Since being launched in 2008, Spotify has been the go-to platform across the world to stream and download music. When it was first introduced, it was revolutionary in the sense that it allowed users to legally stream and download music free of charge; a shift from the previous world of buying albums and singles from music stores such as HMV.
Three years later and Spotify introduced its premium service which gave listeners the ability to listen to unlimited songs without ads and with a higher quality of sound. Premium has since been developed further to the point now where premium members now have early access to certain albums. So, is Spotify worth getting? And if so, should you stick with the free version or pay £9.99 a month?
Is Spotify worth it?
To put it simply, if you are a music lover then Spotify is absolutely worth getting. It provides you with an incredible catalogue of music, the ability to create your own playlists, the ability to listen to other people’s playlists and the ability to download any music that you want to listen to when you are offline. All of this for free of charge – it’s an absolute no-brainer.
Now, Spotify Premium on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. The biggest benefit of Spotify premium to a casual fan of music is the ability to listen ad-free. It can get annoying when you’re on a road trip somewhere and every two or three songs you have to listen to an advert before the next song starts.
Another good feature of Spotify Premium is the early access you get to certain artist’s new releases. If your favourite artist or artists have signed up to this then I would say Spotify Premium is worth signing up to but if you’re more of a casual listener to these artists then you might want to reconsider.
- An enormous catalogue of music free of charge.
- Create playlists of your favourite songs and access to a whole host of public playlists.
- Option to upgrade your account to premium where you can listen ad-free among other features.
- The ad breaks on the free version can be annoying and break up the music.
- Some artists refuse to put their music on Spotify due to the poor pay.
- The free version has become increasingly limited over the years to push people into paying.
Spotify free is becoming more and more limited
As mentioned earlier, when Spotify first burst on the scene in the late 2000’s it was a breath of fresh air because it gave users the ability to listen to music from the current top hits to old time classics free of charge. However, as time has progressed the free version of the app has slowly started to become more limited as the company looks to push users into purchasing the £9.99 a month premium service. Let’s look at some of the ways Spotify free has become limited:
A cap on skips
Imagine you’re on a long journey somewhere and your shuffled playlist keeps throwing up songs that you just aren’t in the mood for. What do you do? Skip them obviously. But what if you only have a limited number of skips per hour? This is the conundrum that Spotify free puts you in as it only allows users to skip six songs per hour.
Although ads have always been part of Spotify free, the frequency of them does seem to have increased over the years to the point now where it almost makes you want to not bother listening to music at all. You can currently expect a 30 second advert every 15 minutes or so which is enough to either make you turn off or give in and buy premium.
Can’t select individual songs
This is the biggest turn-off of all when it comes to Spotify free these days. Granted it’s only applicable on the mobile app but it’s still ridiculous and the reason why many people have turned their back on the platform. Basically, you are now only able to select playlists and albums as opposed to individual songs and then play them on shuffle. So if there’s a song that you really want to listen to then you just have to wait until shuffle does you a solid and with only six skips available to you, you could be waiting a long time.
Given that we’ve just taken Spotify to task over their treatment of free users, it’s only fair that we discuss something that they do really well. For my money, the playlist feature on Spotify (available to free and premium users) is what makes it a must-get app for anyone with an interest in music.
Before Spotify became a thing, if you wanted to listen to a combination of your favourite tracks you had to either purchase them all on iTunes and download them to your iPod (remember them), use an Mp3 player with downloaded music, create a mixtape or break the law. With Spotify, you can do this in a matter of minutes and also download your playlist (only with premium) which allows you to listen while offline.
On top of this, by having a Spotify account you also have access to thousands of public playlists created by other users. There are playlists on the app for absolutely every occasion, including movie themes if you’re hosting the family quiz at Christmas, and 80s hits if you’re in the mood for some throwback classics.
One final playlist feature that I absolutely love is the ability to create a shared playlist with other users. This is perfect if you’re going on a road trip with your friends and you all have different music tastes. Simply log on, add your favourite music to the playlist and get ready for the journey ahead.
Split the premium bills
On the topic of sharing things with your friends, Spotify have recently added a new way for you to enjoy their premium service with friends or family. The Service is called Premium family, which implies that it’s only something you can do with your family but it’s actually available for all groups of people who live under the same roof.
Premium family is available for £16.99 a month and gives six users, providing they all live under the same roof, access to all of Spotify’s premium features. Providing you use all six slots this would save each user over £7 a month making the premium service particularly appealing.
Common questions about Spotify
Which artists aren’t on Spotify?
Over the years Spotify and other streaming services have received criticism from major artists including Taylor Swift, Adele and Coldplay. As a result some artists refused to have their music on the app, however, over the years Spotify has managed to talk them round meaning all of the most popular artists in the world are now featured on the app.
Can you listen to new releases on Spotify?
Of course! While some people like to use the app to listen to music from years gone by, it absolutely is used by artists to release their latest work. New albums and singles can nearly always be found on Spotify on release day.
Is Spotify just for the big names in music?
Yes and no in the sense that new, up and coming artists looking for their big break are able to get a Spotify account but they won’t be paid well for it. We encourage anyone with Spotify to take the time to look for new music whenever possible.
Can you cancel Spotify premium?
One good thing about Spotify Premium is that you aren’t tied into a contract and just works on a month by month basis. If you want to cancel just go on to your account settings on the app, find the option to cancel and then you won’t be charged the following month. If you then decide after a few months that you want it back then just sign up again hassle free.
At the start of this article we asked the question ‘Is Spotify worth it?’ and answered instantly with a unquestionable yes. That point, of course, still stands but now it’s time to answer ‘Is Spotify Premium worth it?’. I would personally say yes, it is, due to how limited the free version has become over the years. Add in the fact that you can cancel at any time without any hassle and I think it’s at least worth signing up to for a few months to try it and decide for yourself.
If you live in a house or flat with other people who also enjoy listening to music then I would urge you to sign up for Premium Family as you will be getting a discount even if there is just two or three of you. If you have enjoyed this review then you might also enjoy some of our other articles where we take a look at some of the most popular apps in the market today.