Earlier this month, Spotify finally came to the United States. The utilization of this popular British music listening service has been the goal of many a music fan here in the states and now, it is possible.
Spotify offers over 15 million songs to stream via an app on the PC or Mac. A free account allows a person to stream unlimited music with ads to their computer. When on the same Wifi as the computer, a mobile device, like a Droid or an iPhone, can be used to stream music as well. Spotify also allows the creation of playlists and can read playlists from iTunes to share with friends from Facebook.
Upgrading to a premium account for $9.95 a month gives the ability to stream to a mobile device at any time and any place and removes any ads from the stream. Additionally, a premium user can download songs from the Spotify app to listen to offline and can listen to it as long as the Spotify premium account is maintained. The premium account also upgrades the music quality from 192kbs to 320kbs for better listening quality.
There are three issues I have had so far with the Spotify service. The first is ads that do not fit with what I am listening to. While listening to 90’s Brit-pop, I got an ad for the artist Pitbull, who is completely not within the demographic of the music I was listening to. It would be nice if Spotify looked at my playlist and taylored the ad towards me. The second is the lack of a true social sharing. I can tweet a song or look at what my Facebook friends are listening to or their playlists, but it’s very limited and not a true social experience. The third issue is minor, but it would be nice to find music by genre. If I am listening to Blur, it would be nice to just be able to listen to a Brit-pop station that would stream Blur, Pulp, Suede, etc. rather than needing to build a playlist to listen to them.
With so many songs, artists and albums to choose from, it’s hard not find something to listen to on Spotify. Even with the minor issues I have with Spotify so far, it’s great to have access to so much music to stream instantly. As Trent Reznor once said about the illegal website OiNK “At the end of the day, what made OiNK a great place was that it was like the world’s greatest record store. Pretty much anything you could ever imagine, it was there, and it was there in the format you wanted.” Spotify feels like what OiNK once was, with the diversity that isn’t limited by the “Sam Goody” mentality Trent refers to iTunes.