One of the big names in the music streaming industry, Spotify was founded in 2006 by Daniel Ek and co founder Martin Lorentzon. It didn't launch, however, until October 2008-and back then it was called Spotify AB.
While Spotify is quite popular today among United States users, it actually launched in Sweden first. Two years after the launch, it had acquired about 10 million users, and two years after that (2012), that number doubled to 20 million. As of 2014, the company boasts 50 million active users.
Talk about rapid growth!
When Spotify first launched, it wasn't the most accessible streaming service around. People could only use it if they received an invitation to create an account, and even then they were required to pay for the account. Nothing was free. After a few months, however, the people at Spotify wanted to develop a free version-which led to the options users enjoy today. About 12.5 million people pay for a subscription to use Spotify while the rest enjoy free (ad-supported) streaming.
What makes Spotify unique?
Unlike some competitors, Spotify doesn't just feed you preselected songs. It lets you hand-select songs you're in the mood for. What's more, you can download songs from Spotify and listen to them offline on your device. Spotify syncs with a variety of platforms too, including the Web, Android, iOS, and Windows.
Signing up for Spotify is much more accessible now that the company is older. To do so, you just create a username and password and then enter your email address, date of birth, and gender. You'll also need to download Spotify on your device in order to play songs. With over 30 million tracks to offer, you'll hardly run out of options.
Despite its current popularity in the US, Spotify didn't become available there until 2011. More than 1,200 employees strong, it now reaches more than 50 languages and operates in 60 different countries. Its worldwide headquarters are in Stockholm, Sweden, and London, UK, and its US headquarters are in New York, New York.
Possibly the best thing about streaming with Spotify is the control you have as the user. Unlike some competitors, Spotify lets you pick the song you want to listen to right now. You can also create and save personalized playlists.
Spotify also boasts a library of 30 million songs-and adds about 20,000 tracks to this library every day. About 1.5 billion playlists have been created on Spotify so far. With that extensive of a library, chances are good that you'll be satisfied with the music you can stream on-demand.
As a consumer, one of your primary concerns is price. Spotify won't let you down there. As long as you're willing to put up with ads, you can stream Spotify for free! Even if you don't want ads, the premium plan (which is ad-free with even higher-quality audio) is just $9.99 per month-about the same amount most competing services charge. As a bonus, students enjoy a 50% off discount every month.
Spotify is also accessible in 60 countries throughout the world, which means it's easier to take your music with you when you travel or move.
One word: ads.
Because Spotify's free version makes no profit off of users, the company relies on ads and paid subscriptions to make any money. So unfortunately, to use Spotify you should be prepared to either tolerate ads every few songs or fork over a monthly fee.
What's more, some users have complained that certain ads on Spotify are inappropriate. This can be a major turnoff, especially to users who want family-friendly streaming. Not only do these ads interrupt your music experience; they can leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.
In addition, to use Spotify you need to take the extra step to download Spotify on your device. Downloading it isn't a major red flag by any means, but it does add an extra step and possibly troubleshooting on your part.
In general, the music streaming industry is still fairly new, but there are admittedly options with more years of experience than Spotify. Because Spotify has been around since only 2008 (and in the US since only 2011), it has a shallower history than some competitors. Again, this isn't a reason to avoid using Spotify, but it may be a reason for any kinks you experience with them.
Streaming music is an online pastime, and, as such, the website for it should be easy to use. Spotify's website is easy enough to navigate, but it's a bit visually overwhelming and includes unnecessary information. Because of this, it may take a little extra effort to find the links you need.
All in all, most of Spotify's limitations are not red flags but, instead, might disagree with your preferences. So as you search for the right streaming company, you'll need to know what's most important to you.
The Bottom Line
As a company, Spotify has proven successful in many countries throughout the world in the short number of years it has been operating. In addition to suggesting new music to users, it specializes in on-demand listening and gives you more control over the music you enjoy. Bear in mind that to use Spotify, you'll need to download its player on your device. But on the whole, they offer plenty of music, extensive platform accessibility, and widespread availability.
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