Music-gasm: initial Spotify impressions

I'm fickle and totally ready to drop previous favorites like bad habits, be they human or online services. Spotify launched in the US today, and as you can see from the post title, I like it (I am lucky and have techy friends who instantly get me invitations to everything). A lot. I already unsubscribed from Rdio and Slacker and upgraded to the Premium service---but the free service is frakking awesome as it is. It's like a free LaLa on steroids. I loved LaLa. I was embittered when Apple bought it and killed it.

But I digress. First thing I did (after downloading the client to my Mac, because there's no Web service) was search for the strangest music I like (hard call; I like a lot of Indie stuff), and Spotify had a lot of it. It had stuff that neither Slacker nor Rdio has. That made the hairs on the back of my neck twitch. Then I noticed that you can make playlists that contain both music you own and music you're borrowing from Spotify AND SYNC THEM TO YOUR iPHONE AND SHUFFLE THEM.

I became twitchy all over. My fingers itched to pluck my credit out right away and upgrade, but I kicked the tires a little more. In fact I did little else but binge on music all day. I found some annoying stuff, which I present with the caveat that this is the first day of the service in the US:

  • The ability to import iTunes playlist is theoretically awesome. It's only theoretical for me, because I keep my iTunes playlist in a nonstandard location, and there's no way to direct Spotify to it. Having access to my laboriously constructed playlists would be good. I bet that capacity will appear soon.
  • When you import your own music, you can't sort by genre or play count or anything else that I generally use to make playlists.
  • The shuffle button seems to randomly work. Choosing "Shuffle" from the menu seems to consistently work.

Now people: I am NOT complaining. This service is the bomb dot com.

Two things have always bugged me with subscription or streaming services of any color. One, there's no way to combine your music and theirs. You can with Spotify. Two, there's no way to flag music. I like to flip through new music and tag it yay or nay or w00t! Spotify allows this with a simple "star" function. And it creates a playlist of stuff you've starred. And syncs it to your iPhone.

This was not immediately obvious to me, but with Spotify you don't really need iTunes for music anymore (especially if you keep iTunes somewhere Spotify can find your playlists). You can sync a crapton of music to your iPhone/iPod and not do it through iTunes. Drool. I spend a lot of time with music, so that means I can fiddle with new stuff and old favorites and sync it all to my phone to suit my mood du jour. Science fiction has become real. Oh, and I can send it around my apartment with Airfoil, too. Holy cow!