Photo: Kevin Smith, Business Insider
Apple has been promising a new version of iTunes will be out this month, and the clock is ticking. Meanwhile, 15 million users have taken up a compelling alternative: For $10 per month, the streaming music service Spotify gives you unlimited access to millions of songs from all four major record labels.
You can stream all of your music to any computer or smartphone. You can also download songs to your phone and listen to them offline.
The one improvement Apple is bringing is that your music collection will be accessible on any device, via iCloud. In our mind, that doesn’t really bring it up to par with Spotify.
So why are you still stuck buying music track by track through iTunes—something that won’t change with the impending release?
We’ve been using Spotify since last year, leaving iTunes behind. We’re so glad we did.
Here’s why you should too.
This post was repackaged from an earlier story in light of the impending new iTunes release
Spotify is just like iTunes, except you don't need to buy any songs. All you do is pay a small monthly fee to use the service. It's $4.99 per for desktop-only access. $9.99 per month gives you access to the mobile app for your smartphone.
Spotify has a library of over 15 million songs. Search for a song, double click it, and you're immediately listening to the entire song.
If you need to hit the road but want to listen to music on your computer offline, just flip this toggle.
Worried about syncing with your smartphone? Since Spotify lives in the cloud, you see the same music on your phone and on your computer.
... and when you pull out your phone on your commute home, it appears. Use the toggle to download the playlist (or album, etc) for offline listening.
Another added value iTunes doesn't offer is the ability to share songs with friends. You even get an Inbox of everything friends have sent you, which also lives on your smartphone.
Spotify's pricing is pretty straightforward. We'd recommend the $9.99 per month option so you can listen to music on your smartphone. Competitors Rdio, Rhapsody, and MOG have the same pricing scheme, and are also worth considering.
When we tell people about Spotify's $9.99 per month all-you-can-eat plan, we get sceptical looks.
'I don't want to rent my music,' people say. But you don't need to think about it that way.
Think about it in terms of paying $10 each month for hours and hours of entertainment. That's not even the price of one movie ticket or a drink at a bar.
That $10 also buys you the experience of sharing playlists with your Facebook friends, something you can't do using Apple's social service, Ping.
Of course, you can still buy as much music as you want for permanent safekeeping, but $10 per month for unlimited music listening (and don't forget, listening before you buy) is an incredible value, regardless of whether Spotify eventually shuts down.
And we still purchase music from iTunes and Amazon's MP3 store all the time.
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