Spotify, a streaming music service based in Sweden, has made its long-awaited American debut today to generally favorable reviews. But the true test? When redditors, the always-opinionated, oft contrarian users of the social news site Reddit, take it for a spin.
The biggest question redditors have: What’s so special about Spotify? The streaming music marketplace is filled with similar services, like Grooveshark and Rdio. Spotify isn’t breaking new ground here, many said.
Comparing Spotify to Grooveshark, Reddit users say Spotify’s sound quality is superior. That’s likely because Spotify streams officially licensed music, while Grooveshark allows users to upload their own music, which may vary in quality. Grooveshark suffers from other problems endemic to services which stream users’ files, such as songs being tagged incorrectly, making them hard to find via search, and files getting pulled for copyright infringement.
“Spotify lets users listen to their own tracks like any MP3 player app, and lets users listen to all its licensed music, but because it doesn’t let users share their MP3s with others, doesn’t have the same ethical problems Grooveshark has,” explained Clucky B.
Redditors lamented the numerous ads that permeate Spotify’s free version of its service. The paid tiers, however, give users more flexibility and zero ads.
“Having to spend a little longer making playlists and occasionally skipping past the odd bad-quality/live/incomplete track is a small price to pay for infinite usage and not being shouted at by advertisers every ten minutes,” wrote kimad. “To me it’s no less crazy than if they had put the adverts in the middle of each song.”
But the ads and limited music library doesn’t annoy everyone, it’s the quality that counts.
“Grooveshark is a glorified Napster. Spotify is a quality music service,” asserted frozentedwilliams.
Another streaming site Reddit users compare Spotify to is Rdio. Started by the cofounders of Kazaa and Skype, Rdio charges users $4.99 a month for desktop streaming and $9.99 for mobile streaming. But unlike Spotify, Rdio doesn’t offer a free service, save for a free initial trial.
Spotify earns a point over Rdio, according to CluckyB, because of Spotify’s ability to intergrate music from your hard drive.
“So where as I can’t listen to Underground Indie and the Hipsters on Rdio because I am the only one who owns their music, I can still listen to them on Spotify,” explained CluckyB, concluding that Spotify has a larger range of music than Rdio. “I actually hope Rdio gets a lot of new subscribers from this as well, because in a perfect world the two will compete with each other and force them to innovate.”
One way Spotify and Rdio’s creators could smartly innovate: Pay attention to the complaints and praise they’re garnering on Reddit.