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Major Update Sees Spotify Go Social

Gordon Kelly


Major Update Sees Spotify Go Social

This came out of the blue... and while it may not be quite the update we anticipated (or necessarily wanted) it is an update that will send shockwaves about the Web.

Spotify has moved from beta version 0.32 to 0.4.3, yes really. Thankfully Spotify doesn't play by conventional version numbers though, since 0.4.3 is easily the streaming music platform's biggest update since its launch in October 2008.

The big news is 'Spotify Social' - Spotify's new social networking system. This is primarily done through integration with Facebook and brings a new 'people column' to the player which shows a list of all your Facebook friends using Spotify and what are their 'Top artists' and 'Top tracks'. Their playlists are also shared and these can be subscribed to and viewed along with a 'Feed' showing you what music your friends are talking about.

Naturally the public nature of these can be individually edited so you can hide that disturbing Carly Simon obsession from view. On the flip side, you can subscribe to profiles like that of Sean Adams from Drowned In Sound and keep up to date with the site's monthly top track picks.

Extending this social networking further is the addition of an 'Inbox'. Any tracks or albums you like can be dragged onto any of your friends in the people column and that content will turn up in their inbox. Clever stuff and a nice extension of the ability to use http links to share Spotify files in the past (that remains intact).

Major change number two is the 'Library' feature which gives you the option to scan your computer for music files and integrate them into your Spotify library. Your library can then be played directly from Spotify and - in a neat twist - synced with Spotify's mobile client if you add it to a playlist. If you make this playlist available offline this even works when the artist isn't on Spotify since it will wirelessly upload the content from your computer.

Other bits and pieces? You can now star your favourite tracks, shared playlists show their number of subscribers so you can see how popular your selections are and you can search for individual Spotify users with the command 'spotify:user:username'.

On the downside, Spotify seems to have taken something of a Google Buzz approach to social networking by sharing all your information automatically and relying on you to remove anything inappropriate. Top Artists and Top Tracks also contain a few glitches (apparently my favourite track comes from a Twin Peaks soundtrack I've never hear). It has also failed to give the playlist system a much needed makeover and they remain the same ugly list system as existed previously.

Despite that, this is a welcome and potentially game changing move from Spotify and if it could integrate podcasts and device syncing perhaps we could finally be freed from the horrors of iTunes forever...


Spotify Blog Post


April 27, 2010, 5:32 pm

I don't mind the update not to shabby.

Although would be even better if they added a few more features for Premium users to try and encourage new people to sign up. Read elsewhere there's only 320k people subscribed despite there being over 7millions users =/


April 27, 2010, 5:36 pm

Yes, it's a tiny fraction. That should improve once it gets a full Worldwide launch.


April 27, 2010, 6:49 pm

This looks awesome. I just checked and the premium service is £10 a month, that's a bit much when I would mostly use it for wireless syncing of my own music. If they dropped that price to £5 a month they would easily more than double their subscribers.


April 27, 2010, 6:51 pm

@Evilpaul - ta, fixed!

@jopey - everyone says that. I'm a premium subscriber though and I do think it's worth it given the funky Spotify mobile apps on iPhone and Android: http://www.trustedreviews.c...


April 27, 2010, 7:34 pm

Ive been a Premium user almost since the day the app was made available and have never found the £10 a month expensive. Quite the opposite actually - I think it's a bargain. Being able to kick about with any number of new (and old) releases to check out before purchasing the physical copy is fantastic. Creating great playlists that my mates can add too is also a great feature too. Looking forward to the new features. Having said that though, I wouldnt be paying £10 if it wasnt for the iPhone app.

My only complaint with Spotify is how it lists your playlists on the left. Rather than having several large playlists I have dozens of albums as individual playlists and browsing through them is a menace and not particularly intuitive. Not sure how best they could address that though.

Now, if only they could get the Squeezebox integration sorted out I could finally ditch Napster.


April 27, 2010, 7:44 pm

Agree with Gordon,

On my 1st month of Premium got it due to my new Android phone so i can use spotify on that.

£10 is the same as one album a month so if your someone who regularly buys albums its very much worth the cash, no ads is good as well you don't realise how annoying it is until you listen to it without any adds lol.

The damned Roberta annoyed me for months!


April 27, 2010, 9:21 pm

I'm also a subscriber and I to only do it so I can use it with my phone. Use it nearly everyday driving to and from work. I'm more than happy to pay that £10 but only because of the Android app. Wouldn't bother otherwise


April 27, 2010, 9:34 pm

I used to be a spotify user and still use it occasionally but I am a paid up napster member. For £15 a quarter (£5 a month) you get unlimited ad-free streaming, and 15 free downloads per 30 days. I think this is great value, as buying 15 tracks on itunes or amazon would cost say £10-12 anyway and you are getting that + adfree streaming for 5. If you dont want the 3 month commitment, you only get 5 tracks per 30 days instead of 15.


April 28, 2010, 12:15 am

Just been giving the new Spotify a try and so far very impressed. Firstly, big phew moment that all those Apple Lossless files Ive been ripping for the past month have been recognised (yes I know, 320kps is barely different but what the hey!). I have these files stored on a NAS and access is fairly quicker than iTunes. Not sure if "recognised" files are played from Spotify servers though but still, very speedy.

The potential of the community playlists, charts, Facebook, etc stuff, to me, is exciting. I can see a fair few people signing up to something like this. Couple it with LastFM and you really have a great system on the go.

Its an update like this that must surely have Apple thinking seriously about getting the finger out and releasing their streaming service that they are always rumoured to be developing. As it stands I will only ever be using iTunes to sync my phone. I was barely using it as a player in any case but no chance now.

As for Napster, I also subscribe to this purely because it was synchronised with the Squeezebox Server on my NAS. Its a lot slower than Spotify with buffering a pain in the arse at times but it used to have a few advantages - importing library being one of them. I'll give it another month or so but I think Napster will be getting the elbow soon from me.


April 28, 2010, 2:10 pm

@Gordon: Oi, there's a Symbian app as well! :P

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