Spotify made its debut on Thursday in the U.S., giving other media streaming biggies, such as Pandora, Grooveshark, and Rhapsody, some serious competition.
Offering more than 15 million songs in its music catalog and providing three plans – namely the Free (available by invitations only), the Unlimited, and the Premium plans, which follow a "listen as much as you want" model – Spotify is posing to quickly become the best music streaming service in America.
The Swedish company has captivated the music consuming industry in just a few days for its wide selection of songs – from classical to the new music by Beyonce and Lady Gaga – with very competitive prices, $9.99 per month for the Premium service.
Tech experts have been busy giving this hot new product a test drive while some companies like Fortune have remarked that Spotify "already promises to potentially transform the way U.S. listeners consume music."
So far, it has received strong reviews in the U.S. from firms and analysts, but what exactly have experts said about it?
The following are the top reviews and comments, in condensed form, for the recently launched Spotify:
The program isn’t shockingly new from things we’ve seen before –sites likes Grooveshark and Pandora gave us access to tons of songs for free, as well –but Spotify has an easy, Facebook-compatible system that encourages sharing. Structured around playlists, it allows users to build their own, pass them along to friends, and then trawl through those friends’ collections for songs they like. Keith Staskiewicz - Entertainment Weekly
...I do decide to continue using Spotify, that doesn’t mean that I won’t be purchasing music anymore. When it comes to music I really like, I still find it satisfying to own the tracks. However, there are plenty of tracks, especially when it comes to top hits, that I do enjoy when I hear them on the radio, but I really don’t want to shell out money to purchase them on iTunes. That is where Spotify comes in for me. Helena Stone - Chipchick.com
From the point of view of a new user Spotify is doing a lot right: lots of content and the ability to instantly select a track and play it as many times as you want being the main things. The only real complaint is a lack of help for new users, and I could certainly see how an introduction video or ‘How-To’ post on the site would be beneficial. Dave Parrack - Tech Blorge
The interface is clean and easy-to-pick up – even for an easily-confused tech guy like myself – and Ek's (founder) promise of a snappy user experience is accurate. Songs stream instantly whether over WiFi or 3G. If you create a music playlist on the desktop app, it's automatically added to your mobile device (and vice versa), and stays synchronized when you add or drop songs. And the ability to make songs available for listening offline (read: store them on your mobile device) without having to purchase each and every track individually is great for someone like me who relies a lot on public transportation or just runs into crappy AT&T reception all the time. JP Mangalindan, - CNNMoney
A free membership gets you access to this endless CD library for 10 hours of streaming per month with advertising interruptions; for $5 a month you can lose the ads and the time limits; and for $10 a month you can actually download the songs to your cell phone or computer or tablet or whatever and listen to them even when you don't have the Internet. Jason Gilbert - HuffingtonPost
No other U.S. music subscription service offers anywhere close to this much free music. Rhapsody, MOG, and the rest suddenly look like ripoffs. Matt Rosoff - San Francisco Chronicle
"One challenge for Spotify will be whether the licenses it has include "everything" and are not overly used by majors as part of a windowing strategy, where new releases are not completely available in order to encourage purchases. The major US labels will most be licensing similar services and Spotify is starting from a low base. They will require considerable marketing to establish the brand." Music Week staff