Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Review – Streaming Music With Spotify

I was lucky enough to get an “invitation”, and have been using the music service Spotify for a few weeks now.

Spotify is a new way to listen to music. Millions of tracks, any time you like. Just search for it in Spotify, then play it. Just help yourself to whatever you want, whenever you want it.

Spotify has three levels of service:
Free (waiting list for invite): Millions of tracks available instantly.
Unlimited: ($4.99/mo) No advertisements, Unlimited streaming of music.
Premium: ($9.99) same as Unlimited but adds, Spotify on your mobile, Offline mode for playlists.

Once I got it installed, the first thing I wanted to know was, did they have my artists and bands? (aka, Would they provide the music I wanted to hear?) Well, so far, the answer to that is 95% (or, higher) → yes. Considering the convoluted mess that is DRM, that is impressive.

Back in my day, THE band was Van Halen (unless you were into the Bee Gees). Did Spotify have that?

Yes, they do. And they also have Van Halen songs performed by other artists. (see the “Artist” column.) Great! But what about the band that popularized “hard” rock, AC/DC?

Oops. They only have “cover bands”. I found the same goes for The Beatles (which makes sense, as iTunes and Apple bought the rights to the Fab Four). But the weird part is, I only knew I was listening to a cover band because I read the list — my ears thought I was listening to John, Paul, Ringo, and George.

I found other instances of DRM/artist restrictions.. for instance, the band Offspring has two songs I really like – “Come Out And Play (Got To Keep Em Separated)” and “Self Esteem”. Though Spotify has plenty of Offspring songs, the first is not listed (too popular?) and the second is sort of listed, but is not the song at all (it’s some Bluegrass weird thingy) .. But their top song, “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, is there.

But by and large, if I can think of the song, Spotify has it. I did not explore other music genres, but I have no reason to suspect the same would not be true there. (I did look up Johnny Cash, and he’s there. “I fell in to a burnin’ ring of fire..”) I do not think “millions of titles” is an exaggeration.

Spotify works much like the iTunes program, in that you can create “playlists”, play existing libraries, pause, replay, sort and search, etc.. It blows the doors off of Pandora if hearing your band play your song is what you prefer. I cropped my screenshots in a way that the banner ads in the free version are not as evident as they are when you have the Spotify ‘player’ open. I found no lags or skips or anything other than good quality when playing music with Spotify.

I can tell you that the “hype” over Spotify you have probably seen, seems justified to me , and I certainly understand why CNET calls it is a Top Pick. As I am not really a “music guy” these days (too many other distractions), I am fine with the free version, (and the ads don’t bother me as I create a playlist and then minimize the window) but were I still like I was when I was younger, and more “into the tunes”, I would seriously considering “upgrading” to the version that would allow me to access Spotify with my Android smart phone.. so I could better use it like an iPod when I am out walking. $10 a month for that, and “offline” playlists, seems quite reasonable to me.

You can check out Spotify, here. “All the music. All the time. On your computer, mobile phone, and more.” If you like listening to music, I highly recommend you do. Put your name on the waiting list for the free service, at least. Spotify earns two Tech Paul “thumbs up”.

(I might like to see an “equalizer” function.. you know, so I could crank up the bass.. ha! I guess I still have some music fan left in me..)

Today’s quote:I like long walks, especially when they’re taken by people who annoy me.” ~ Fred Allen

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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August 23, 2011 - Posted by | Android, cloud computing, computers, digital music, Internet, iPhone, software | , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. When I first heard of it, I was pretty excited too, but then I read their terms and conditions. For the first 6 months, you get unlimited service, but after six months “a cap of 10 listening hours per month and a cap of 5 plays per unique track” is added. However, considering that unlimited music is only $5 dollars a month, it is not that bad.

    Like

    Comment by Kevin | August 23, 2011 | Reply

    • Kevin,
      Thank you for adding that info for my readers.

      I have no problem paying for a service I enjoy. Way back, there was a song (reference: the Blues Brothers) that had a line, “What do you want for nothin’, rubber biscuit?” Seems to me that these days, people expect everything to be free .. on the Internet anyway.

      I guess, maybe, we could look at it as a comparison of 99¢ per song, or $5/month.. owning vs renting..?
      And, I guess, asking one’s self how much do I listen to music?

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | August 23, 2011 | Reply


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