I’ve mentioned in previous posts about podcasts that even though I have hundreds of songs in my iTunes library, I’m really tired of all my music. I could, of course, buy more music, but for some reason I never get around to that. I’ve used Pandora before, but haven’t liked it very much. It’s not that Pandora isn’t good, it just doesn’t suit my listening habits. In Pandora, you pick a song, artist, or genre, and Pandora builds a “station” around that music. The word “station” is used because it really is like a radio station, in that it plays a variety of music. That’s great if you like lots of music, but most of the time, I just want to hear one artist, and playing, say, “Relient K Radio” doesn’t just play Relient K. I was started to get frustrated with listening to music in general, since it seemed I couldn’t find much that I liked. Then last month I signed up for Spotify.
Spotify does have a Radio feature, which works similarly to Pandora. Aside from that, though, Spotify’s model is entirely different. Spotify works a lot more like your iTunes music library – search for a song, artist, or album, and then listen. Their catalog’s selection is fantastic (almost unbelievable, actually). I don’t think I have once searched for something and not found it. Now that I can listen to whatever I want, I’ve been listening to tons of music lately, mostly from bands I’ve always really liked but from whom I don’t own many albums. Not all Spotify features are free, of course. With a paid subscription ($10/month, or $5/month if you’re a student), you can listen to any song you want, any time you want, with no ads. You can also save specific albums or playlists to your device for offline listening. Without premium, the features are limited. There’re occasional ads, and you can’t play songs offline. After that, it gets more complicated. On a smartphone, you can’t play individual songs, you can only shuffle playlists, artists, and albums. On a tablet or computer, however, you can play individual songs whenever you want. (Note: This only works on the computer if you download the free client for Windows or Mac – it doesn’t work in the browser.) At first I thought this might be a glitch, but Spotify acknowledged it in one of its ads, so instead it’s a teaser. Spotify knows that you will get used to playing individual songs and want to pay money to do so on your phone (and let me assure you, this desire becomes very real, very quickly). For now though, I’ve put up with carrying my iPad around the house, and I think I can deal with that.
As I said, the ability to play any music I want anytime I want has really changed my listening habits. I’ve started listening to much more music, and I’m really enjoying myself. If you’ve never used Spotify, I strongly recommend that you go try it out. They even have a year-end deal for you. Through December 31, you can get three months of premium for $0.99 – yep, that’s 97% off for three months. (By the way, Spotify didn’t pay me to say any of this. I really do love the service and I’m letting you know about this deal because it’s exactly that, a great deal). If you do sign up, I recommend you start by listening to Switchfoot‘s latest album, Fading West. Happy listening! ••