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What is Spotify?

Spotify is a music streaming platform. This means you can use it to find tracks, albums, and podcasts and, through a data or Wi-Fi connection, play them. You can also create playlists of tracks, save your favorite songs into a library, and even download them to your device so you can listen when you’re offline.

Offering plenty of search features, it also provides a good way to discover new music. However, its appeal for many is in its recommendations. This makes it ideal for anyone who wants to get on with working, partying, or chilling out, without having to consider the track you should play next. Spotify decides for you – and often, its choices are spot on.

Spotify is also known for its smart ideas, adding new services, rolling out redesigns, and creating big, viral sharing campaigns – such as Spotify Wrapped. The company has also been working on Spotify Lite – a simpler version of the Spotify app that uses less storage, data, and battery to optimize performance, making it ideal for older devices and operating systems.

What we’re saying is Spotify is so much more than a music library. It has plenty to offer and new features are being added all the time.

Spotify: music catalog

Spotify regularly posts updates about just how many millions of tracks it has in its library. At the time of writing, that number is 70 million.

Over the years, several artists have withdrawn their music from Spotify, including The Beatles, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, and Thom Yorke. Although, the last time we checked, most of the artists who removed their music in the early days can now be found on Spotify.

The reasons for withdrawing their music were varied, but Spotify has been criticized in the past for not compensating artists as fully as it could. An argument in favor of Spotify is that it moves people away from piracy and allows them to discover new music and artists. However, some people still choose to avoid Spotify and either buy music outright or use services such as Tidal and Bandcamp, which give artists more autonomy and royalties.

Spotify: podcasts

In a bid to become the only audio app you’ll ever need, Spotify added podcasts to its platform in 2015 – and now there’s a massive selection. With Spotify, you ‘follow’ podcasts rather than ‘subscribe’ to them, with new episodes then appearing on your home screen.

If you already have a podcast app you know and love, you might not need to use Spotify at all – we were the same. But we’ve slowly found ourselves using Spotify more and more for podcasts in a bid to streamline the apps we’re using, so we wouldn’t be surprised if other users gradually find themselves doing the same.

We all know Spotify is excellent at picking tracks for customized playlists, but it can also apply the same kind of algorithmic magic to your podcast tastes, suggesting ones you might like to listen to – and often it’s bang on the money.

Spotify: playlists

Like most music streaming services, Spotify allows you to create your own playlists, which you can then save in Your Library to listen to whenever you like, or download for offline listening. You can download tracks onto three separate devices at any one time, but add a fourth and it might revoke access to the first device.

You can download 3,333 tracks per device for offline listening. However, even at low quality, this might take up a chunk of your phone’s internal storage, so it’s worth bearing in mind before you go on an offline syncing spree.

Playlists are extremely easy to create. On the desktop app, simply drag-and-drop tracks into playlists that show up in your sidebar. In the mobile app, you can tap the three dots on any track and then add them to any playlist.

Spotify also allows you to create collaborative playlists. This means your friends can add, remove or reorder tracks, too – this is perfect for parties.

Even if you don’t want to make playlists, there are lots of ways to manage your music. For example, a new feature coming soon will let you categorize tracks in your ‘Liked Songs’ collection by genre and mood, so you can easily find the perfect soundtrack to your day, rather than listening through your entire eclectic catalog of saved tracks. Spotify is really geared up for music nerds who want to organize their music.

As well as offering the ability to generate your own playlists, Spotify has become known for recommending excellent playlists that appeal to your listening tastes. On the home screen on my desktop app, these recommended playlists are called Refractions, described as laid-back electronic soundscapes, and Electronic Concentration; electronic sounds to help you stay focused. This is exactly the type of music we turn to Spotify for regularly while we work.

However, all who listens to electronic music will also get these. A fantastic perk of Spotify is the playlists that are specially created for your eyes only. Spotify offers such music in a variety of forms, including Discover Weekly, which is a fresh mix delivered to you each Monday, featuring tracks that you’ll like but haven’t listened to yet. There are Daily Mix playlists, which cater to your different listening moods, as well as Your Time Capsule, which is a selection of tracks Spotify (very accurately) has guessed that you may have liked in your teens. There are plenty more, including your top songs of the year dating back to when you first signed up.


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