Thursday, 28 February 2013

Spotify: The Good, The Bad, And The Bloody Useless

Spotify was recommended to me last week by Max (from skiwithmax.com) and you know me... I'll try anything once.

I like the idea of social networking for music - that's why I use last.fm. But, when I downloaded Spotify, I think I was expecting something like Facebook meets Napster. Not exactly what I got.

Sure, it's cool that you can listen to a song without having to beg, borrow, or buy... But that's only helpful if you can find the bloody song. That's the biggest problem with Spotify for me: lack of songs. If Spotify has the however-many-millions of tracks that they claim to, why can't I find any of the song I'm looking for?

And half the songs that do come up are just different versions of the same thing, on different albums. Annoying! So, when it comes to hard to find songs? You're better off using a torrent site. (Not that I advocate illegally downloading music, of course!)

And, how about those downloads? Want to download through Spotify? You're gonna pay for those. Uh... Common sense check: we wouldn't be using the bloody program if we wanted to pay for the songs! If we did, we'd just use iTunes since it's what we're already using. (The look and feel of Spotify is basically iTunes with a different skin anyway.)

I'm only talking about the free version of Spotify, of course, because... Well... I'm broke. If you want to pay for it, I'm sure you get lots of extra features like... Well... I don't know. Because all I can see on the website is no adds, and playing it on all your devices. That's not worth paying £10/month for.

That's right... If you want to sync all your devices, you're going to pay for it! The cheek! So I can have the most kick ass playlist on my computer but, whoops, I can't take a bloody desktop everywhere now can I? If I can't sync between my computer and my iPad for free, why bother?

Speaking of playlists, have I mentioned the share feature? Great! I would love to share my playlists with my friends... Except oh, wait. I can't! If there are songs on my playlist that Spotify doesn't have, my friends can't listen to them. Nice job making that social listening app so social! (Fail.)

I suppose I should be mentioning the radio feature of Spotify - but why bother? Last.fm has a radio feature too. And I already use that frequently.

It is true that last.fm doesn't allow you to listen to random songs for free the way Spotify does (if you can find them!) but it does social networking much, much better. Last.fm will tell you what your musical compatibility is with your friends and keeps a record of what they (and you) have been listening to for a year. You can add a last.fm widget to your blog or website, sharing what you've been listening to recently, recommend songs to your friends, and watch music videos. I've been using Spotify for a week now and I haven't come across any of that.

So what does Spotify do to support the claim of social music sharing? It keeps a Facebook linked feed on the right hand side, telling you what your friends have been up to recently. Mmm... Okay. I like that.

But not enough to keep using Spotify.

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