 version on the way for Nokia and others. If this lauches in the US itunes will definetely take a hit.

  12. KB Prez

    This sounds great, but P2P scares me. I have really good security software, but I’m still not comfortable with P2P.

  13. omis

    I’ve been using Spotify in Finland for many months now and I have to say it works great! I’m currently using it on Arch + Wine 1.1.29 and it is the best working application on Wine that I have ever had (If I didn’t know I would say it’s native).

  14. Mike from Spotilinks

    http://www.spotilinks.co.uk provides community members with a personnal jukebox to receive and save the playlists, albums and audioblog-posts that suit their musical taste

    Feel free to try and provide feedback :-)

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