Gosh. I can get a bit jaded with all the rubbish new music services I get bombarded with every day, which is why it’s such a breath of fresh air when something comes along that ticks every single box. For me, Spotify is that thing. Spotify is a streaming service. It just streams, but by golly does it do it well. It has three things that set it apart from other, similar offerings – catalogue, speed and social functions.
Firstly, Catalogue. It seems to put just about every song in the entire world at your fingertips, streamable within a few seconds. Majors, indies, everyone seems to be on board. There was only one record I looked for, in an extensive list of obscure stuff, that I couldn’t find (Idlewild’s “Captain” mini-album, in case you’re wondering).
Secondly, it’s lightning fast. Rather than being built around a website, you download a small application to play your music in. Some might consider this a disadvantage, but I disagree. It’s responsive, lightweight in terms of memory footprint (just 13MB for me), and echoes Songbird‘s design, which is never a bad reference point.
Lastly, the social functions. You can drag any track, genre, album, artist, or playlist out of the window into a text entry box. Like this: http://open.spotify.com/track/4FtXOAHBz3AoHVvenKyd9V. Clicking that link, if you have Spotify installed, will start that track right up. Very simple, very easy, very intuitive.
So where can you get it? Well, I’m afraid to say that Spotify is in private beta. At the moment, you can’t get in without an invite, and invites aren’t exactly thick on the ground yet. However, there’s a “premium” version that doesn’t include ads, costing a tenner a month, and if you shell out for that, then you can get in today. Money talks.
I’m dead impressed by Spotify. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a music service get everything right. The only things I’d add would be S60 and iPhone clients, scrobbling of songs to Last.fm, and more of a recommendations engine. In the meantime, top marks for usability and implementation, Spotify. I hereby award you the Tech Digest Official Badge of Awesomeness. Nice work.
I’ll have a chat to Spotify and see if I can get some invite codes for readers.
If you’d like one, then drop us a comment below.
UPDATE: We got overwhelmed by requests for invites, so we won’t be doling any more out here. Go see this page to find out how to sign up for Spotify anywhere in the world.