At the end of 2011, Spotify, the insanely popular and rapidly growing music-streaming service, added apps into its already heady mix of awesomeness. There were some true gems hidden in there, with 5 of the apps in particular being truly addictive. Several months later and Spotify has added a second round of apps to its service.
This next generation of apps are a mixed bag. There are several created by individual record labels, which is a turn of events which suggests the industry is finally ready to embrace the music streaming business model. Those will be profiled in a future article, but what follows are five new Spotify apps that all music lovers should at least try in order to discover new music and expand their aural horizons.
Classical music isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. But that is what makes the Classify app so enthralling. Classify tags itself as ‘Easy Access to the World of Classical Music.’ If this doesn’t introduce you to some classical music you recognize and end up appreciating then it’s unlikely this will ever be the genre for you.
Classify offers several ways to approach the genre. There are ‘Recommended Playlists‘ and ‘Moods‘ for those who are complete beginners and need hand-holding at all turns. ‘Composers’ are also listed by name, or you can choose ‘Eras,’ ‘Instruments,’ or ‘Themes.’ Each has a shared commonality of helping sift through the enormous amount of classical music available on Spotify.
Tip: A good place to start is ‘The 50 Greatest Pieces of Classical Music.’ You are guaranteed to have heard some of these pieces, usually on adverts or in movie trailers.
Digster is an app offering curated playlists, with songs thrown together by “editors … with expert knowledge.” Whether Digster will appeal to you depends on whether you like to have music chosen for you or not. If you enjoy listening to the radio (or even Spotify Radio) then having music playlists presented in this way will likely expand your musical horizons.
The Spotify app allows you to click on any of the curated playlists in order to listen to them immediately. By default the most recent playlists are highlighted, but clicking on one of the themes below them – such as ‘Celebration’, ‘Party’, ‘Workout’ – changes the lineup. They can also be narrowed down by artists, producers, events, and genres/labels.
Tip: Just remember that while these playlists recommend music for you to listen to you’re still ultimately in control, with the ability to skip whichever tracks don’t appeal.
While Digster has experts carefully crafting playlists for you to listen to, Filtr creates playlists auto-magically. There are ready-made playlists sitting waiting for you to listen to, but the fun to be had with Filtr is concocting your own semi-automatic playlist. There is also a social, Facebook-powered element built into Filtr that requires connecting with the social network, but that’s for you to explore at your leisure.
Keeping it within the walls of Spotify itself, you can create an instant playlist based on your favorite artists or narrow it down to specific artists or genres. Simply type something into the Filtr search bar and a playlist based on it will appear fully-formed. Filtr is powered by Last.fm, which already has its own awesome app on Spotify.
Tip: You aren’t limited to one selection, and can base a playlist on a variety of different artists or genres all vying for attention. Simply add more names to the search bar and watch the playlist evolve before your eyes.
The Legacy Of
The Legacy Of is an app that takes a different approach than any other I have yet seen on Spotify. But it’s an approach that’s very fitting to its subject matter. The Legacy Of is the Spotify app for Legacy Recordings, the catalog division of Sony Music. It’s home to artists such as Kate Bush, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, and Whitney Houston. So, perhaps one for those of us over the age of 30.
The app introduces the artists (a few for now, with more to follow) to music lovers with their full back catalog, featured albums, a short biography, photos, and extended playlists such as cover versions, and those artists who influenced them and who they influenced. If you find an artist you love on the app (which I did in Bob Dylan) then it’s absolutely unmissable.
Tip: Create your own playlist of favorite tracks by a particular artist by scouring their back catalog for gems you may have previously missed.
Tweetvine is my favorite of all the apps which have recently been added to Spotify. And yet it’s by far the simplest of all. It uses Twitter to create a new playlist every hour based on what songs people are tweeting about. Every song recommended with the #nowplaying hashtag is added to the mix, making this the ultimate crowdsourced playlist creator.
Tweetvine playlists are mostly made up of current songs which appeal to the mainstream. Making it a good choice for fans of popular music likely to chart. For the rest of us it offers a glimpse into the musical zeitgeist, and is a great way of discovering new music we may otherwise never have been exposed to.
Tip: Be sure to click on the ‘Today’, ‘Yesterday‘, and ‘Last Week‘ buttons at the top of the Tweetvine app. These offer fixed playlists of the songs receiving the most tweets in a given time period.
These five new Spotify apps are guaranteed to add to your musical knowledge or expand your musical tastes. I’d be very surprised if you don’t discover at least one new song deserving of being added to a playlist after sampling them. These apps, when coupled with the five I recommended previously, turn Spotify into a jukebox for the 21st century.
Did any of these apps enhance your Spotify experience? What do you think of the Spotify Apps platform as a whole? Are there any particular style or apps you would like to see added to Spotify in the future? As always we want to hear from you, so please feel free to leave a comment below.