Spotify Available in Australia!
Summary: It’s been a long time coming, but Spotify, the popular EU and US music service, has finally been made available to Aussie customers. If you haven’t heard of it, or are unsure what Spotify is, it’s a...
It’s been a long time coming, but Spotify, the popular EU and US music service, has finally been made available to Aussie customers. If you haven’t heard of it, or are unsure what Spotify is, it’s a music streaming service that offers a wide variety of options for users. Similar to Zune Pass, Spotify delivers unlimited music streaming and downloads to its premium users for around $12 per month. There’s a 30 day free-trial of the Premium Account right now for anyone that’s interested.
That might sound like a decent amount at first, but once you go in to everything that Spotify offers you may change your mind. There is also a free option that allows up to 20 hours per month of music streaming, and a $6 Unlimited option which allows for unlimited streaming, but no download and thus no access to music while offline.
Spotify and a More Social Music Experience
At first you might just think that Spotify sounds like every other music streaming service, but it does have some unique and interesting functions, the combination of which will not be found elsewhere.
Basically where Spotify puts itself apart from other music streaming services is its social side. Yes, it does rely partially on Facebook integration for this, but not entirely and you can set Spotify to not constantly update your Facebook account with everything you are doing. You do this by hitting the ‘Edit’ menu and then selecting ‘Preferences’.
Spotify is very heavily based around sharing music. You might think this sounds familiar and it’s true that other platforms have done this, but Spotify really does make it an easy and intuitive process. Users can send each other songs, publish their playlists publicly for friends to see and even create collaborative playlists that can be edited by multiple people.
This last option has a bunch of situations in which it would be useful. Anything from getting friends to introduce new music to you to avoiding the hassle of creating a playlist for an upcoming party that you’re hosting. If all the guests can just log on and select a few songs they wish to hear beforehand then you’ve essentially skipped the time-consuming task of crafting a new music playlist, yet you still have the advantage of having a fresh music line-up every time you have people over.
If you decide to go down the Facebook route, which we were hesitant to do at first but were ultimately glad we did, you can view all of your Facebook friends that also have Spotify. You can either add these friends to favourites, or block them if you so desire. Favourites show up on the right-hand side of the screen. Clicking on a favourite will show you the song they most recently listened to (unless they have deactivated this option). Dragging a song to that name will send the song to their Spotify inbox, unless the song is one from your hard-drive that is not also available on the Spotify library.
Spotify and You
When it comes to your singular music experience, Spotify offers no less than a service like Zune Pass. A premium account gives you access to a huge music library from which you can either stream or download; it’s up to you. Songs added from the library to a playlist will not automatically be available in offline mode, but it’s pretty simple to download them. Just right-click and select ‘Available Offline’.
Any playlists that you make can be made either public or private, with the default setting being public. You can also right click and select ‘Share to…’ which will allow you to either post that playlist to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. Alternatively you can ‘Share to…’ a specific friend.
Any songs that you currently have on your iTunes or Windows Media Player libraries will automatically be made available via Spotify. This syncing is specific to the computer on which those files were stores and any songs that you have which are not available on Spotify cannot be shared or sent, but they can still be added to your own personal playlists.
Spotify on Mobile
One of the greatest things about Spotify is that Premium members have access to the full suite of Spotify’s treats on their mobile Android or iPhone devices. This is great news, as so far the only other impressive mobile music streaming service that we’ve used in Australia is Zune Pass, which is only available on Windows Phone.
By default Spotify on Mobile is set to only sync over WiFi, a setting we highly recommend you keep. This is because it’s quite easy to accidentally find yourself streaming music over the internet if you have 3G syncing available.
It’s also important to remember that just because you make a playlist ‘Available Offline’ on one computer does not mean that it will be available offline on your handset. Each device or computer on which you access Spotify treats ‘Available Offline’ playlists differently.
Luckily any device that you sync with your Spotify account can be managed via the Spotify interface on your desktop. At the top left of the window there is a ‘Devices’ tab that should show any devices that are currently synced (only devices that are synced over WiFi with the default settings). Clicking your device will open a list of your playlists with tick-able boxes. Ticking a box will begin downloading all the songs within that playlist to your device immediately, making sure that next time you listen to them you won’t be using up your data cap. It’s also pretty simple to do this via your phone, but it’s nice to have both options.
Any playlists that you download to your phone will have a little green @ white arrow symbol under the playlist's name, so you can know at a glance which ones you have made available offline.
One small issue we have noticed is that the Android version of the Spotify on Mobile app tends to randomly unsync and resync from time to time. It can get a little frustrating, but resyncing doesn’t take any time at all so it’s not a huge burden. We have had no issues with the iPhone version of the app.
As you may have guessed by now we’re big fans of Spotify. We’ve been keenly awaiting its Australian release for a while now and it’s great to see that we haven’t been let down in terms of quality or simplicity of design. It took us about 15 minutes to figure out just about everything that was on offer and so far we’ve loved all of it, except for the minor aforementioned issue with the Android app.
It’s also a bit of a shame that we can’t share our songs that don’t appear on the online library, but those songs are few and far between. Admittedly for us they have tended to be those songs that you have on your playlist but never really listen to, yet you just can’t bring yourself to delete them.
Overall we love the social nature that Spotify brings to the music streaming service game. It’s not over-the-top or pushed in to your face; it’s just there if you want it.
We’re also relieved to finally see a truly competitive service like this that is available on Android and iPhone. Up until now Windows Phone has been receiving all of the love with Microsoft’s Zune Pass so it’s interesting to see if ZP might soon make the jump to other mobile devices in order to compete with Spotify.
So far Spotify has seen huge adoption in both the EU and US markets and we hope to see that mirrored in Australia. Of course it isn’t for everyone, and that $12 per month price tag is intimidating, but we feel that the future of media, music and video will see a strong lean towards these subscription-based services.
Ultimately Spotify seems like the kind of service that will get even better the more people that use it. As a straight-up music syncing service it’s very good, but when you add that social aspect it’s definitely something more.
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