Joe Unger ‘15
Facebook was the dawn of a new type of internet. As a result of Facebook’s revolution of the internet in 2004, they enhanced their services and connected with an online music player, Spotify. This service was created by Swedish programmer Daniel Ek as an online music player. Since its birth, a plethora of online radio services have appeared. Services such as Slacker, Pandora, and Spotify all offer a free and a paid service for those who want an enhanced music streaming experience. This past week, I decided to use my free 30 day trial of Spotify Premium. The software which operates on a “freemium” model offering users a nearly limitless expanse of songs if they are willing to put up with slightly annoying advertisements and lower quality streaming. Since Spotify partners with Facebook, it connects users together by allowing people to follow each other and comment on what others are listening to. Spotify has changed online music listening but is it worth buying premium if a free version is offered?
Little known to users, in the middle of December, Spotify simplified its premium service and added features to the free plan. This plan now not only lets listeners stream unlimited music from their home computer but also from their tablets and phones. This service used to only be offered to premium clients. However, the listener still experiences ads and streams at a low quality (96 kbit/s). Additionally, for $9.99 per month Spotify Premium gives listeners the additional features of no advertisements, the option to save selected songs to the user’s device for offline playback, and the option to stream and sync music at a high quality of 360 kbit/s.
After experiencing the free trial of the Premium service for a week, I reached the conclusion that for myself (and most likely many others), the $120 a year is not worth paying. For the average music listener, there isn’t much a difference between free and premium. While I have enjoyed the higher quality sound as well as not having to listen to the obnoxious Flo from Progressive Insurance in between every few songs, it just seems too much to pay for what it offers in comparison to the free service.
However, this service is recommended for music listeners who do some of the following.
If you are a smartphone or tablet owner who travels long distances or exercises outside of wifi access spots. In this case, it would be a useful tool to avoid unfamiliar radio stations and over priced XM radio.
If you are a true audiophile and cannot listen to music without experiencing it in the best music quality available to you. I did hear a difference in the sound quality when streamed at higher or lower bits. Maybe I just need better headphones.
If you spend more than $120 on iTunes music each year for the purpose of having a library offline. In this case, Spotify Premium offers a nearly limitless variety of music available for offline streaming in high quality.
If you sincerely despise having ads interrupt your music listening session. If you can deal with Geico and other companies interrupting your train of thought, then don’t upgrade.
If you fit into one or more of these four categories, Spotify Premium would really benefit you. If not, enjoy the free version and instead use that money for another online service like Netflix for about $96 a year or Amazon Prime for $79 a year.
If you are not conviced of my arguements, sign up and pay the $120 at spotify.com