I have been waiting forever for Spotify to launch in Australia, it finally happened in late May. Click through to their official website if you haven't heard of it and want a detailed explanation, but basically you download an app (PC & Mac) and sign up for a free account and you can listen to unlimited music and playlists for free (with about 3-4 mins of advertising an hour). The music streams over your internet connection, so it will count as downloads with your Internet Service Provider, but with the massive data plans most people have these days you wouldn't notice it particularly*. You can also sign up for a subscription, which is about $12 a month. This takes out the advertising, and allows you to download your playlists to your iPhone/iPad (or other Spotify compatible device and take the music with you offline).
I was a little skeptical that this would grab me to being with. I'd tried Rdio before but without the option of being able to continue for free, I ditched it. I was also curious to see how much Australian/Indie music would be available in Spotify. So far I haven't been disappointed. I don't have hugely obscure tastes in music, but I'm also not always 100% mainstream. I've been able to find almost everything I've gone looking for so far. Added bonus...if you install the Triple J app inside of Spotify, you can listen to Hottest 100's every year going back to the 90's. Love this.
Apps are really the heart of the program. I use Billboard for more charts outside of the standard ones built into Spotify. I've also just discovered the Share My Playlists app. Sign up for a free account at the website, then add the app to Spotify and sign in...you now have access to every playlist from that website within Spotify. Think mix tapes gone global, with enough scope and detail to include playlists such as "The Perfect Mathematical Running Playlist". You can browse specific types of playlists or just add from the top playlists worldwide. The best part is that as the users update their playlists, if you subscribe within the app you get the updates automatically. Whilst I had my pro account for Spotify, I took one of these playlists offline to the gym...the elliptical machine has never been more fun with fresh new music pumping through your earbuds.
It can feel a little overwhelming to begin with, especially once you realise all the albums you can listen to in full without buying, your self made playlists will bulge at the seams in no time. Don't want to make a decision? Pick one song you like and let Spotify create your own personal "radio station" matching songs from it's online library that are similar to the song you picked out. Seriously, it's free...what are you waiting for, go check it out!
I've found so much new-to-me music since stumbling into Spotify...these are just a few:
OK hit me...what's high in rotation on your iPod lately?
(note that actual version of Ingrid Michaelson's live performance wasn't on Spotify, her album version was...I just liked the clip & that it was from Melbourne)
*As always, read the fine print. I didn't find anything scary and my data usage isn't out of control, but everyone is different. Make an informed decision :)