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    • CommentAuthorMidweeker
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2009
     (5128.1)
    I've recently become rather enamoured of the online music player Spotify, and I thought some of the Europeans on here might be interested in checking it out or if they already have, wondered what they thought of it.
    You can get a copy of the program at: http://www.spotify.com/en/

    Essentially it's similar to the likes of Last.FM or Pandora, but what sets it apart is the sheer variety and depth of artists and music available - I've found a load of really obscure stuff, both new and old, and whilst it's far from complete (a few of the bigger bands are missing - Metallica, the Beatles, Pink Floyd for example, plus indies like Fugazi), you may be surprised by what you can find. It has singles as well as albums, so there are lots of b-sides and remixes alongside album tracks.

    To give you an idea, here's a wee list of bands I like that are pretty well represented:
    Throbbing Gristle, Animal Collective, NIN, Anthrax, Cat Power, Cocteau Twins, MBV, Eels, Fluke, RFTC, Nick Cave, Helium, Justin Warfield, LCD Soundsystem, isis, Metric, Orbital, Sonic Youth, El-P/ Cannibal Ox, Soulwax, SoaD, This Mortal Coil, Wu Tang, Milliondead and literally thousands more. Newer bands are quite well represented too, even those without albums - both Little Boots & Florence and the Machine have their singles on there, and the new Peter, Bjorn & John single's on there.

    It's not perfect, there's an ad every 5 or 6 tracks (you can pay for an ad-free version), and a lot of bands aren't fully covered (Beatie Boys only have Licensed To Ill & The Mix-Up, for example), plus being quite Euro-centric, there are a lot of bands better known in the US that are absent, but overall I've been stunned by how good it is. It's been enormously fun just looking for obscure stuff, and seeing what comes up, and I can't count how many times I've been surprised to find things that I never in a million years thought they'd have. Me and my missus (who, credit due, is the one who found it) have spent several evenings duelling on it, just alternating tracks for hours at a time, whilst building playlists.

    It seems to be starting to build a profile too, with the NME apparently doing a feature on it a week or so ago, and several of my friends picking up on it independently, and I have the feeling it's going to become quite important in the year to come.
    The free version isn't available in the US currently, but the pay version may be. I have to say, if it weren't free, I think I'd probably be happy to pay for it.
    I'd love to hear what other people have to say, whether you've tried it or not, and what you've managed to dig up on there.
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      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2009
     (5128.2)
    It's certainly helping me enjoy the weekly listening thread a lot more.

    Caveat: I only started Spotifying a couple of days ago, so I haven't fully explored by any means. That said, it seems awfully fast. An article at the Register said that they thought it might actually be faster than iTunes playing from a local drive. I'm out in the sticks, so, while this is broadband, it's not hell on wheels by any means. Despite this, streaming is very impressive (I suppose this has to do with the Ogg codec it uses).

    It's very slick. It looks and feels -- well, like iTunes, really. But iTunes from about 2005, before its feature bloat started in earnest.

    The ads don't trouble me too much. It's certainly nowhere near the ad-saturation of commercial radio, for instance. Oddly, the banner ads bother me more than the audio ads. I think that's due to being coddled by Firefox and AdBlock; I'm just not used to seeing banners in any quantity.

    So, they certainly seem to have done an excellent job with the software. But these things, as good as the program may be, really stand and fall on their catalogues. On that it's been a bit patchy for me. Yes, a lot of bases are covered -- Naxos just dumped 200,000 tracks into the service, for example -- but there are gaps, especially indie labels and emerging artists. That's inevitable, I suppose, but a little frustrating all the same.

    I really like the slurl-style external urls to tracks, artists, playlists, etc. It makes me think we could have a ball putting together Whitechapel playlists. But it's also going to be great for sharing music with friends.

    Oh, and one touch I really liked: it plugs straight into last.fm, scrobbling straight out of the Spotify client! Really nice feature.
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      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2009
     (5128.3)
    I haven't fired up my iTunes in months.

    The collaborative playlists are fun and the selection is pretty nice, even after the pruning they underwent a while back. (That one was due to various regional restrictions on distribution, which are getting a wee bit annoying in this day and age.) All in all, I'm very impressed with the way it works -- I think I've had one day of connection problems and apart from that it works like a charm.

    (Basically it works like a P2P client and spreads the distribution load over a number of users.)

    Ah hell, why not. If you're a Spotify user, here's an open playlist: Whitechapel 01/2009, let's fill it up!
  1.  (5128.4)
    while online radio can be just as useless as regular radio at times, i have found that pandora works quite well for underground stuff...although sometimes it finds "related" artists through such wrong concepts as being from the same general time period.
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      CommentAuthorOsmosis
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2009
     (5128.5)
    @taphead - I've thrown a few songs at that playlist :) Anyone else want to get involved?
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      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeMar 9th 2009
     (5128.6)
    Incidentally, if you're looking for invites to Spotify, here you go: http://www.garaget.in/

    Apparently that's still a no-go in the USA (thanks to licensing restrictions), but Europeans should be able to get in on this thing.
  2.  (5128.7)
    "Spotify free is not available in your country." :s

    Thanks anyway @Taphead
    • CommentAuthorradian
    • CommentTimeMar 10th 2009 edited
     (5128.8)
    You don't need invites anymore.

    and now, first opinions:
    It doesn't have that big a selection yet imho (read: Where are my friends bands, or mine..?) but also: "Did you mean apex twig" lol.
    I don't see myself using the radio feature as much as last.fm's tag radio.

    On the other hand, there are recordings which are hard to find in similar services, and the playlist sharing thing is (I think) going to make it big.

    nerd complaint: when I use an app on Windows, I want it to obey my theme and look like a windows app, not use a non-native window.


    edit: this is good
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      CommentAuthortaphead
    • CommentTimeMar 11th 2009
     (5128.9)
    From the FAQ:

    "We’ve released our free advertising supported version in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain. In most other countries Spotify Premium is available for purchase."


    Here's hoping they expand the free version to other countries soon as well.

    Oh, and whosoever added Brenda to the WC playlist, THANK YOU. That made my day.
    • CommentAuthorradian
    • CommentTimeMay 1st 2009
     (5128.10)
    A few weeks and lot more tracks later, I've started using it more.

    Found this today: Spotify playlists for John Peel's Festive Fifties from 1976-2000
    • CommentAuthorDrax
    • CommentTimeMay 1st 2009
     (5128.11)
    Personally I found Grooveshark pretty good, has a huge collection of music (including pink floyd and metallica). Also has an autoplay feature that, while not brilliant, is not terrible at making song selections.

    It doesn't have a downloadable client as far as I know but you don't need to register to use it.

    Looking forward to giving spotify a go when I get back, can't install things from this computer.