Spotify Reviews

Good catalogue and features, bad apps and support

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The most important thing about any music streaming service is probably its catalogue, and Spotify is still by far the best in that regard. The completeness of its catalogue is unrivalled among its competitors. Others might lure with similar, or even higher, numbers of songs supposedly available, but in the end, it's about the licensing partners. In other words, while one service might have 1 million additional tribute and karaoke versions, you'll probably be more interested in the 500 additional, "actual" tracks that Spotify offers from, say, a major label artist. I keep checking other services on occasion, and the hit rate of stuff I look for (I have a pretty eclectic taste in music, so my searches include a lot of unsigned artists or really old recordings) is still the best on Spotify, by a large margin.

What isn't Spotify's fault is that the catalogue can still be a bit fickle, with license holders reneging on their deals regularly. I compile playlists of my new discoveries, and when I go back to one that is a couple of months or years old, I find sometimes 1 in 50, sometimes 1 in 20, sometimes 1 in 10 tracks marked as no longer available from the Spotify catalogue. Spotify has a pretty reliable algorithm to seamlessly play the same track from another release if it can find it (such as a compilation album), but it's (thankfully) pretty conservative in wanting to find exact matches, and, of course, if a track is gone completely due to licensing restrictions, it will just be gone.

Things that are Spotify's fault are the apps and customer service. It seems that both QA and customer support are practically non-existent.

The desktop clients have taken a particular turn for the worse with the v0.9.8 update (sometime in 2014 I think). The entire design was based around touchscreen interaction, meaning that scrollbars are practically invisible, and everything takes up an unnecessary, obscene amount of space. Playlists now have a line spacing of about 3.0, which is just ridiculous. It's obviously designed around the fat finger problem of touchscreens, and is a horrible mismatch for a desktop environment that you use with a mouse. Whereas I used to be able to see almost 40 tracks of a playlist on screen at once, it's now down to less than half of that, which makes curating playlists a huge hassle. It was the reason why I disabled Spotify's auto-update and stayed on version 0.9.7 until very recently, but the inevitable protocol changes have finally made that no longer be a viable solution, because it doesn't return all search results anymore.

There are a lot of other problems with the client, as there seems to be very little testing going into them, and the priorities the development team sets are highly questionable. Essential features that break in an update are sometimes left unfixed for years, despite hundreds of people complaining on the forums. In turn, they can't seem to tire of endless UI "streamlining" that goes against what most people want.

As an example, the 0.9.8 removed the desktop client's option to change the cache directory to a custom location — essential for many SSD users who don't want Spotify cluttering up their limited system partition space. After much pleading and complaining, Spotify re-implemented the option (they said it was always planned, but as always, it took them ages). However, the option was only restored visually. You get the setting and you can choose a path, only to find that the client creates the folders but then ignores them, and keeps filling up the default location. It's quite simply broken, it's been like that for more than half a year now, and despite numerous people reporting the bug on the forums, it remains unfixed. People have to resort to ugly hacks like symlinks to keep using the client, which should not be their job. I personally opted for the method of denying write access to the default cache location, so Spotify isn't able to cache at all anymore. I figure if customer complaints are not enough incentive for Spotify to finally fix the bug, maybe increased server costs are.

Many people argue these issues with the desktop client are because Spotify wants people to switch to mobile apps and the web player. It's true that the mobile apps seem to be a bit cleaner, but if anything, the state of the web player is even worse. The most simple functionality like drag & drop is still missing after all these years, so you can't re-order tracks or drag them to another playlist (in fact, the mobile app can't either, you need the desktop client for that). This would be no problem at all with HTML5, they simply choose to not implement it. Much worse is the lack of playlist folder support. If you have several hundred playlists, like me, sorting them into folders is essential. The web player lumps them all together into one single chaotic list, and consequently slows down to a crawl, often freezing for tens of seconds when it needs to load the list of playlists. The web player is utterly broken and hasn't seen any substantial updates or fixes every since it has been publicly released.

Which brings me to the final point of customer support, which I don't think exists. I suppose you can contact someone if you have billing issues; I wouldn't know because I pay my subscription through a partner, so my billing inquiries would go through them. As far as technical support goes, though, you'll search the website in vain. All you can find are the community forums, which are, as the name implies, run and moderated by community volunteers. There is an ideas board that is frequented by official moderators, who supposedly forward the feedback to the development team, although you wouldn't know it from how little of what's reported is actually getting fixed. There is not even a way to submit a simple bug report.

So in short, give the free version a try to see if you can handle the clients in their current state – don't expect improvements, see if you can deal with them as they are, and be prepared for features being removed or broken at some point. Check if the catalogue serves your tastes well. I'll still stick with Spotify becaues, in the end, catalogue trumps the other issues as long as I can still reasonably listen to my music and create my playlists on the desktop and on my phone. But the market is only getting harsher, and Spotify would do well to take their customers' concerns a lot more seriously if they want to stick around.

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This is an updated review to trump my previous one.

After having been a Spotify member for 4+ years, I finally cancelled my account in frustration.

To anyone considering it as their next music streaming service, consider this: while the offer may look decent on the surface, and everything they promise is technically there, the low quality of their software and their absolutely abysmal customer support will ensure that you'll get more frustration than anything else.

What Spotify seem to have been most active doing over the past three years is remove popular features from their clients. Here is just a small, partial list that I compiled, only the features that I personally used a lot as they disappeared at the rate of about one a month:

  • The ability to mark tracks as favourites (Starred tracks)
  • Notifications (about new releases, etc.)
  • Private messaging and sharing of tracks and playlists
  • Markers to denote updated playlists
  • Search on artist pages
  • Global search over playlists
  • Aggregate view of all tracks in playlist folders
  • List of the members who follow a playlist
  • Defining a custom location for the cache (tough luck, SSD users)
  • Apps for the desktop client
  • Copying track titles to the clipboard
  • Title numbers in playlists
  • Adjustable columns
  • Lyrics

And that is not even mentioning all the other issues and bugs the clients have. Things that would seem acceptable temporarily for a product that is officially in a beta stage, but somehow remain unfixed in Spotify for years. For example, sharing tracks with members that didn't link their account with Facebook was broken for as long as I was a member (before sharing was removed altogether, of course). The web player still can't handle playlist folders like every other client, which means that it can become unusably slow, and the mobile clients still don't allow you to reorder tracks on playlists. It's completely ridiculous that Spotify don't even manage to keep their clients synchronised in which features they support.

Spotify is also infamous for blatantly ignoring any customer opinions, and happily moving in the opposite direction. Their community forums are a farce, many of the most popular community ideas, pleas and suggestions don't even warrant an official acknowledgement.

I accepted all of that, for the benefit of still having access to the actual streaming library in a somewhat usable way, for many years. What finally did it for me is that instead of just ignoring customers on their forums, they turned to actively fight back against volunteer community support. Some of the features that have been removed from the clients can be worked around, or restored relatively easily if so desired. I made the effort of writing down a few of those recipes and sharing it with other members. The official "thanks" I got from Spotify, for trying to fix some parts of their broken product, and doing the customer support work that they should be doing, was that they started deleting my posts. I couldn't think of any appropriate response to that apart from no longer giving them any of my money. I cancelled my account right after.

I implore you, don't give these people any money. Even if you somehow, barely, could make the service work for you, a company that treats its paying customers this shabbily should simply be left to die.

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Export your spotify songs out

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I don't trust one service to handle my music library (e.g. grooveshark), so i recommend exporting out your spotify playlists

Tool here: http://joellehman.com/playlist/index.html
github repo here: https://github.com/jal278/spotify-playlist-export

Add your songs you like to a designated playlist and export it out as a CSV

this way you have a backup of your spotify playlists / songs

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The Best Music Streaming Service You Can Buy

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THE GOOD / Spotify wears a fresh, clean design and goes beyond streaming music with videos, podcasts and extra features. It's massive collection of community-driven playlists mean you can find great music for any mood, activity or holiday. The free, ad-supported version offers a good introduction to the service with no time limit.

THE BAD / Combining your own music files with Spotify's catalog is a complicated endeavour. There are no live radio stations, and without a Premium account, you cannot listen offline or pick any song you want to hear. It's family plan can be more expensive than Apple Music's.

THE BOTTOM LINE / Despite increasing competition, Spotify is still the top of the pack for streaming music.

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Like so many services out there, Spotify has had a long history of failing to support the Linux community.

Earlier this year, they released their client for Ubuntu (and compatible distros), and - better still - have started to support Snapd packages, which means their client can be installed on basically all other Linux distros. F***ing finally!

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One of the most active apps in my mobile. Cool :-)

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  • Database are not complete, some music especially anime music are not available
  • Contain ads that plays on middle of music on free users
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Keeps getting worse

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Every release for the last 2 years removes another feature, take a look on the Spotify support forums to confirm this. Users are getting annoyed by the desktop app being changed to be more aligned with the web and mobile versions, but each version also introduces new bugs. Drag and drop, local file support, library restrictions - all getting worse. There used to be a great library of apps for sharing and building playlists - these are all now gone and replaced by Spotify's own services, which are sketchy at best.

Take a look at Deezer before trying this...

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it let you listen to music to be clam

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I would also like this feature. My only change would be making it similar to soundcloud, where you can comment on a specific part of the song.

Also, if implemented, there would need to be an option to turn it off. I can see why some people wouldn't like it

[Edited by Maoholguin, October 13]

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Some complaints

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I used to love this app, but it's getting worse and worse. To get the search working a restart is needed most of the time. Also I feel like the app is really slow. Maybe my device is too old, but man, Spotify is really, really slow. That being said it's even worse that sometimes songs are shown as downloaded while they are actually not. Already looking for alternatives.

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Not recommended

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Pros :
• High Quality Sound
• Friend Feed - lets you see what the people you follow are listening to right now.

Cons :
Contain ads for free user, ads could be popup banner or music
Region Blocked

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amazing

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started using spotify and i liked it so much that i switched to the premium version. i listen to any song i want, anytime with no ads. i use it on my computer, mobile and have no complains.

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love it

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this app is great, i love it, i can find almost every song i want to listen to and download it so i'm very happy with this app

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