Thursday, July 21, 2011

Don't Stop the Music

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  Yesterday I wandered into another part of the cloud. This time it was entertainment as a service. Spotify is a music service recently introduced on a limited basis in the US. They have over 10 million subscribers in Europe.

I have been a fan of Slacker Personal Radio for a long time.  Slacker is a web site that behaves like a radio station. You can search for an individual song, an artist, an entire album or choose a particular genre of music. They have a large collection of predefined stations such as top 40, classical or comedy.

But the real power comes from being able to define your own station. Slacker has an uncanny ability to determine other songs you will enjoy based on the selections you make. Slacker is a free, ad-supported service but you can subscribe to an ad-free version with a few advanced features. I use Slacker on my home PC and in the car on my smartphone to play "stations" I have defined.

This week, when my son sent me a much coveted invite to Spotify, I decided to take it out for a spin. The installation and registration process were fast and simple. In no time flat I was choosing artists and tracks to play. Spotify has more tracks than its competitors and a great user interface. No training required. Performance was flawless and quality was good. One really neat feature is the ability to create and share play lists. A good friend Tweeted a play list and it took exactly two mouse clicks to begin to enjoy it. The basic service is free, however, there are levels of subscription that offer  advanced features such as playlist synchronization of among devices and offline play.

Mashable published this terrific comparative analysis Spotify infographic of most of the popular services.

Spotify is terrific but for now I am going to have to stay with Slacker. I'm also a fan of Linux (Ubuntu) and Android, and Spotify is only available in early beta on these platforms.

Captain Joe

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