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Spotify Breaks the Chains that Bind You to Your Music Library [REVIEW]

Spotify launched in the US last week, and I have been spending the last few days diving into the new music craze that is sweeping the nation. Already established as tops in its class across the pond, Spotify is available for free as a limited preview, but that won’t do you any good if you want to take advantage of the music service on your Android smartphone. You will need one of two subscription models, and luckily if you’re willing to pay you won’t have to wait for an invite. Spotify is an excellent compliment to your existing music library, allowing you to take most of your tracks everywhere you go without the hassle of syncing to a single device. Use it on your computer, your friends computer, your smartphone…and share your music the whole way.

Let’s get one thing straight. Spotify isn’t Pandora (or Slacker, etc.). And not “isn’t” Pandora as in it isn’t as good as Pandora. It just isn’t Pandora. Someone made a comparison I found quite apt. Pandora is like listening to the radio. You can choose generally what you want to hear but the playlist is largely out of your control. Spotify is like your record collection. All of your favorite songs and albums are there to listen to, in any order, on demand. Except…Spotify isn’t just like your record collections, it is your record collection.

Spotify is installed to your desktop, gathers the music on your hard drive (including your existing iTunes library), and syncs it all for access anywhere at anytime. And they mean anywhere, anytime. You can select tracks to be available for offline playback on your mobile, freeing you from the burden of a cellular or WiFi network (or maybe just cutting back on your data usage). But herein lies perhaps the most major fault with Spotify: if the DRM rights to certain tracks in your library aren’t owned by Spotify, you won’t get to stream or share those songs. For the most part my iTunes library remained more or less in tact, but certain albums were left out, or in some instances an album might only have two or three tracks it can stream.

The Android app is about what you’d expect from any music app. View, create, and edit playlists, search for and add new music to your library, it’s all pretty old hat at this point, but we applaud Spotify for keeping it simple. One of the cooler features of the service is the ability to share music to your social networks or send songs to a friend’s Spotify inbox, allowing them to hear the track. Sharing is super easy in the Spotify app. Just long-press the item you wish to share and choose the option from the menu.

A drawback to Spotify is the lack of a web-based music player. Without one, accessing Spotify from a computer without the Spotify app, or, in my case, on Google TV is nearly impossible. But that minor setback shouldn’t detract from the overall experience.

If you aren’t on Spotify and don’t buy the hype, I understand. I was once in the same position, but just a week with the service and I’m jumping on the bandwagon. For me it won’t replace other options like Grooveshark, Slacker, or Pandora, but it will definitely get its fair share of use.

 




  • RedPandaAlex

    I don’t know why none of the reviews and hype pieces mention that the subscription service is pretty much the same damn thing as mog, rdio, rhapsody, etc.

    • z0phi3l

      Spotify has more tracks than those others, so it’s cheaper in the long run to use Spotify

      • daveloft

        Spotify has 15 million tracks internationally. This does not mean that the US has all 15 million tracks. They have yet to say exactly how many tracks are available in the US. Which makes me think it’s quite a bit less and probably in line with what the others offer.

        • http://www.facebook.com/mayonesa John Jimenez

          good point. i hope they let us in on it soon. spotify doesn’t seem as forthright as I would hope. Apparently, they also don’t tell you that only 10% of their library seems to be 320 bitrate.

      • http://androidforums.com/members/kwest12.html kwest12

        You might want to recheck grooveshark’s estimated numbers. It’s more. I realize the legality might be questionable and the quality may vary, but in terms of sheer song count grooveshark wins by a landslide.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/7GXJ4CL5A6A5YPPUO47UQXGP5Y Johan

          In my experience, Grooveshark suffers from terrible sound quality. Spotify uses the Ogg Vorbis format and that lets them offer better sound with less bits.

          • http://androidforums.com/members/kwest12.html kwest12

            II believe your information is correct, however, I am an avid grooveshark user myself and I somewhat disagree with the accusation of terrible sound quality. I would instead suggest that the quality is decent most of the time with a number of glaring exceptions.

            For me, these exceptions don’t really prove to be an issue for a few reasons. First, there is typically a better quality version of the song readily accessible. Second, I’m by no means an audiophile, so the lesser sound quality is a sacrifice I’d gladly make in exchange for the other superior options (IMO) such as the web player, the lack of ads and the regularly offered $20 tshirt purchase that gets you a year of grooveshark anywhere.

            Also, the ability to upload all my music as opposed to hoping that spotify has a license for all my previously downloaded songs is a nice feature as well.

    • daveloft

      I want to know why no one thinks it’s weird that a web based service requires an app. I use Rdio on many different computers and love the fact that it’s available through the browser. I hate the idea of needing an app on my desktop. The service feels dated to me.

      • http://profiles.google.com/zandmstudios Steven Zang

        In response to the app issue, I actually prefer apps on the desktop. A) it provides a more streamlined experience (no browser bars reminding you you’re not using a standalone program), and B) it’s not as buggy, and there’s no compatibility issues between browsers.

    • http://profiles.google.com/zandmstudios Steven Zang

      Um, yeah, but then again, you could say that the subscription service for Rdio is the same as MOG, Rhapsody, Spotify, etc. or any variation of those 4 services…but I digress. Anyways, the main differences between Spotify and those other services are A) Spotify offers virtually buffer-free streaming, B) Spotify offers a FREE service, and C) Spotify has way more songs than those other services. Just sayin’.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Harkless/12409078 Matt Harkless

    so im not trying to sound ignorant… but besides being able to cache some songs on my device for offline play (which I could just manually put some songs on anyways if I am worried) what makes this better than AudioGalaxy? I am just amazed how little press audiogalaxy gets…

    • jakep_82

      Audiogalaxy only allows you to stream music you already own. It’s basically the same thing as Google Music or Apple iCloud. Spotify allows you to listen to any song in their collection which they claim is 15 million. They’re very different services. That said I definitely prefer the music discovery and social features of Rdio over Spotify.

      • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

        Jakep_82: it’s too bad the author of this Phandroid post COMPLETELY left that part out! The way this post was written, Spotify appears to be exactly like AudioGalaxy and Google Music.

        Phandroid fails big time with this post.

  • lynyrd65

    grooveshark ftw!

  • fechhelm

    Can you cancel your premium subscription at any time? And if you do can you re-subscribe later?

    • Adrian Nilsson

      yes & yes

  • JulianZHuang

    android app require premium and i only got a free acc.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/7GXJ4CL5A6A5YPPUO47UQXGP5Y Johan

      So pay for a premium account then.

  • Droidmatters

    overrated. Grooveshark has been doing this for a long time, and doing it well, too.

    • http://profiles.google.com/zandmstudios Steven Zang

      yeah…except for the fact that their music is user-uploaded, so A) the quality is often poor, B) the streaming times can be RIDICULOUS, and C) the legality is VERY questionable. Lol.

      • ckeegan

        Agreed. Spotify streaming over my Droid 2 sounds phenomenal for every single track.

  • Lex_407

    Spotify = Rhapsody minus the cloud.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Harkless/12409078 Matt Harkless

    this review didn’t make it apparent that you listen to MORE than YOUR collection

  • http://twitter.com/teardropcity teardropcity

    I have been a Rhapsody subscriber for several years now. In the past year, Rhapsody has made some nice changes to their services and UI. I pay 10 dollars a month and can access from any browser and also from my Android phone. I get streaming and on my phone can download for offline listening as well. I recently tried Spotify free version, and Rhapsody has a much bigger selection, so I am sticking with Rhapsody.

  • GawkerRedesignSucks

    So if I have all my music on my SD card already and I don’t care about saving space, should I care about Spotify? Is there some other awesome feature I need to know about?

    • ckeegan

      Spotify has far more music than your collection. Spotify is not a music storage solution, it’s a music service. I just wrapped up a 9 hour drive, and ran Spotify over my car stereo for at least 4 of those hours. The only time I stumped it was when I tried to find Iesha by Another Bad Creation.

    • TalkingMoose

      Unless you have 13 million songs on your SD card, Spotify will have something more for you to listen to. Yes, it will use your library. But it also uses it’s own. You can create playlists using both as though you had one freaking huge disc full of music. It’s petty neat.

  • http://www.cjmillisock.com/ Chester Millisock Jr

    This is the WORST review ever written. The author completely failed to convey the fact that Spotify allows you to listen to ANY song you want, not just those in your collection. The author described Google Music — not Spotify.

    What a terribly unfortunate writeup. Most people will not read these comments.

    • NathanDrago

      I hope they do. Really, HAS the author even TRIED the service? :-

  • http://twitter.com/rexroof Rex Roof

    What isn’t talked about is that you can search for any artist and any album and play it on demand. even if you’ve never “synced” the music in at all.

    I’m testing out the $10/mo service.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jnewball Jeffrey Newball

    Spotify trumps rhapsody in every way

  • Alex Lock

    is this better than rhapsody ?
    and if so in what ways not just like pshh rahpaody fail answers please

  • VegasDude73

    The spotify app is a poor port from iOS. The android settings menu isn’t a standard settings menu etc. Local music isn’t organized AT ALL, it’s just one big list or playlists. a more accurate review http://www.androidpolice.com/2011/07/14/review-spotify-for-android-us-is-it-the-music-streaming-service-youve-been-waiting-for/

    • http://none.no Morten

      It’s not a port, this app came first. Symbian and Android app looks like the same app. So i guess they use the same codebase.

      To organize local music you need too put them into playlists its that simple. Use your computer or phone. You can hold down a song and simply choose playlist.

  • VegasDude73

    AMAZON MP3 FTW!

  • JMcGee

    I read this review and was thinking, “Dang, I had completely misunderstood what this service was all about. I’m glad I came across this review and cleared that up.” But, no. Something else was going on, actually.

  • aguillon5

    Spotify does not let you listen in multiple locations it will pause one player when you start another. To me this is an ultimate fail. I share other services with my family at home on my sonos while I listen at work or in vehicle.

    • NathanDrago

      This is of course conceived to prevent people from sharing their user account over the internet… not so hard to realize, is it?

      • aguillon5

        Not so hard to realize that I am not paying for 6 members in the family to use the ame service either, is it?

        • NathanDrago

          Then what are you complaining for? You want to share a service conceived for single users? Completely missed the spot(ify) ;-)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_67WWQKU2EXZAU5D2OSREILUSHM Diana Hatfield

    on’t have to wait for an invite. Spotify is an excellent compliment to your existing music libr