Photo Courtesy of Spotify
The days of constantly searching for music are over thanks to Spotify, a musical fusion of iTunes, Pandora and other social networking sites that makes it easy for users to discover music and for aficionados to share new tunes with friends.
Reliance on flash drives and other complicated attachments are now a thing of the past as Spotify allows music lovers to have all of their songs in one place. The ability to save favorite tracks, artists and playlists makes Spotify much more than a typical website dedicated to streaming mp3s.
The website was created by Swedish developers in 2008 and made available to the U.S. in 2010, increasing the number of users to 10 million, and growing more and more each day.
Spotify offers three different payment plans: a free version of Spotify with advertisements, an ad-free payment option of $4.99 per month with endless streaming or a premium option for $9.99 per month that allows full access to Spotify’s features, including complete offline access on mobile devices.
Spotify has revolutionized the way people listen to music and surpasses other popular music sites like Pandora, which in comparison serves only as an internet radio site, and Grooveshark, which lacks a download feature and the ability to network with friends.
Spotify is unique from other on-demand music search engines because the application acts as an extension of one’s music library, allowing users to make personal playlists public, as well as listen to songs other friends make public. Spotify also makes music incredibly accessible with millions of tracks at its disposal. Users have the ability to create playlists with songs they discover, ‘star’ songs to bookmark, send them to friends and subscribe to other users’ playlists.
“I like that Spotify uploads my library to the cloud so I can access it anywhere,” said fourth-year communication major and former KCSB radio show host Brian Field.
Similar to Pandora, Spotify has a built-in ‘radio’ with different genre options, but unlike the popular search engine, all songs are savable in an iTunes format. In addition, Spotify recently teamed with Facebook to expand the site’s functions to automatically connect friends and music.
As a new service, imperfections still exist. Although the free version of Spotify has virtually no strict limitations, its recent Terms & Conditions changes only allow users to listen to music for up to 10 hours a month. In addition, the iPhone app’s functions are exclusive to premium users, which makes other free music providers such as Pandora a better option to listen to music on a cell phone. One other complaint is that connecting to Spotify via Facebook, the easiest way to sign up for an account, friends can see every track users listen to. Justin Bieber fans be forewarned.
Despite these pitfalls, Spotify remains head and shoulders above its contemporaries as it pertains to extending music libraries. It may even decrease the amount of illegal music downloads.
“I like how the use of Spotify really does lessen the amount of illegal downloading that people, especially us broke college students, tend to do,” said fourth-year film and media studies major and KCSB radio show host Sarah Kowaney.
Simply put, Spotify is spot on.