As of 2019, 232 million people (almost half of which are paying subscribers) use Spotify, making it the world’s largest and most popular music streaming service. In addition to streaming music, it also functions as a tool for consuming podcasts & videos.
If you’re new to the service, this detailed guide will give you all the necessary details you should know about it such as what is it? How much does it cost? And so forth. Read on to find out.
What is Spotify?
Launched in 2008, Spotify has revolutionized the way millions of people listen to music. Its working is simple, the European media-services provider licenses tracks from record labels (both major and minor) and media companies to include in its large music library, and pays the rights holders an undisclosed amount based on the no. of times Spotify users listen to each track.
There are more than 50 million songs (along with over 450,000 podcasts and 3 billion playlists) on Spotify, accessible via apps for PCs, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, and many more devices. You can search for music via various parameters, such as artist, album, playlist etc. and create playlists to share with your friends over social media. Have a favorite country artist that’s been out of print since you were a teen? They’re probably on Spotify. Looking for rain sounds? No problem.
You will need an internet connection to access Spotify’s content, it allows you to stream music directly from its servers rather than downloading it locally. This cloud-based model offers many benefits such as you no longer need to worry about running out of storage space for your songs, also you can flip back and forth between multiple devices (as mentioned above) and platforms (iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, Symbian and Palm), without having to re-download all your music files individually.
With the rise of the smartphone, Spotify (like Netflix) too has witnessed a growth in popularity. An increasing abundance of WiFi and 3G/4G connections means that users no longer have to keep their music with them, as more and more devices effectively have ‘always-on’ connections.
How much does Spotify cost?
Like other streaming services, Spotify offers both free and paid subscription types, with various benefits and perks.
With Free membership, you can listen to anything you want, so long as you’re willing to put up with ads. Spotify Free is divided by platform somewhat. If you listen on your phone, you can’t select songs individually as you please, though. Instead, you need to shuffle an artist, album, or playlist. PC, tablet and web app users can listen to any song, artist, podcast, album, or playlist, with ads only getting in the way of the experience every once in a while.
Along with ads being played between every few songs, you’ll also get banner ads within the official apps and curated playlists, Radio and offline listening are unavailable.
The paid account costs $10/month, which gives you unlimited access to more than 35 million ad-free tracks. You can also save tracks for offline listening, access Spotify Radio, take advantage of better sound quality and watch music videos.
Student plans are also available for $5 a month; you’ll need a valid student email address to sign up for it. The bundle also comes with a free Hulu subscription. Just make sure you re-register as a student after a year, or Spotify will strip you of the Hulu membership and start charging you the full Premium price.
Spotify Family Plan
Family plans, allow for up to 6 people to use the service, are available for $15 per month and comes with parental control options. Each family member gets their own individual account (that’s just $2.50/person per month if you register 6 people), so your Dad won’t find your Mayhem songs popping up in his recommended playlist.
The Best Spotify Features
As mentioned above, you get this feature once you subscribe to one of the paid plans. It allows you to download albums from Spotify onto your phone, so you don’t always need an internet connection or use your monthly data allowance. This feature alone is worth $10 a month, since it allows you to fill your phone with hours of music for one flat rate.
Your Daily Mixes
Another cool tool is the Daily Mix, it’s basically a set of up to 6 pre-mixed playlists inspired by your regular listening habits. Your Daily Mixes let you quickly find the perfect playlist for any mood without any effort. Each mix is based on a different genre of music you regularly listen to, and is loaded with your favorite artists plus a few recommendations from Spotify that fit the same vibe. What’s more, these playlists update daily. As your music taste evolves, so does your Daily Mix.
Spotify’s enables users to manage podcasts and music all from one app, so you wouldn’t have to download a different streaming apps like Stitcher to get access to streaming podcasts and radio shows. As mentioned above, Spotify offers 450,000 podcasts, including originals that you can’t find anywhere else. Also, like music you can save your favorite podcasts offline too even if you are using the free service (only on mobile and tablet).
Radio is a feature that lets Spotify continuously serve you with tracks based on any artist, album, playlist, or song you wish. It even updates over time to keep fresh. For e.g. you’re not really sure what to listen to specifically but you know in what mood you are. Simply select an artist, album, playlist, or song which represents this mood best and start the Radio from there!
This is not all, there are a number of other great features too which you can find for yourself once you start using this undisputed king of streaming.