Spotify for iPhone – a quick review

So, after much ado, the will-they won’t-they app of the year has finally arrived for the iPhone – Spotify. Although it’s free to download you won’t get past the first screen (login) without a premium account! It’s a shame that Spotify doesn’t allow even a limited number of plays as a taster as I’m sure the sign-ups would increase as a result. Furthermore Spotify’s Day Pass won’t count either – it’s Premium or nothing!! OK, so after confirming that the Premium account can be cancelled at any time I decided to take the plunge and sign-up. I figured that if I found myself not using it after a couple of weeks I’d simply cancel. Spotify allow you to sign up for a month, or twelve. The bizarre thing is that you only will save the princely sum of 12p (15c) if you opt for the twelve months bulk purchase – hardly an incentive! I’d probably have gone with twelve months if it were 10-15% cheaper as well. Oh well, probably a licensing issue. Sign up is easy however and if you have your desktop version running you will see a confirmation message virtually as soon as you press the submit button! If you have built up a ton of playlists – as I have, within your desktop version you will be over the moon to see that the lists are faithfully reproduced on the iPhone from the get-go. Your playlists are simply pointers to files stored within the Spotify server cluster – and so the data file is relatively small.

All your favourite features are there within the app. The ability to create new playlists and search for music to put within them as well as options to manage existing playlists are all an intuitive finger press away at any point. Spotify for iPhone has a few really nice tricks up its musical sleeve. Firstly, playback is virtually instant under wifi (although I do have a 20mb connection both at home and at the office so that may help!) with a play screen not too dissimilar from the iPod. Scrubbing through a track is also fast. A slight fade out and then back in at the new point is a nice feature and playing from the new point in the timeline is again a fraction of a second via wifi. Possibly under pressure, and despite it being a clear threat to iTunes music sales, Apple waved this app through even though it also has the ability to stream music via 3G – and therefore upset the mobile networks. Of course whether you want to do that will depend upon the data plan you have. But for those a little nervous about clocking up the bits Spotify for iPhone allows you to download tracks before heading out away from your wifi connection. This takes a little time however (about as long as downloading a track via iTunes which can be quite some time for a standard CD’s worth). If you get fed up waiting, or need to break away from the app it will resume from where you left off as soon as you fire it up again, another nice touch. The quality of the audio is excellent. At rates of up to 320kbps this compares admirably with the highest quality iTunes offerings.

Of course the one major sticking point for some is that you can only continue to use the application – and therefore listen to your music on the run, as long as you maintain a Premium account (or revert to the ads supported desktop version). However, if like me you have an eclectic taste in music and enjoy exploring (or hunting down songs from yesteryear for old times sake that you wouldn’t dream of owning!) this is a perfect way to enjoy unlimited tunes as and when the mood takes you. With many of the major record labels as investors in Spotify the catalogues on offer are vast and I’ve found very few instances where a track or artist was not catered for and I’m sure that will only improve. Happy listening!

%d bloggers like this: