Spotify is pretty nice
I started using Spotify recently, and I’m trying to figure out if a premium plan is worth it for me. Here’s a list of some really awesome things about it, and then some not as awesome things. So far, I’ve just been on the basic free level that is ad supported that may or may not come with the ability to access music on my mobile devices. Lots of words after the cut.
It has an extensive library. I’ve only come across two songs I wanted to listen to that it didn’t have: Wine Red, by The Hush Sound, and Oppa Gangnam Style, by kpop star PSY. I’m sure I’ll come across more but it’s surprisingly refreshing to be able to listen to the most recent album of a given artist that I’ve forgotten to follow. I guess this is a testament to my laziness, but instead of hunting down the album for myself somewhere, I can just search for the artist and be listening to their newest album within seconds.
It’s easy to listen by album or by artist. This is probably a given, but my two main modes of listening are shuffle+repeat all on a single album, or the shuffle+repeat all on an artist’s entire repertoire. I’m just really grateful that it’s straightforward and simple to do this.
They captured the special function keys on OS X AND Windows!! I use the Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad at home (Windows) and at work (OS X). It has Previous on F7, Play/Pause on F8, and Next on F9. On OS X, no other music app I’ve found was able to steal these keys from iTunes - pressing Play/Pause would just bring up iTunes; the worst!. There are a couple methods to do it, but nothing I’m aware of came with the functionality integrated. It wasn’t documented so it was pretty nice to stumble upon that feature - such a minor thing but it’s amazingly nice, compared to having to mouse-click multiple windows away just to pause music when I walk away from my desk.
On top of that, they actually do the same thing for my Windows box, using the same keyboard. I’m pretty surprised by that one, because I just assumed that on Windows, the function keys would simply send F# instead of the special functionality the usually provide on OS X. No idea at what point F8 becomes Play/Pause to Spotify, but I’m not complaining. :D
There’s no pauses in playback for buffering/anything else. I didn’t even realize this was happening, because the interruption in service is only worth thinking about if it happens. That’s pretty cool.
The music quality is sufficient. I’m not by any means an audiophile, but since I can’t tell if the quality is poor, it’s sufficient for me.
not so awesome things
those ads This varies from ad to ad, but some of those things are surprisingly annoying, especially when repeated multiple times in one session. Most of the time I can ignore them, but if I’m in the zone and I get interrupted by “We gotta BE the change we wanna SEE!” for the n+1’th time, I think I’ll have to break something.
if you mute the sound, the ad stops It’s pretty reasonable of them and I’d imagine it’s a very nice selling point to advertisers that the users will definitely hear the ad. If you put the volume too low inside of Spotify, or if you set the global computer-wide volume too low, the ad actually pauses itself and waits for you to put the volume back on. It’s pretty cool that they’re able to do that, but it makes sense that as a desktop application they’d have the ability to do that while browser-contained options can’t access the volume information. From my standpoint, kind of sucks that I can’t skip the ads, though :p
not a conclusion
So, in conclusion, I like a lot of things about Spotify, and I don’t like the ads. Seems like upgrading to premium would be the perfect thing for me - all the things I like, and none of the things I don’t like, and access to my music from my phone. But, I’m not really convinced that it’s worth it at $9.99 a month, even though that basically means I’m a cheapskate. I should be voting with my money, and I definitely like how Spotify is able to provide so much for so little (free!). My problem is that I already have a large music collection of my own, and it’s already available everywhere I can Spotify, AND it’s on my mobile device through Google Music. (I just wish I could get keyboard shortcuts for Google Music - I’d probably stop using Spotify entirely if I could manage that.) The ads aren’t annoying enough for $120 a year, and I wouldn’t notice the increase in song quality.