For those in the know, Spotify is the one service music lovers in the U.S. are dying for.Spotify takes a new approach to music streaming on the desktop and mobile. Users can stream from a library of millions of songs, purchase tracks, and store playlists on Android or iPhone.
And with it’s latest update allowing you to sync to iPods, Spotify could be a replacement for iTunes altogether.
Right now, Spotify is only available in a few European countries including Sweden (where Spotify is based), United Kingdom, Spain, and France. Every few months a new report pops up that Spotify is nearing an agreement with record labels to finally allow the service to come to the U.S.
So far, no dice.
While we wait, the folks at Spotify gave me an exclusive look at their apps for desktop and mobile.
In a nutshell: Spotify lives up to the hype.
I think the best feature, and the one that really kills iTunes, is the ability to sync music to your Android or iPhone over Wi-Fi. (Something iPhone owners have been dying for.)
Spotify's desktop app lets you create playlists that you can then sync to the mobile app on your phone. If the songs you choose aren't available in Spotify's streaming library, you can transfer the file to your phone over Wi-Fi.
It has already replaced the iPod app on my iPhone.
I also like the social aspect of Spotify. You can make playlists and share them with other Spotify users over Twitter and Facebook. And with Facebook built in to the desktop app, you can automatically keep up with what your friends are listening to. Very cool.
The streaming library is huge. I could find songs by most artists I searched for, although not EVERY song by that artist.
Still, it's more than enough, and you'll have no problem getting the music you want. And they are all available for streaming on your smartphone.
But streaming isn't your only option. If you want to listen to music offline, you can cache recently played songs to your hard drive. (Just make sure you adjust how much space you allow for this or you could wind up with a full hard drive.)
Spotify only lets you stream three hours of music per week, at a maximum of 15 hours per month (in case a month bleeds into a 5th week). You'll also have to listen to the occasional ad, just like you would on Pandora.
There are two paid plans, both allow you to listen to unlimited streaming music without ads:
The Unlimited plan, which costs £4.99 or €4.99 per month (less than $10 USD), will let you stream an unlimited amount of music without ads and import your current collection into the Spotify app from your computer.
The Premium plan costs £9.99 or €9.99 (around $15 USD) and adds even more features. You can store your Spotify music and playlists on your mobile device so you can still listen if you're not connected to the internet. You also get higher quality music, that streams at a crystal clear 320 Kbps.
Making a playlist is easy. You can select songs stored on your computer or ones from Spotify's streaming library.
Click the Share button to post a link of your playlist to Facebook or Twitter. Your friends and followers can click the link and listen to your mix on their own Spotify account.
Neat! Now you can stream the same music your friend was just listening to. If you like the songs, you can purchase them too.
You can sign in to Facebook within the desktop app. You'll automatically see other Facebook friends on Spotify. From here, you can listen to the playlists they shared
Now the best part: You can sync your playlists and music to your iPhone or Android over Wi-Fi. Make sure your phone is connected to the same wireless router and launch the mobile app.
Your songs will begin transferring from your computer to your iPhone. Keep in mind that you're limited by your Wi-Fi connection speed, so the large playlists may take a while to load
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