Spotify is getting a makeover and it's an important one.
Today the streaming music service has fully embraced downloads. Completely, utterly and unreservedly through three key points:
- Buy without leaving Spotify: previously users needed to complete a number of steps before being directed to purchase music from our download partner 7digital's site. Now own a song in a few clicks from within Spotify.
- Better visibility: up till now, users had to right-click on a track/album to discover if the music was available to buy. Users can now see exactly what music is available, with 'buy' buttons now visible either underneath the album cover or next to a particular track.
- Playable within Spotify: all Spotify MP3 purchases are now available to play on the service - check out the 'Purchases' button on the Spotify sidebar. They also can be transferred from here to any other MP3 player, programme or burnt to a CD
The small print? The Purchases FAQ Page provides a lot of answers, but the key aspects are downloads are saved in your default Windows/Mac music folder though this can be changed in the preferences menu. Tracks can be re-downloaded three to five times (which is handy, but a little vague), not all tracks have a buy button since Spotify and downloads partner 7Digital don't share exactly the same libraries. Once purchased, the buy button will disappear from a track/album and quality is good since 7Digital deals in high bitrates with most tracks in 320kbps and 256kbps.
All countries where Spotify in currently available should receive this new functionality immediately so that's Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France and Spain. So all in all this seems a necessary and mature addition to the once lofty (and perhaps naive) aspirations to run an entirely streaming based service. At present however there is no way to remove the new 'Buy' buttons - something we'd at least like to see as an option to Premium subscribers. It would also be good to see this functionality added to Spotify Android and iPhone apps though their respective Amazon and iTunes native services would likely take great issue with that.
Still, do we like it? Yes, very much so...