I’ve been looking for something to really satisfy my music needs. iTunes got old fast, I hate anything that comes standard with Windows, and other players just had crappy interfaces. And that’s just local clients. When it comes to online music streaming, you’ve got the hit-and-miss nature of Grooveshark’s library, Pandora’s station model (with ads), and other competitors. They’re OK, but again–I’ve been looking for something incredible, not just mediocre.
Spotify is that incredible solution.
It rolled out in the US yesterday and I managed to snag an invite code from a complete stranger on Twitter after peddling around for about 10 minutes looking for a way to get in that didn’t involve spoofing the service to look like I was from the UK. It’s been in Europe for a while, but talks with music labels delayed its release in the US.
When you sign up for the service, there are three tiers–Free, Unlimited, and Premium. The free version has ads, and doesn’t let you stream on your phone. Unlimited takes away the ads, and Premium gives you Spotify on your phone and enables you to listen offline. All three plans include the Spotify client, which acts as a library organizer for your local music.
At first I couldn’t figure out why they went with a desktop client. With Pandora’s new HTML5 redesign, I thought that music streaming services had figured out that we want a web-based music experience. But the more I’ve played with it, the more I LOVE the client–so much more than I ever loved iTunes.
The strength of the client is the fact that it’s the perfect hybrid between the music you already have and the music you don’t. You can easily switch between online streaming and your local library without skipping a beat. And get this–you can even create mixed playlists with local music AND online streaming music.
It handles local music extremely well. Without me having to do a thing, it found all my music and brought it into a clean interface. It’s also instantly searchable, which is a big plus for me. Now I’ve finally got the tool that marries local music and online music, and lets me manage it all from one slick interface.
Spotify has also tapped into the social scene by adding the ability to connect with Facebook. When I finally set it up, it showed all my friends who had Spotify (most of them in Europe) and their public playlists with the option to subscribe.
Brilliant, if you ask me.