SlashGear 101: What is Spotify?

Jul 14, 2011
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Today I'm sure you heard the news: Spotify has hit the USA! Finally, everyone is saying, finally we can get our Spotify on and we can have a real good time. But wait - what is Spotify? And maybe more importantly, where can I get it? Spotify is a music streaming service that's been around the UK for a couple of years already at the moment we post this post, and has JUST been released in Beta form today in the USA as both an official mobile app and a desktop app for PC, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS. You'll be able to pay for a basic service at $4.99 that includes access through the desktop app only, or $9.99 which includes mobile access as well.

But what IS it, I'm sure you're asking again? It's a place where you can get basically any music you like from essentially any artist you like for a monthly price. These music tracks you listen to can be stored locally on your device, (with access through the apps only), or they can be streamed through the service the entire time you use the service, whatever you like. Albums as obscure as super West Side remixes from the 80's by Dr J and as brand new as Beyonce's "4" album. Listen to these albums in their complete state, no restrictions.

iOS on iPhone and etc

This service is served, again, through several sources, one of them being iOS. At the moment you'll be working with an iPhone-only app which means that if you're using an iPad you'll have to hit that 2X button if you want to fill up the screen, otherwise it's big black border for you! This service has a Single Track display, the ability to create, save, and share lists of tracks, and the ability to search and display tracks by name, by artist, and by album. You can also hit the Star on each track you enjoy the most, these tracks then sitting pretty in a favorites lists amongst the rest of the lists you've created for your daily enjoyment.

Android

We've got a full in-depth review and hands-on guide for the Android app [this morning], just moments after the service was made public. You're going to find an extremely similar interface here when compared to the iOS version of the app, with all the same functionality and slightly different bells and whistles to get the job done. The same great music is available on both platforms.

Mac OS X and PC

Here you're going to get the deepest experience with an interface that will allow you all the luxuries of search, viewing, starring, and the like that the mobile apps offer, but here you're able to sync with your devices, upload your own library of digital music you've already got on your computer, and work closer with social networking sites like Facebook. Like the mobile apps, this application is free to download but will not work with Spotify unless you are signed up with the service. Furthermore I'm sure you'll recognize the similarities with iTunes - get ready to have your whole Apple-based music world turned upside down.

Wrap-Up

Currently Spotify is in Beta in the United States and you are already able to gain access to a basic account, a free account (with invite), or a premium account, which again is your only path in to getting access via your mobile device.

[Go grab it!]

Below: Spotify as it existed at its origin: 2008.

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