Spotify, Give it a Spin

Spotify. Anyone have it yet? I do. The free version. I like it better than Pandora, because I have more control. In Pandora, you get started by selecting a few songs you want to hear and then it takes over, like the computer Hal in 2001 a Space Odyssey. It uses some sort of omniscient algorithm to predict what songs you might like. It sometimes gets it right, and sometimes not, but the thumbs up thumbs down thing is a real pain. The thing is, I know what I like, and I like to discover new music on my own.

Spotify. What’s to like? Well, when you download the program, you get instant access to a database of 15 million songs. Pandora has a tiny database of 800,000 songs by comparison. The thing is with Spotify, you have to do all the work. You plug in what song or artist you want to hear and the selection or works of the artist appears. You then select the song you want and it streams. The quality of the stream in the free edition is not all that great, but as good or better than most anything you could find on YouTube, iTunes or Pandora. For the free version, if I understand the terms correctly, you get unlimited listens for the first 6 months, after which you are restricted to something like 10 hours a month and not more than 5 listens or so to a particular song.  You have to put up with ads and some music promotions.  You can’t share music, and can only hear your tunes while connected to the Internet. Premium upgrades give you unlimited listens, sharing capability, the ability to listen while off-line, mobile use, and better sound quality.

For now, I’m content with the free service. We’ll see how hooked I get in 6 months. I might very well upgrade to a premium service – the cheapest upgrade is $4.99 a month. If i do, I’d probably eliminate my monthly Consumer Reports subscription.

Spotify. It’s not for everyone. It might not be for you. There’s no risk to giving it a free spin, except the risk of addiction. Can they hook you? They may have already hooked me.

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