Of all the many music- streaming services you can now get on your computer or mobile, one of the first and still the best is Spotify. Easy to use and featuring music from (almost) any artist you can think of – The Beatles recently had their back catalogue added! – whether you’re looking to stick to the free version or become a premium user, you’ll find that lurking underneath its deceptively simple exterior is a fully functioning and feature-packed music player.
The object of this workshop is to help you get the most from Spotify by highlighting some of the features that you may not have come across. From adding lyrics to your music, to swapping playback between devices in the blink of an eye, we’ll take you from being a Spotify newbie to a pro user.
1. All things being equal
Spotify comes with a built-in equaliser for mobile, so you can tweak settings for individual tracks – just head to Settings. The equaliser is different for iOS and Android devices, and, although the computer version of Spotify doesn’t come with this built-in, you can download a plug-in like Equalify Pro.
2. Play your music offline
The majority of Spotify members use the software on mobile devices, which is great if you’re linked to a Wi-Fi connection, but will eat up your data allowance if you’re out and about. If you sign up for the premium edition for £9.99/$9.99 a month, you can download entire albums and playlists to your device and listen to them offline.
3. Discover new music
A new feature introduced last year, Discover Weekly, is a smart playlist that’s automatically updated every Monday just for you. Smart is definitely the key word here, as Spotify has employed algorithms to check other people’s playlists and match them with yours to add a series of recommendations it think you will like. The results are impressive – you’ll find the Discover Weekly playlist at the top of your Playlists on the left sidebar.
4. Get a higher bit rate
Hardcore audiophiles looking to get the highest sound quality will also want to upgrade to the premium service. While freemium users have a choice of bit rate between 96kbps to 160kbps for most tracks – depending on the device they’re using and their internet connection – if you subscribe then you can crank this up to an ear-pleasing 320kbps. Just go to Settings and select Streaming Quality from the menu options.
5. Touchy feely
Tapping and holding down on album artwork does a couple of things, depending on what system you’re running Spotify on. For Android it brings up a list of options (including adding a track or album to a playlist, or heading directly to the artist’s page), while on iOS you
will get something called Touch Preview, where it instantly plays the song or playlist when you press on the album art – Touch Preview will be heading to Android soon.
6. Spotify on the web
There are many ways you can listen to your Spotify library, including via a browser, which is useful for when you’re at work or want to play your music on a friend’s computer. Just head to play.spotify.com/browse, sign in and then click on Your Music to access your library remotely.
7. Swap between devices
One of Spotify’s neater features is the ability to swap playback on any devices that are logged into your Spotify account. Say you’re playing music on your phone while you’re out, and when you get back you want to swap to your computer or a compatible speaker or TV, all you have to do is tap on Devices Available at the bottom of the Spotify screen, pick a different one from the list available and the song will continue playback on the new device.
8. Add lyrics to your songs
Eagle-eyed types will probably have spotted the Lyrics button at the bottom of the desktop version of Spotify, so all you have to do is tap on this for the lyrics to scroll through as the song plays. Although it’s not automatically included with the mobile version, you can download the Musixmatch app to do the job for you.
9. Import your music library
If you want to play all your music via Spotify and bypass iTunes altogether (or whatever other music software you play your music through on your computer) then it’s easy enough, much easier than you might think. On the sidebar on the left, click on Local Files under Your Music and you can then scroll through and play any music stored on your computer – Spotify Premium members can also import their tracks too.
10. Share the love
Although sharing and collaborating on playlists is easy enough, sometimes you’re listening to a specific song (maybe one you’ve just discovered) and want to share it with a specific person. Easy! Go to Options > Share > Send to… and you’re given a range of choices to send a direct link to the song that’s currently playing – via SMS, email, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and so on.