Spotify: ‘It’s a smart way to listen to music’
Published: Monday, December 5, 2011
Updated: Monday, December 5, 2011 19:12
Move out of the way iTunes and Pandora, Spotify is a new way to listen to music with more than 15 million tracks available anytime through a PC, Mac, home audio system or mobile phone.
Although Spotify celebrated its third birthday on Oct. 7, it has only recently caught on in the U.S. this year.
Founded in Sweden, Spotify reached its 10 millionth user in September 2010 and as of October 2011, it is available in nine different countries.
According to Spotify's website, the download makes it easier than ever to share music, in a free, safe way.
Creating an account is quick and easy on spotify.com and users can immediately begin searching for and sharing their favorite music.
It's easy. Spotify's setup is similar to iTunes, allowing users to create playlists, sync music from their computers and see what other Spotify users are listening to.
Spotify also syncs with Facebook allowing users to see which of their friends have Spotify and what they are listening to.
Users can search for music by song, artist, album, record label or genre and can create an unlimited number of playlists.
The endless library and direct listening is what sets Spotify apart from other music trends like Pandora.
Unlike iTunes, which confines your music library to one computer, Spotify can be accessed on any computer. Similar to iTunes, Spotify allows consumers to buy music and share their music files with a maximum of five computers.
It's free. Although the most basic form of Spotify is free with few ads, users can get rid of ads by paying month-to-month for an unlimited account for $5 or premium account for $10.
Users with a free Spotify account must always be connected to the Internet for streaming. With Spotify Premium, users can listen to music offline by deciding which playlists they would like to sync to their computer or phone.
Users can still buy music through Spotify, however, unlike iTunes, users can listen to the music before purchasing it.
Users with a free account have unlimited listening time the first six months, however listening time is limited to 10 hours per month after, which encourages them to switch over to a paid account.
It's safe. Spotify is a safe way to listen to music because following the initial download of the Spotify program, no additional downloads are required.
Music sharing and free downloading is infamous for infecting users' PCs with viruses, but Spotify users can avoid this problem because the music is streamed rather than downloaded.
Tilda Helgesson, a freshman undecided major of Åhus, Sweden, has been using a premium Spotify account for two and a half years.
"It's a smart way to listen to music, because you don't have to download anything and it's not illegal," Helgesson said.
Helgesson said she needed an invite in order to use Spotify when she first got it, but now users don't need an invite to create an account.
"There's no other place you can find music this cheap and still get it legally," she said.
Kyle Stroup, a sophomore exercise science major of Jacksonville, Ark., received an invite to use Spotify from a friend in Sweden at the beginning of September. He purchased a premium account and uses Spotify multiple times per day.
"If I'm not in class or eating, then I've got Spotify playing on my phone or on my laptop," he said.
Stroup first heard about Spotify when he took a trip to Sweden in 2010. "Everyone used it, and it was popular with house parties."
Stroup's favorite thing about Spotify is the fact that he can see friends who use Spotify and merge their playlists with his.
"The only other music application I've used is iTunes, and I'd say Spotify outclasses it in all manners," Stroup said.
Garreth Clines, a senior biology major of Jonesboro, started using Spotify Premium about a month ago and heard about it from a friend on Facebook.
Clines said Spotify is superior to iTunes and Pandora, specifically when he wants to listen to a particular song. The ability to listen to anything anytime is his favorite thing about the application.
"I also like that you can send song suggestions to friends and vice versa," he said.
When downloading Spotify to a computer, it automatically links the iTunes library.
"For the payment of one iTunes album a month, you get 100 percent free access to unlimited songs that can be linked for offline mode," Stroup said. Linking is the equivalent to downloading the music to a device, like an iPod.
One of Helgesson's favorite things about Spotify is that she can find new music in many different ways.
"You can search by genre or see what has just come out," she said. "I find music much faster with Spotify than I would have otherwise."
Many features have been added to the application since Helgesson began using Spotify.
These features include an inbox, allowing Spotify users to share music with each other, a list of Facebook friends who use Spotify and a ‘What's New' tab, which features albums recently released by major artists.
"I don't like how my Facebook shows what I've been listening to, but I think there's a way to take that off; I just haven't figured it out yet," she said.
Clines and Stroup said their least favorite thing about Spotify is that a strong Internet connection must be available when they're not using offline mode.
However, Clines said Spotify is worth every penny.
"If you want to expand your music repertoire, Spotify is great for you," he said.
"Not only would I recommend Spotify to others, but I already have. I've passed it along to all my roommates, friends, family and some other Arkansas State students.
Imagine a song pops in your head. You just type it in, hit search, and then double click the song and it's instantly playing for you. How awesome is that?" Stroup said.