Monday, 4 May 2009

What Spotify could do with...

I am of the humble opinion that Spotify is a great service. Decent quality streamable music on demand with adequate range of artists to please most people. An extra 43,000 tracks were added this week). It has a very simple service with clean and easy controls that ape the ubiquitous iTunes interface making it an attractive piece of software for newcomers. It's also got a range of price points from free to £9.99 per month to have the ad-free service.

However, it is far from perfect and needs to do more in order to convince this user that it can justify the premium price. One of the things that Spotify does very well is its playlist sharing feature. You can do in Spotify what users of iTunes have been doing for years - creating the perfect mix of tunes for a given mood or situation - but it improves on the Apple service in that it lets you take that playlist and share it with friends. Now you can legally share tunes with your friends online in such a way that alleviates any guilt associated with piracy.

Creating the perfect playlist can be a time consuming experience: finding the right compositional balance of tunes, sequencing the music appropriately, working with self-imposed 'rules'*, etc. It is very easy to get sidetracked whilst you plough through your music catalogue.

Using iTunes to create playlists is pretty hassle free. Using Spotify to create playlists is also hassle free. I've made iTunes playlists for several years now and have a quite a few that I'd like to share but that isn't really practical with iTunes. Sure, you can create an iMix but that involves your friends having to buy tunes to hear your creation. Plus, if Apple doesn't have all the artists in their store then your playlist can be decimated. Along comes Spotify to fix this problem. Except it doesn't.

If you want to share that playlist that you've created in iTunes, you have to manually search, find, drag and drop all the tunes you want in Spotify. As we've already established, this can be time-consuming, and not something you want to repeat after having already done that same process in another peice of software. One thing Spotify could do to improve the overall experience would be to add an import playlist feature. iTunes does enable you to export your playlist to a text file. If only Spotify could import that file and save you the hassle of having to do it manually.

I'm not sure that this one minor improvement would convince me to pay for the premium Spotify service but it would certainly help eat into my iTunes loyalty. The video below shows you how to create and share a playlist with your friends. If you haven't already done this then give it a go. It's free and easy. It just might not be fast.

How to create and share playlists from Spotify on Vimeo.

* I have an irrational tendency to enforce a strict 'one track per artist only' rule. This causes me many problems - all of my own making.


Afront said...

Nice post but not sure I understand your point. To share a playlist you just send your friend the unique URL from Spotify. If your friend's in a different country then some tracks might be missing, is that what you mean? Or do you mean converting your itunes playlist to Spotify? If so, then isn't that a problem with itunes not exporting?

Note you can copy a Spotify playlist to a textfile easily: view the playlist then select the first track. Hold down Shift, select the last track. Then drag-and-drop to a Word doc then to a text file: voila!

Rob said...

Thanks for the feedback!

I'd really like to export the iTunes playlist and then import that playlist into Spotify. iTunes lets you export the playlist file as a textfile but thre is no short or easy way to get Spotify to read that. It would be great if it could.

It would certainly beat manually dragging and dropping 30+ tracks (after you've already searched for them!)

Anonymous said...

"Now you can legally share tunes with your friends online in such a way that alleviates any guilt associated with piracy."

What guilt is it you speak of? ;)


Afront said...

Ahhh gotcha. I don't use iTunes so wasn't aware of its textfile export. For now, there's no way to do that that I know of. If Spotify ever release a proper API then I'm sure it would be trivial to implement.

Alex said...

We wanted to do the same thing, so created a web app to let you do it:

Let's you create Spotify playlists from iTunes playlists. Hope you enjoy i

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