Spotify is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Currently unavailable to the throngs of US based would-be users, Spotify is an online music streaming service complete with native applications for Mac and PC as well as mobile devices running iOS or Android. A Windows Phone 7 version of the Spotify client is also in the works.
What makes Spotify so special is its huge music library. Featuring ‘millions of tracks’ Spotify offers both a free service and a pair paid-for options. The differences between the accounts are subtle, but at £9.99p/m their unlimited account is the one to go for if you’re even remotely into your music.
What really took Spotify to the next level was the release of its iOS client, bringing streaming music to the millions of iPhones and iPod touches sold in Europe. The inclusion of multitasking support by Apple and the subsequent app update just solidified Spotify’s position as the iPod replacement application for many, and life was good.
But there’s a problem. The advent of Apple’s AirPlay infrastructure means many Spotify users (including yours truly) are using iDevices as a way to throw music to an Apple TV for playback through fancy speaker systems. Opening a whole new market for Spotify – adding people who don’t use headphones or docks to the company’s demographic – the addition of AirPlay once again takes Spotify into the realm of the must-have app. But the iPhone’s screen is small – not brilliant for browsing music with colourful cover art and long playlists. We need an iPad app – but we don’t have one. Yet.
Let’s just hope we won’t be ‘watching this space’ for too long!