Now that I have been using it for over a month, I am really starting to like this service. It will actual bump Rdio off the top of the mountain by the end of the summer if Rdio hasn't converted their files to 320k by then. As with all of these services, they promise features are coming, but don't say when. For all I know, it could take years for Rdio to convert. By that time, Apple may have done something more interesting with Beats Music and move it up the list of contenders.
Well, now that I am leaning toward Spotify, I wanted to give a few reasons why:
1. 320k audio for premium subscribers
2. Fantastic third party apps
3. Desktop app
4. iPad app
5. Exclusive deals
The 320k audio puts it on par with Google and Beats. It also puts it ahead of Rdio and Rhapsody. This is a main consideration in the fall/winter when I do a lot more listening on my main systems.
For me, a desktop app is an important feature. For one thing, the Roomie Remote app on my iPhone can launch a desktop app automatically. It can't easily do that with a web address (actually, I am not sure if it is even possible). Secondly, web browser apps are usually short in features. The Spotify Desktop app has a section called "Apps" that isn't on their other platforms. This "App" section is one of my favorite features of Spotify. A description of a few of the apps and how they work below:
a. BlueNote - This app has a history of jazz built right into Spotify. You can click on playlists, explore artists, explore time periods, and playlists. It has biographies of artists and albums. I had a monthly subscription to BlueNote at one time, but the service was missing too many albums. Pairing it with Spotify actually fills in a lot of blanks. Needless to say, if you are a jazz fan, this app alone is worth the price of admission.
b. Jazzify - Staying on the subject of jazz, Jazzify takes a similar approach as the BlueNote app, but has a larger database because it isn't concentrated on the BlueNote label. It allows you to pull up artists by decades, chose by instrument, choose by style, etc.. Unlike BlueNote which has albums and playlists, it seems to be oriented only around playlists.
c. Classify/Bluesify - Very similar to Jazzify....which is to say that they are terrific ways to explore these genres and sub-genres. In the Classical genre, the Decca app is amazing, as well.
d. Hard& Heavy is a rock and roll app similar to the "Jazzify" app. Not sure why they didn't call it "Rockify".
d. Last.fm - I have been on this site for a long, long time. It takes your past music listening choices and makes new similar suggestions.
e. Moodagent sets up playlists based on your mood.
f. There are several more and the apps you would use would depend on your individual taste.
The above are all inside the desktop app. However, there are also apps that you can use on an iPhone that I like. My favorite would be "Remoteless". You download a program to your Windows/Mac computer and download the iOS/Android app to your device. This allows you to remotely control Spotify on the desktop with a mobile device. Below is one of the screens from their website:
I mainly use the Remoteless app to search for artists and albums on Spotify and play them back on my main system that is attached to a mac mini.
However, if you notice, Airfoil is built right into the Remoteless app. I have discussed the Airfoil app in the past, but to give a quick summary, it will send all audio from your computer to Airplay devices (Apple TV, Airport Express, Airplay built into third party receivers/speakers). The upside to using this over iOS via Airplay is the ability to send audio from Spotify to multiple Airplay devices simultaneously.
There is also a cool app called SSRadio that uses your Spotify account to set up playlists for popular genres. It is similar to the music stations on SiriusXM and for many of the stations they actually have the SiriusXM counterpart in parenthesis to make the transition easier. I have only used the app for a week, but I really like it. I have been using Sirius or XM for several years and the downside has always been the compression in the audio signal that they use. This offers similar channels using Spotfy's 320k high quality format.
There are also apps like Djay that only work with Spotify and iTunes that are innovative and unique. A short demonstration for their Youtube account is below:
The other thing that Spotify has is a lot more exclusive deals than the other services. For example, they had Led Zeppelin and Metallica signed to exclusive deals. With the comparable services having a similar number of tracks, these exclusive deals are a separator that they have over the competition.
As you can see, this service currently has a lot of unique characteristics. I have read that Spotify plans to discontinue some of its desktop features, so if that happens, they could lose one of their competitive advantages. For me, the desktop app is the main separator between Spotify and Beats/Google. Google is also missing a native iPad app which just seems lazy to me. Anyway, in the current market, they are neck and neck with Rdio. I wrote about the reasons I prefer Rdio in another post, but at the end of the summer, my current plan is to switch to Spotify if Rdio hasn't completed their file conversion to 320k.