Spotify for BlackBerry has been in AppWorld for nearly a week now and I have had quite some time to put it through its paces. With so many options out there to get your fill of musical entertainment, I bet you're dying to know if Spotify is worth its hefty $9.99 monthly subscription.
Fear not, we've bitten the bullet and have the goods to deliver. In stark contrast with its desktop counterpart, Spotify for BlackBerry is a no frills, simple music player. In other words, there are no overpowering bells or whistles to distract you from your music.
Before anything else, you must check whether your BlackBerry is compatible in one of two ways. One, head over to Spotify Mobile - Spotify and follow the on-screen instructions, or search for Spotify on AppWorld. My 9900 is not listed as supported under the Spotify website, but the app surely appears for download on AppWorld. Once installed, fire it up, input your credentials and you're off to the races.
Once logged in, you are presented with a familiar list of playlists that mirror what ever playlists you have set up on the desktop app, including your "inbox" where your friends can share songs they think you may like.
What you may find appealing is the fact that if you use Apple's iTunes to manage your music and playlists, Spotify will search its huge musical database to rebuild your playlists on the cloud. Unfortunately, all your songs may not be available to stream directly from Spotify. All in all, the service does a pretty good job of serving you your favorite tunes. This is particularly useful if you have a large music collection and don't want to sync all your songs to your phone. However, hitting the menu button will allow you to set a playlist as a "collaboration" allowing your friends to pitch in their songs to make that killer road trip playlist for the summer. Also you can designate any playlist as an offline playlist to enjoy while disconnected from the rest of the world.
Moving on to the search function, Spotify is quick to serve up songs using its search feature based on song, artist and album names. I was excited to see my favorite tune listed in the results below! Not much else to see here, so we'll keep on moving along.
Spotify is constantly adding new tracks and new releases, you can always take a look at what is popular by clicking on the third icon on the nav bar. Not surprisingly, just like the desktop client, this page is always fresh and provides plenty of starting points to explore and find new favorite songs. Once you find something you like, tap and let the good times roll. More than anything, this page serves as a launch pad into what other users of Spotify from around the world are listening to.
The "now playing" screen is fairly simple. It displays album art for the currently playing track, unless it is not available, in which case the art for the previous song "sticks" and changes once new album work is available. Aside from the standard play and pause buttons, you have the option to skip to the last song in the playlist and can enjoy unlimited skips forward. At the very bottom, you can also mark a song as a favorite, shuffle through the songs in a playlist, and chose to repeat the playlist.
Tucked away in the menu, you can also access album and artist details if you want to learn more about the artist you are currently listening to or if you'd like to listen to another track on the album. I must say this must be one of the most addicting features of this app, infused with links to other bands where vocalists may have been part of, producers, recording labels and other musical nuggets of information, it definitely sets it apart from other music apps.
Last but not least, Spotify offers plenty of settings to make your music listening much more enjoyable. If you are strapped for data, Spotify offers an "offline" mode, allowing you to listen to only the playlists you have made available offline. Additionally, it defaults to "low bandwidth" streaming which offers a decent quality sound without racking up the MB's. Finally as an added bonus, the app also allows the user to input Last.Fm log in credentials to "scrobble" or in other words log songs you have listened to using the app.
So what's the verdict?
- It extends the experience of Spotify from your desktop to your BlackBerry Smartphone, allowing you to take your tunes with you.
- It has an appealing and simple-to-use interface
- Although it may seem simple on the surface, Spotify packs in all the essential features in a small package as well as other discovery tools like artist biographies and album details
- Streaming under "High Quality" isn't a good idea unless you are connected to WiFi, as some connectivity issues even in 4G settings may result in "jumpy" playback.
- Unless you already have a Spotify account and use it as your primary music solution, there is little incentive to download the app.
- It is not "available" for most BlackBerry devices.
Of course, this is just the experience as viewed from your humble servant, and your mileage may vary. If you own a supported handset, Spotify offers a 48 hour free trial, which can be extended to 30 days if you provide billing information within 14 days. You may cancel your subscription without any further commitment if you cancel any time in the first 30 days. Have you downloaded Spotify? Let us know your experience in the comments below.