I’ve been trying out Spotify – a streaming music service – for the last couple of weeks and I really like it.

It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to music, preferring radio programmes and spoken word / audiobooks. This has gotten me listening again – all the old stuff that I never got around to buying years ago, artists that I’ve always wondered about but never known where to start or what to choose, like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Early Tom Waits is cool stuff, better than his more recent music that I still can’t fully appreciate even though I’ve tried. Albums that I had on tape that I never bothered to digitise. Albums that I’m glad I didn’t waste my money on. Hell, even albums I know I bought but I just can’t find any more.

Strangely, I’m going for live music more than recorded albums. Queen kicking ass. Johnny Cash at San Quentin. The laid back blues of the Grateful Dead – who I’d never heard before. Shit, I’m starting to sound old. I’m not that old, promise. There’s a lot of stuff to explore.

Sound quality is good for everyday listening but not as good as you would get from iTunes. CD quality is out of the question – still, if I like something so much that I want that quality I can always go out and buy it. As a free account listener there are ads about every 20 minutes, but there is only one at a time and they are not too long. There are ads that pop up in the application window, but I’m not really looking at that very often anyway. It’s a fair trade off – they have to make money and the ads aren’t particularly intrusive. There is the option to pay £10 / month for going ad free. I wouldn’t consider that, but maybe £5. £2 / month and I wouldn’t even notice.

The application itself is good – perfectly straightforward if you’re familiar with iTunes. There’s no delay playing tracks. Your playlists follow you around when you log in on another machine. All works well.

You can also listen to other peoples’ playlists – this is very early days but a few sites have popped up with lists.

I think this one could last, and seriously take off.

• Wikipedia: Spotify


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