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Hands-On Review: Spotify Premium

Is Spotify Premium Worth It? Our Final Thoughts.

Ultimately Spotify Premium isn't a bad service for the money. For those who like to purchase music, this probably isn't your ticket – Amazon is likely better suited for you, as songs or albums you purchase from the online vendor are stored indefinitely in the Amazon cloud and can be streamed or downloaded to your desktop, laptop or Android device without an additional fee. If you don't care about owning music and just want immediate access to (mostly) any song or any album, and don't mind the monthly fee, then Spotify is your perfect match. Was it worth the wait? Not really, but there's potential for the service to be a heavy contender as it settles into the North American market and grows more accustomed to our social and demanding ways.

According to Spotify, the Free service gives you access to millions of tracks, but there's talk that a time limit will eventually be put into place. The free account will also manage your local files, allow you to share music with Facebook friends, and comes with 14 days of free overseas use. Unfortunately, the free account is littered with advertisements, but someone has to pay for the basic service, right? To get rid of the adverts, you can pay $4.99 per month and get unlimited access when traveling abroad in the process.

As for the $9.99 Spotify Premium account, here's the entire list of benefits:

  • Millions of tracks available instantly
  • Play and organize your own MP3s
  • Spotify social
  • Take your music abroad
  • No advertising
  • Play local files on your mobile
  • Play music from Spotify on your mobile
  • Offline mode on your desktop
  • Offline mode on your mobile
  • Enhanced sound quality
  • Exclusive content
  • Play Spotify through music systems (like a Sonos wireless music system, Logitech Squeezebox Touch or Radio, digital TVs, etc)

So how does Spotify stand up to other premium music subscription services like Rdio and Slacker Radio? Again, that's a hard one to answer – each service offers unique features as well as drawbacks. As a Verizon user, both Slacker Radio and Rdio support carrier billing – at this time, Spotify wouldn't comment on whether this will be an option in the future. "We're not discussing at the moment, but we'll keep you updated on future plan," a Spotify rep said in an email.

Regardless, Rdio has an excellent library and means to effortlessly store individual albums, whereas Slacker Radio doesn't have quite as robust of a library and requires users to make playlists in order for albums to remain listed in the account library -- but comes with an impressive list of "radio stations" and the ability to cache singles, albums and whole stations on a mobile device. Spotify seems to be in-between these two, but given that the service just launched on the 14th, there's always room to grow.

Bottom line: wait for an invitation to check out the Free service to see the basic features before dunking funds into a monthly access fee.