Spotify appeared a couple of years ago as a free and legal alternative to music sharing on the web. In negotiations with most major labels and a number of indie labels, Spotify offers a music streaming service with millions of songs in its catalog to listen from the cloud, instantly, without waiting or downloading. With a basic free subscription or with a premium account, you have access to a vast music library where you can build up your own music collection.
One of the biggest advantages of Spotify over other streaming services like Last.fm, is its playlist creation capabilities. In Spotify you are free to choose what you want to listen, at the same time you are allowed to create an unlimited number of playlists, sorting your music collection in the way that seems most comfortable to you. In my case, just as an example, I have my music arranged by artist in alphabetical order, plus a couple of playlists for different moods.
Spotify design is another point in its favor; it has a great-looking interface (similar to its Windows counterpart) that makes music searching and managing a very smooth process. There is a search bar on the top to look for songs, albums, or artists, (supporting advanced searches) and a navigation panel on the left where you can browse your collection, your favorite tracks (starred), playlists, etc. Just by typing in the name of a song or artist, Spotify will bring up the results found in its catalog. If anything from those results is of your interest, you can simply drag and drop items and add them to a playlist. If you click on a artist name, you will find the artist discography (in most cases this includes singles, rarities, and special editions) plus a brief biography, similar-style artists, and a related radio. The Collaborative playlist feature is also great; it is a sort of shared playlist where several users can add tracks or albums to help build it up.
Sharing music in Spotify is now easier. In its early releases it would let you share a song or playlist via a URL, now newer versions integrate tools to directly share your music to Facebook, Twitter, or Messenger without leaving Spotify.
Spotify has also incorporated the ability to import your local music collection, in MP3 and ACC formats, and this is a great addition because now you can have all your music accessible from one place.
The free version of Spotify offers a basic service, and, once in a while, it presents audio ads, and some banners or pop-ups. Premium users get a totally ad-free service, the offline mode (to have your music at hand without an internet connection), synchronization among several devices, plus full access to Spotify from mobile devices (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian and Palm).
Spotify is a great app for music lovers, as it puts at your disposal a huge music catalog to explore and listen for free, according to its official site "it'd take you 34 years of non-stop listening just to get through it", its only drawback still being that it is not available outside Europe.
- Decent sound quality (192Kbps in free version, 320Kbps for premium users).
- Easy playlist creation and managing.
- A vast and varied music catalog.
- Nice design.
- Integrates social networks.
- Occasional, though not very often, audio and pop-up ads.
- Not available outside Europe.