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Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

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Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Old 02-21-10, 03:34 AM
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Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

MAJOR UPDATE: US Invitations are now open! http://www.spotify.com/uk/coming-to-the-us/

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no financial stake whatsoever in Spotify. I'm just completely in love with its' simplicity and functionality.
Spotify is absolutely not the first music management service, but I strongly believe it is the best... at least for now. That said...

May 4th, 2011: I've updated this first post to remove my review (which was severely outdated) and provide the following summary of the service. The original post is in spoiler tags below, for those who are curious enough to read it.

Spotify is a catalog of about 13 million songs, and they claim they're adding roughly 10,000 tracks per day. They offer three tiers of accounts:

Free/Open:
- Access to the entire Spotify library of music on your Windows PC or Mac.
- No limits for MP3s that you already own or purchase from Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, etc. Spotify calls these "Local files"
- Users are limited to 10 hours of streaming music per month, and 5 plays of any non-local files.
- This free platform is ad-supported, so users are expected to hear/see advertisements for every 5 or 6 streaming songs played. If you only listen to your local tracks, then you shouldn't be forced to hear ads (if you do, tell Spotify, because it should not happen).
- Users can access Spotify from abroad for up to 14 days.
- Users can sync their local files to their iPods (all types), iPhones, or Android devices. For devices that support Wifi, this can be done without a USB cable.
- Free users can NOT sync songs from Spotify's streaming library to any of their mobile devices unless they purchase the desired tracks.
- Users can share playlists/tracks/albums with other Spotify users. This is called "Spotify Social"
- All tracks streamed from Spotify's library are 160kbps. Purchased tracks are higher bitrate.

Unlimited:
- Removes all of the major restrictions of the Free account. No hourly limit, no play count limit, no travel limit.
- Most importantly... no advertisements. Just pure access to the entire catalog along with your own Local files.
- The Unlimited account also adds the Spotify Radio mode, which plays random tracks based on the users' selection of Genre and Decade. The radio mode is not as good as Slacker or Pandora.

Premium:
- All of the Unlimited features. Plus...
- Adds the ability to play any song from Spotify's streaming library on mobile devices that support the Spotify Mobile software. iPod Touch, iPhone, Android, etc.
- Local files can still be synced to non-iOS iPods, but Spotify's library cannot because those devices don't support the necessary software.
- Adds "Offline Sync" mode to all of the Mobile and Desktop software. Up to 3,333 tracks (local or streaming) can be stored on each device. Users must "check in" with Spotify (ie: log into your account at least once) every 30 days to keep the streaming tracks stored offline.
- Users can choose between 160kbps and 320kbps on the desktop clients, or 96kbps and 160kbps on the mobile clients for streaming songs.
- Extra support for Sonos, Squeezebox, and network-enabled Onkyo receivers. These devices contain software to stream directly from Spotify.
- Access to some albums before they are released anywhere else.
- Shazam integrates with Mobile software. So if you hear a song and use Shazam to identify it, Shazam has an option to open Spotify and begin playing the song if it is in Spotify's library.


Currently, the desktop client is about 4MB in size.


original post below
Spoiler:
Even though I could have posted this in the tech forum, I felt that it was far more relevant in the music forum. It's music-lovers like us that this thing is geared towards, after all.



The bad news first...
Spotify is only available to users who register with a Postal Code in the countries for which it is licensed: United Kingdom, Finland, France, Norway, Spain, and Sweden. Premium Membership can only be purchased by users who use a credit card or paypal account with a billing address in one of those countries.

There are rumoured workarounds to get access, and even people on ebay who sell monthly memberships at an inflated price. Do NOT discuss workarounds in this thread, please. There are forums all over the internet for that type of discussion.

Also, some artists have specifically asked for their music to be removed from Spotify. The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Tool are just a few. In time, I'm sure that will change. Spotify is just too good to be ignored.

The good news...
Spotify is rumoured to be launching in North America early this year. If you can wait, you should check it out as soon as it launches!

Spotify requires a minimal installation on your PC or Mac (less than 3mb), and has a suspiciously similar layout to iTunes. It has a Radio feature that lets you choose between a range of decades and genres, although it doesn't let you filter out bands/tracks that you don't like, as far as I can tell. I honestly don't use the Radio feature very often, as I find it a bit buggy.



You can use the Search box to enter an artist, song, or album name, and it will give you a list of about 80 tracks that match, but if you continue to scroll down, it adds more search results if there are any.



The thing that makes Spotify a killer app to me is that all search results show up as clickable links so you can then see other tracks available by that artist.
This means that 99% of the music on Spotify consists of FULL albums. Meaning, you have full access to anything you want to hear whenever you want to hear it. This is displayed in the Overview tab.



I've barely used Pandora and Slacker, but it doesn't seem like you have the option to hear full albums on there. Correct me if I'm wrong. All music on Spotify streams at 160kbps using some sort of Ogg Vorbis encoding system. You can create playlists just like you do in iTunes, and Spotify keeps a list of your five most recent searches. The playlists, as well as songs or albums, can be shared through Delicious, Facebook, and Twitter with other Spotify users. Spotify can also be configured to enable scrobbling to last.fm.



Each "Artist Page" has a few tabs including Biography, Related Artists, and Artist Radio. Related Artists is a list of other artists that "people who listen to Artist X also listen to." Artist Radio just creates a playlist of songs by those artists, similar to Pandora and Slacker.



There's a "Home" page that displays albums and singles that are newly available to Spotify and a list of "artists you may like" which seems to be generated by what you listen to; although at first, it listed top 40 music as a default.



In the Home screen, there's a Top Lists tab that displays the 100 most popular tracks and albums on Spotify. Those lists can be filtered to only show your top tracks/albums or for each country that Spotify is available.



Spotify allows you to purchase tracks and/or albums just like iTunes. Quality ranges between 256kbps and 320kbps and they are DRM-free MP3 files. This is great if you want to throw the music onto the MP3 player of your choice.


Spotify is free... if you can get an invite. Similar to Pandora and Slacker, the free version of Spotify subjects you to advertisements. If you travel away from the country for which you are registered, you can access Spotify abroad for up to 14 days.

Spotify also offers a Premium version. You can pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee. In the UK, for example, the monthly fee is 9.99 . Going with this version gives you a few added benefits. There are no ads. Users have the option to listen to streams at 320kbps, but not all tracks are available this way, it seems. Playlists can be set to work in Offline mode, which means that they get downloaded to your computer for a 30-day period and can only be played by Spotify. You can store up to 3,333 tracks offline! The Premium version also entirely removes the 14-day travel limitation.



Every time your subscription is renewed (ie: once a month or once a year), you're given 2 Spotify Free invites. The Premium version also allows you to use the free Spotify Mobile app for iPhone, Android, or Symbian. The Mobile app also allows you to make Offline playlists, and only supports 160kbps streams to avoid excessive buffering delays. You definitely don't want to use the mobile app on anything other than an unlimited data connection.


So, that's my review of Spotify after using it for less than two weeks. It is an amazing little program that represents the natural progression spearheaded by Napster, Slacker Radio, Pandora, and iTunes. With a bit of fine-tuning before the inevitable North American launch, Spotify will give the recorded music industry a chance to survive in the new millennium.

Last edited by Dan; 07-06-11 at 12:09 PM. Reason: cleanup.
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Old 02-21-10, 02:10 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

A demo of the Spotify Android app:



edit: no more invites.

Last edited by Dan; 02-21-10 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 02-22-10, 02:13 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Good to hear we might be getting this in North America this year - I've friends in the UK and they rave about it. I hate feeling like we're missing out.
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Old 03-08-10, 03:54 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

So, I have another invite available. I'll make this a bit of a contest...

Name a band that I should listen to. If I haven't heard any of their music before and if they're available on Spotify, I'll PM you the invite code.
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Old 03-08-10, 05:30 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

edit: a hint... (a Spotify Free account can be activated in the US... if you know how...)

Last edited by Dan; 07-14-11 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 08-26-10, 03:12 PM
  #6  
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USA... if you're quick enough...

Well, someone found a way to get Spotify in the US.
http://www.cultofmac.com/get-spotify...a-how-to/56412

Article details how to get the iPhone app, but that only works if you purchase a premium membership. If you just want the Mac or Windows app just do "Step 1" and "Step 3." That'll work for about 14 days.

The application itself has changed quite a bit since I wrote the first post in this thread.

Have fun! Oh, and you can add me as a friend to view my playlists:
http://open.spotify.com/user/dan_klimuk
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Old 05-04-11, 10:08 AM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

So I see they added support to Sync with iPods (no iPhone or iPad?). Didn't Palm go through this a few years ago with a back and forth patch battle with Apple?

http://www.spotify.com/int/blog/arch...o-to-the-ipod/
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Old 05-04-11, 10:23 AM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Whoa... what a bump. I should update that first post. It's WAY out of date, yet again.

Slightly different that Palm's situation, I think. This is more like Media Monkey (which I've never used). They're really just saying that iPods will now be displayed as devices in Spotify, which never had a "devices" list before.

iPhone/iPad sync was already available via the mobile app. The mobile app is now available to all users (rolling out slowly), whereas it used to be Premium-only. The catch is that "Free" users can only sync their local MP3s to their mobile devices, where Premium users can sync anything in the catalog of 13,000,000 songs to their iOS, Android, Symbian, and Windows Phone 6 (7 coming soon, confirmed by MS) devices.

Last edited by Dan; 05-04-11 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 05-05-11, 06:07 AM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

My VPN lets me switch countries so I've been meaning to try it.
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Old 05-05-11, 10:23 AM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

You should. You've got nothing to lose! When you create your free account, you'll have a 6-month period where some of the limitations are different:
- You'll get 20 hours per month instead of 10.
- You won't have the "5 plays per track" limit.

After 6 months, the standard limits apply.

For those that don't have a VPN and are curious enough to try it out...
Spoiler:
I have a tutorial on my blog for setting up an account. It's more concise than CultOfMac's version. You'll be limited to 14 days, though.

Last edited by Dan; 05-05-11 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 05-05-11, 01:18 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

So the full service sounds similar to the Zune Music pass? Except you don't seem to keep and/or download X tracks at the end of a month.
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Old 05-05-11, 04:33 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Similar to Zune Pass, yes. Spotify does not offer the 10 free tracks per month that Zune Pass does. That would be a great perk, though. The biggest difference seems to be mobile device support. Zune Pass only works with WP7 phones and Zune HD. Spotify offers streaming and offline syncing on nearly every smartphone platform (Blackberry is suspiciously absent for now).

The biggest drawback, like any subscription service, is the stuff that's missing because they don't have deals with some smaller labels or the artists specifically don't authorize their music for ANY streaming services. Tool, Pink Floyd, etc. But you can always import your own MP3s of those bands, just like iTunes, but without the nasty "determining gapless playback" nonsense.

edit:
An article comparing Spotify and Rdio. The writer does a good job of illustrating the pros and cons of each service. A little wordy, but worth reading.
http://english.martinvarsavsky.net/i...winner-is.html

Also, Slacker Radio now has a "Premium" service that now offers on-demand streaming, but doesn't include everything in their library. It'll be interesting to see how it compares...

Last edited by Dan; 05-18-11 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 07-06-11, 12:10 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Bump!

http://www.spotify.com/uk/coming-to-the-us/
Sign up and get an invite (eventually).
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Old 07-14-11, 11:02 AM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

It's live now, but still invite only. I snagged one on another site and am liking it so far. Very easy to use and has a pretty nice library of songs.
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Old 07-14-11, 12:53 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")


Actually, if you're willing to go straight into the $5 or $10 plans, you don't need an invite. Invites are only needed for the free plan.

I have a handful of invites. If anyone wants one, just send me a PM with your email.

edit: done with the invites for now. Maybe more tomorrow.

Last edited by Dan; 07-14-11 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:31 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Slacker offers a similar service for $10 a month but the Slacker software on Android is so bug ridden that it's really difficult to justify.

...and I don't mean "Force Crash" bugs, I mean randomizing your playlist without telling you, skipping songs at random, re-sorting any and all music selections, music randomly starts or pauses for no reason, etc;

Edit: Thanks for the invite!

Last edited by RichC2; 07-14-11 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:45 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

I've only seen one real bug in the Android app for Spotify.
In my car, I have my Nexus S connect to a Bluetooth adapter that plugs into my car stereo. That seems to work fine, but when I pause a song, turn off the car, return to the car, turn it on, and press "Play" on Spotify, it loses its place and either restarts the song or just doesn't play anything until I select the song again.

That never happens with a normal set of headphones, though.

Those of you who I gave invites to better use 'em. I'm curious to see how you guys like it. After a year and a half of using it myself, I'll say that the GUI isn't pretty but it gets the job done 1000x better than iTunes when it comes to strictly music.

Last edited by Dan; 07-14-11 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 07-14-11, 02:10 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Wow, the PC software for Spotify is amazing in how fast it works. I'm extremely impressed.
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Old 07-14-11, 02:23 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

The only problem I have had is after it plays a song in my playlist, it sometimes stops until I click on the app and make it "active" again, then it goes onto the next track. It doesn't happen after every song, but enough to make it annoying.
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Old 07-14-11, 02:28 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

^bralph, that's probably from the ads kicking in. I think the coke ad, specifically, stops music playback. Try leaving it for 15 to 30 seconds to see if the music starts on its own without having to make the app active every time.

edit: three invite codes: dN7fmMtrntVXtFVb cM2kCqmx3D9mEcZG aSKLzEe5cEbbmS5c

edit2: If you're using Spotify, add this playlist:
It's a collaborative one, so anyone can add/remove songs. Just figured it was worth throwing out there to see what music you guys want to share.

Last edited by Dan; 09-21-17 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 07-14-11, 02:38 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

I managed to sign up using this method: http://lifehacker.com/5821234/how-to...hout-an-invite.
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Old 07-14-11, 03:27 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Originally Posted by xraybies View Post
I managed to sign up using this method: http://lifehacker.com/5821234/how-to...hout-an-invite.
That method limits you to 20 hours of listening, instead of unlimited.
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Old 07-14-11, 03:29 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

Originally Posted by SomethingMore View Post
^bralph, that's probably from the ads kicking in. I think the coke ad, specifically, stops music playback. Try leaving it for 15 to 30 seconds to see if the music starts on its own without having to make the app active every time.
I tried that. It doesn't. Only making the app active restarts the music.
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Old 07-14-11, 04:42 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

I put in my email. No invites yet. Grr.
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Old 07-14-11, 04:52 PM
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Re: Spotify: Everyone Loves Music (or "Streaming is the Future")

more invites sent to those who asked.
I was going to save some for some Canadian friends, but it looks like Spotify isn't officially coming here anytime soon.

Last edited by Dan; 07-14-11 at 05:28 PM.
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