Over the past couple of years, you’ve probably seen a company called “Spotify” for one reason or another. That, or you might have found it pre-loaded on a new phone you bought within the last five years or so.
Well, what is it?
On the surface, it may seem like just another app for streaming music, but there’s a lot more to it than that, and there’s a reason it’s at the top of the music-streaming food chain.
In this Spotify review, we’ll cover the ins and outs of Spotify while highlighting the reasons you should (or shouldn’t) check it out.
What Is Spotify?
Spotify is a Sweden-based company founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. In 2006, the music industry was facing a destructive amount of piracy, and the duo sought out a way to not only reduce piracy via digital rights management on a controlled streaming platform.
They also made the solution as convenient as possible to reduce consumers’ likelihood to pirate the material in the first place.
As a result, we now have a massive platform that plays host to the vast majority of the world’s biggest musical stars, up-and-coming indie artists, and even podcasts from all kinds of content creators.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is an important factor to consider before downloading any app, and during my first few interactions with Spotify, I felt it was a bit of a mixed bag.
However, that can be attributed to personal errors, and overall, the platform is extremely easy to use after you poke around for a minute.
Much of your initial confusion will likely come from the playlist feature. Especially if you’re using the app for the first time.
This is because, while you can search for and choose individual songs, the system tends to jump around between various playlists relevant to your history on the app.
However, this is quickly resolved with the collection feature that allows you to fully customize playlists and ensure that your listening experience isn’t ruined by random songs popping up.
Other than that, the platform is extremely easy to use across all platforms, and it has a clean, easily understandable UI that doesn’t overwhelm you or hide options in disorganized menus.
The file is also fairly small coming in at under 200MB on iPhone and maintaining the same general size across all devices considering the amount of functionality, it provides.
So, you won’t have to worry about long install times or having to delete a bunch of other stuff just to start enjoying it in the first place. In any case, if your phone storage is running low, we’ve got two helpful guides to optimize your mobile device storage space.
Spotify Content Library
Spotify’s content library is possibly the most impressive library available. While the platform was created specifically for music, and it does cover that content extremely well, it has also become the home of countless other audio content formats.
First and foremost, you have the music. All of your favorite artists have at least their top songs and albums available on the platform, largely for free, and you can find complete discographies for many of your favorite artists.
Beyond that, you can also find near-infinite releases from indie artists you’ll come to love. Don’t worry about your favorite music being interrupted for indie content you know nothing about, though. The platform does a good job of sticking to your preferences.
Beyond music, you can also find live and pre-recorded podcasts from high-profile figures or up-and-coming content creators, audio recordings of stand-up comedy routines, and more to provide you with hot takes on current events, plenty of laughs, and overall, a great variety of content on one app.
Finally, Spotify isn’t the type of company that rests on its laurels. As video content became more popular with the advancement of the internet, the company began to integrate video content into the platform.
This further varies the content lineup and gives you plenty of content to watch when you have the ability to focus a bit more on visual content.
Spotify has grown in popularity a lot since 2006, and with that growth, it has expanded onto practically every modern device you can think of.
Of course, you can find the Spotify app on both Android and Apple mobile devices, and both work very well for on-the-go listening.
Unsurprisingly, you can also use it via the Spotify website on both PC browsers and mobile browsers (if you’d prefer not to download the app for whatever reason).
Those are the basics that most streaming services are on, but there’s a lot more available, too.
Spotify is also available on all modern game consoles; including PS3, PS4, PS5, its Xbox counterparts, and other popular game consoles to ensure your gaming machine is as multi-functional as possible.
Finally, there are less obvious options available. If you have a smart TV, smart wearable accessories, or even a wifi-enabled car stereo system, you can install Spotify and enjoy its whole suite of features.
Spotify is packed with features, but I can only list so many of them in this brief section. Stay tuned later for a full-on in-depth analysis of the site’s features.
Spotify’s main feature lineup is impressively functional. You get your personal collection, which is a collection of all the songs you’ve tagged to help you quickly find them, make playlists, or shuffle through them with ease.
You can also save your favorite non-music content in the same manner if you want to come back to it later or subscribe to a podcast to stay up with its most-recent episodes.
Filters are also a huge part of the platform’s setup. It functions similarly to YouTube, where you search for what you want, but you can apply filters to your searches to either get a broad view of specific genres or to narrow your search down to highly specific results.
Similarly to how you can subscribe to podcasts, you can also follow specific artists to stay up-to-date with their releases.
This can be handy if you don’t stay on top of the ever-changing musical world’s news, but you still like a handful of artists enough to want to know immediately when they release something new.
Finally, you can take advantage of Spotify radio, which works as a highly varied online radio service, and you can even download most songs for offline listening if you plan to be without internet service but don’t want to miss out on your favorite songs.
Keep in mind that these offline downloads are protected. You won’t be able to transfer them to new devices or keep them past what is essentially a “rental” period.
Audiophiles can rest easy. While Spotify is an online service and your device’s speakers will have a huge impact on your listening experience, the platform uses the highest quality audio profiles available.
So, if you have the hardware necessary to take advantage of it, you can get crisp, clear, perfect audio out of Spotify; a stark difference between Spotify and similar alternatives.
Of course, you don’t have to use only the finest audio settings. If you have lower quality internet, your device isn’t working well with the highest settings, or you have any other reason to not want the very best, you can choose between three audio presets that trade quality for functionality to various degrees.
Also, there are some settings you can manually adjust from the Settings menu to fine-tune the service to match your hardware or listening equipment.
This massive level of adjustability makes it accessible for pretty much everyone and the use of presets to make major audio quality adjustments adds to the user-friendliness of the app overall.
Spotify Pricing Plans
|Free||Free||Access to all songs, podcasts, and audiobooks|
Limited track skips allowed (6 songs per hour max)
Standard quality streaming (160Kbps max)
|Ad-free music listening|
Play anywhere – even offline
|2 Premium accounts for a couple under one roof|
Ad-free music listening, play offline, on-demand playback
|6 Premium accounts for family members living under one roof|
Block explicit music
Ad-free music listening, play offline, on-demand playback
Spotify Kids: a separate app made just for kids
|Hulu (ad-supported) plan|
Ad-free music listening
Play anywhere – even offline
First and foremost, Spotify is free, and all the features we’ve spoken about so far don’t cost a single dime. So, don’t let this or the following section scare you off.
However, if you decide you truly love the service and want even more out of it, you can purchase a premium subscription for $9.99.
We’ll outline the exact differences this has compared to the free version everyone knows and loves, but this premium tier will unlock everything Spotify has to offer.
There are also other, slightly cheaper, payment tiers designed to help specific types of people. For example, there’s the “students” tier that gives a discounted premium subscription to those who are willing to prove they’re students.
And there’s even a family subscription model that lets you unlock all the features across multiple devices at a slightly discounted rate per device.
Spotify Free Versus Premium
The free version of Spotify contains most of these features, but the premium subscription enhances each of them.
Primarily, you get to listen to content without ads. This is a given, and it’s typically the main feature of any paid streaming subscription.
However, you also get to download tracks to listen wherever you are, and you get un-deterred access to every single piece of content on the platform; with the free version, some premium content offerings are locked behind the premium subscription paywall.
That’s not all you get, though. You will likely use Spotify’s playlists most of the time. These tend to have a variety of songs from the same genre, and you don’t get to pick specific songs. Instead, you use a “skip” which allows you to skip songs you don’t enjoy and hopefully get a better one next.
In the free app, you only get so many skips at once, and they refill after a bit of time has passed. On top of that, you get ads between every piece of content and even in the middle of some content.
With the premium version, not only are the ads removed, but you also get unlimited skips. This makes it easy to explore whole genres and find new favorites, or to just get through a playlist and right to the included songs you enjoy.
Is Spotify Premium Worth It?
The real question at this point is whether or not Spotify Premium is worth the money.
Well, first and foremost, having the free version on whatever device you use the most is always a great choice.
There’s a ton of content, and even if you have to listen to some songs you don’t like and put up with ads, it’s convenient access to high-quality audio content wherever you might be for free. So, there’s definitely no reason to opt-out of the service entirely.
What about the $9.99 premium version, though? That’s a little more complicated.
$9.99 per month is little more than a couple of cups of coffee worth, but it’s still towards the high-end when it comes to streaming services of any kind.
Obviously, your main consideration should be how much you enjoy using the app and whether or not the premium features will enhance that already enjoyable experience for you.
If you visit the app every once in a while, for some lunch-time relaxation, it’s probably not worth it. However, if you’re the type who absolutely cannot live without a constant stream of music, then it’s worth every penny.
Also, keep in mind that there are other subscription packages you may qualify for, and if you do, you can cut that price quite a bit.
Either way, it goes, Spotify is definitely worth the investment; whether that’s just the time you spend on it and the space it takes on your phone or sacrificing a couple of cups of coffee each month for the premium version. Check it out for yourself!