The Liner Notes

All the music that matters

Studying Spotify

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The folks over at Spotify must have read my last post because that same week I received three invitations to the new streaming music service here in the U.S.

I immediately signed up and downloaded the mobile app for my iPhone. There I encountered my first disappointment. To use the mobile app you must subscribe and pay for the site’s upgraded service.

So I am tethered to the computer for now. But I was hopeful, if the site is a good as it is rumored to be I was ready to pay and switch from my current streaming music provider MOG.

Almost immediately I was frustrated again. Rather than just use a site online, the company requires you to download their program to your computer which you then launch from your desktop. All other streaming sites I have ever used are web-based.

After taking the time to install the program, I created a profile and signed in. A note on this step, you can’t change your screen name that you choose so take care. It almost is a moot point because to use any of the site’s social options you are forced to use Facebook, which is your main ID.

But I digress.

Initial impressions after logging in were great. The site looked really clean. Great interface and new music was right up front. Everything is easy to play, just click and boom music. The ads are horrible as they move and interrupt the music, but hey it’s free so I can get past that.

I was prepared to dedicate hours to exploring the site and all it had to offer. It took me all of 10 minutes. Spotify is so limited in what it can do.

I’ll start with the strengths. It offers all you can listen to free streaming music. The share options are easy, and playlists are really simple to create. And that’s about it. If you want to check out new releases or listen to some classics, yeah this site is great. But Spotify is supposed to be social and make sharing music with friends fun.

This is where the negatives come in. Spotify social permits you to link to Facebook. I did this and found only two of my friends had done the same. I assume this is because the site was still hard to access. Since then my “social” group on Spotify has grown to four people. This may change when the site opens up but really it does not matter.

To find a user who you’re not friends with on Facebook or who does not have Facebook you have to know their screen name. The point here is that I already know what my friends listen to, I want to be able explore a larger social network as in everyone signed up to Spotify and see what they are listening to then choose who I want to follow based on their tastes.

The bottom line is the site’s biggest strength tuned into its biggest weakness.

The ability to share with my four social friends on the site is great. I can simply click, drag and drop albums or songs into their inbox.

Beyond this the library has a ton of holes and is missing a great deal of music, but again it’s free so for someone who does not want to pay this is the best option.

For those willing to pay, almost every other streaming service I have tried – Napster, Rhapsody, MOG – all beat this.

With the high hopes I had for Spotify, It’s sad to report it’s not all that it was hyped up to be. Even Pandora beats it in respect to streaming radio.

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Written by David Young

July 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm

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