Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Spotify App Review

Hello lovely! It's time for me to review my all time favourite iPhone / iPad & PC application of all time. Oh, that's quite the spoiler isn't it? Ooops...

So, what is Spotify? 

Spotify is an online music streaming service which as of December 2012, contained a catalogue of approximately 20 million songs which I'm sure you'll agree is pretty huge. It allows the user to listen to songs on demand over the internet without having to buy or own the actual tracks. You can also 'download' them for offline play.

The service is available on your mobile, your tablet and your home entertainment system. 

The first choice you need to make with Spotify is what kind of subscription you'd like, Free, Unlimited or Premium. Spotify was launched in October 2008 and I've been a Premium user since 2009. I have to admit that whenever I'm looking to cut costs or whether or not to renew any subscription services, I don't even contemplate cancelling Spotify.

So, What do I get as a Free User?

  • You can download Spotify on your PC and listen to 10 hours of playback a month.
  • Adverts will be present in between your song selections.
  • You can organise your music into playlists. 

What do I get as an Unlimited User? (£4.99 a month)

  • You can download Spotify on your PC and use with unlimited playback.
  • No adverts will be present in between your song selections.
  • You can organise your music into playlists. 
  • Access to Spotify radio.

What do I get as a Premium User? (£9.99 a month)

  • You can download Spotify on your PC or mobile device and use with unlimited playback. 
  • No adverts will be present in between your song selections.
  • You can organise your music into playlists. 
  • Access to Spotify radio.
  • You can configure your mobile phone or PC for 'offline' play. (Great for when you're on the Tube and have no signal, or if you have limited mobile data.)
  • Access to exclusive 'premium user content'.
  • Further enhanced sound quality.
  • You can play Spotify through multi-room music systems.

Hopefully that hasn't caused too much confusion... I'll talk about what I love about the premium service as that's the service I subscribe to. 

I have an iPhone & an iPad, so as a premium user I am able to download the Spotify app, which looks like this... (Yes I am currently in Starbucks listening to Harlem Shake, but not re-creating the video I hasten to add)

So this is the main menu view and you can see the Search option, at the top. I can search for any song in the Spotify library by Artist, Album or Track name. As there are tens of millions of songs available on Spotify, rarely am I ever disappointed because I cannot find something I'm looking for.

The only main exclusion that I'm aware of is The Beatles, their music isn't available on Spotify because of a digital distribution agreement that is exclusive to iTunes but otherwise, it's been so far so good. 

The next menu option is What's New. Here you can access Top Tracks and New Releases as shown below. 

You'll notice from the date of this post that these tracks are very recent chart songs. Spotify has an entirely current music library, it's not full of songs from a year ago. This is one of the main reasons that I fell in love with Spotify. If I'm watching TV and an advert comes on for a new album - 99 times out of 100, I can search for it and instantly download it to my mobile phone. Which is absolutely brilliant.

You then have an option for Spotify Radio, this creates a random playlist of songs chosen based on specified genres and decades. So if you're listening to a One Direction song, for example, and yes I am partial to a bit of One Direction even at my age - then you'll be presented with a whole host of similar tracks on a radio service, which you can skip through, listen to or even add to your regular playlists. 

Which brings us nicely to the next menu option; Playlists. Spotify adds another dimension here, because you can share playlists. So if your friend creates a playlist of 'Awesome Tunes' and you subscribe to it, you will be able to see all of the songs that they add to that playlist - which is constantly updated. And if your friend gives you permission to add songs, then it's a collaborative playlist; genius. 

You can also subscribe to playlists via a search function - so even if you don't know the author you can still add their playlist to your library. For example, I am subscribed to a UK Top 40 playlist and a BBC Radio 1 playlist. Both of which are constantly updated as songs enter or leave. Bloody brilliant...

So let's have a quick recap and include a few Spotify facts, Geek to Chic style...
  • It's a music streaming service.
  • During 2010, Spotify paid more than €45 million to it's licensors.
  • It has a catalogue of over 20 million songs.
  • Spotify announced in March 2013 that it had over 6 million paying customers and over 24 million active users globally. 
  • There are 3 different types of membership.
  • You can now buy Spotify gift cards on the high street. 
  • Spotify allows for social media integration, so you can see what your friends are listening to. 
  • There is no contract with Spotify Unlimited or Premium, you can cancel at any time.
My Conclusion...?

As I eluded to in the opening of this blog post, Spotify is my all time favourite application. I would highly recommend that you consider giving Spotify a try if you buy more than one album a month as at £9.99 a month it's an absolute steal and a no brainer for me. 

You can check out Spotify online at and purchase gift cards in your local Argos or music retailer. 

Be sure to let me know if you give Spotify a try and perhaps we can share some playlists! 

Always Geek, Forever Chic.

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