I’ve been using Spotify for three years now and I must say it streams very well, over Wi-Fi and even 3G. It has a huge collection of music which is also impressive. It could be really good, I say could because it’s not, far from it. Firstly, I’m talking about Spotify on iOS here, not the desktop client. After three years of listening to music on Spotify you would think the service knows a lot about my listening habits (music I listen to, like and dislike). I’m sure Spotify retains this data but unfortunately it does not use any of this information, not that I can see anyway. Spotify also links to my Last.fm account (a music service I’ve been using even longer) and scrobbles the tracks that I listen to, up to the Last.fm database. Spotify doesn’t use any of the information that Last.fm has about me. For example, If I check out the ‘What’s New’ tab within Spotify I’m shown a generic list of top tracks and new releases which appears to be the same for every user. None of these albums/new releases are tied-in to my listening habits. Music recommendations are pretty much non-existent in Spotify, ok so I can browse through my Facebook friends shared playlists but I’d much rather listen to what my Last.fm friends can recommend rather than Facebook. I should be able to listen to a radio station tailor-made to my exact listening habits, but there’s nothing like that to be found in the iOS app, not even ‘Artist Radio’, which is a desktop-only feature.
The other thing that bugs me about Spotify is the lack of a ‘personal collection’ area. Sometimes I don’t want to search the entire Spotify collection, I just want to browse or search through the tracks that I ‘own’ (segregated from the main library). Now I know this can be achieved by creating playlists, but it’s a clumsy way of doing it. For example, if I create a folder and call it ‘My Collection’, I can then create subfolders with artists names and then further subfolders with album names. The problem however, is that Spotify does not sort these artists into alphabetical order. If I had 200 or so artists in my personal collection, it’s pretty much impossible to sort all these artists and albums into alphabetical order, which makes the ‘My Collection’ playlist useless. The creation of playlist folders are not even supported in the iOS app. I don’t want to return home to the desktop client every time I need to create a folder, or even move an album into a folder.
Talking of playlists, it’s not unreasonable to expect Spotify to have Smart playlists and ratings like we’ve had in iTunes since 2002. We should be able to create a Smart playlist on iOS which includes something like the following criteria:
- Playlist is: ‘Favorite Albums’
- Rating is: 3 or more stars.
- Last played: Not in the last 8 months.
- Genre is: Pop.
This basic feature is not even supported on the desktop client.
And what’s the story with the iPad app? Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has been telling us it’s ‘coming soon’ for almost a year now. The iPad is the most exciting platform to emerge in years and Spotify does not seem to be embracing it. Instead of spending time partnering with Facebook and recently Coca-Cola, wouldn’t you think time would be better spent improving the software? There are so many improvements that need to be made to Spotify, I wonder if a company that can’t even manage to ship an iPad version is up to the job.