After having lived with Spotify for over a week, I have to give it a resounding- this is really cool!!  Of the growing number of streaming music services out there, the feature lists offered by the collective is huge.  None of them do everything and you can certainly nitpick any of them.  However, I’ve concluded for my needs, Spotify premium puts the biggest smile on my face of them all!

One reason is a feature I just totally overlooked in my initial review.  Spotify is a streaming service.  This means none of the music resides on your computer, it comes in from the great “cloud”.  I decided to test out the Spotify app for my iPhone this week.  A funny thing happened.  Once I signed in, my iPhone appeared on the Spotify list of devices, and then a screen popped up that allowed me to sync my iPhone to my playlists. I thought, hmm, how is this going to work if I am in an airplane and have no internet connection?  Then I noticed the sync seemed to be taking about the same time it takes to download files.  Then I noticed the little bar that showed how much space this music was taking up on my iPhone.  This had me jump to the Spotify website to find out that if you have Premium you can actually load up to 3,333 songs onto your portable device for use when you are off line!  Now how cool is that!!!  So for my two upcoming business trips this week, my iPhone is now full of music I have never heard before, I can listen to it on an airplane, and when I am tired of it, I just delete it and add more new music! Make sure you go to the settings on your iPhone and select stream high quality and sync high quality to get the best performance.

If you read my first review of Spotify, I mentioned the fact that it did not seem that all of the music was in the higher resolution 328kbs format Spotify claims.  Well, after the songs had downloaded, I did a little quick math. Since I knew the total time these files comprised and the amount of space they took up, I calculated the average bit rate was 204kbs. This of course is not a standard, which means some of the songs are probably 328kbs, and some are obviously lower, probably 256kbs, 192kbs, 160kbs, and 128kbs.  If you were really deep into it, you could load them in one song at a time, do the math and find out, but that’s too much trouble for me, when there is nothing I can do about it other than to keep posting to Spotify to make all songs for Premium users 328kbs like they claim.

The next cool feature I found by playing around is just how much fun the artist section is. This was just added without much fanfare this week.  You find an artist and can see all of their albums/songs available on Spotify.  The next tab is a biography of the artist, which can be very interesting to read.  The fun one though is the next tab, which is related artists.  Here you see artists whose musical style is similar to the artist tab you are on.  Well you can imagine what happens from here…you start exploring and finding music you love that you just flat never knew existed!! And, it’s a virtual click to not only save this music to hear later, but also make it port over to my iPhone!  Spotify has a “star” feature next to each song and an entire album.  Click the star and that’s all you have to do.  I’ve been up way too late many nights this past week exploring this world of new music.

Artist Biography Screen

Artist Biography Screen

Spotify also added Artist Radio this week.  This is their answer to Pandora.  It will start playing songs similar to the main artist.  You can see what is coming up like in MOG, but you get what you get and cannot give a thumbs up/down to alter the upcoming content.  I was satisfied with this version; however with the way you can find and add new music, I am not sure if I will use it much.  I’ve added so many playlists and filled them with new music; I may never need the random play of Pandora.  One thing European users of Spotify have that I am sure will land here soon is the ability to random play by genre or decades or a combination of them both.  That would make it even more competitive to Pandora.

I guess I am more of an active listener who likes to pick out and discover, which is the overall factor that makes all of Spotify’s features so appealing to me.  I can guarantee you one thing, when you get into this streaming music idea you will want to upgrade your office music system!!!  I’m already trying to figure out how to fit a bigger pair of speakers at my desk.