Find us on Google+

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Spotify Review

I recently received an invite to the launch of Spotify. It's a streaming music service that's been running in Europe for a while now, but it only came to the US in mid July. If you're like me, you're probably wondering why you would bother with switching to Spotify over other services like Pandora or GrooveShark which also offer streaming of music.

Specific song searching and playlist creation.

That's the killer feature, at least for me. I created my account and got to searching. Spotify includes your music along with all the millions of tracks they have available online. So you can play local stuff right along with the streamed stuff. What I love is the ability to sample music from all over the place. Lately I've been listening to Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Orff as I write. But instead of listening to one track or one movement from a larger piece (like the music I have in my library), I get to grab whole works. Yesterday I listened to "Matthew's Passion" by Bach and "Carmina Burana" by Orff. That's three hours of music, but it was glorious to hear them all together rather than in bits and pieces.

In between some of the songs, Spotify will serve up tips or ads. It's admittedly jarring to move from "Moonlight Sonata" to gangsta rap. If I wanted to I could pay for the premium service and not have to listen to the advertisements. For now I'm willing to put up with the interruption for the pleasure of all the songs.

You can also take your playlists with you. You create a Spotify login and that's where your playlists are stored, so if you log in on another computer, you have access to all the same playlists that you created on your primary computer.

So, instead of searching for songs like other songs, like you do with Pandora. In Spotify you can search for specific tracks and listen to those tracks. It's up to you. You don't have the surprise of hearing songs that you didn't expect, like with Pandora, but you also don't have the shock of hearing songs that you don't like. The search tools use clickable filters under the headings Artist and Album, so you can narrow down what you're looking for with just a few clicks.

Once you've found the track or tracks that you want, you can just drag them over to the playlist area on the left. Drop them on the "New Playlist" area to automatically make a playlist, or drop them on an existing playlist to add them to that list. Drag playlists or tracks up to the "Play Queue" to set up your listening for hours to come.

I've had problems with some tracks not playing. I'm not sure if it's the streaming that's broken or the track itself. I could usually click to the next track and it works fine. Also, I had the problem when looking for individual tracks, but not when I grabbed entire albums.

How do you like Spotify? What tips and tricks do you have to share?

No comments: