While there seems like no shortage of music playing websites, there is on undeniable lead in the world of personalised music control – and that is Spotify. Available in both Free and Premium modes, the programme can be downloaded onto computers or the app installed on mobiles and tablets.
The Spotify catalogues have millions of artists of all levels of famous, from the surprisingly obscure to the latest number ones. You can use any of these to create playlists for specific moods or purposes, such as working out, or save the music to one large playlist for easy access whenever you want. Ready-made playlists are also available to listen to, and it's simple enough to skip tracks and rate the song. The free mode also contains Spotify radio, which allows the user to pick a band or artist and then see what the programme comes up with as similar tracks; great for finding new music easily!
A huge bonus that really sets Spotify apart from in-browser music players is that you can also import your personal music catalogue into the programme. Spotify has a huge amount of artists, but they may not have that one obscure band you heard of years ago, so the solution is simple; buy the album or use a youtube converter to adapt the music video into an mp3, then import it to your playlist. Mp3, mp4 and m4p are all compatible formats, and if you have QuickTime installed m4a files are acceptable too.
The Free version also supports social media interaction, as you can connect to Spotify through Facebook and use either to share music with your friends. If you don't use Facebook, you can still interact with your friends through Spotify by searching for their username. You can use the Free version of Spotify on mobiles and tablets, but with a few minor changes; it still supports artists, albums and playlists, although on smartphones they can only be listened on shuffle. Never fear though; if a rubbish song comes on, you are allowed up to six skips an hour.
It costs only £9.99 a month, but the Premium addition has a few features that really make it worth the money, the most immediate and obvious of these being the absence of adverts. You can download music and playlists from the programme and listen to them offline, which is incredibly helpful if you're likely to be without internet for a while – up to a maximum of 3,333 songs per device. If the mobile or tablet app is installed you can use Spotify Connect to switch playback around, which means you are able to control the music coming from your laptop from your smartphone.
The basic version of Spotify is so good that it's almost certainly worth looking into, but for a much more seamless experience it may be worth upgrading to the Premium level. The future of music is right now.