The music giant is to music what Netflix is to TV and, unless you’re very discerning (or very unlucky), you’ll find a great selection of your favorite music (and more) in a very easy-to-use app. Add that to the fact that Spotify's available almost anywhere you go and it’s no wonder that it tops the charts when it comes to music.
The top choice when it comes to streaming music
For everyone except an unlucky few, Spotify is all the music you’ll need.
Spotify is one of the most popular music apps around, and it’s not at all difficult to see why. Firstly, it’s hugely accessible. There is a version of Spotify available for almost every platform you could think of using and this is a large part of its likability. This version for Windows is exactly the type of flagship app you’d expect - it’s crisp-looking, fast, and easy-to-use and, although music quality depends largely on the quality of the device you’re reproducing it on (and not the app you’re using to play it), only the pickiest ears will have anything to say about the quality of the music you can listen to with Spotify.
The most basic level of Spotify is free, which is why it really is “music for everyone”. You can also sign up to Spotify Premium by paying a monthly fee. On the premium tier, the user experience is just a little bit nicer, with the ability to download music (great for planes), skip songs you don’t like and, many people’s favorite plus - you don’t have to listen to the ads.
Premium or not, the app is very easy to use. The main interface shows you a selection of things you’ve been listening to recently, or music Spotify has decided you’ll probably enjoy. Your library and playlists live on the left, and to the top on the left, you’ll see the Home, Browse, and Radio buttons. Browse is a nice feature for the undecided, as it’s a great way to find new music and artists. Radio is where you’ll want to go if you want music to play without having to make too much of an effort - pick an artist or music type, and it will find music related to it and play until you tell it not to.
Spotify’s charms don’t end with traditional music and their version of radio, however. By using Search and Browse, you’ll also be able to find podcasts, charts, new releases, and even upcoming concerts in your area, as well as being able to find music by mood or purpose, like studying or exercising.
Spotify’s settings are relatively simple and it’s here that some users do have complaints. When you head into the settings area, most of the things you can tweak are pretty simple or have nothing to do with music playback or quality. The number of tweaks you can actually make to the music is pretty low (you can add crossfade and change the streaming quality but beyond this, you have relatively little control over the music. For most, this lower degree of control is actually enough but, for a few, it’s unfortunately too little.
Spotify doesn’t often go wrong but when it does the support team is usually fast to react. You’ll also find an acceptable amount of help online but you’re unlikely to need to do much troubleshooting yourself.
Where can you run this program?
This version is for Windows. There are also versions for other platforms, like Android, iPhone, and Mac.
Is there a better alternative?
There are certainly alternatives to Spotify, but whether or not they’re better is really subjective. YouTube Music is slated to start making waves in the streaming music market soon, but we still haven’t seen what it’s capable of doing. Google Play Music and Apple Music are contrasting giants; the former is nice if you have a lot of your own music, and the latter is ok only if you’re happy to use iTunes, as you need it for Apple’s streaming service. Deezer and Wave are also on the market, but they haven’t even begun to challenge Spotify’s reign.
For many, many people, Spotify provides music they want, works wherever they are, is easy to use and much more. If you’re an average music user, you know your favorites are on the platform, and you want your music solution to 'just work', then Spotify is the one for you. Some people are unlucky and find that their absolute favorites haven’t reached an agreement with Spotify and, as a result, aren’t in the catalog, which is a real shame. Others dislike the fact that the music you’re listening to is never yours (in which case, streaming music isn’t for them). Others believe that streaming music is (possibly) damaging artists, given that revenues are not as high as before when people bought albums. If any of these are pricking your conscience, then you might want to look elsewhere. For the rest though, Spotify is all you need.
Should you download it?
If you have average music needs and your favorite artists are available, download Spotify. If you have your own music, want greater control over playback, or just don’t like the idea of streaming, look for another music-listening option.