Spotify launches in Singapore

Spotify logo

Spotify launched in Singapore on 16 April 2013. Having heard about it and other similar services that were previously only available in the US, I was pretty excited to learn that it was now available to people in Singapore. I immediately went to download the program and tried it out.

What is Spotify?

It is a music streaming service with free and paid plans. Regardless of which plan, a user can listen to all the songs in the Spotify library as long as he has an internet connection. According to Wikipedia, there are approximately 20 million songs in the Spotify library as of December 2013.

Comparison between the free and paid plans

I’ve been using the free plan so far and I’m pretty happy with it. The free plan does have some limitations and whether you want to pay for it depends mainly on how much you want to listen to music on the go.

Free (This is specific for Singapore only. Other countries have different limitations.)

  • Plays only on desktop or laptop
  • Has ads

Premium (SGD 9.90 a month)

  • Also plays on mobile phones and tablets
  • No ads
  • Able to store songs offline for 30 days

Spotify basics

Spotify What's New? page

When launching the Spotify desktop program, you will always see the What’s New page first. Here, you can see the featured Spotify apps, trending tracks in your country, people you may find interesting and new releases on Spotify.

At the bottom is where you can pause the song, skip to the next track and adjust the volume.

Spotify left hand bar

On the left are the different features on Spotify. Since they are pretty self-explanatory, I won’t go through them. Yes, I am feeling lazy.

Spotify search

There is a search bar on the top left where you can search for songs, artists or albums. Since Spotify also includes mp3s on your PC, it will also display them in the search results. The search bar will show you a preview of the search results as you type. You can click on Show All Results to see everything that Spotify found or just press Enter.

Spotify radio

Spotify radio with an ad on the right

The feature I used the most during these two weeks, is the Radio feature. Clicking on the Radio button will bring you to a page with various options to start a radio station. You can choose a genre or artist to create a radio station. As you can tell from the screenshot, I’ve tried creating different radio stations, some from a genre, some from a specific song or artist.

What I like best about the radio station is the discovery of new songs. It will continue playing similar songs until you stop it. You can train it by thumbs up or thumbs down on songs but you don’t have to actively thumbs up or down every song. If you don’t do anything, it will just move on to the next song when the current song ends.

My experience using Spotify

My experience on Spotify is generally good. The sound quality of the songs is good and I didn’t experience much lag or shuttering. I could find most of the songs that I’ve searched for although there are a few that could not be found. I am pretty pleased at the variety of songs available on Spotify though and I could find Mandarin pop songs to Bollywood songs to video game music to Gregorian chants.

Since Spotify earns its money from ads, an ad will display once in a while for the free plan. When I first started, there used to be a voice ad after every 3-4 songs but I have not heard a voice ad for a few days. There will also be picture ads which pops up every now and then. Sometimes it will pop up in the right or bottom of the program and sometimes it will cover the whole Spotify screen. I don’t find them a deal breaker, maybe a little irritating at most.

Spotify can be a bit wonky at times. There are a few occasions where Spotify crashes immediately after launching and I have to launch it a few times before it works. On one occasion, it cannot find the artist’s page after I click on his name but searching for him will bring me to his page.

Remember that I said I spent a lot of time on Spotify radio? I like the idea but honestly speaking, it needs more improvements before it can be taken seriously as a music discovery feature. I have three main complaints:

  1. After you thumbs up or down a song, you cannot change it. This is frustrating, especially for those who clicked wrongly. It is also pretty limiting as one’s tastes can change over time. The only way to solve this problem currently seems to be starting a new radio station.
  2. There seemed to be a pretty limited list of songs and songs repeat way too often. Just because I thumbed up a song does not mean I want to listen to it again 15 mins later.
  3. My selections sometimes does not register and the station will repeat a song I had given the thumbs down minutes or days ago.

All in all, I think Spotify is a pretty good music streaming service and they have a massive library. There are some bugs which needed to be ironed out and some features, like Radio, needed much improvement.

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