It’s been a long time coming, but Spotify has finally arrived fully optimized for iPad. But if you’re a newcomer to Spotify on iOS, be warned: you need a Premium account to really get the most out of this app.
Spotify isn’t new to iOS. The iPhone/iPod version of the app has been out for a while and was functional, if not exactly very attractive, on an iPad when zoomed up to double size. The aesthetics didn’t matter that much, right? Because it’s all about the music?
Well, no. Not on Spotify, which is not just about the music at all. It’s about more than that: about the browsing experience, about making playlists and sharing them. Spotify desperately wants to be a social network – hence the dual login on offer here. They really, really want you to connect to, and login via, Facebook.
But, to their credit, Spotify don’t insist on that for long-time users, which is something I’m grateful for. (I have no interest in sharing my listening on Facebook.)
Properly optimized for iPad, the new Spotify looks fantastic. Adopting a look very similar to the desktop application, it has a dark theme with basic controls in a sidebar on the left, and the vast majority of visible space left open for the music player.
The search (a feature I use very often on the desktop) works very well here. Just type anything and it neatly organizes results by artist, title or playlist. It’s super-zippy fast, too, so you can find your way to that track you want really quickly.
There’s no access to Spotify’s own apps, not yet anyway. I suspect this won’t impact many people very much. You might have apps that you turn to now and then, but it’s unlikely that you rely on them for the majority of your listening. For most people, it’s all about playlists, and this app deals with them perfectly well.
Hidden inside the Settings panel you’ll find almost everything else you might care to think of. Last.fm scrobbling? Yep, that’s included. Bandwidth options for streaming? Yep, that too (a useful feature if you’re worried about hitting your monthly bandwidth limit).
Although I’m a bit of a dinosaur and I still buy CDs (I know, I know), Spotify has changed how I listen to music. It’s got me listening to more music than ever, and experimenting with new stuff too. The result is that I end up buying more music to keep. Are you listening, music industry?
Spotify for iPad might have been a long time coming but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. If you don’t have a Premium account, the only thing it’s any good for is playing music you already own that you’ve synced from your computer – something you probably do already via iTunes. If you don’t have a Premium account, this app might make you think about upgrading.
Which is probably the whole point.
Pro: Fast search, vast music library at your fingertips.
Con: Premium accounts only. Pay up or move on.