Starting Off with Spotify
Starting Off with Spotify
So you've installed Spotify and signed up for the free trial of the premium service. Now it's time to get your ears filled. The Spotify interface should be familiar to anyone who has ever used iTunes, and new users should be able to find their feet with the service in a matter of minutes thanks to its clean design.
Whether you are a Free or Premium subscriber, most of the following tips and tricks will streamline your Spotify experience.
Gone are the days when listening to music was a solitary pursuit, typified by stacks of LPs, cassettes and CDs. With music streaming services and the internet, sharing songs and tunes with others has become a simple matter, requiring just a few well-placed clicks. Spotify comes with a host of social features which help with sharing great songs.
Spotify serves as a social media platform itself. Every account has its own profile unique profile and every user has the option to “Follow” whoever they choose. The follow function on Spotify works similarly as its namesake on Twitter. Following a specific individual will alert you to new music and playlists that they listen to via reminders in the right activity pane of the interface.
You don’t have to be content with just following your friends though. With a range of celebrities and musicians on-board the music streaming service, you can use Spotify to remove the degrees of separation between yourself and your favorite artists. Just follow your idols and you will be privy to their listening habits. Many musicians update selected playlists of their favorite tracks quite frequently.
When signing up for Spotify, you are given the option to create a dedicated Spotify ID or use your Facebook account to log-in. If you decided to take the former route you can still enable integration with the social media platform. Under the “File” menu on the top left hand side, you will find the option to log in to Facebook. The same results can be achieved in the “Preferences” menu which can be found in the “Edit” drop-down options. Linking your Facebook and Spotify account together allows for easy sharing of your music and it also grants access to your friends’ playlists.
Spotify by default will also push the music and playlists you listen to onto Facebook. But if you don't want to spam your friends’ Walls and Feeds with every single track you play, you can manage your activity levels from Spotify itself. Engage a “Private Session” for the times when you don't want your friends to find out you like to listen to Vanilla Ice every now and then.
Greater control over Spotify’s Facebook integration can be exercised from the Facebook platform itself. Find the Spotify App on your list of apps and click edit. Our first suggestion is to remove the option which allows Spotify to post adverts through your profile. You can also manage who your Spotify tracks and playlists are shared with. We’ve got it set to Friends, but you can choose the setting you are comfortable with.
You can also switch sharing off entirely by going to Preferences, and unchecking the two options under the Privacy tab which share your activities.
10 Tracks to Share to Establish Your Music Credentials
Let’s face it: The whole point of sharing songs through Spotify is to establish your music taste as being superior to everyone else out there. Individual tracks can be pushed out over Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr with extreme ease via Spotify. Or you can even choose to go old school and get specific URL links to swap with your friends. Here is a handy list of 10 tracks (with smart sounding blurbs) which should set you on your way to establishing your indie, tastemaker, music aficionado credentials via social media.
Seven Sisters by The Shouting Matches
Justin Vernon ditches his Bon Iver falsetto for straight up, blues jams with his pals. Hot off the press, The Shouting Matches’ album Grownass Man is sure to be a critics’ darling and favorite.
Recover by Chvrches
They may not have won BBC’s Sound of 2013 award (previous years’ winners include Adele), which actually makes listening to Chvrches (yes with a 'v' instead of a 'u') that much cooler. A definite must listen to track for synth lovers.
The Stars Are Out Tonight by David Bowie
The Thin White Duke comes out of retirement to ponder heavy motifs such as old age and celebrity / stardom. But he still hasn’t lost any of his androgynous, rocker appeal.
No Destruction by Foxygen
How can you pass up a band with a name like Foxygen? The band sounds like a The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground all rolled up into one on this track.
Ice Age by How To Destroy Angels
Trent Reznor (of NIN fame) teams up with his wife and longtime collaborator Atticus Ross, invents his own instruments and mash melody with futuristic sound to bring you his latest creations.
A Tooth For An Eye by The Knife
Tribal and weird, with dark sinister undertones The Knife are finally out with their next album after a seven year break and continue from where they left off.
Pusher Love Girl by Justin Timberlake
Haters gonna hate! Justin Timberlake is pure pop goodness. Just listen to the production value and instrumentation on this track
Flaws by Bastille
Foster the People might have brought post-rock into the mainstream’s attention with Pumped Up Kicks. Bastille is going to make sure that it stays there.
Default by Atoms for Peace
Thom Yorke from Radiohead forms a superband with Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers to deliver a funcky, glitchy and almost suprisingly happy record.
Esmeralda by Ben Howard
Drawing on folk inspirations, Ben Howard melds intricate melodies with smart lyrics and an exceptional, swirling finger-picked guitar style.
Discover New Music
There's no reason to use Spotify to listen to tracks you already own; the service places an almost inexhaustible selection of music right at your fingertips. Your friends and the Follow mechanic will give you new avenues of music to explore, but Spotify on its own is actually a great platform to discover new music on your own.
1 2 3 Lists
There's a specific tab dedicated entirely to find out what music is currently topping the charts. You can find individual tracks and albums which are making the most hullabaloo on the Billboard charts. If your listening habits are restricted to a very specific genre, this particular option would be an excellent way to start expanding your horizons.
Besides the suggestions for top tracks, Spotify is also able to curate playlists and offer suggestions you might like through the Radio feature. By default the Radio service has stations segregated by genres of music which you can launch at any time. But you can start off your own dedicated radio channel which would play tracks tailored specifically for you.
Much like an Apple Genius playlist, you need to seed your own Radio channel with a track, artist or album you like and Spotify will make use data collated from its millions of users to draw up a playlist of similar music content. You can also select a favorite track, right-click and select 'Start radio', and Spotify will spin songs for you similar to that track.
Apps within the App (and the Top 3 Apps to Start With)
Spotify might be a desktop application, but it has its own 'app store' with 'apps' to extend what you can do with it. On its own, Spotify is an extremely minimalistic and threadbare music player. But with the right downloads you can seriously increase its usability and functionality.
Fuse is an excellent application to have for your Spotify desktop, as it brings an amalgamation of news from all the music industry movers and shakers in easy to digest, bite sized packages. Best of all, the posts are accompanied by Spotify playlists which can be queued up with a single click.
Well known for being notoriously hard to please, Picthfork is an excellent website to find out which album is worth giving a listen. Their Spotify app provides a detailed review for a variety of albums as well as the option to add them as a playlist.
TuneWiki is an addon which will automatically bring up the lyrics from the tunes you are playing in Spotify. Perfect for times when you want to sing along to your favorite tune, it also allows you to customize the display of text and the background according to your liking.
A Case for Premium
A Spotify Premium account costs S$9.90, beside the fact that it gives access to the mobile app, there are a few other features which may tempt you to pay the cash.
One of the major draws of the Premium subscription account for Spotify is the availability of tracks for offline play. You no longer need an internet connection to play the tracks you love. Any and all playlists you may have on Spotify can be made available for playback with the simple toggling of a button on both the desktop and mobile application. The download process is relatively quick and convenient. Do note however that the offline music can only be played through Spotify and not other music players.
Higher Quality Sreams
Besides the availability of the tracks offline, springing for the Premium Spotify account also lets you select higher quality bitrates for streaming. Bitrate is essentially the amount of information being transferred in a second. Higher bitrates mean greater transfer of information which consequently means more dynamic sound for your audio. Spotify desktop’s standard streaming quality is 160 kbps. However with Spotify Premium you can enjoy a higher bitrate of 320 kbps on the desktop (called “High bitrate) and mobile (called “Extreme quality”). All tracks are streamed in the Ogg Vorbis format.
If you're worried about Spotify's impact on your mobile data, we've found the app to use surprisingly little data. Set on 'Normal' music quality, streaming for about 20 minutes cost approximately 3.2MB, while 6 songs used about 2.5MB (your mileage may vary).