Spotify Android, iOS Apps Now Worthy of a Whole Lotta Love
Thanks to a recent update, you can now listen to Spotify music using Android and iOS apps without paying for the premium service. That's great news, but Spotify's tablet users have an edge over smartphone users.
I put a Led Zeppelin reference in this post’s headline for three reasons. First, Spotify is now offering a freemium listening service available to users of its Android and iOS apps. This is great news because before this week, only those with a paid Spotify subscription could rock out to the service on their mobile devices. Hence, mobile music fans are probably feeling “a whole lotta love” for Spotify right about now.
Reason number 2: Spotify announced this week that it is now the only streaming-music service to offer Led Zeppelin tunes (from the band’s first two albums), which are accessible to free and paid plan subscribers. Most rock fans know Stairway to Heaven, but I went straight for Whole Lotta Love, The Lemon Song, Heartbreaker, and one of my all-time Led Zeppelin favorites, Ramble On.
The third reason I put ‘Whole Lotta Love’ in this post’s title? Because I’m a former Ledhead, of course.
Spotify is a worthy competitor to Pandora, iTunes Radio and other streaming-music services. I’ve always found Spotify best for those who know what they like and want to build playlists of their favorite tunes. But like Pandora and iTunes Radio, you can also build “radio stations” that contain songs by artists similar to those you like.
There’s a disparity between Spotify’s smartphone and tablet apps, however. Spotify on an iPad or Android tablet mimics the Spotify desktop browser experience. On a computer or tablet, you have on-demand access to the entire Spotify music library. Want to listen to all the tracks on the first two Led Zeppelin albums or mix them together in a playlist? Spotify is your app, as long as you’re using a tablet or computer.
Pandora and iTunes Radio, in contrast, only let you create stations that mix songs from artists you’re likely to enjoy. You can’t simply listen to an entire album, straight through.
Spotify on a smartphone limits your access to tracks, in that you can’t simply go to an album and pick a track you want to hear. Instead, you have to either shuffle the tunes or add individual tracks to a playlist, and even then you can only shuffle the songs in the playlist. Keep in mind that subscribers to Spotify’s Premium service ($10/month) don’t have these limitations.
So if you want control over your streaming song selection, don’t want to pay a monthly fee and don’t mind the occasional ad, get Spotify on your tablet right away. If you want even more control over your tunes, including the ability to download songs to your device for offline listening, pony up $120 a year for Spotify Premium, for full access on any device. If you’re really just interested in discovering new music based on your tastes, free Spotify, Pandora or iTunes Radio will do the job.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.