Spotify changed the way listeners enjoy music. Rather than downloading songs and albums and loading them onto MP3 players and smartphones, Spotify's all-you-can-stream service gives virtually any Internet-connected device access to a nearly unlimited jukebox of streaming music. When it introduced apps, the company aimed to change the way you enjoy Spotify itself.
Just like smartphone apps, Spotify apps are small programs that, once added to your account, supply functionality such as curated playlists, customized recommendations for new music, concert listings, and lyrics. Spotify apps are free and can enhance your experience. Here are 10 great Spotify apps to check out.
Discover New Music
These Spotify apps get you started discovering new music.
Lazify - Want suggestions of new music you might like based on what you already enjoy? Lazify (Figure 1) can help. Begin by dragging a song or playlist to the Lazify app, and it creates a playlist of music that you should enjoy. (If you're an iTunes user, this may sound familiar; it's the same principle behind Apple's iTunes Genius feature.) Playlists can be 10, 25, or 50 songs. If you really love Lazify's mix, save the playlist by clicking the save button or dragging it to your playlists. One note: if you drag a full album by the same artist to Lazify, the playlist it creates will be very heavily populated by that artist and will feature fewer new bands. For the best variety, drag a single song to Lazify.
Figure 1 Lazify builds a playlist of music based on your suggestion to help you discover new songs you'll like.
Sifter - This app (see Figure 2) functions much like Lazify, but instead of dragging a song or playlist into Sifter, type in the name of a song or artist you want to begin with. The app then lives up to its name and sifts through Spotify's huge music catalog to create a playlist of similar music. You can listen to the songs, refresh the playlist to generate new results, or—if you like what Sifter created—save the playlist to your Spotify account. Sign into Facebook via Sifter and you can see which of your friends like the artists you're discovering.
Figure 2 Like Lazify, Sifter introduces you to new music based on what you already like.
These Spotify apps offer recommendations from expert music fans.
Pitchfork - Having a computer suggest new music based on algorithms is good, but sometimes there's no substitute for an expert music fan suggesting a great album. That's what the Pitchfork app (see Figure 3) offers. Pitchfork is one of the leading music websites. While it started out covering primarily indie rock, it has since expanded to feature everything from R&B to metal, hip hop to folk, while still covering rock in the exacting way that made it a success. The Pitchfork app offers all of Pitchfork's reviews—from daily installments to longer features like its Top 100 Tracks of the year—with embedded Spotify playlists.
Figure 3 The Pitchfork app includes quick access to Pitchfork's reviews, with embedded playlists.
Rolling Stone - For a more establishment (but no less authoritative) perspective on music than Pitchfork offers, check out the Rolling Stone app (see Figure 4). This app offers album reviews from the legendary music and culture magazine with embedded playlists for one-click access to the music you're reading about, as well as playlists from the magazine, such as the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time and mixes created specifically for Spotify.
Figure 4 Reviews from Rolling Stone are just one of the ways you'll find great music with this app.
Concerts & Events
Everybody loves live music. With these apps, find concerts and you’ll be crowd-surfing in no time.
Bandsintown Concerts -Want to find out when your favorite musicians are playing concerts near you? Bandsintown Concerts (see Figure 5) can help. Drag a song into the app to get information on that artist's performances. Connect this app to your Facebook account and it can access your Spotify playlists and provide the same info. Just looking for some live music? Bandsintown also lets you search by date and location for recommended concerts. When you've found one you're interested in, you can be delivered with one click to online options for buying tickets.
Figure 5 Find concerts based on date, location, and musician using Bandsintown Concerts.
FestConnect - If multi-artist festivals are more your speed, you'll enjoy FestConnect (see Figure 6). Enter a location, a radius within which to search, and a date and you'll get a list of all music festivals in the region at that time (the app is sponsored by McDonald's, so you'll also see the location of every McDonald's near the festival; that may or may not be a bonus, depending on your eating habits). For each festival, you can see the bands performing, listen to their music, and—if you're logged into Facebook—share details of what festivals you'll be at so you can make plans to meet your friends.
Figure 6 FestConnect helps you find virtually any music festival, based on location, artist, and date.
Some Spotify apps do more than just help you discover music. These apps offer additional features that turn things up a notch.
musiXmatch - In the good old days, CDs often came with booklets that listed all the lyrics for each song on the album. In our age of downloadable and streaming music, booklets are a rarity, as are lyric sheets. musiXmatch (see Figure 7) changes that by displaying lyrics for the songs you listen to in Spotify. Start playing a song, then go into the app and you'll not only see the song lyrics, but they are synced to the song so you read the lyrics as you hear them sung. You can also contribute lyrics or fix existing ones that are incorrect.
Figure 7 Read the lyrics as the band sings them using musiXmatch.
Playmysong - Use this Spotify app in conjunction with the free Playmysong smartphone app for Android, iOS, or Windows Phone to give friends, family, and party guests control over your Spotify account. This app (see Figure 8) turns Spotify into a crowd-controlled jukebox, making it perfect for parties where guests are the DJs or for just getting together with friends and swapping songs. You can control how many songs each person can play per hour, as well as how many times the same song can be played in the same timeframe.
Figure 8 Turn your Spotify app into a jukebox for your friends and family using Playmysong.
Not Music, Still Worthy
Spotify is good for more than just music. Who knew? Now that you know, you can take advantage of these cool apps.
Listen Language - Here's a kind of recorded audio that you might not expect to find on Spotify, but that can make a subscription even more valuable: foreign language instruction. This app (see Figure 9) collects foreign language courses from Spotify and then groups them by language for easy learning. The app includes 24 languages, including Spanish, French, Japanese, Thai, Ukranian, and Tamil. Some languages have more courses than others (French and Spanish have six each, while Swahili has only one), but this is a pretty cool feature of Spotify. If you're interested in learning a new language, Listen Language could be a good first step.
Figure 9 Learn a foreign language using Spotify and Listen Language.
Official Comedy - While Spotify's main claim to fame is the access it provides to music, what it really offers is access to recorded audio. Music is the biggest category, but as the Official Comedy app proves, audio includes stand-up comedy, too. This app helps you find comedy recordings on Spotify by presenting you both featured comedians and themed topics. These themed playlists combine routines from many different comics on a single subject to give a hilarious look at the topic. The app also lets you share good one-liners, and links to the Spotify tracks they come from, on Facebook.
Figure 10 Turn off the music and turn on the laughs with the Official Comedy app.
There you have it: 10 apps that will change the way you interact with Spotify. They’re just the tip of the iceberg, so keep exploring what’s available.