Spotify iPhone App – Just Not Good Enough (For Me)

So, I’ve had one month with Spotify‘s iPhone app, and I’m cancelling my Premium subscription today. Below are some of the reasons why.

– Doesn’t run in background. When streaming music or playing the songs which you’ve previously cached (which is admittedly a cool feature), Spotify effectively disables your phone. You can’t do anything else while the music is playing and this is HUGE, given the myriad of tasks you can accomplish on an iPhone. You CAN, however, listen to your music on your iPhone from your iPod. Hmm, anything to do with WHY Apple approved the app in the first place?

– the caching is a very slow, even over wifi – this maybe more to do with how I interact with music (see below) but it’s just not going to be worth it for me to either a) remember to cache that Kanye West remix playlist the night before or b) wait 10 minutes while the playlist caches over my wifi network. Sue me for being demanding, but it’s just not good enough for how I work and consume music.

And that’s the major killer point here – the appeal of Spotify FREE is the instantaneousness of it. Think of a record, and it’s right there. But I don’t need to pay £9.99/month for that.

– Music recommendations are not intergrated or in any way useful. Partner with LastFM already, coz I’ve had it darting between the two to sample my new recommendations. This is a minor quibble, but could be a deal breaker in getting me back into the Premium fold.

All of the above, I’ve discovered, is related individually to how I prefer to consume and discover music, which is inherently different for each person (cool, huh?). Me? I want access to the music I love on a whim, and without having to pre-plan what music I’ll take with me on a trip. If I want to hear Phoenix all of a sudden on a run, I want it to be there on my iPod ready to go. And I damn sure want to check my emails while I’m on the bus listening to Common.

I just re-upped with eMusic today. It’s the best solution for me.

The pre-planning necessary with the Spotify app at the moment is too reminiscent of having a 12-disc CD holder to take with you on a plane, and invariably you’d be flying without a record that you REALLY want to listen to. Ah, the bad old days.

Are you using Spotify on iPhone? How’s it working for you?

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2 Responses to Spotify iPhone App – Just Not Good Enough (For Me)

  1. Emmet says:

    Count yourself lucky. I’m paying for Spotify Premium just to be able to use it on the desktop here in Switzerland. The iPhone app isn’t available outside of the UK either.

    I always imagined a mobile version of Spotify would be a great “try before you buy” facility. I could load up the new albums I’m interested in trying out this month, give them a spin, and add them to my permanent collection if they make their way into the “In Case of Musical Emergency…” category.

    Agree totally on the recommendations thing; I often get paralyzed by the paradox of choice when I launch Spotify. The fact that they supported Last.fm scrobbling looked like a good sign initially.

    FWIW, the inability to play in the background (and a host of other features like pausing when you get a call or unplug headphones, double-tapping home) are because Apple won’t allow developers to access that functionality. It’s own Mail, Music, SMS and Phone apps are the only ones that can do anything in the background.

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