Forthcoming Spotify Premium Features

According to recent press reports, Spotify’s UK MD Paul Brown has said that Spotify Premium will soon include the following features. Note I’ve added some annotations and speculation:

  • Mobile version: This was always a certainty for premium, especially since the Spotify on Android demo at the recent Google conference. Whether this rolls out first or at the same time as the expected versions for iPhone, Symbian and Windows Mobile remains to be seen.
  • Living-room access: This probably refers to a Squeezebox client or other network music player.
  • Higher-quality streams: Currently music streamed from Spotify uses Ogg Vorbis q5 encoding. This provides a nominal bitrate of 160 kb/s. A high-quality stream might use q8 (256 kb/s) or q9 (320 kb/s) encoding. UPDATE – Spotify has now enabled q9 streams!
  • Bundled downloads:We’ve already seen the start of this: recent premium subscribers were offered two exclusive mp3 downloads (from The Third Degree and Luke Steele). Not much, but it showed how Spotify were trialing this sort of enticement.
  • Recommendations: With rumored Last.fm deals, this might be a Last.fm-hosted profile page that doesn’t require you to register with Last.fm directly and has clickable links back to Spotify. Of course you can have this sort of feature for free already: subscribe to Last.fm, set up your scrobbling from Spotify, then install the Last.fm Spotify Search Greasemonkey script to make artists and songs clickable back to Spotify. Perhaps the Spotify premium version will just be simpler to set up and also integrate with the next two features below.
  • Social features: This could be anything from improved playlist collaboration (see who adds what, comment on tracks etc.), to a full Spotify profile webpage where friends can add comments and recommendations.
  • Ticketing: This could be easy access to tickets (click artist, click “On Tour”, click “Check Dates Near Me”, click “Purchase Tickets”) or perhaps advance ticket purchase before general release.

All this and no ads too…

UPDATE

Comments on this post (thanks guys!) have reminded me about The Echo Nest and the Extend Playlist feature shown at the SanFran MusicTech Summit back in May:


This uses the Echo Nest API to provide smart recommendations and avoids the problems of collaborative filtering. So it seems that a Last.fm-powered recommendation option is not likely after all.

The Echo Nest’s web services power a host of music discovery tools: check out the free Music Explorer FX for a particularly impressive music discovery tool.

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