A Guide to Spotify

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What You Need to Know

  1. Spotify offers three different types of account:
    • Open
    • Unlimited
    • Premium
  2. Paying a monthly subscription means you don’t have to listen to adverts and can stream as much music as you want.
  3. With Spotify Premium you can listen to music on the move and even while you’re offline.
  4. The search option lets you look for artists, composers individual songs or albums and even record labels.
  5. Broaden your musical horizons with shared playlists and the ‘Related Artists’ and ‘radio’ features.
  6. You can link you Facebook account to Spotify and share playlists with your friends.
  7. Some labels withhold music by a few certain artists from Spotify. You should check that the music you want to listen to is available before buying a premium account.

Background to Spotify

Spotify is an online music-streaming service that was launched in Sweden in October 2008.

As of the summer of 2011, users are able to access around 15 million tracks, with this number rising by the day, though licensing agreements with record labels means some artists are missing in some or all of the regions where the service is available.

Spotify makes money through paid-for subscriptions, charging for advertisements hosted on its player and through music purchased from partners.

Signing Up for an Account

Getting Spotify on your desktop, laptop or smartphone is relatively simple and straightforward.

To begin, go to the homepage Spotify.com and click ‘start listening’.

You will then be asked to register some personal details:

  • a username
  • password
  • email address
  • phone number
  • date of birth

Once these details have been imputed, you will be asked to choose your Spotify product.

Choosing Between Account Types

Spotify offers users a choice of three products types:

  1. Spotify Open (free to use)

    Users are restricted to listening to just ten hours of music per month and may only listen to tracks a maximum of five times. Additionally, the Open service comes with regular 30-second advertisement breaks.

  2. Unlimited at £4.99 a month

    Unlimited has no cap on the amount of music you can stream or on the number of times you can listen to a certain song.

    Additionally, it is free from adverts and you are able to import your own music files into the Spotify player and share tracks and playlists with your friends.

  3. Spotify Premium at £9.99 a month

    This option offers all the advantages of Unlimited as well as allowing you to benefit from enhanced sound quality and the ability to listen to tracks while offline.

    Premium users can also get Spotify on their smartphones.

Getting Started

Once you have chosen your preferred product type, you will be asked to pay for this online, either by credit or debit card or through PayPal.

Then, once the payment has been approved, you will be asked to download the Spotify application.

Simply follow the step-by-step instructions you are provided with and within a couple of minutes you will be presented with a log-in box then input your username and password and you will be signed into the main Spotify player and ready to start enjoying music.

Searching for Music

The default Spotify homepage is dominated by ‘New Releases’, essentially albums that have been added to the service over recent days.

Clicking on an album’s artwork will allow you to play it, either in part or as a whole.

Playback controls, including play, pause, next track and volume are all easily identifiable at the bottom of your screen.

Aside from checking out new releases, you can also search for artists, albums, individual tracks or even record labels.

Simply type in a name, title or part of either into the search bar at the top-left of the screen and see what results come up.

Once in the results box, clicking on a track name will play that individual song, while clicking on the artist name will take you to their own page, listing all of their available output in chronological order.

If you are in an artist’s main page, then clicking on ‘Related Artists’ in the top-right of the screen will show you bands and musicians that may also be of interest to you. These recommendations are based on what users who listen to a certain artist are also listening to.

Compiling and Sharing Playlists

If you have a paid-for subscription, you can compile playlists of your favourite songs, simply be creating a new list down the left-hand side of the player and dragging individual songs or whole albums across.

Sharing your playlists with other users is just as straightforward. Simply drag the playlist link into an email or instant messaging window and send it to a friend.

Provided they are signed up to Spotify, they will be able to just click on the link and see your songs downloaded into their player.

Alternatively, you can just ‘star’ your favourite songs or albums and compile an list of top tunes, easily accessible through the ‘starred’ option down the left-hand side of the player.

Linking with Facebook

You can link you Spotify account to your Facebook profile to make sharing you favourite songs and playlists even easier.

Simply click the import friends button in top right corner of the Spotify window. This will take you to a Facebook login page. Allow Spotify to sync with your Facebook profile and all you friends from Fcebook will appear in your Spotify “People” list (running down the right of the page.)

Click on a name and you can view their subscribe to their public playlists, meaning you can listen to them whenever you want. So, if your too lazy to trawl through Spotify making a great playlist, you can just steal your friends!

Purchasing Music

As well as streaming music, you can also buy the vast majority of songs available through Spotify. Simply click on the ‘buy’ link next to a track or album and follow the instructions provided.

Other Features

One other features available to all Spotify users is the ‘radio’ function, which creates a random playlist of songs based on the parameters you provide, such as decade recorded or musical genre.

Additionally, paying subscribers can import songs directly from iTunes or from their local files, while Spotify can also be integrated with Last.fm and many other specialist sites and applications.

Further Reading

  • Fancy a job in the music industry? Read our guide on how to become a roadie.
  • Given how low cost Spotify is you may want to think twice about risking any illegal downloading.
  • Sharing music with friends using Sporify can be made even easier if you’re signed up to Facebook.
Len Len

How do you use the play queue?


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