Spotify: yet another music revolution

Photo from Creative Commons

Spotify is a pay-for-music service which takes the good things from existing music services and mixes them all together in a giant stew pot. Spotify was predicted to be available for purchase earlier this year. However, recent news suggests it won’t be available for download until much later this year, if at all. The president of Spotify states the reason behind the delayed launch is that it was difficult trying to broker contracts with thousands of American publishers.

Spotify, in appearance, is very similar to iTunes with a sleek simple-to-use interface that has many of the same tabs and functions as iTunes. It also has the streaming capability of Pandora. Want to hear an artist but not sure if you want to buy the song? Just stream it and decide. Spotify allows you to create and play streaming playlists, leaving it up to the user how they plan to make use of the program. Along with the streaming aspect of Pandora, it also borrowed from the suggested artist concept giving users a list of artists they may also like.

Spotify does differ in some exciting ways from those two music services. Sharing a song or playlist with Spotify is as simple as one click to send it out to your friends. The one click option works with Facebook and Twitter, allowing it to cover the two large contenders in the social media field. With Spotify, users also set up their own accounts where they can also share music and show people what songs or artists they like.

The biggest draw for Spotify comes from the music streaming portion of the service. You go to a friend’s house and let’s say their music selection is on the sparse side. Download and log into Spotify, and there are all your playlists waiting there for you ready to be played, even the songs you have downloaded on your other computer. While the downloaded songs are not physically on your friend’s computer, the service remembers what they were and provides a streaming version of the song for your listening enjoyment. This means your music can go just about anywhere you go, whether you own it or not.

Another big part of Spotify is the syncing ability it has with mobile devices. It allows users to play local files, or streamed ones, on to your mobile device off your home network as long as the users’ computer or mobile devices are on the same wireless network. This is only available with the very top tier version of Spotify.

The premium tier of Spotify offers early listening, allowing users to view and hear music content weeks before its release. This allows those who are willing to pay more to truly get their hands on things before anyone else. It also includes an offline mode for both the computer-based program and a mobile app, allowing them much more independant freedom than in the other tiers of user ownership.

Spotify has a great deal of potential, but the tiered content and the fact that a lot of what they provide can be found elsewhere for free may put a hamper on the program’s success even before it’s launched. While it may face some obstacles here in the United States, it already has a strong following in Europe. It’s just a waiting game now to see how well that success in Europe translates to success in the United States.