Spotify 0.5.2 - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

Spotify

CNET Editors' review

The bottom line: It's the best free music option since stealing.

Review:

Installation
As a first-time user, you install the free Spotify Mac/PC application, open it up, and watch as it automatically imports your music collection and playlists from iTunes and other music software and presents you with a landing page filled with new releases, top lists, and music shared by your friends. Setup is swift.

Interface
Spotify's polished, iTunes-like interface is as inviting to music fans as a well-stocked record bin. Each portion of the bento-boxlike layout can be resized, and playback, volume, and track scrubber controls are placed neatly across the bottom. Browser-style back and forward buttons located to the left of the search box allow you to dig your way back out out of the rabbit hole of music discovery.

Features and support
Spotify's big trick is a little search box at the top of the screen that lets you search for any reasonably popular artist, song, or album in existence and stream it immediately. You can't get The Beatles, but we had no problem finding greats like The Rolling Stones and David Bowie, as well as obscure indies such as The Ghastly Ones or Four Tet.

Put simply, you tell your computer what you want to hear, and it plays it for you...for free, and without limitations for up to six months. It doesn't play something similar to the song you want (like Pandora), or a 30- to 60-second clip of the song you want (like iTunes)--it plays you the whole song or album, just as if it were in your personal music collection.

Spotify

Of course, there are a few other bells and whistles that make Spotify its own special thing. Facebook and Twitter integration enables you to easily share music discoveries with friends. Artist pages encourage discovery with bio pages and links out to similar artists and top hits of the decade to add context. Without any friction preventing you from jumping from one great song to the next, Spotify also provides a play queue off to the side, allowing you to stash your discoveries without interrupting the currently playing song.

Spotify's music service is uniquely generous, but it's not without limitations. Using the free version of the service, full songs can be streamed on demand in unlimited numbers for up to six months (with the occasional audio ad popping into rotation, similar to Pandora). After that time, free users can only play a given track a maximum of five times per month and are also subject to a cap of 10 hours of streaming per month. If you cough up $5 per month, those restrictions (and ads) disappear, but you're still limited to listening only from your computer. At $10 per month, you can use Spotify on mobile devices (including iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7), and even cache your favorite music and playlists for offline listening.

Performance
We are happy to report that Spotify's song streams have a near-instant response upon start-up. For the most part, the experience feels just like listening to your locally stored music collection. The illusion is broken when you go to jump to the middle of a song or hit the skip button, which introduces a minor lag.

We had no issue with Spotify's default sound quality (96-160Kbps Ogg Vorbis), but fickle users have the option of digging into the software's Preferences and enabling high-quality streaming (320Kbps Ogg Vorbis).

Spotify walkthrough (photos)

1-2 of 10
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Conclusion
Should you try it? Absolutely. Any and all music fans are encouraged to give it a whirl. The smart people at Spotify have made the free service incredibly attractive to new users, and there's really nothing to lose. Whether you find it important enough to upgrade to Spotify's premium options is entirely up to you, but they seem like a great value for any music fan with an insatiable appetite.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    3.5 stars

    out of 117 votes

    • 5 star: 53
    • 4 star: 21
    • 3 star: 7
    • 2 star: 8
    • 1 star: 28
  • Current version:

    3.5 stars

    out of 13 votes

    • 5 star: 5
    • 4 star: 2
    • 3 star: 2
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 2
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-10 of 13

  • 5.0 stars

    "Wonderful! - An excellent access to music - FREE!"

    August 29, 2011  |   By LP125

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    Nice user friendly interface, access lots of music from their database, free account to be made on the "open" subscription (FREE), can favourite (They call it "star") your music so you can access it without hassle.

    Cons

    Supports advertising (Open subscription only) which may nag you at times! Have to upgrade to a paid subscription to have no ads.

    Summary

    I couldn't think of any other program that can give you an awesome advantage in access of tons of music. The ads don't bother me much (It helps support the program and basically pays the "open" subscription for you). Even though you can make a free account, you will ONLY have 20 hours of free music play then it will stop, but here's the thing, when i use the program for a while (like a few days), it actually adds back a couple more hours onto your open account, so you can play even more music, i am not totally sure if they do this all the time or only a couple of times, but hey you got nothing to lose! If you love music then you will love spotify! DOWNLOAD IT, IT'S WORTH IT!!! Thanks Spotify and thanks CNET for giving me a chance to review it's awesomeness!

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  • 2.0 stars

    "Mac software doesn't work"

    August 19, 2011  |   By ceo19

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    Great selection of music

    Cons

    Unintuitive interface in the dedicated Mac software
    The Mac software interferes with mouse input under 10.6.x and Lion.

    Summary

    I really want to like this software, but I'm turned off by the really unintuitive interface. Once something is in your play queue, there's no way to delete it. ***? Also, the interference with mouse clicks has been entered by dozens of users on the Spotify forum, but no response from them. For now, I'll stick with Rhapsody and Pandora Premium. It's obvious that Spotify is too giddy about their American launch to deal with anything as petty as software problems.

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Not Bad at all."

    August 11, 2011  |   By mrcsg3

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    Loving it so far... has kinda grown on me. I've found pretty much every artist i've searched for.

    Cons

    The ability to burn discs would be nice, since it already loads everything from your hard drive... being able to burn your tracks would be cool.

    Summary

    It's ok so far, no real complaints but, still need to add more features.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "Nice but not yet complete."

    August 5, 2011  |   By ginaquinn

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    Many artists are available.

    Cons

    Available for use by invitation only--for the free version anyway.
    I have not used the program much but in that short time I have searched for about 3 artists that were not available yet. They did have tribute bands for at least 2 of these I believe.

    Summary

    I think the program is exciting and many artists are available for listening but not all. It definitely is worth waiting for the invitation to use the program.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Nice software, works great, Invite came quickly"

    July 30, 2011  |   By isleepalldayy

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    Free streaming music, I used Rhapsody for many years and this is much, much better. The software is easy to use and does not crash or freeze up like Rhapsody does.

    Cons

    The Ad's that play inbetween tracks (the ADs play music so lets say you are listening to alternative rock, all of a sudden you will get blasted with Kanye West then a guy talking about the paid version of spotify)

    Summary

    Great software, Great Music!

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  • 1.0 stars

    "You have to be invited!"

    July 26, 2011  |   By Kayakguy02

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    There are none

    Cons

    couldn't get past the invite stage.

    Summary

    useless

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  • 4.0 stars

    "Listen to any song your heart desires"

    July 23, 2011  |   By Stinger15

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    Has an online library that lets you listen to full length songs. I think I heard over 15 million songs you can listen to.

    Cons

    Does require an invite to use. Also the local library is a little glitched. For some reason, it duplicated about 100 of my songs. It also likes to change information about my local files to incorrect information.

    Summary

    Wanna hear a full album before purchasing it? Get this. You can listen to full length albums (with commercials in between every 3 or so songs). But, I wouldn't use it for local content management as the glitches I mentioned above kind of annoy me.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Spotify = Simple Amazing"

    July 23, 2011  |   By hxcStunna

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    Millions of tracks, 99% of the time I find the artist I'm looking for. Good sound quality, instant streaming, for just $10 a month you can listen to up to 3000 songs offline by creating playlists. Awesome layout, looks great, works great!

    Cons

    None as of yet

    Summary

    If you're a fan of music, give this a try. They have tons of music, and to try it for free is simply a matter of signing up for an invite via their site.

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  • 3.0 stars

    "enjoying while testing"

    July 22, 2011  |   By fred436`

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    free chance to test

    Cons

    loose connection on my network

    Summary

    ok might upgrade

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  • 1.0 stars

    "USELESS PROGRAM"

    July 20, 2011  |   By chefjeff1958

    Version: Spotify 0.5.2

    Pros

    None yet! I will be deleting this if they don't allow me to register.

    Cons

    Won't run.

    Summary

    I can't get this program to work because you need to register for it to work, and to register, the must send you an invite via email in order to register. So far after numerous requests, they will not send me an invite.
    I am trying to run the free version. Maybe if I were to pay for the pro version, they would let me join.

    Reply to this review Read reply (1)

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Results 1-10 of 13

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