July 08, 2011, 7:39 AM — Spotify. For those of us in the US, the name conjures up a feeling of mystery. It's like the Internet's version of the Loch Ness Monster or El Dorado. A name out of legend! We've heard about Spotify for years (or so it seems) but it's ever been out of our grasp.
That's about to change, as earlier this week the service started accepting requests for an invite. If you haven't yet, you'd better go sign up now, or risk being that little kid outside the candy shop with his nose pressed against the glass door.
[Also see: iTunes in the cloud versus other music services]
Spotify is magical! Isn't it?
Actually...what is Spotify, anyway? Here's what I know: it's a music streaming service. But we have those a-plenty. What makes Spotify special? Well, it allows for a limited amount of (ad-supported) free listening (and not Pandora-style free listening, you get to specify the exact song you want to hear with Spotify). From what I understand, you can only listen to a particular song a set number of times on the free plan. Think of it as an endless trial, maybe?
So the free tier is nice enough, but I think most of the 'greatness' of Spotify is a hold-over from when it was a unique service. Spotify was one of the first legit music streaming services.
We don't know when we'll get access to Spotify here in the US (some rumors say next week), and there's no official work on how much we're going to pay. Techcrunch did publish a legit-sounding leak. A reader sent in screencaps showing pricing and (assuming they're legit), Spotify is going with very traditional numbers: $5/month for basic services, $10/month for premium. Basic means you can use the service on your computer, but not your mobile phone. The premium version will also support offline listening on mobile devices.
This is the same price as Rdio, MOG, Music Unlimited and probably others. The feature sets are also very similar. So what is going to set Spotify apart from these existing services? I'm guessing nothing. But we'll see.
I'm a pretty satisfied MOG customer, but I did sign up for a Spotify invite. I'm not sure what they could offer to prompt me to switch, but I'm trying to keep an open mind.
After all, it isn't every day you encounter a real life legend.