June 06, 2010

Spotify Social Is Close to a Music Utopia (If You Can Get It)

Every day I spend using my cloud-centric MacBook Air and my HTC EVO brings me further and further away from an iTunes-centric digital media life. A once-diehard iTunes user who has no doubt purchased thousands of tracks from the music store since its debut, I find myself interacting with the application less and less over time - as my music is now coming from far-flung Web-based places like Last.fm and Pandora, satellite from Sirius/XM Radio, and, as often as I can, from Spotify. A near-immediate Spotify convert back in August when I first got my hands on the application, I have also enjoyed its iPhone app, and can now leverage the preferences and playlists from friends who I am connected to on Facebook, to see what songs they recommend.

Spotify already seemingly has the lion's share of music available with instant streaming, but now, it makes enjoying tunes a social experience. Despite the fact the service still hasn't publicly announced a launch date here in the US, it looks like a lot of my peers have gained access, one by one, so my social sidebar in the app is populated by several dozen audiophiles, each listening to their favorite music, and favoriting tunes for me to discover.

David Recordon Loves the F8 Playlist on Spotify

As with Last.fm and MusicMobs before it, the social elements of Spotify are great for finding shared musical preferences between friends you may not have known existed. For example, I was surprised to find Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb is high on Blonde Redhead, and that I could relive high school with Pearl Jam's Spin the Black Circle off Chris Messina's "Rock Out" playlist.

Marshall Kirkpatrick Rocks to Blonde Redhead

The future of software is to be connected, instant and social. Spotify starts up tunes faster than any product I've seen (no buffering noted) and, of course, lets you share tracks to Facebook and Twitter. It's all about enabling improved song discovery and expanding social connections.

At LeWeb 2009 last December, Spotify said their plans were to open in the US in Early 2010. We're practically reaching the midpoint, so it seems things are going slower than anticipated. With WWDC upon us, it will remain to be seen what plans Steve Jobs and crew have for LaLa's integration into iTunes, and whether their offering will be strong enough to make Spotify's eventual launch too little too late. Hopefully not, for what they're making is extremely good... I just worry about the ticking clock.

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