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Music Streaming With Spotify: What You Get For Free

Bakari Chavanu 25-07-2011

spotify musicThe long awaited streaming music service, Spotify landed in the U.S. last week Music-Streaming Service Spotify Finally Arrives in the US [News] Today, all the social networks are buzzed about the arrival of the European-based popular music-streaming service, Spotify, to the U.S. market. Similar to other streaming music sites like Pandora, Spotify delivers up a huge music... Read More , and it should make music service providers like Apple slightly nervous. Like other streaming music services, including,, Rhapsody, Pandora, and LastFM Free Music Downloads: Discover New Music by Downloading Free MP3s Read More , Spotify allows you to listen to music over the Internet without the hassle of downloading MP3 files and backing them up.


Unlike other streaming services, however, Spotify offers an ad-supported free option, which makes millions of albums and songs available to you through the Spotify desktop client. You’re not limited to pre-selected playlists like Pandora; you can pick and choose single tracks and entire albums for a full listening experience.

Let’s explore what else you get for free and what you don’t.

spotify music

The Free Plan

First off, at this point Spotify is an invitation-only service for the free plan. (Go here to submit your email.) You can sign up for an Unlimited or Premium plan to begin the service immediately. The difference between a free account and the paid plans are of course pretty significant. First off, if you go with free, you need to get used to the ads. They’re everywhere in the Spotify player, both audio ads and visual displays.

streaming spotify music
And to my huge surprise, when you‘re listening to say an album, Spotify even interrupts your listening with a brief commercial break and other Spotify announcements. In the course of writing this article, I got over six interruptions as I listened to a Miles Davis album.


However, by the same token, putting up with ads can mean a huge savings in your music budget. If you have a good Internet connection, the audio quality of Spotify is quite good.

Spotify Player Features

The Spotify Player connects to your Spotify account and is similar to Apple’s iTunes music player, the former, however, is not as well designed, in my humble opinion. The Spotify jukebox opens as a music browser displaying New Releases and a feed of shared music by your friends on Facebook and Spotify.

streaming spotify music

The social networking Feed for Spotify can be very useful because depending on the friends you choose to be a part of your feed. It means they become your virtual DJs and you can become theirs; for the music choices of your friends will likely help you discover new music you don’t have in your collection.


The similar service for example takes better advantage of the social networking approach, for when you open its player or go to the website, you’re presented with a “Heavy Rotation” of songs and albums by friends in your network. You can also choose friends beyond your Facebook account.

Another useful feature in Spotify is the ability to star/favorite individual tracks and albums. Though you can’t rate songs with 1-5 stars as you can in iTunes, it’s nice to be able to quickly label you favorite tracks and access them with a single click.

streaming spotify music

If you become a heavy Spotify user, you’ll be happy to know that the application links all your local MP3 files so that you can access your existing downloads and playlists from within the Spotify player. Unfortunately, however, Spotify doesn’t include smart playlists How To Create 5 Smart iTunes Playlists For iPad, iPhone & iPod Read More , in which can create automatic playlists based on rules you set.


The other features you get with a Spotify account is the ability to share what you’re listening to with your friends on Facebook and Twitter; access to the MP3s you already have downloaded in your computer; and 14-day access to your Spotify account while you’re visiting another country.


If you’re not a huge music fan, a free Spotify account is a pretty significant savings. Most importantly, it means a lot less music files taking up memory space on your computer drive(s). This is the main reason I use

Search Features

The biggest annoyance for me with the Spotify application is not being able to browse music by categories or genres. Spotify provides a single search box that retains your search history. Spotify though includes a useful Overview, Biography, and Related Artists feature.


Music Streaming With Spotify: What You Get For Free screenshot831

The Related Artists category is a great way to discover similar music artists and tracks right from within the application.

Upgrades: What You Don’t Get for Free

If you want the full Spotify music experience, you will have to pony up $4.99 or $9.99 for the Unlimited or Premium features respectively. The upgraded accounts mean no ads. I must say that if you think you’ll become a heavy user of Spotify, the ads may become very annoying especially while listening to your favorite music.

An Unlimited account means no time limits on listening to music; the ability to share tracks and playlists with your friends; the ability to play and organize your own music files; and unlimited travel access to your account when you’re in another country.

Music Streaming With Spotify: What You Get For Free whatisspotify client and phones

The Premium plan gives you all the above, plus the ability to access your account on your cell phone, listen to music offline, and get enhanced sound quality. The premium option also allows you to enjoy Spotify music directly on your home stereo devices (e.g, Squeezebox, digital TV, Sonos wireless music system), no computer needed.

My Recommendations

You didn’t ask, but since I’ve been a heavy user of streaming music services for a while, starting with the now defunct (no thanks to Apple), and presently with ($5.00 or $10 per month), I would recommend shopping around and trying out a few other streaming music services before deciding on Spotify.

spotify music

The number one reason I’m staying with, for example, is that their desktop player features are a little better than Spotify‘s. I don’t like that you can’t browse by genre in Spotify. Also, in order to access your Spotify account on another computer, you must download the Spotify player. There is, as far as I can tell, no online Spotify application. And finally, the Spotify app doesn’t include a History feature in which you can locate tracks you have previously played.

All streaming music services come with a free trail period. I would recommend trying out a few before subscribing to Spotify, which doesn’t provide trial access to its full feature plans.

Let us know what you think of Spotify. Are you already hooked? Give us your feedback.

Related topics: Media Player, MP3.

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  1. Melissa
    February 20, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    So, I do realize I'm coming way late to this party, but if anyone can help me out with this, I'd really appreciate it!
    Turns out, I've been living g under a rock for the last decade...
    So here's my problem: I have an Android phone, typical I use YouTube to listen to toons, but it's a serious hassle because as soon as I leave YouTube, the music stops. I want to stream songs while I'm doing other things on my phone, like games, texting, whatever. What's the best app to use in order to accomplish that?

    Many thanks!

  2. Lynxie
    October 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I have been listening to music on Spotify for a fair time now and to my dismay find I can't play for more than 10 hours a month which is infuriating because I am certain I used to be able to .  I am recently widowed and not in the situation to afford special package deals and since I am almost completely deaf I find wearing headphones and listening to music helps me through the day as I go about my chores and other business.  I feel less lonely having music to listen too and also I feel more inspired when I sit and do my writing. I found this article very well researched, informative and well written ... thank you for sharing.  Lynxie

  3. sarah grossi
    August 2, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Agree that Spotify is cool! Another iOS player that it is outstanding by it's ability to make dynamic queues is Panamp: quick mix of selected tracks and power search that quickly and efficiently find the artict, album and tracks. Most compatible with iTunes collection.

  4. Mdoan96
    July 30, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I haven't tried Rdio, but I am really happy with Spotify. Picking out songs individually is terrific. Thanks for the tip on finding the genre you want. I didn't know that.

  5. Sumi Portola
    July 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I've been listening for a couple of days now (free invite), and am very confused trying to find what I want to listen too.  I won;t be signing up

    • Bakari
      July 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Sumi, have you tried doing a search for the artists you like?

  6. Fuhco_98
    July 26, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Another handy option with Spotify is the ability to add it to your Windows Media Center experience with this plugin Songler from Milliesoft with this plugin you can also use if you are a paying user as well

    • Bakari
      July 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Fuhco.

  7. User
    July 26, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Being a heavy spotify user (free acount) I must say there is a couple of things wrong.
    1. Spotify does indeed support advanced search, for instance you can type "genre:rock" or "artist:metallica" or "genre:jazz year:1950-1980" (no space after columns), see here . But its not a gui though.

    2. In comments, yes the non-free version support linux, and even the free one works perfectly fine under "wine". Trust me I listen to it on my ubuntu desktop.

    But I agree with the author Being a poor student äm forced to use the free account. And it's really annoying when you're having a romantic dinner listening to Vivaldi, and all the sudden a drog ad for some disgusting disease comes up :S Then again one can't have everything.


    • Bakari
      July 26, 2011 at 6:33 am

      Thanks for the clarification and constructive feedback. Really appreciate it.

  8. Frank F. Frank
    July 26, 2011 at 12:21 am

    You should stay with another music service if you are a LINUX user, because Spotify does not support LINUX.

    • Bakari
      July 26, 2011 at 6:32 am

      Frank, thanks for letting us know this.

  9. Left Of Sean
    July 25, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I agree with you totally.  I've been looking into Spotify and trying to come up with a reason to switch from Rdio to Spotify.  I can't find a compelling reason.  I'm glad someone did the research for me to show me the differences.  Thanks.

    • Bakari
      July 25, 2011 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks, Sean for the feedback. I too can't find a compelling reason to leave Rdio. I'm pretty much happy withe the service. Definitely cheaper than buying MP3s.