I got myself an invite to Spotify via Klout a week or so ago (maybe two weeks ago, I can’t remember, it’s all a haze of drugs and sex now), and have been fiddling about with it since then and am now prepared to give you my official thoughts on it.
Briefly: It’s okay but I’m not getting rid of my Rhapsody subscription.
Less briefly: The big deal with Spotify is that it’s a legal and approved way to listen to just about anything you want online, all in one place, with all sorts of sharing options, and I think that’s all to the good, and I suspect that this is how most people will use it (it’s how most people use it Europe, where it’s been chugging along for a couple of years now), with a relatively few springing for the $5 or $10 a month options, which get you portability and better sound quality, and no ads.
I’m all for people listening to music legally — musicians should be compensated for their work — so to this respect I have nothing bad to say about the service. I also like the Spotify player, which strikes me as a less obnoxious way to organize music than iTunes, which it superficially resembles. I went ahead and sprung for a paid subscription; the music sound quality is good, at least through my underwhelming desk speakers. So all that’s good.
What I find less good:
1. Lack of an obvious radio function, in which you pick a genre or artist and an on-the-fly playlist is created;
2. Spotify’s annoying tendency to fill up your play queue with autoplaying music, even if you didn’t ask it to. But wait, John, you say. Didn’t you just say you wanted a radio function? I do, but I want it in its own place, not in a place where I want to be able to manage my own musical destiny without Spotify’s software trying to “help” me by playing music I didn’t intend to be played.
3. Spotify’s apparently arbitrary musical permissions. I pulled up Sarah Harmer’s You Were Here album on Spotify the other day and it told me the first two songs weren’t cleared for playback in the US. Well, that would be news to Rhapsody, which pulled up the entire album without any problems at all.
Towards one and two, I might be missing something that will fix those problems, but then again, they should be obvious, and they’re not; I mean, I did go looking. Toward the third, hopefully those are beta glitches which will get resolved in time.
As a paid service it’s not as full-featured as Rhapsody, which is the subscription service I’ve used for years because (excepting the standalone player with a design straight from 2003) it does everything I want it to: radio, playlist management and access to a massive library of music. Other people will make cases for Napster or Mog or Rdio or whatever, I’m sure; my point is that if you’re going to pay for your online streaming music, there are currently better options than Spotify.
But, hey, as a free service? Groovy.