Spotify is one of those moments in time. Spotify is something special. It’s the kind of product that you’ll remember the first few times you used it a few years from now.
It’s my job to use technology, and I haven’t felt like this over a new Web service in a long time. Maybe it’s because I love music. This is the biggest revolution to hit music since the iTunes Store.
Spotify has the ability to get us to rethink digital music again. I used to not get how this was different than the streaming services available in the US. Now I understand; it’s the perfect marriage of free and paid service, discovery with control, with a healthy dose of social thrown in.
The way Spotify makes me feel is how Google+’s hype should have made me feel. I’m almost at a loss about how much I like this service. I got teary eyed in the first few minutes I was using the service.
Spotify lets me manage music like I do in iTunes, while also being a great way to discover new music and see what other people like. I love the ability to publish playlists and share them with the world. I love the idea behind collaborative playlists.
I love the idea of having millions of tracks at my disposal. I love the idea of being able to try music before I commit to it. Maybe I’ll still keep buying MP3s, but Spotify at least gives me the ability to hear new music all the way through a song before I commit.
Did I mention that I love the social aspects? Ping was Apple’s half-hearted attempt to make music more social. Last FM and Pandora have some social aspects, but Spotify really seems to nail it. The core of a good social music product is the ability to see what your friends like, send them recommendations and share playlists.
I can click on any song I love, send it to a friend on Spotify with a message about why they’ll love it and/or share it over other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. And then that person can start listening to that song immediately — for free.
It’s a music social network. A real one.
Spotify also has premium features. The biggest additions that paying gets you is more streaming hours (the free tiers gives you 10 hours of music a month), the ability to listen to music on mobile devices and the ability to cache songs for offline listening. This feels right to me.
The best way to beat piracy is with a free tier of music service that is ad supported and good enough for a lot of people’s uses. Then you offer a premium upgrade that has features that people really want.
Are the days of buying music coming to an end? I’m not quite sure of that, but music just got social. It’s about time.