What is Spotify?

I just posted about Spotify coming to mobile platforms and while I gave a brief mention to what Spotify is, I thought a post dedicated just to that would be a good idea.

Spotify is an online “Jukebox” of music that users connect to via a downloaded desktop application (which is available for Windows & Mac as well as Linux via WINE). One could look at it as a legal version of the original Napster-a way to listen to all the songs you haven’t got but without illegally downloading them. Spotify is a streaming music service so you don’t download any of the music to your hard drive-it’s all held in “The Cloud”-this makes it supremely easy to access from pretty  much any location (Internet connection permitting of course).

A look at the Spotify desktop client
A look at the Spotify desktop client

The features are excellent, a huge catalogue of music, the ability to create playlists, genre based radio stations and a great search function. Of those the most interesting is probably the playlists, specifically Collaborate Playlists. These can be shared among users via a URL allowing all those with access to add and remove tracks to that listing. I think this will be one of the killer features of Spotify, especially as the user base increases; it’s a great way to find new songs/songs you’d forgotten about but your friends hadn’t 🙂 If there are any songs that you really want to own-to play when away from the PC, in the car etc then the ability to right click and purchase the track (from Amazon, iTunes etc) is going to be added; the menu item is already there but isn’t yet active.

Spotify is available via a free-ad supported version (only available if you receive an invite from another user) or an ad-free  implementation for £9.99 a month. The ads are pretty unobtrusive-they play in between perhaps every 10 songs and visuals ads also appear in the desktop app too. I’m not usually a fan of ads in places like this but with Spotify it doesn’t bother me at all 🙂

There are a few things that are missing but as Spotify is such a new entity, I’m sure these will get added in as we go along-the 2 big ones being

No mobile support: This is being worked on as we speak-see my post here.

No support to stream to external speakers: While this still isn’t officially supported-there are work arounds.

On the plus side, you can scrobble to Last.fm should you wish. On a side note I tried to get along with Last.fm a few times but it never worked out (for various reasons) but Spotify clicked instantly!

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