Spotify is a commercial music streaming service that provides digital rights management-restricted content from record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal. Music can be browsed or searched by artist, album, genre, playlist, or record label. Paid "Premium" subscriptions remove advertisements and allow users to download music for offline listening.
Users can create and share playlists, or edit them together with other users. A playlist link can directly be dragged into an email or an instant messaging window. If the recipient follows the link, the playlist appears in the recipient's Spotify-client. Playlists auto-update if the author adds or removes tracks. Playlist links can be used with every Spotify client app. The same principle works for single tracks, which can be dropped on applications and websites at will. Many websites support sharing of Spotify playlists and songs and let users share, rate and discuss them. Users can examine their play queue. Spotify can flag playlist duplicates.
Spotify includes a Radio feature for Spotify Free and Premium accounts. Radio creates a random playlist of songs chosen based on specified genres and decades. An Artist Radio feature creates a random playlist of songs by artists related to (and including) a selected artist. Artist Radio channels provide information on the artist, ranging from history to the artist's most popular tracks. Radio differs from its competitor, Pandora.
Premium (paid) Spotify users are allowed to skip tracks as desired, while Pandora limits the number of tracks that can be skipped. Free Spotify users on mobile (Android/iPhone) are limited to five skips, similar to Pandora. In August 2012 Spotify allowed users to "rate" tracks, improving the ability to organise the radio function based on user preference.
Spotify allows users to integrate their account with existing Facebook and Twitter accounts. Thereafter they are able to access their friends'/follower's favourite music and playlists. Facebook compatibility allows Spotify users to share music with Facebook friends through the use of the service's inbox. Spotify users are able to send tracks or playlists to friends who are then able to play them through their Spotify account.
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