Last week, Spotify announced perhaps the biggest overhaul to its service since its launch. It has taken several days to roll out and is very interesting. Most of the attention in early reports was on one technical feature: the ability to sync music with Apple's iPods and iPhones. But it is as interesting for the new commercial …
One music library good, two music libraries bad
I too found it pointless to maintain two music libraries so a long time ago I ditched iTunes and the iPod/iPhone, primarily due to the lack of background play of Spotify. The combination of Android phone and Squeezebox streaming (at high bit rate) is all I want for my music listening. Apple had me, then lost me and it was all their own fault.
The recent changes do not make any difference to me, a Spotify Premium user, as I could always stream/download from my own collection.
I noticed yesterday that for the first time..
..my advertising-paid-for free service was cut off as I've used my free 10 hours a month. Have they always done this? It's enough to turn me off the service altogether.
Have they always done this?
No. The advent of 10 hours a month and a maximum of five plays per track is new. Presumably to encourage take up of their £5 per month unlimited subscription service and £10 per month premium service. No big surprise perhaps.
They introduced the changes this month. Details are on their blog:
I wish they'd just release a streaming only version!
I'm a premium user as I like to have it on my Android phone, but I'm fed up of all this facetwit guff integration and the vomit of "Buy it" buttons next to all the tracks (which I count as advertising, which I have paid to remove!). All this local playback support annoys me too, there's no way to remove it on Android, so you get all the silly mp3 notifications from different apps, randomly appearing in playlists.
I've been tempted to cancel for a while now, this might push me over the edge.
I ditched my premium Spotify membership a while ago. I still have a 'paid for' account as the local radio style adverts do my head in. I think I got fed up with the lack of reliable streaming over 3G and (the off line syncing took forever over wifi) also the mobile networks getting all pissy about me using their valuable bandwidth and of course the disappearing songs was getting annoying.
As for the rest of the new features, it doesn't really affect me that much. I haven't touched my ipod for over a year, don't really listen to tunes on the go much anymore and rarely buy tunes as was the point of Spotify.
More than all of the though is the different pricing that annoys me. Why is playback on a mobile device more expensive than playing back on a PC? (I expect it is down to the music industry licensing people, but I don't care what the music industry licensing people think). I just want the same service wherever, whenever.
Oh it's needs polish alright
I thought the wireless syncing to my android phone was great, it made it really easy to add non-spotify tracks to the phone to carry around with me (I only sync the starred playlist on the phone so just starred some more local stuff and they synced wirelessly, very easy, very nice, saved me copying them manually). However tracks synced this way appear to just go into the spotify application cache on the phone rather than in a nice in-the-clear location so are unusable by other applications which is a shame and not necessarily a deal breaker.
But, and there's always a but, the next day it decided that apparently I'd already synced 3 devices (which I hadn't grrr) so it was flushing the whole cache on the phone, not just the spotify tracks, but my own ones too! I guess this is a side effect of storing them in the application cache. To say I was livid was an understatement.
Have I cancelled my subscription? Not yet, I'll wait and see what Google & Apple bring to the table.
"When Spotify added mobile support, it seemed quite the novelty to pick an album from its vast library a few minutes before heading home, to hear it all on the ride home. But that turned out to be more of a theoretical feature than the reality. Spotify on the iPhone was hampered by the lack of background multitasking in iOS 4 – more often that not you'd have a partial download."
I don't get this at all. I use the offline listening mode on the iPhone almost every day. I have never had any problem with this functionality as you describe. It is one of the reasons I pay for the Premium subscription. Spotify has had the ability to run in the background on iOS for ages.
As a premium subscriber I find the latest update - the ability to buy individual tracks - to be pointless; and the new ipod functionality does not work with subscription tracks.
I already love Spotify. but the new release does nothing for me. maybe the next development should be something that is useful to Premium subscribers - the ones who are actually paying them.
30 days free, when?
On there blog when Spotify explaned about rules changes which where going to happen in May ie 10 Hours and 5 plays. http://www.spotify.com/int/blog/archives/2011/04/14/upcoming-changes-to-spotify-free-open/
"Throughout May, we’ll also have a pretty nice 30-day free trial for Spotify Premium – more details on that in the next few days."
OK we are well in to May now and when is this offer going to start?
I'd be happy with a blackberry client
All this messing around with subs and limits when they can't even get a BlackBerry client to market makes me laugh!
Spotify to do list
I don't experience the issues some of the correspondants have had as I only use Spotify premium from my iPhone. If you meddle with it on a bunch of PCs too you'll get the "incredible disappearing cache" issue, as those friendly Swedes decide you are proliferating your library on too many devices...
I agree with the previous poster who said the changes are not really relevant - they seem to be aiming for not-necessarily-target-market peeps (aka. the reviewer??)
I'm very happy to not own the music anymore - as a rabid CD collector, now reformed, I'm surprised how easy it was to wean myself off both CDs and iTunes. Spotify managed it though.
My feature wish-list would be, amongst others:
Hierarchical folders so you can manage the massive list better
Auto-catchup for artists - get new stuff without loads of searching - the opposite of the "disappearing track" syndrome.
Master-device allocation - my iPhone cannot be nuked by Spotify in a random fashion, as happens now. [I must add, this hasn't happened recently as I ONLY use it on my iPhone]
I've been a Spotify user for quite a while, but I'm now moving away from it from various reasons.
The changes to the subscriptions obviously, I was using Spotify free: unlimited streaming with ads, and now find myself only allowed to use it 10 hours a month and can only play a song 5 times.
Frustration with the desktop client: every time I opened Spotify, it started setting itself as my default MP3 player (I think the bug has been fixed now thankfully)! Format support: unless it has changed lately, I thought Spotify used Ogg Vorbis for streaming. Yet it cannot play my local OGG files, making it useless with my local library. No FLAC support either.
I too have a Blackberry, so their mobile services are of no interest to me, since they don't have a client.
I did like the desktop client for streaming though, in terms of usability it is a lot better than web based free streaming providers, and they also have one of the best catalogues, so I am a bit sad to move away from Spotify.
But I'm in the UK and there's no shortage of web-based alternatives: We7, mflow, Deezer, so that's what I am using nowadays.
Still better than itunes
Spotify absolutly rocks my HTC hero (old school, i know). Streaming leaves a little to be desired when travelling by anything other than foot, but thats what playlists are for. But I just love digging around and finding new things to listen to.
As someone pointed out tho the dissapearing songs are becoming a bit of a pain, esp for my beloved Orbs adventures beyond the ultraworld.
No xbmc support either. So mflow for the lounge.
All that said its still the killer app on my phone
On bundle pricing
A flat rate volume pricing model works for me - if I decide I'm going to make Spotify my primary music player/library/purchase place then paying them £50 to get 50p/track works - given the time taken to hunt around all the other stores trying to find a 'bargain' price on something I think I'll take the slightly higher (but probably average out to 0 difference over the long term) price per track and simplicity.
I get so fed up with myself for spending minutes/hours trying to save a few £ on something when I should know my time is my most valuable thing - I'll never get more of that. My target rate of time spent hunting to reduce the price on something I'm going to buy vs the money saved is 5-10 times my effective hourly salary depending on my mood - problem is I tend to forget that until I'm far too far into saving £5 on a £100 item....
Why compare to iTunes
Okay, all you i[fanatics] out there love iTunes, but I think it is one of the worst bits of software ever, why try and clone it or match other software up to it.
Perhaps I'm just old fashioned, but I'm more than happy to navigate through my music collection with a file explorer.
I don't understand the complaint on lack of a rating button either? If I don't like it, I hit delete?