Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

Summary: Spotify is now available in the USA, but I still find Slacker Radio and the Zune Pass to be better for my listening habits. Are you excited about Spotify?

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As Zack pointed out Spotify is available starting today in the USA. Invite codes were sent to some of those who signed up early, but anyone can get in on the action with a $4.99 unlimited or $9.99 premium plan. I subscribed to the premium plan to try it out. While I am feeling my way around the service I have a few thoughts about it compared to Slacker Radio Premium and the Zune Pass subscription.

Spotify

Spotify has something like 13 million available tracks for you to listen to with Mac and PC clients designed to help you setup your service. There are mobile clients for iOS, Android, Symbian, webOS, and older Windows Mobile devices. You can actually go to m.spotify.com to see if your phone is compatible with the service.

Spotify for the USA looks to be all about the playlists and that is not how I use my subscription services so in order for me to find it useful I will have to change how I enjoy music right now. I like how I can find a genre in the Zune Pass or radio station in Slacker to then just have music streamed to me randomly. I do see that Spotify connects through Facebook so you can share and subscribe to friends' playlists and imagine this is the most efficient way to get playlists with various song selections setup with Spotify. If you are someone who already has a ton of playlists then I am sure you will appreciate how Spotify brings those in and gets you running. I personally have a rather small music collection and prefer to listen to streaming collections of genres with services like Pandora, Last.fm, etc.

Slacker

Slacker has a Premium Radio subscription plan for the same $9.99/month that the Spotify Premium subscription is priced at. This subscription plan gives you full control over your music (songs, albums, and artists) while also supporting genre stations. You can create custom playlists too so it is very similar to Spotify. Slacker has a catalog of something like 8 million songs so there is one advantage of Spotify. However, 8 million is plenty for me and I haven't found much lacking in terms of selection. Slacker can also be enjoyed on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone 7, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and webOS devices so they even have more mobile clients than Spotify.

Zune Pass

I have written before why I think the Zune Pass subscription is a major value and with over 11 million tracks there is not much of an advantage by Spotify in selection. The Zune Pass is only available on Zune devices and Windows Phone 7 so it is quite limited in the mobile aspect. However, if you have a Windows Phone 7 device then you get the benefit of streaming or offline play, genre, artist, album, song selection, playlists, and 10 songs a month to keep forever too. There is also an excellent Windows Zune client that is enjoyable to use and supports social interaction with other Zune Pass members. One issue with the Zune Pass is that it is a pretty closed system that still has a limited following.

There are other solutions like Last.fm, Rhapsody, Rdio, Pandora, Napster, and more available too so there is a lot to look at for the consumer. I likely will not continue my Spotify Premium account past the first month because I find both Slacker and the Zune Pass to beat Spotify for my listening habits.

What service do you prefer and why?

Topics: Operating Systems, Apple, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Software, Windows

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13 comments
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  • RE: Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

    I'll try Spotify, but I'm already paying the yearly Zune Pass which comes to $12.50/month. Love the Zune service since it includes the 10 unprotected MP3s of your choice per month. How many devices can you use the Premium Spotify account on at one time?
    AdamzP
  • RE: Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

    How does it compare to MOG? I've been using MOG for about two months now and love it. They're fairly small, so there are a few bugs to be worked out still, but it's definitely changed the way I listen to music. I also give them an A+ for customer service.
    klindberg11
    • Comparing Spotify

      @klindberg11 I use mog, rhapsody, napster, and rdio, and have just signed up for Spotify. I'll be blogging my 1st impressions and later more detailed comparisons at http://cloudmusic.tumblr.com if you're interested.
      ed_yasi@...
  • Rdio is better

    I just got the premium pkg at spotify so i can listen to it on my ipod touch. I also currently have Rdio as well. Well I only had the Spotify service for for literally a minute, but for first impressions Rdio is a better fit for me. The Spotify mobile app home page have new releases, and top tracks, and a news feed, but Rdio have more depth on its homepage with my collection, playlist easily visible along with new releasess , top charts, recommendations, history, etc. I also like on Rdio that the search bar is easily visible on the top of the homepage as well. The biggest thing i enjoy most about Rdio right now is that its more user friendly, it easy to find artist, songs, and also sync it to your mobile device as well. Spotify have more of a learning curb to it. Finally I not a huge fan of Spotify playlist look, on Rdio when you save a album the artist and albums are very structured ( i love that) on Spotify everything you download is on a single playlist unless you create multiple playlists and adds albums to it. Even the online version is better on Rdio. The only advantage Spotify have is that they have more songs. 50 CENT "Curtis" is on Spotify, but not Rdio, But Rdio is adding more and more songs all of the time.
    xguy9
  • RE: Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

    Zune Pass is spectacular!! I wish they would add Streaming and downloading movies for one monthly price and it would put Netfix out of business.
    Piratelooksat40
    • RE: Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

      @Piratelooksat40
      yeah! thats what i think and they even put osme limit on no. of devices using at a time
      http://www.geekwindow.com/2011/07/spotify-has-landed-in-us.html
      TechExpert21
  • RE: Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

    I work in IT and support all these services. Zune is BY FAR the best. Zune simply rocks.
    oneillwfx
  • Some info

    Some Spotify pointers, first off try the hidden contextual search which saved my day like artist:scarecrow title:"black door" find all the types in Spotify.com under FAQ section

    There are many other sites that generate suggested songs in a playlist from any artist you enter and also one (truShuffle) that generate suggested songs on the fly from what you play in Spotify. :)

    Here's a few links to truly awesome Spotify tips:
    1. http://pansentient.com/2011/02/ten-top-spotify-tips/
    2. http://pansentient.com/2011/05/another-ten-top-spotify-tips/
    3. http://pansentient.com/2011/07/ten-more-top-spotify-tips/

    Worth noting to all indi bands are that the labels that have signed on with Spotify have tools (Spotify Analytics) that enable them to at any given time check how many times a artist have been played (to date or within any time frame), which song and where the listeners have been located in the US. This will make indi bands attractive to labels if they get played allot which then help to get labels to fund them :)
    It also help the bands plan tours as they know where in the US there followers are located.
    Another thing worth mentioning is that the payment per stream atm. is higher from Spotify that Rhapsody
    killzone_se@...
  • You can search by genre in Spotify. There are plenty of advanced search key

    You can search by genre in Spotify. There are plenty of advanced search keywords. Google it.
    bradavon
  • Pros and cons

    I live in Europe so I've had Spotify for quite some time now. In the beginning I was disappointed that Spotify wasn't more like last.fm. In last.fm it was really easy to discover new music.
    Spotify then added the "Related Artist"-link and the "Artist Radio"-tab so then most of Last.fm:s pros where incorporated I think.
    But what I love the most about Spotify is the fusion with facebook. When your friends start to make playlists avaliable it is extreamly easy to browse their music at parties or whenever. The sound quality of the music, no loading times and the great GUI is also what makes it the best music program I have tried.
    tobias_pahlberg
  • RE: Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

    I love Zune Pass. And to me, getting to keep 10 MP3s for myself, is kind of an added bonus. Solid deal if you ask me.
    kenjionozawa
  • RE: Spotify launches in USA, but is it the best music service for mobile needs?

    I have a Zune Pass and I love it. I first got the service when I got my Zune HD and I have continued to use it with my Windows Phone 7! It would be great if they would come up with a Zune Movie/Video Pass that would allow the same idea with movies and television series!
    jfreedle2@...
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