After several months of using Spotify I cant help but wonder whether it signals the future for music listeners.
For those unfamiliar with Spotify it is a music streaming service which allows users to listen to millions of tracks for free.
The interface is similar to what you would see in iTunes allowing you to search for artists or tracks and allowing you to create playlists of your favorite tracks.
Users can opt for either the free version or a subscription based premium model (£9.99/month).
The free version is supported though ad-based services, similar to having advertisements on a commercial radio station.
However, these adverts are not as frequent as listening to the radio and the greatest advantage of Spotify over any other service is that it lets you listen to the tracks you actually want to listen to with barely any interruptions.
Spotify’s rival Last.fm also allows for users to listen to free music, however, users only get to listen to selections called radios which build a playlist of similar bands. Hence, you may never hear the track you were intent on listening to, unlike with Spotify.
Spotify also allows for similar services as Last.fm giving artist radios, genre specific radios, and suggestions of artists you may like, which ensures you always have something to listen to.
Spotify isn’t without its faults, however. Some adverts can repeat endlessly, some new albums are held back for premium subscribers and if your internet connection goes down then say goodbye to your music.
However, Premium does allow (for those willing to stump up the cash) for ad free music and Spotify have just added a listen offline feature (allowing the caching of 3,333 tracks).
Premium subscribers can now also take their music on the go with them, providing they have an iPhone, iPod touch, or android phone.
Spotify playlists can easily be shared from user to user so Spotify can become a social listening experience.
Sites such as http://spotifyplaylists.co.uk/ have already sprung up allowing users to give ratings to the best playlists.
Users never actually own any of the tracks they listen to, however, providing artists gain a fair wage for their work through the ad-based model, Spotify might possibly tackle piracy in a greater way than any legislation ever could.
It encourages users to listen to new music and bands and it does so in a legal method that most users would be happy with. Combined with purchases Spotify is a great way of listening to music and if you discover a track that you want to keep, Spotify also has a instant buy track button that lets you snap up your favorite songs.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to consumer choice and Spotify may just become the best choice for consumers and artists alike since the dawn of the internet age.
To find out more and to download Spotify visit: http://www.spotify.com/en/