ShareMyPlaylists.com is the top Spotify playlist-sharing site. With close to 45 thousand playlists, no other playlist sharing site comes close in terms of catalog or features. SMP has just launched a free mobile app on two new platforms: the iPhone version has been out for a while now, but this week saw their arrival on both iPad and Android. TechCrunch have covered the iPad version, so here’s a look at ShareMyPlaylists on Android.
ShareMyPlaylists starts up quickly then refreshes a list of the latest playlists. The top featured playlists are shown in a slick cover-flow arrangement: swipe through the covers to cycle through the featured selection:
Tap on a playlist to display a page with some details, including a coverart thumbnail, description (if the user added one) and complete track-listing:
You can then cick the Play button to open the playlist directly in Spotify.
The app also has three other ways to access playlists using the tabs at the bottom of the screen:
Latest – A scrollable list of all the latest playlists.
Genres – Select from any of the thirty or so genres to view a scrollable list of playlists.
Search – Select Artist, Track, or Playlist then enter a search term.
The SMP app is fairly basic compared with the regular fully-loaded SMP website: you can’t use it to add new playlists for example, and there’s no login feature for regular SMP user’s who want to quickly view all their own playlists. But for a free app it does the business and is a great way to discover new music while on the go.
If you use Spotify on your smartphone, SMP for Android is an essential download. It’s the most polished and professional looking Spotify-related app on the Android market, and another great addition to the mobile Spotify community.
Spotify’s new feature announcement is great news for its freemium users, casual listeners and iPod owners. If you’re one of these: rejoice! You can now benefit from cheaper-than-iTunes MP3 purchases, wireless syncing and Spotify-lite on your mobile. But for Premium users like myself there’s not too much here to get excited about.
When I signed up back in ’09 for Spotify’s cloud service in the sky, I shifted from downloading MP3s to accessing Spotify’s near-infinite stream of on-demand music. This was a complete pardigm shift in the same way that vinyl to CD was (actually, more so). So this week’s introduction of an MP3 download store seems a bit of a backwards step to me. Granted it’s bound to hoover up some pennies from the freemium users (who were probably never going to upgrade anyway), but it also waters-down Spotify’s unique selling point (on-demand, P2P-based streaming music service) and further muddies Spotify’s message of being “the best alternative to piracy.”
The whole notion of MP3s and iPods seems so last-century to me now that I’m left somewhat perplexed about Spotify’s direction and wondering what’s happened to its bold, pioneering vision of a music-streaming future. Whether this diversification was self-driven or inflicted on Spotify by the record labels we’ll probably never know. I guess the figures didn’t add up and there are still too many “legacy” downloaders and iPod owners who aren’t yet ready to exchange file ownership for streamed music access.
Don’t get me wrong though: I think it’s fantastic that freemium users now finally have a chance to use Spotify Mobile: it’s a brilliant app – mobile’s killer app – but Spotify Free for Mobile doesn’t access the Spotify stream, making it essentially just another way to play MP3s (albeit one with a unique wireless syncing feature that’s bound to appeal to iTunes users).
Spotify have lost some friends of late (a bunch of freemium users and oh yes, 7digital) but I still have true faith in the company: despite the focus and innovation seemingly aimed solely at free users, their Premium streaming service still remains second-to-none.
Needless to say, many stories and reactions to this latest Spotify news have appeared throughout the day. Here’s a selection of the best:
Paul Brown recently wrote a great article on Why Spotify is an iTunes-killer worth paying for. In it, he mentions that you can sync your local music with Spotify on your mobile. This feature’s been around in Spotify for a while now but it seems that not everyone was aware of it. Instead of having to use cables or manually copy files to your phone, Spotify can sync them for you via WiFi. So to complement Paul’s article, here’s an expanded How To Guide.
NOTE: since this article was written, Spotify updated their app to make it easier to sync (see the comments below). Basically you should now see you smartphone/iPod appear in the new Devices section in Spotify desktop. You can then just tick the playlists you want to sync, or make Spotify sync everything.
.1: Import to Library
First of all, if you’ve not already done so you need to import the MP3s you want to sync into the Spotify Library:
Start Spotify on your desktop.
Click the Library link then follow the instructions to import the MP3s into Spotify. You can browse to a folder to import or simply drag-and-drop the music files into the the Library’s Local Files view:
2: Create Playlist
Create a new playlist then drag the tracks you want to sync from the Local Files area into the playlist. You might want to create one playlist per album, a “New Tracks 2011” playlist, or one big playlist with all your local music. For example, here’s a playlist for the Arcade Fire album The Suburbs:
3: Connect Phone and Sync
Now make sure your phone is connected via WiFi to the same network as your PC (this step is important: you can’t sync local files over 3G). Also make sure Spotify is still open on the desktop, otherwise the files wont sync.
Start Spotify on your mobile.
Click Edit Offline Playlists then locate the new playlist(s) you created earlier. Tick them to start the offline syncing. The local files from your PC are then downloaded to your mobile:
As you add or remove local files to these playlists on the desktop, the mobile version keeps in sync with the changes. So in three easy steps, I now have Arcade Fire on Spotify Mobile!
I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab at the weekend and have now had a couple of days playing around with it. I wanted a tablet mostly to replace my Eee PC netbook, which I’d use for browsing and tweeting while watching TV or lounging about in bed.
I bought an unlocked Galaxy Tab for £499 from my local Phones 4U store. It doesn’t need a SIM card so I didn’t have to take out any kind of contract: this makes it essentially a wi-fi only tablet, but if necessary I can easily pop in my T-Mobile SIM card from my HTC Desire to enable 3G while roaming.
Although Spotify has over 10 million songs, there are sometimes bands I’d like to listen who aren’t on there yet: The Beatles, Rammstein, Arcade Fire, Oasis and some of these bands too. Spotify also lacks audiobooks and audio-drama (such as the excellent Big FinishDoctor Who range), so there are occasions when you’re forced to listen to those things your grandparents talk about: MP3 files. Since I listen to music on my smartphone during the day, I had a go at some streaming music options available to Android users. Read on for a look at mSpot Music, Dropbox, and Audiogalaxy: three ways to listen to music-on-the-move without the drag of manually copying MP3 files to your SD card.
Here’s a quick video demonstrating Spotify’s voice commands. The search works perfectly, but Spotify is supposed to be launchable using voice commands too but I can’t get it to work. Sorry about the focus and glare in this clip, it’s my first attempt at a video :p
Here’s a short video demonstrating how to select a band name from a webpage on your PC then launch some tunes on Spotify for Android. I use this at work where I can’t run Spotify on the desktop, but can listen to it on my Android smartphone instead. The video shows the Google Chrome web browser, the Spotify Chome extension, and the Google Chrome to Phone extension.
Managing Spotify playlists has always been tricky whenever you have more than a few dozen playlists to keep track of: you soon end up with a big long list of albums and playlists that’s difficult to search through. As a workaround, I used the Firefox Bookmark Manager to store my “overspill” of playlists (where a playlist is usually an album or custom list of songs). I had folders named as genre tags and kept it all synced and backed-up using Xmarks. Then Spotify released a client update with a Folders option for grouping playlists together. This improved the situation tremendously, but many of the original difficulties remain: for example, I now listen to Spotify mostly on my Android smartphone where the Folders feature is yet to be implemented. But now I think I’ve found the ultimate Spotify playlist manager: it’s Delicious!
It’s been a while since we posted an Android update, so here’s what I reckon are the current Top 10 Essential Android Apps. Everyone will have their own personal favourites, but these ten apps are what I recommend any new Android user should check out first.
Android smartphones were made for music: with their fully-enabled multitasking feature, expandable memories and unrestricted choice, an Android phone makes iPods and mp3 players obsolete. Factor in Spotify and you have access to million upon millions of high-quality streaming music tracks. As well as the official Spotify Mobile app, an increasing number of Spotify-related apps have appeared for Android. Here’s a look at what’s currently available.