Spotify’s Social Side

Spotify‘s much anticipated arrival in the United States has finally happened.  Americans everywhere are learning why Europe was so giddy for this music streaming service.  In my personal experience with the site, it seems to be living up to the hype.

So, what makes Spotify so great?  There are several music streaming services on out there, so why is this one so special?

For starters, the service offers a tremendous value to users before they even pay a dime for utilizing it.  You simply search for an artist, album, or song and click play.  They’ve struck deals with most of the major record labels, so it’s very rare to find a song that can’t be streamed.  They’re able to do this by including advertising within the service, and the revenue generated from that is shared with the record label and artists. 

Once you upgrade to the premium version for $9.99 a month, the flood gates really open up.  You will now have the ability to use the Spotify app on your phone, and the ability to listen to songs when you aren’t connected to wifi or 3G.  This is a must for anyone that takes the subway to and from work every day.  Furthermore, you’ll have the ability to listen to stream the high quality version of songs.  I wasn’t sure I would notice a difference, but as soon as the change occurred, I was reminded of what I’ve been missing ever since I stopped using CDs.  The sound quality is truly phenomenal.

All of these features are great, but they aren’t what makes Spotify truly shine.  You see, Spotify has been able to bridge the gap between music and the social web in a way that iTunes and Pandora haven’t been able to make popular.  They’ve made it easy and fun to share your favorite music with your friends.

One of my favorite things to do is put together awesome playlists and play them for friends.  The problem is, all of my friends like to do the same thing.  What happens is we end up listening to a portion of everyone’s playlists, and it’s difficult to play all of your favorites and remember to download new stuff you heard.  What Spotify has done to alleviate this problem is the fact that it has integrated itself beautifully with iTunes and Facebook.

When you begin using Spotify, it automatically integrates all of your iTunes playlists.  When you connect yourself through Facebook, you can view and follow any of your friends’ playlists that are also using Spotify.  See a song that looks interesting?  Click on it and take a listen.  There’s no need to pay $1.29 for it.  If you like it, you can “Star” the song to make it one of your favorites, or simply go through your friend’s playlist to listen to it again.  When you follow a friend’s playlist, this will add it to your list of playlists, and when your friend adds songs to it from their computer, it will automatically update on yours.  It’s a beautiful thing. 

If you want to share an individual song with friend that you think he or she will like, simply send it to their Inbox within Spotify.  They will receive a notification that it’s there, and they can listen to it at their convenience.  The only difference I would like to see here is the ability to reply to a friend that sent you the song.  As of now, there’s no way of knowing if your friend liked the song you sent them or not.

If you truly feel that you have created the ultimate playlist that will wow your friends, bring joy to the nations, and end world hunger, you have the ability to post it directly to Facebook.  This is the best way to get feedback.  Your friends can “Like” the playlist within Facebook, and comment on the post as well.

One of the keys to being successful in business is making your product cost effective and easy to use.  Spotify has taken this a step further by making their product cheap, easy to use, and fun to share with your friends.