SPO­TIFY

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST -

The Spo­tify desk­top app re­minds us of the older iTunes mu­sic player, with a large main win­dow dis­play­ing tracks, and a left pane for var­i­ous nav­i­ga­tion op­tions and ac­tiv­ity in­for­ma­tion. A re­cent up­date in­tro­duced a sleeker all-black over­haul. Mo­bile apps are avail­able on just about ev­ery plat­form and de­signed to look sim­i­larly as the desk­top ver­sion so there’s very lit­tle learn­ing curve.

Spo­tify as a free ser­vice is sup­ported by ads. A pre­mium ac­count sub­scrip­tion costs $9.90 a month, and for that you get un­in­ter­rupted mu­sic and the abil­ity to down­load tracks for off­line lis­ten­ing. How­ever, this is lim­ited to a max­i­mum of 3,333 songs per de­vice (up to three de­vices). Spo­tify has a va­ri­ety of bi­trate op­tions, from as low as 96kbps up to 320kbps, though the high­est qual­ity re­quires a Pre­mium ac­count too.

Prior to De­cem­ber 2013, mo­bile apps were only ac­ces­si­ble with a Pre­mium ac­count, but it is now open to all. The caveat for free ac­counts is the in­abil­ity to se­lect spe­cific songs to play. You can ac­cess all playlists, but only play in shuf­fle mode with lim­ited skips.

The main method of ac­cess­ing con­tent on Spo­tify is via its search bar, which re­turns re­sults sorted by song ti­tle, al­bum and artist. Our searches for a di­verse va­ri­ety of mu­sic from Tai­wanese pop to US met­al­core bands all reg­is­tered hits, but Spo­tify does prac­tice some geo lock­ing and li­cens­ing re­stric­tions as we no­ticed some songs within an al­bum be­ing greyed out.

Spo­tify also has a Dis­cover fea­ture that makes sug­ges­tions based on your lis­ten­ing his­tory with a very in­tu­itive pre­view func­tion; click and hold on the sug­gested song and Spo­tify will play a brief sec­tion. If you are cur­rently lis­ten­ing to mu­sic, your orig­i­nal song will pause. The pre­view will end when you re­lease your fin­ger, and your ex­ist­ing song will re­sume. If you like what you lis­ten to, you can go straight to the new artist.

The Ra­dio fea­ture is also a great way to dis­cover mu­sic. You can cre­ate your own ra­dio sta­tions from just about any cri­te­ria: song, al­bum, artist or genre. Un­like a reg­u­lar ra­dio, there’s no dis­rup­tion to your flow of mu­sic and you can eas­ily skip tracks not to your lik­ing.

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