Consumer Report: Spotify Premium is totally worth it

A few months ago I wrote this post about how everyone should buy music because it helps the economy and all that.   But buying music costs money.

So does Spotify Premium, but it costs a lot less money than most things.  I’ll get there in a minute.

In case you don’t know about Spotify, it’s basically an online music service that works like iTunes.  Ads support Spotify.  The music streams off the Internet.  You can create playlists, stream radio stations, create a profile, and see what your friends are listening to.   Artists can create profiles and playlists too.  You can “follow” artists and see what they’re into, and  receive updates on new music that Spotify thinks you might like.  For $9.99 a month, you get Spotify Premium, which comes with bunch of other features.

I was forced into Spotify Premium out of necessity.  I had to take a playlist to an event in an area without Internet.  So I rushed into the free trial, downloaded the playlist to my computer, and played my playlist, ad and Internet free.

Like most people, I planned on discontinuing the subscription after my freebee.  But I decided not to do that.  Because Spotify Premium is totally worth it.

Here’s a breakdown of the difference between Spotify & Premium:

Spotify (Free)

  • Access to Spotify’s music library and your iTunes music library (Spotify incorporates any songs you already have into your Spotify library)
  • Listen on your desktop computer or laptop over the Internet
  • Spotify App (downloaded separately) creates custom radio stations similar to Pandora; app does not include a searchable library
  • Supported by ads- you get about one 30 second ad per five songs
  • Create and follow playlists
  • Create collaborative playlists multiple people can edit
  • Star music to save your favorite songs
  • You can enter a “private session” where your friends can’t see what you’re listening to; Spotify turns it off after a time and when you restart Spotify
  • Follow your friends and see what they’re listening to.
  • Message your friends and send them songs

Spotify Premium ($9.99/ month, first month free)

Includes all of the above, plus you can…

  • Listen on any smartphone or tablet with the Spotify Premium app.  The app comes with your premium subscription and the subscription links to your account, not your device, so you can stream on anyone’s device through your account
  • App includes the searchable library built into Spotify on your desktop or laptop
  • Create and edit playlists on your mobile device
  • Download playlists
  • Listen offline
  • Download songs on- the- go
  • Enjoy ad- free listening
  • Enjoy ad- free radio
  • Store music on a cloud- you can’t accidentally delete your library if your hard drive crashes

Spotify Premium has its drawbacks.  It makes sharing music difficult.  You can share songs but not files, which means you can’t physically *give someone else your music.  You also don’t own your music.  Offline songs disappear when your subscription ends.  All your playlists still exist, but you can’t access them from your phone.  Additionally, you can’t easily share a Spotify account the way you can share a Netflix account.  Spotify Premium only facilitates one listener at a time- one listener can’t listen to two different tracks simultaneously.

But, all the music sounds high- quality both when streamed and downloaded.  You get access to pretty much all the same music iTunes offers, plus Spotify works WITH your iTunes library so you can still enjoy your super rare tracks. And if you’re like me, and totally can’t get your head around the new iTunes interface (and/ or you’re refusing to update your iOs software just to screw Apple), you can substitute Spotify for iTunes!

With Premium, I’ve listened to so many albums I would never have got the chance to listen to otherwise.  Premium allows you to commit to music without committing to a purchase.  I love how much space it saves on my hard drive, because I mostly listen to music on my phone or iPod.  The whole ad- free listening doesn’t really affect me, since the ads are so short and infrequent it hardly makes a difference.  Plus sometimes you get ads for when bands you like have shows, which is even kind of useful.  For me, the portability makes all the difference.

Plus, Spotify smartly established themselves as a social media platform, but without most of the corporate hooey, so using the app is even kind of fun.  Some people find it creepy that you can “spy” on your friends’ listening habits, but my friends have really good taste in music!  I love discovering new tracks from them.  For me, Spotify combines the best of Pandora, iTunes, and Facebook for a really convenient and affordable listening experience.

If you take the free trail, you only pay $8.30 a month for the first six months.  That’s less than one album per month.

And I get it, most people don’t buy albums anymore.  But I did.  And I don’t anymore.  Because now I have Spotify Premium.

Get it here.



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