Spotify, to those of you who’ve had your heads buried in a pile of second-hand LPs, is a streaming music service. You can listen to millions of songs for free, or pony up for a monthly subscription and do away with the annoyingly repetitive ads. You can listen to albums, create playlists or listen to playlists others have made.
The Spotify app for iPhone and Android is its mobile sister, a mini-me streaming jukebox that squeezes all the desktop version’s skills on to that 3.5in screen. But the promise of free music is absent. You’ll have to stump up the cash for a Premium subscription at £10 a month if you want access to Spotify’s tune booty on your mobile.
Chances are, if you listen to a lot of music and choose to stream it, you’ll already have (or want to get) a Spotify sub. For the cost of a new CD a month, you’ll have the world’s music at your fingertips.
Spotify’s app is instantly recognisable to anyone who’s used iTunes on an iPhone or iPod Touch, with a few subtle differences (witness the green progress bar where Apple uses blue… very rebellious). That’s a plus – there’s nothing to learn, and with a good Wi-Fi signal it’s so fast you could almost be searching your on-board library.
Mercifully, Spotify has realised that a mobile app can’t rely on Wi-Fi alone. To that end it works over 3G, too, downgrading the stream quality to minimise irritating buffering issues in mid-song. And you can sync playlists to work offline, too. Venture too far from civilization and it’ll still happily feed a selection of its vast library to your waiting ears. Oh, and you can get your own MP3s through the app as well.
It’s not for music hoarders or punkette pirates who think music should be free. But anyone who remembers the cost of physical media should jump at the value £10 a month represents for access to 13 million ad-free songs on your phone.
UPDATE: Music streaming service Spotify has an app for every platform out there and it's great on each one of them, including Android phones. The Spotify app now runs natively on iPad and Android tablets, and adds social features and related artist links for the first time on mobile. Good work.
Not as free as it might as first seem, but the Spotify app is a thoroughly thought-out companion to its desktop counterpart