Spotify for the iPhone – first look

Spotify sitting proudly on the first page of my iPhone

Spotify sitting proudly on the first page of my iPhone

Today saw the much heralded and debated arrival of mobile Spotify, with apps available for free download in both Apple’s iTunes App store and in Google’s Android Market.

I was a free subscriber of the desktop Spotify app on the Mac and wasted no time in downloading today’s free app. Like many thousands, or tens of thousands, I was keen to try out the service so have paid my £9.99 for a month’s access. (This is paid with either VISA or Mastercard – payment options are limited at the moment, they would do well to enable Maestro and Paypal options).  You can subscribe per month or for a year’s access. You can cancel the service at any time – but sadly they do not offer any financial incentive to pay for the full 12 months in advance.

After downloading and entering your existing username and password you will see your existing playlists appear on your phone.  If you add items to your playlist either via your desktop machine or via the phone, they will automatically sync back with each other.

Over Wi-Fi playback is instantaneous, over 3G there is a small 2 or 3 second delay – but you still can skip through the track by dragging the time slider at the bottom.

For items in your playlist you can also Sync to Offline List. This basically means you are copying the songs to your iPhone for playback when you are out of 3G range, such as on the underground or up a mountain or in an airplane etc.

The only limit to the amount you can store in these offline lists is the size of your spare memory in your phone.

In fact, unsurprisingly, the app works exactly like Spotify told us it would in their preview from a few weeks back.

Spotify iPhone demo

The only downside, if it is one, is that you the app needs to be open for you to listen to your music.  You can’t just skip in to your emails, send a text, or browse the internet whilst Spotify is still playing. But that’s a minor point in my opinion. (However this is likely to only affect the iPhone. Google Android based phones WILL play Spotify music in the background)

It will be interesting how this will affect Apple’s iTunes.  I doubted Spotify would ever get approval by the technology giant. Either they are receiving a serious financial pay-off from Spotify – or they realise that with the app being available on other handsets they simply couldn’t allow the rest to get themselves a killer mobile phone feature.

Spotify users and music lovers everywhere rejoice.

Update: 1pm Spotify have confirmed that they are working on the ability to take payments via Paypal. Should have been ready ages ago.