I love music, but being a student, more often than not I can’t afford to buy the latest album I want to listen to. For example, I wanted to buy 5 or so albums to take with me on holiday last week, which would have cost around £30. Instead, I decided to buy a month of Spotify Premium for £9.99. That includes offline mode, enhanced sound and premium content not available on Spotify free, as well as access to the mobile app. The Android version is very sleek, but is it worth £9.99 a month? Read on to find out.
The first thing I noticed about the app was that the user interface is very slick. Along the bottom you have five tabs, Playlists, Search, Home, More, and a special one with a Play arrow on it. The latter can be dragged up like the app drawer for the 1.x devices to reveal the currently playing playlist, or the last played song and playlist if nothing is playing. This drawer includes playback functions, track name and artist. It also includes album artwork that you can slide left or right to skip back or forward a track, a star for adding the song to your Spotify favorites, and an Info button that brings up artist name and album name (which can both be clicked for more information). This pop-up menu also includes Add to Playlist, Repeat and Shuffle buttons.
The home tab brings up a page with 3 more tabs at the top: What’s New, Top tracks and Feed, which shows info on what your Facebook friends are up to on Spotify and news from Spotify themselves.
The app also functions well. Playlists are synced almost immediately from the desktop app, and you can then long press the playlist in the Android app to bring up a menu with the option to have it available offline. Offline syncing is set to only commence over Wi-fi, but the setting can be changed so it will sync over 3G. You can also access a list of your offline playlists on the playlist tab, and easily check and un-check playlists for offline use as you see fit.
I didn’t get much chance to test out how well music streamed in the app because it doesn’t let you stream over 2G which was all I could get most of the time. I managed to stream a couple of songs at one point, and it seemed to work fine, but really with offline mode and a big SD card I didn’t need to stream all that often. Before I went out I just connected to Wi-fi and stored all my favorite tracks in offline mode.
Overall, Spotify is a very well made app and has lots of nice little features, but, for me, is not worth £9.99 a month–at least not every month. New albums I want to listen to don’t come out often enough for it to save me money. But for those of you who love music more than I do, and buy a couple of albums every month, it is well worth it. Having said that, you don’t have the feeling of ownership over the music: once you stop paying the monthly fee, your Android app is gone and with it all the new portable music you’ve been listening to. I would definitely suggest giving it a try though, just pay for a month and see if you like it, £9.99 is not a lot to ask for an endless supply of music for a month.
Note: Spotify is currently available in Sweden, Norway, Finland, the UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands.