Free Music With Spotify?

Category: Music

Some of my friends are using Spotify to get free music. I got burned by using Limewire in the past, so I want to make sure this is legit before I jump in. Is Spotify really free, legal, and can I play any song I want?

What is Spotify?

According to some reviewers, Spotify is "the best free music option since stealing." Spotify is an online music store, similar to iTunes. But unlike iTunes' pay-per-track model, Spotify offers free and paid options. Here's how Spotify works...

You can download all the songs you want from Spotify to your computer for up to six months, free of charge. However, your listening pleasure will be interrupted occasionally by audio and visual ads. After six months, freeloading users are limited to 10 hours of streaming per month, and cannot listen to the same track more than five times in a month. If you pay $5 a month, these restrictions disappear, although you're still limited to listening on your computer. A $10 a month subscription lets you stream tunes to any iOS, Android, or Windows 7 device.

Another benefit Spotify Premium is Offline Mode. You can create one or more Playlists, designate them to be cached for offline listening, and those tracks will be synced to your computer or phone. This is great for commuters who don't have Internet access while traveling, folks on planes and trains, or for those times when you want to kick back with some tunes in a hammock or on the beach. And in case you're worried about running out of tunes while you're offline, Spotify can sync up to 3,333 tracks on up to three devices.
Spotify

Launched in 2008 by Swedish startup Spotify AB, Spotify boasts approximately 10 million users, of which 2.5 million are paying subscribers. Spotify competes with other streaming music services such as Pandora, Slacker and Rdio. You can read more about those services in my companion article Radio Apps For Your Smartphone.

Finding Music on Spotify

The Spotify app is sleek and polished, reminding many users of iTunes. Its best feature is a search box that can find an artist, album, or song and start streaming it almost instantly. Spotify's library includes about 15 million tunes from a wide variety of labels. You won't find the Beatles on Spotify due to their exclusive deal with iTunes, but many other bands are there. Spotify licenses music from Universal, Sony Music, EMI, Warner and other top labels, as well as indie bands in all musical genres. They claim to be adding 10,000 tracks to their music library every day.

Facebook and Twitter are integrated into Spotify, allowing you to share links to your favorite music with your social networks. If a friend has posted a Facebook message that they're listening to a song via Spotify, you can hit the Play button and check out the same tune. You can also create and share playlists. Artists pages, top 10 lists, and other musicology content. The Biography tab will help you learn more about your favorite bands and you can discover others that you might like by using the Related Artists feature.

Spotify's default sound quality is 96-160Kbps Ogg Vorbis, but that can be tweaked up to high-fidelty 320Kbps sound if you're a Premium member. Songs start playing instantly when selected, although there is a noticeable lag when jumping from one part of a song to another, or skipping to the next song.

Spotify is a good free option for casual listeners. It's also a worthy contender for iTunes, Slacker and Pandora if you want unlimited streaming music at a modest flat rate.

 
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Most recent comments on "Free Music With Spotify?"

Posted by:

Nick
30 Nov 2011

Spotify requires a Facebook account. No thanks.

EDITOR'S NOTE: True, but you can create a dummy account on Facebook. After you set it up, you won't need to login to the Facebook account.


Posted by:

Gregg DesElms
30 Nov 2011

And to think that US users have been WAITING for Spotify...

...only to learn, now, that it's even more restrictive than Pandora, what with it having recently lifted many of its restrictions for free/non-paid users.

"RadioSure" for Windows desktop/laptop machines, and "TuneIn Radio" for Android users, remains my choice. Indeed, Spotify and Pandora are different because they program their own content, and one can choose same by genre. But RadioSure and TuneIn also carry such things as 1.fm, and .977, and 100Radios, and 181.fm, etc...

...all of which do thheir own programming, which can be selected by genre. Add that to the ability to listen to just plain radio stations, locally and around the world -- some 17,000 of them -- and such as RadioSure and TuneIn end-up being, overall, far superior to the likes of Pandora and Spotify... or so, at least, it is my opinon.


Posted by:

Kit Kimes
30 Nov 2011

You correctly described how Spotify works but you might mislead some people in your second paragraph when you state "You can download all the songs you want from Spotify to your computer for up to six months, free of charge."

I only consider it downloading if you can save that song as a file to play later. As you later stated, Spotify is a streaming service. I'm sure that there are ways that you can 'capture' a streaming song, but it isn't easy for the casual user.

What i like best about Spotify is that I can search by artist and create a playlist of an entire album or several albuns.


Posted by:

bob
30 Nov 2011

You do not technically download music from Spotify, you only stream it. Once it plays it's gone.


Posted by:

mike R.
30 Nov 2011

From a musician's perspective, Spotify pays particularly dreadful rates to the artists who's songs are streamed. If Spotify becomes the "Walmart" of streaming music, then it will be a blow to independent musicians.


Posted by:

Gene Hoffman
30 Nov 2011

I recommend you also check out mog.com. They have a free trial. I prefer their GUI and for $5/month, you can get unlimited high quality streaming to your computer.


Posted by:

Steve Wooden
30 Nov 2011

I am using Grooveshark to listen and have no problem with it except the impossibility of hearing Beatles songs by the Beatles.


Posted by:

karen e.
30 Nov 2011

I suggest you look into Grooveshark, another streaming service - great selections by genre and the ability to zoom in to only one particular artist or even one album. I listen to them free (without joining) and don't get ad interruptions (AdBlocker plug-in for Firefox really works). They will stop playing after a couple of hours if you don't sometimes nudge the mouse or something, but otherwise with HTMI connection to stereo amp it's "house music". My son listens on his Android phone.


Posted by:

andreia medlin
01 Dec 2011

I use mp3million. I download singles 99% of the time and each one is only 10 cents.


Posted by:

Matthew
01 Dec 2011

There are far too many strings attached to using Spotify for me. You actually have to have a FB account to use it, or make up a dud one? Boy, that's sure sets the red lights blinking in the back of my brain. Perhaps something is going on behind the scene they are trying to hide? I use RadioSure which offers tens of thousands of songs/stations for free, any kind of music you can think of, in very clear stereo, and no strings attached. You can download/record to your heart's content and not break any laws.


Posted by:

Hulda
01 Dec 2011

I suggest you try http://www.gogoyoko.com. There you can listen to all the great music young artists and older are making and it's not only Icelandic. It's a great place to discover new artists!
They say it's a "fair play in music" - you can stream for free, or buy music directly from the artist.


Posted by:

Dave in Indy
02 Dec 2011

Spotify is not too bad! There are some artists / labels that are still not participating but darned near every Bobby Sherman is available, lol. Also my favorite obscure British 60's, girl group, the McKinley's have a song or two, on it(check out "Someone Cares for Me").


Posted by:

JD
13 Dec 2011

Here are two sites for older music.
http://www.tropicalglen.com/ 1950 to 1990 music
http://www.loc.gov/jukebox/ library of congress historical recordings 1900 to 1925


Posted by:

Tomtom
19 Jan 2012

Apart from the Beatles and Pink Floyd, I'm hard pressed not to find what I want with Spotify, from Allegri to Tupac. The negatives are the integration with Facebook, and more, if you are not careful how you set your account preferences, your music choices are published on Facebook for the world to see. So use a dummy account. You also have to be able to spell correctly to search, but it's otherwise easy by artist, album or track.
Your choices don't disappear if you create playlists and log in once a month.
I use it combination with Sonos, which seamlessly connects my music system to Spotify or other services. Every room in the house can play different music. I create permanent playlists with either, I can control everything with any Android smartphone or Iphone, and so can anyone else in the house with a phone and a free software download. I can "download" 3,333 tracks to my smartphone. I will never have to buy another CD. With Sonos/Spotify I can organise a whole evening's music in about 5 min, or change my mind in 10 seconds
I never have to get up from my chair to change a CD. Songl or Deezer may be direct competition,(I haven't checked yet) but many of the others are just glorified radio stations. I'm not in love with Spotify, and would be delighted to find something better. But the integrated system creates a whole new world, in which you can forget scratched vinyl, chewed up cassettes and jumping or freezing CDs. This comment may be too long to publish, but check it out, Bob, starting from the Sonos end. You only need to buy one small box from them to achieve music Nirvana, (CONNECT $349, and if your router is not close enough to wire to your amp, BRIDGE $49) although the sound quality and the whole experience are so good overall that I don't regret having bought more than the minimum. Goodbye timewasting Itunes store. Pay $60 a year without regret and hope the big music owners don't work it all out next week.


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