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A guide to using Spotify

Spotify, the music-on-demand website, is now avalable in Australia

Music lovers and tech-geeks across Australia were very excited last week by the news that on-demand music site Spotify has opened its arms to Australia, giving us all the chance to easily stream more than 16 million tracks.

Spotify already boasts over 10 million users worldwide, with some choosing to take advantage of their free service and others upgrading to the ad-free ‘premium’ subscription, available for a monthly fee.

The first question I asked myself when investigating the benefits of Spotify was “what does it give me that my trusty iPod doesn’t?”

As it turns out, it gives me quite a bit more. Similar to the revolutionary leap from CDs to personal MP3 players we saw in the early 2000′s, music streaming services are the next generation.

Instead of having your own music library in your pocket, you’ve now got a library the size of a small European country at your disposal where you can delve into the back catalogue of artists you’ve been meaning to check out or track down that long-lost favourite song from years gone by.

Sold? Check out our handy guide below to get you started.

Signing up

Signing up for Spotify is really straightforward as you can simply sign in through Facebook.

From there, you have a number of options for subscriptions:

  • Free: The most basic service allows you to play local files, share music with friends and access millions of tracks instantly. The catch? The free subscription is ad-supported.
  • Unlimited: If you’ve had enough of listening to ads the Unlimited option at $6.99 per month is ad free.
  • Premium: This subscription, at $11.99 per month, allows you to listen to Spotify on your mobile, access your playlists offline and is also ad free with unlimited music streaming.

However, when I downloaded the app to my iPhone it gave me a free 48 hour trial of the Premium service, quickly followed by an email offer to extend the trial to 30 days which is plenty of time to get to grips with the full bells and whistles of the Premium subscription.

Getting around Spotify

If you’re an iTunes user, then you’d be pleased to know that Spotify’s software isn’t a million miles away from the iTunes layout.

With Spotify you can easily search by track, artist or album and its menus are simple to follow – which certainly makes life a little bit easier.

There is also a ‘What’s New’ section where you can discover top tracks and new releases, or check out the ‘People’ tab to check out the tracks your Facebook friends can’t stop bopping along to.

Building your virtual music collection

If you like a song you can add it to a playlist, or simply star it so it’s filed for you to come back to later.

You can also subscribe to playlists compiled by friends, or collaborate on playlists (something my friends do quite a lot for parties to avoid arguments about the playlists!).

Enhancing Spotify with apps

If you’re using the desktop version of Spotify, you can enhance your music streaming experience with some nifty apps:

  • ‘We Are Hunted’ gathers the latest hits from the cutting edge of the music industry and recommends songs that bloggers, industry experts and go-to-guys for particular genres are getting excited about. You can also easily build recommended tracks into playlists for a quick and convenient catch up on the hottest new tunes.
  • ‘TuneWiki’ uses crowdsourced databases of lyrics and shows you the lyrics of the song you’re listening to. Or that’s the idea at least. Either way, great if you’re practicing your best karaoke efforts.
  • ‘Last.fm’, considered the grandfather of all digital music services, logs your tracks in an archive and recommends tracks you might like based on your listening choices. It’s a tricky science, but useful when you’re in the mood for a type of music rather than a tried and tested playlist.
  • There are also apps from media outlets such as Rolling Stone and the Guardian so you can do some reading up on music news while you uncover new tracks.

A clever little music service

Right – who wants to start on the iiNet playlist?

13 comments

  1. Johnno says:

    No video though ,but Zune (Xbox) has. I like Jb hi fii as well.

  2. Cyron says:

    You can’t actually sign up using an email address. That’s a grandfathered option for people that had accounts prior to the facebook integration. If you create an account now though, you have to do it with your facebook account

    Louise Moran Reply:

    Thanks for pointing that out – we’ve amended the text to reflect that Facebook log in is essential.

  3. Greg Conroy says:

    Is IINET thinking of adding Spotify streaming to the FREE zone?

    Adam O'grady Reply:

    Hi Greg,

    There are no current plans to have this added as a Freezone resource. This is partially due to methods Spotify uses for traffic being difficult to unmeter, including peer-to-peer.

    Cheers,
    Adam

  4. Elliot says:

    I’ve been using spotify since it’s launch in Oz and it’s just awesome. Subscription services like this is the future!

    Now when is Netflix coming to Australia??

  5. Judith says:

    I would like to be able to download and burn a disk for playing in the car. If music can be downloaded to ipods etc why not be able to burn
    Judith

  6. Dave says:

    I thought this sounded great until I realised you are forced to use a facebook account. I don’t use facebook and I have no interest in signing up to it.

    I simply don’t understand these website services that demand you use a facebook account to use their service. Very disappointing.

  7. Nick says:

    I’m with Dave. Unless there is a Facebook-free sign up method, not an option for me.

  8. Terry says:

    No good to me. I refuse to use Facebook. I will just stick with YouTube and iTunes. Lots of options there.

  9. robot mondo says:

    I am in total agreement with Dave, Nick & Terry. Facebook has never been an option 4 me, because I value my privacy & anonimity on the web.

  10. Ian says:

    Hi everyone. You DO NOT need to use facebook to login to spotify. Although it’s VERY keen for you to use facebook (because of all the marketing info they get) it reminds you a few times to use facebook, BUT it is not required.

  11. Tess says:

    I’m with Dave, Nick and Terry, I also prefer not to use Facebook and so it is also disappointing to me!

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