A Review of Spotify Mobile

Last year when my veteran iPod stopped working, I began to look for a suitable streaming music service/app for my smartphone. I had decided not to rely on storing files locally because I didn’t have much available memory on my phone. I also wasn’t particularly fond of manually syncing my phone to my computer every time I wanted to add or remove songs and playlists.

I explored a few free options first. Pandora Internet Radio, a tried-and-true personalized radio service, didn’t offer the level of listening control that I wanted. Google Music (or Google Play) is well designed and allows free storage of up to 20,000 songs from one’s personal music library; however, I found the playback to be choppy and became frustrated with the slow process of uploading my music files.

I was already using the free version of Spotify on my desktop, so I decided to give Spotify Mobile a try.

Overview of Spotify MobileSpotify on various mobile devices

  • Available for iOS, Android, Windows, Symbian, Blackberry (find out if your phone is compatible)
  • $9.99/month per user for a subscription to Spotify Premium
  • Unlimited, on-demand streaming from a huge music library
  • Includes social networking and personalized radio features

Access to (almost) any song, (almost) any time

Spotify’s music selection is impressive, and the mobile interface allows for easy discovery of artists, albums, and songs. Use the search function to find music, or browse the top tracks and new releases.

Spotify screenshots - Search and What's NewYou can also view playlists created by your Facebook friends; however, unlike in the desktop client, you can’t search for playlists made by users outside of your social network. I would love to see this feature added, as I enjoy searching Spotify (desktop) by music genre and then poring through the playlists made by all Spotify users.

Spotify screenshots - friend playlists, offline playlistIn general, the music streams fluidly in Spotify Mobile. If you’re off the grid, you won’t be able to stream music or even search the music catalog. But if you know you’re going to be somewhere with no reception or wifi, you can sync an album or playlist to your phone ahead of time to avoid listening disruptions.

Is it worth paying for?

That all depends on how you prefer to manage and listen to music. You should consider a subscription music service like Spotify Mobile if:

  • you want on-demand access to a huge library of music
  • your personal music library is too large to store on your smartphone
  • you dislike syncing your phone to your computer every time you acquire new music
  • you like getting music recommendations through your Facebook contacts

You should explore alternative subscription services such as Rdio and Mog if:

  • you’re not able to download the Spotify desktop client (say, if you don’t have admin rights at work)
  • you can’t forgive Spotify’s unintuitive desktop interface (the mobile app looks great;  the desktop client doesn’t)
  • you want a family pricing plan

Have you tried a subscription music service like Spotify on your mobile device? Please share your experiences in the comments.

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