Turning The Table On Spotify

Last time we checked, the majority of our readers were only dabbling in streaming music services.  In most cases free services, such as Pandora, Grooveshark or Last.FM were being used more frequently than the paid versions, Pandora One, Grooveshark Plus, or even the pay-only services such as MOG or Rdio.

Since our poll, new services continue to pop up, including two completely different sites/services, which we’ll talk about today: Spotify, a service that has been available in Europe for some time and has taken America by storm in the last few weeks, and Turntable.FM, which takes the idea of social music to another level.


By now, if you have any interest in online music, you’ve heard about the arrival of Spotify at the very least.  The hype surrounding its debut in the USA was all-encompassing.  Celebrities tweeted about it, tech blogs and music blogs alike previewed the service and then Spotify made everyone sign up and wait in line to receive an invitation to the service, creating waves of people on Facebook and Twitter practically begging for invitations (of course, if you wanted to pay for one of the premium services you could skip the line – $4.99 or $9.99 monthly).

After using the service for a few weeks, it’s easy to see why people worldwide have flocked to Spotify.  As opposed to services like Rdio or MOG that are completely web-based (both have desktop clients which mimic the online experience but don’t offer any other functionality), Spotify is exclusively client-based.  After signing up for a free or paid account you install the Spotify program on your PC.  This is where Spotify becomes something that none of its competitors have tried to be – an iTunes replacement.  Spotify allows you to bring your iTunes library into the program and manage your files the same way you would with iTunes on your PC or Mac.  You can even sync your local files and/or songs from Spotify to your iPod, iPhone or iPad with the premium $9.99 plan.  For people who have become disenchanted with iTunes over the years, this feature is worth the price of admission alone.

The Spotify client offers you access to the 15 million songs that Spotify currently boasts.  Make note that the usual suspects are not available. No Beatles here, no Led Zeppelin.  Pretty much any artist that is known to be wary of allowing their music in digital format is missing, but they’re missing everywhere else too.



Sharing music is a big part of Spotify, and the client allows you to send links to songs and playlists through email, on Twitter and within Spotify.  Spotify also has complete Facebook integration, putting your friends, who are also using Spotify, in a sidebar allowing for easy sharing of playlists and songs.  It’s a nice feature and you can even create collaborative playlists that you and your friends can create and modify together.  This isn’t unlike features in other services, but as a former user of Rdio, I can attest that the biggest difference is that you can easily sell your friends on Spotify because of the free version, something that neither Rdio or MOG offer.

The free version has occasional commercials, which could be bothersome, but that’s what the premium versions are for.  The $4.99 plan removes all commercials and the $9.99 plan allows you to use the mobile versions.  You still need an invitation to sign up for the free service, but they’re turning around the invitations within a few days of signing up.


If sharing music and the experience of listening to music is your thing, then Turntable.FM is something that you need to check out.  A free service that only requires a Facebook login, this is something so completely different and refreshing that it’s pretty amazing that it’s not being talked about more often.

Imagine creating a virtual room where you can invite all of your friends, and  five people take turns choosing songs while looking for the approval of the people hanging out listening.  That’s Turntable.FM in a nutshell.

At any given time there are dozens of different rooms open, each with its own theme touching any genres you can come up with.  The DJ plays a song, and everyone in the room has the option of choosing “Awesome” or  “Lame.”  If the majority of the room chooses “Lame,” your song will most likely not make it to its conclusion.  You get points with every “Awesome” you receive, and the points you accumulate give you access to different avatars within the rooms.  If you like a particular DJ, you can become a “fan” and you’ll receive an alert whenever that person is spinning in a room.

Songs are chosen from an online library provided by Turntable, or you have the ability to upload your own MP3s.  If you hear something you like, you are given the option to either save the song in your own play queue, purchase it on iTunes or Amazon or add it to Spotify or Rdio.

Overall, the experience is addictive and fun and anyone who has sat playing records with friends should be able to appreciate what the site accomplishes.  I know that if this was around when I was younger with more time on my hands, I would have definitely spent more time than I should have on the site.  I guess I probably still have.  Check it out – this is the gem that’s being lost in the shuffle.












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