Spotify finally convinced American music companies to let it have a crack at this music library/streaming trend. Revolutionizing the way Europe discovered music, Spotify wants us to share whatever we discover as easily as possible, from anywhere possible. Sounds great, right? Imagine having the entire iTunes selection in the palm of your hands at all times and being able to give your friends the heads-up without them needing to click through page after page just to hear 30 seconds.
It sounds simple enough. While Spotify has some unique and useful features, it also makes the user wonder if the creators thought the plan through before launching. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
Spotify instantly found my entire iTunes collection without me having to touch a single button. It identified which iTunes song was already in the Spotify catalog, making it streamable from any smartphone with the Spotify app installed. Theoretically, as long as your songs match up with whatever Spotify is packing, your entire music library could go wireless.
The streaming service has a vast collection of choices. Short of local bands, any obscure band I could think of was available. A premium account of $10 a month will open up the Spotify catalog for unlimited listening. Quickly stacking up on albums you aren’t sure about before you buy is the ultimate comfort of your contribution.
If you’re looking for an alternative to iTunes or Pandora to house and discover music, Spotify’s computer interface is friendly. Upon opening, the software brings you to albums that have just been released complete with a feed showing any comments from your Facebook or Twitter friends. Any files you may have queued up from the last time you opened Spotify are on the left navigation bar, similar to iTunes. There is also an Inbox featuring any music your friends may have sent you using Spotify.
Much like iTunes, it is easy to sync up new files to Spotify. Simply plug in your iPod, iPhone, or Droid and it uploads it to your library without mass deleting for fear of stealing. You can also quickly share your playlists created on your devices to your friends.
You can AirPlay to any AirPlay-enabled speakers, stereos, or devices via the Spotify app for iOS. Sharing straight from the mobile app via email, Facebook, or Twitter never leaves your friends from missing out on your favorite song.
Minus the Pandora-esque streaming, your iTunes library can already go wireless with an app on any device. If what you are looking for is a spotless app for your phone, this is not where you want to go. Puzzlingly enough, there isn’t a way to sign up for an account straight from the app start-up like almost every app ever created. You must go to the webpage itself or download the computer software. The app requires a lot of attention and directing what to play if you don’t feel like listening to a prearranged playlist. This can be extremely frustrating for driving, jogging, or trying not to bump into people.
The streaming from mobile device leaves efficiency to be desired. Without the seamless suggestions from the likes of Pandora or iTunes Genius, once you stream a song or album, you must go back to the drawing board and pick something new. It will debate with itself whether or not it will load your higher quality files, and sometimes leave you wondering if they are loading at all. The computer software does not have this problem.
There are ads, folks. Unless you pay the premium $10, you will have to put up with whatever Michael Jackson collection or Justin Bieber screeching is being pushed on the market, repeatedly poking at you. At least Apple has the decency to hide their persisting in the iTunes store.
As a podcast fan, having my podcasts categorized in with my songs instead of under a nice little podcast section was a little concerning. This leaves Spotify relying on iTunes to communicate when there is a new episode, but not really alerting me to when that episode is new.
Overall, Spotify would be a good backup in case your iTunes folder never makes it in the migration to a new computer or if you just get sick of all the background software iTunes requires to run. The potential is there for a very good mobile streaming of your entire library, if only it could overcome deciding if it is going to load a high quality file, and sometimes even its own streaming, on your mobile device. Until the mobile streaming service is cleaned up, I would only use Spotify as a desktop client coupling to show my friends what I’m listening to and help them discover new music.
Lauren Mack: Co-founder of The Well Written Woman is an aspiring writer, blogger, and overall enthusiast of brainstorms. She is currently attending Flagler College as an English major with no intentions to teach. Lauren spends a lot of time reading novels and hoping she can one day finish her own. She often wonders how they made blue cheese so delicious. Really, she is just imposing her elitist attitude on everyone.You can find her pennings at her blog and follow her on Twitter.