The fact that Spotify is the dominant dog in the massive, ongoing streaming music war is unmistakable. Despite competition from Apple Music, which has more features, and Tidal, which caters to audiophiles, Spotify remains the king of the hill thanks to its enormous collection, collaborative playlists, podcasts, and other appealing features. Spotify, along with Apple Music and SiriusXM Internet Radio, remains a top-rated, overall Editors’ Choice winner for streaming music services for these and other reasons.
Spotify’s success is due in part to its widespread availability. Spotify can be accessed using the web player, the desktop software (available for Chromebook, Linux, Mac, and Windows), or the mobile apps (available for Android and iOS) (available for Android, iOS). Spotify is also available on TVs, set-top boxes, smartwatches, and home gaming consoles.
- Group Session choices and cool, collaborative playlists
- Optional desktop application that allows you to listen to audio files stored locally
- You can listen to albums before they are released if you have a premium membership
- Hulu and Showtime Podcasts are included in the robust Student plan
- Version that is available for free
- There are no lyrics on the web or desktop apps since there is no high-resolution audio
Desktop apps have an edge over web players and mobile apps in that they can play M4P, MP3, and MP4 audio files stored on your PC. This is an especially useful tool for folks who wish to listen to all of their music streams and audio files from one place. Unfortunately, M4A files aren’t supported by the desktop program.
However, both the Android and iOS apps have a bonus feature. Spotify has teamed with Genius, one of the most prominent lyrics sites on the web, to bring Behind The Lyrics to smartphones. This feature shows essential lyrics while they’re sung or rapped (but not the entire lyrics!). The web and desktop apps don’t have any lyrics. Behind The Lyrics also provides behind-the-scenes information such as musical facts and inspirations. It’s a fun addition that reminds me a lot of VH-1’s old Pop-Up Video show.
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How much are you willing to pay?
Sign up for Spotify Free or one of the four Spotify Premium subscriptions to start listening to music. The free edition includes audio and banner advertisements, as well as the ability to listen to music at 160Kbps, manage your digital music files, and connect with others via built-in social networking tools.
The $9.99-per-month subscription Spotify Premium allows you to listen to albums in advance of their release date and play songs on demand. You may also save songs to your computer, phone, or other device for offline listening. The audio quality is likewise increased to 320Kbps on this grade. Premium is well worth the extra money in terms of features and quality. However, unlike SiriusXM Internet Radio, the Editors’ Choice for streaming services focusing on live content, Spotify does not allow you to record its audio.
Spotify’s Family Plan allows up to six people to have their own premium accounts for just $14.99 per month. That price is comparable to the industry standard for family plans. Family Mix (a vulgarity-free playlist for your family) and Spotify Kids are just a few of the nice features included in Spotify’s take on the family plan (a separate service aimed at children).
Spotify Duo is the way to go if you only need a Spotify plan for two people. The $12.99-per-month tier, which excludes Spotify Kids, is essentially a Family Plan for two people. It even includes a version of Family Mix called Duo Mix.
For $4.99 per month, Spotify offers a student plan, but it’s not your typical student plan. This one also includes ad-supported Hulu (usually $5.99 per month) and Showtime (typically $10.99 per month) plans. That’s an unbeatable deal that no other music streaming service can match. The Apple One subscription bundle, which includes Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and AppleTV+ for $14.95 per month, is the closest comparison.
A Rich Source of Information
Spotify has over 70 million songs in its catalog, as well as audiobooks, comedy, radio dramas, podcasts, poetry readings, and lectures. It’s a diverse collection, and we’re pleased to see that it contains Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech in its full (as part of the HistorySpeaks podcast). In fact, Spotify offers a variety of non-music content, including The Joe Budden Podcast and select Hulu Originals soundtracks. These additions serve as a counterpoint to LiveXLive’s DJs and music history channels, as well as in-depth music editorials and unique videos like to those seen on Tidal. Spotify, on the other hand, doesn’t feature a lot of music videos or concert videos. In this aspect, YouTube Music is superior.
When you click on an artist’s name, you’ll see more of their songs as well as an About tab with the artist’s biography, images, and links to associated Spotify pages. We passed the time by jumping from Alicia Keys to Isaac Hayes to Booker T. and The M.G.’s, reading in-depth biographies, and sampling music. LiveXLive’s DNA station, on the other hand, does a better job of fleshing out artist profiles with interviews and music that affected the musicians’ style.
Community and Playlists
Spotify’s music catalog will not disappoint you. A Tribe Called Quest’s complete album was streamed in its entirety. This is where we got it… Thank you so much for your service. Late Nights & Heartbreak by Hannah Williams & The Affirmations, and Led Zeppelin’s Led Zeppelin II. Spotify boasts a nice mix of major and independent artists, including Taylor Swift, who had a public spat with Spotify over money, leading to her library being removed from the service.
Spotify’s broad database allows you to create playlists using any of the tracks or albums available. Spotify plays tracks from your playlists with no gaps by default. Spotify also allows you to crossfade tracks and customize the number of seconds (1-12) that the fade lasts. It’s not something we use very often, but DJs (or want tobe DJs) could enjoy it.
Turn on the collaborative playlist option if you wish to create a playlist with a buddy. This allows others to alter your playlist. The premium feature Group Session expands on this concept. It allows you and other Spotify Premium customers to listen to the same content on your own devices at the same time—and control the playback. Group Session can accommodate two to five individuals, and you can email a link to friends and relatives to ask them to relax. Trolls will not be able to enter your sessions as a result of this.
Sound Quality on Spotify
Spotify HiFi, a function that offers tunes in lossless, CD-quality audio, will be available later this year (though, not Hi-Res Audio). Spotify HiFi will also support Spotify Connect, allowing you to stream music to smart devices while controlling it with your phone. The cost of this new package has yet to be determined by Spotify.
If you want superior audio quality and have a nice pair of headphones, Tidal’s $19.99-per-month HiFi subscription is worth considering. Tidal uses it to transmit non-compressed 1411Kbps FLAC audio, which has far higher fidelity than normal audio streams. Even better, Tidal Masters, a music library with studio-quality, high-resolution audio streaming, is included in HiFi. They sound fantastic. Hi-Res Audio is also available on Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, Primephonic, and Qobuz.
You can build an Artist Radio station that plays music from your favorite musicians as well as similar-sounding bands, in addition to listening to singles, albums, and playlists. In testing, we liked Harlem’s Artist Radio, which played music by Dum Dum Girls and other indie rock legends. As with most music-streaming services, you can like and ban tracks to customize your Artist Radio experience.
Spotify, as previously said, lacks LiveXLive’s instructive DJs who host specific playlists and Slacker DNA’s music history-filled stations. Spotify Sessions, on the other hand, are original artist recordings recorded in Spotify Studios. Kelly Clarkson’s poor interpretation of Prince’s “Kiss” was tolerable, but we preferred John Legend’s “All of Me.”
If you’re worried about streaming your favorite music over a public Wi-Fi network, you should acquire a VPN. A virtual private network protects your phone, tablet, or PC from prying eyes and, depending on the VPN server’s location, may allow you to listen to music licensed in other countries. However, using a VPN to circumvent licensing limitations is against Spotify’s terms of service, so proceed with caution.
A Fantastic Music Streaming Service
Simply said, Spotify is a fantastic music streaming service that has earned the Editors’ Choice award from PCMag. It features a lot of fantastic music, exclusive tunes, and podcasts, all of which combine to make it one of the best places to go for streaming music and other pop culture-related content. If you like live performances, LiveXLive, an Editors’ Choice for concerts, is a good place to start. Tidal—another Editors’ Choice pick—is the way to go if you like Hi-Res Audio and first dibs on concert tickets.
Spotify is a top-tier streaming music service with a large song catalog, podcasts, early album access, and collaborative playlists.