Better Integration With iTunes and Audio Files
One of Spotify’s big moves has been to deftly integrate your iTunes and audio files. The desktop application pulls your playlists and tracks into Spotify’s library, and since the application works offline, you can substitute the player for iTunes. This is an aggressive move considering iTunes clout in the music player market.
Spotify did an impressive job with the interface and in taking the “ease of use” card out of iTunes hands. The menus are sharp and fast; and the flows from the homescreen, to playlists, to your library are intuitive. No iTunes user—or user of any standard music player—will experience a learning curve much longer than about five seconds.
The problem is that Spotify didn’t do a great job with their file integration. And there have been other complaints from around the web. Reports that it doubles (like mine) or makes up to 13 copies (see commenter) of your audio files are not uncommon. This has essentially rendered any album unlistenable. The only way I can really use Spotify as my audio file player is on shuffle, since I would otherwise have to listen to each song in each album twice. Listening to a whole album front to back may be a dying art, but it’s not dead enough that this isn’t a real problem. Let’s hope that whenever Spotify releases a new version of the application, it’ll automatically clean up the mess it’s made, rather than making users manually filter out the duplicates or reinstall the player.
Theorizing, their longer-term vision could be that people will simply access Spotify’s library for any track they want, making the organization of their local files irrelevant. Let’s hope not. Most people have too many great audio files that don’t exist under the control of a record label.