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!

Spotify on Windows Mobile

Spotify is the hot new kind on the block and it looks like it’s about to get even hotter-Spotify is coming to Windows Mobile!

If you’re not familiar with Spotify, it’s an online catalogue of music that you can listen to from any desktop/laptop on which you’ve installed the application. There are no restrictions on what you can listen to, you don’t have to wait for anything to download and the catalogue is truly huge-I’ve managed to fox it with some relatively obscure early 90’s hip-hop (Souls of Mischief, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien etc) but it’s hard to do 🙂

Anyway, the one thing that you can’t do is listen to Spotify via your mobile device which, as the world is getting more and more mobile is a bit of a shame. I’ve been using Spotify for about 1 week now and already there have been occasions where I wanted to pull out my Diamond and get on to Spotify-but I couldn’t.

However that all looks set to change because Gustav Söderström (@GustavS) (former Yahoo “Director of Product Management” and later “Director of Business Development” and before that CEO of “Kenet Works AB”) has left Yahoo and set up camp over at Spotify. Kenet Works focused on allwoing mobile devices to access internet fourms/communities wirelessly and while I don’t know if this tech helped Yahoo, it certainly sounds like just what Spotify need!

Also it isn’t just conjecture and guess work that Mobile Spotify is his project. On his blog Gustav says:

“Starting in February, I will head up something that a lot of users have already requested and discussed extensively, Spotify on the Mobile”

Nice 🙂

Spotify’s site list a vacancy for a Nokia S60 platform engineer so it’s apparent Nokia users will be getting this excellent addition to the world of music meets mobile. There is also a vacancy for a Windows Applications Engineer so hopefully they’ll be working on Windows Mobile…


*Update* It was announced in the past week that Spotify have created an app for Android phones which will allow you to play your Spotufy tracks offline! Spotify CEO Daniel Ek also said that an iPhone app is in the works…but no mention of anything for Windows Mobile 😮 Hopefully, it won’t be far behind!

*Update* I’ve just had  a Twitter reply from Gustav (in response to my “any news on a Windows Mobile app”) which said:

“Sorry, can’t comment on future plans 😦 Just keep you fingers crossed!”

Not much to go on-but at least it’s not a definite no!

*Update* Spotify have had their iPhone app approved by Apple so Premium users will soon be able to download songs to their handset to listen to when offline…which is pretty good. I’d like to see it make an appearance on Windows Mobile too but the more I think about it, the less sure I am that I’d pay £120 a year for it. I’m perfectly happy buying songs from Amazon for as little as 29p and listening to them in Media Player on my Diamond 🙂

*Update* Today, 23/11/09, Spotify announced that they now have an app for Nokia phones. I find it very strange that they’ve developed for Symbian before Windows Mobile, are they purposefully shunning Microsoft’s mobile platform?

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