It took me a while, but now I’m really enthralled by Spotify. Streaming services are not new to me. I have been using Last.fm and Pandora for a long time already and tried out Jango Radio on my smartphone. But what Spotify is doing on the Desktop is just pretty much overwhelming me. ((It would be interesting to find out what alternatives there are to Spotify and how they compare on different criteria))It offers endless possibilities. That’s why last month I also purchased an unlimited account. This basically means two things: 1) I can listen unlimitedly to millions of song and 2) there are no more ads. Beginners could just start with a song they love, hit the Spotify radio and it will bring you one great track after another. Perfect if you don’t know what to listen to, or if you’re in the mood for something new. But that’s not where it ends. You can opt in for a much more personalized experience. Spotify has a great music app ecosystem too, and I am just really impressed. It offers a wide variety of apps along categories such as music discovery, lyrics, social, music concerts and reviews. It’s even a bit of a shame hat I only discover it now, since Spotify has been already on the market since last year. So below are the Spotify apps that I like and am currently using.
If you are eager to know the lyrics of a song, check out TuneWiki. It displays lyrics in time with when they’re sung during any song you play on Spotify. Their database is crowdsourced so you can edit and synch lyrics yourself. There are two modes. The main mode auto-scrolls the lyrics for you as the song plays. Sync mode enables you to listen and match a song to its words, line by line, for the good of the Tune Wiki community. Great for your karaoke nights too!
I have been a user of Last.fm since 2004 so this tight integration with Spotify is just what I longed for. Everything is available from a single interface. The main thing that is important about this app is that it automatically scrobbles your tracks to your profile. It also recommends tracks you might not have heard, based on what you like. Additionally, it lists the albums you played over the last 3 months, recent tracks you listened to and the ones you loved. Another useful feature is that you can easily create playlists based on whatever is playing at that time: great at parties when you want to keep it alive. Of course, there should still be a reason to lead you to the Last.fm pages itself, so that’s why there’s no trace of your top artists and tracks.
Another service that’s available as an integrated app is Moodagent, a service that recommends music based on very specific musical qualities such as tempo and mood. This allows Spotify users to choose any song that happens to suit their mood at the moment, and then automatically build out a mood-based lengthy playlist of songs that are likely to evoke the same emotional response. It lets you pick a progression curve based on either tempo, sensuality, tenderness, happiness or aggression and the playlist will adjust accordingly to your selection. You can view the mood profile of the entire playlist and adjust the track sequence by using the mood curves.
Soundrop is a pretty advanced social listening service. It is organized around chat rooms and you can also create your own. They can be dedicated to a certain genre, theme or artist and everyone can add and vote on tracks to listen to. Every room comes with a space where fellow listeners can write and send messages to each other and check out ongoing activities. Not sure where to start? Check out the trending rooms and find out the top influencers and tracks. It’s raining outside and Santa Claus is coming to the town.
Pitchfork.com is the indie hipster’s bible – an online magazine with news, reviews and features about the best in cult music, old and new. The Pitchfork Spotify app is a companion to the site, offering playlists based on features and quick links to the music they review. It’s an ideal extension, giving you the chance to make up your own mind as you flick through the site. A collection of annual and themed playlists completes the offering together with an overview of the best new albums. A cool feature is that you can also share the album’s they review with other Spotify users. By the way, NME.COM is doing something similar. They bring you the latest music news and reviews too and their Spotify app lets you check out the bands they recently loved and recommend and there’s a whole bunch of playlists based on a certain theme, artist or genre. Same goes with the HLN.be and DeMorgen.be, but they are more directed towards a Belgian audience and do not offer the same deep functionality as Pitchfork or NME. Similarly, they provide you with reviews about concerts and albums. The articles are accompanied with relevant songs that can be saved as playlists.