Spotify: The Ultimate Guide For New Users 
Here’s literally everything you need to know about Spotify in one article, covering how it works, how much it costs, the different tiers, and its unique features…
Nearly one billion songs are streamed on Spotify every single day. That is a huge number and it shows just how popular Spotify has gotten over the past few years despite competition from Apple, Google, and Amazon.
Arguably the biggest and most popular music streaming platform on the planet, Spotify now has over 456 million users globally and, despite some of its shortcomings, it is currently the benchmark by which all other music streaming platforms are measure by.
To give you an idea of just how disruptive Spotify has been in the last decade, keep this little fact in mind: Spotify forced Apple to completely rethink its approach to iTunes and how it markets and sells music. This is why we now have Apple Music, and no other company in the past decade has managed to make Apple rethink anything.
In this guide to Spotify, we’ll cover the following stuff:
- What the service provides;
- How it works;
- How many songs there are;
- Its unique selling points;
- How it compares to the competition;
- And, finally, whether it is worth getting a subscription.
But before we get to that, it is definitely worth taking a quick look at Spotify’s history. As tech start-ups go, Spotify has been one of the most successful of all time, shaking up the industry to the same extent Apple did when it first unleashed its iPod and iTunes software.
For this reason, and to illustrate just how profound Spotify’s influence has been on the tech and music world at large, let’s kick things off with a brief history of Spotify…
History of Spotify
Initial formed in 2006, Spotify was the brain child of Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon. Born in Sweden, Spotify was named after the two founders were messing around with portmanteau words – the blend of two words to make a single word.
In the context of Spotify, it is made up of the words “spot” and “identity” which, when portmanteau’d, creates Spotify. Another explanation for the name relates to Lorentzon mishearing something Ek said which, in turn, led to the portmanteau method to give the word some meaning.
Either way, as of 2006, the company was founded and it was known as Spotify. Between 2006 and 2010, Ek and Lorentzon had to figure out how to A) build the software that would power Spotify and B) ink deals with record companies in order to get music onto the platform.
They also had to “sell” their idea of how record labels would get paid. Unlike traditional forms of music sales, whereby users purchase a song or an album, Spotify wanted to pay the labels and owners of the music based on the number of “steams” they generated.
This had never been done before, and it must have been an incredibly hard-sell for the two founders. After what happened with Napster and iTunes, the music business wasn’t exactly fond of the disruptive things tech companies liked doing.
But the idea made sense. You already had P2P file sharing sites and platforms like iTunes but there was nothing else that really offered an alternative way of doing things. This was the true genius of Spotify: it made accessing and listening to music cheaper than iTunes and as easy as downloading it illegally.
Spotify’s New Approach To Music Consumption
This idea, the idea that people could access music for free, with adverts, or pay a monthly membership for ad-free music, was revolutionary. The music industry was losing billions to online privacy at the time, so Spotify’s plan was something none of the major labels could afford to ignore.
I realised that you can never legislate away from piracy, Daniel told The Telegraph in 2010. The only way to solve the problem was to create a service that was better than piracy and at the same time compensates the music industry.
When it first launched, Spotify’s list of music was pretty spartan. I was one of the first in line to sign-up when it launched, having attended the Spotify UK launch party. The design was basic at best and the selection wasn’t great but you could almost smell the potential.
The concept – making music easily available and compensating record labels – worked. It was simple, it worked on phones and desktop computers. All it now needed was a critical mass of music to make it a real contender. And this happened very quickly too.
Once labels realised that Spotify was another potential revenue stream for their ailing businesses, all of them wanted a slice of the action. Between the years 2010 and 2020, Spotify grew at an enormously fast pace, securing millions of in venture capital money and the support of the world’s biggest record labels.
There were holdouts along the way but once labels caught wind of the sheer number of people using Spotify, even bands like the Beatles and TOOL could no longer avoid the inevitable: if you want to remain relevant, your music needs to be available to stream.
As of 2022, Spotify is one of the most well known and biggest music streaming platforms on the planet, serving nearly half a billion users. Spotify is available in 183 countries and has now branched out into podcasts, securing the exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience and other popular podcast shows.
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What is Spotify?
Spotify is a music streaming platform. It started life in Sweden in 2006 with the vision of defeating music piracy and helping labels and artists to get paid for their output by making music consumption easier.
Available on all major platforms, including Windows, iPhone, Android, macOS, and Linux, as well as smart devices and TVs, you can now stream Spotify literally anywhere.
The service started as a free, ad-supported platform with the ability to subscribe for ad-free listening. Between 2008 and 2012, Spotify’s monthly users jumped to 20 million globally. By 2022, it now has over half a billion users.
Spotify isn’t just music, though. It also has podcasts and even audiobooks. For the vast majority of users, however, Spotify is still only used for one thing and one thing only: streaming music.
Without Spotify, we wouldn’t have Apple Music or YouTube Music, or any of the other music streaming platforms available today. Spotify changed the game when it first launched back in the mid-2000s. And its effect on the music and tech industry at large has been enormous.
In order to sign up for Spotify, you will need to choose a subscription. Spotify still offers is free, ad-supported account which is very popular with users that want to test out the service. But you can also get two months free on most of its paid subscriptions, so I’d argue it is best to go with a Spotify Premium account.
Let’s now go over how much Spotify costs.
Spotify Pricing Tiers:
Spotify currently has four main paid-for subscriptions, and these are as follows:
- Spotify Premium – £9.99 p/m
- Spotify Premium Duo – £13.99 p/m
- Spotify Premium Family – £16.99 p/m
- Spotify Premium Student – £5.99 p/m
Spotify Free vs. Spotify Premium
Using the free version of Spotify is fine, plenty of people still do (like tens of millions of its current user base). But if you want to experience the full gamut of features that Spotify has to offer, you’ll want to go with one of its Premium memberships.
But what is the difference between Spotify free and Spotify Premium, beyond not having to listen to adverts every few minutes? As it goes, there are quite a few extras you get with Spotify Premium that are not available on free Spotify accounts.
Here’s a complete breakdown of all the extra features you get with a Spotify Premium account:
- Improved audio quality: A free account will play music at 160kbit/s, while Premium users get higher quality playback up to 320kbit/s.
- No ads: There are no adverts on Spotify Premium.
- Offline listening: Spotify Premium adds in support for offline listening, giving users the ability to download tracks and albums to their phone’s storage.
- Showtime subscription: The Spotify Premium includes access to the Showtime cable network and associated streaming apps (US ONLY).
- Listening parties. Premium users can create listening groups with up to five friends. Inside these groups, users can take turns picking songs using the Group Session feature.
- Enhance. This feature bulks-out out your playlists by adding one recommended track after every two tracks added by you. It is a great way of finding new music and artists you might have missed.
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One of Spotify’s biggest investments in recent times was buying exclusive access to The Joe Rogan Experience. Spotify paid Rogan over $200 million for the exclusive rights to stream his podcasts. Given the size of Rogan’s audience, this was a pretty clever move by Spotify.
It wasn’t without its controversies, though. Almost as soon as the transition had begone, Rogan fans began accusing Spotify of censoring Rogan’s output by dictating what he could and could not cover as well as removing JRE episodes that were deemed controversial (like ones with the always-bonkers Alex Jones).
Beyond Joe Rogan, you can access pretty much any podcast you like via Spotify. The platform is essentially an RSS feed of all the most popular podcasts on the planet, negating the need to use third-party or even proprietary podcast apps like Apple and Google’s respective podcast apps.
So, if you’re into music AND podcasts, Spotify is a great option if you want to considerate everything under one app. Spotify is also the ONLY place you can listen to The Joe Rogan Experience too, so if you like Rogan you kind of need to have a Spotify account to get in on the action.
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Spotify for Podcasters
In a bid to bulk out its podcast credentials, Spotify has made it really easy for podcasters to use its platform to reach new listeners. Spotify For Podcasters is the company’s back-end management tool for uploading, managing, and getting your podcast monetised on Spotify.
If you have a podcast and you want to get it on Spotify, all you need to do is sign up for a Spotify For Podcasters account, get it confirmed, and then start uploading your episodes. You’ll also want to fill out your podcast page’s biography, add a picture or two, and start promoting it on social media as well.
Spotify for Podcasters include all kinds of data for monitoring your show’s performance – from user stats and streaming numbers to active promotions and audience starts. And because Spotify is going ALL IN on podcasts, it is basically allowing its podcasters to keep nearly 100% of the revenue they generate.
At its core, Spotify for Podcasters is a discovery and analytics dashboard. One where you can both submit your show to Spotify and dive deep into engagement and demographic data for your podcast, tracking things like average listening times, episode streams, and total listeners. With so many podcasts out there, it’s more important than ever that you have the data you need to help you understand and grow your audience. That’s exactly what your dashboard is designed to provide.Source
How To Get A Spotify Account
Signing up for Spotify account is really simple. All you have to do is go to Spotify – you can do that here – and sign up with an email address and password. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to decide which type of account you want: free, premium, premium duo, premium family, or premium student.
Once you’re signed up and have chosen a subscription, you can now download Spotify for your iPhone or Android phone. You can use it on your Smart TV, your desktop computer via its native application, or via its web-based browser version.
As we noted above, Spotify is available on all platforms. You can even access Spotify through your web browser. Basically, if you have a device with an internet connection, chances are you will be able to run Spotify on it – and this includes smart home products like Google Home and Google Nest and things like Sonos.
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What Devices and Operating Systems Support Spotify?
Spotify is readily available on all of your devices. There is an official iPhone app, an Android app, and even an official Spotify web player app.
You can also download native Spotify apps for macOS, Windows, and Linux, as well as consoles like the PS4, PS5, and Xbox.
To recap, here’s all the of the ways you can listen to Spotify music:
- Samsung Smart TV
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Google Chromecast
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Home
- Chromecast Audio
- Select In-Car infotainment systems
- How To Listen To Spotify From Your Web Browser
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- Are My Spotify Playlists Automatically Public?
- Can Spotify Identify Songs?
Getting Social on Spotify – Find and Follow Friends
Because Spotify is all about discovering new music, it has never been easier to find out what your friends are listening to. To find you friends on Spotify, just connect your Facebook account and it will pull in data of what all your Facebook friends are currently listening to.
In Windows, you can see a live preview of what all your connections are listening to in the sidebar. To access this feature, you will need to be using Windows. For all non-Windows users, like if you’re using Spotify on iPhone or Android, use the Facebook connect method.
Here’s how to connect your Facebook to your Spotify account:
- In the desktop app, click. and select Settings.
- Under Social, click CONNECT WITH FACEBOOK.
- Enter your Facebook login details and click Log In.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to see what all of your Facebook friends are listening to, send then tracks and albums, and even collaborate on playlists.
If you don’t want people knowing what you’re listening to, simply deactivate the Facebook connect feature in Spotify by following the steps about and DEACTIVATING the CONNECT WITH FACEBOOK setting.
Additional Spotify FAQs
We’ve tried to cover everything in as much detail as possible above. But there are always new FAQs appearing all of the time. To finish off this post, let’s now cover off some of the most common Spotify-related questions new users have.
How To Download Spotify On Mac
If you’re running an Apple Mac computer, Spotify has developed a native application that’ll run on both Intel and Apple Silicon-powered Macs, including MacBooks, iMacs, and the Mac mini and Mac Studio.
To download Spotify for Mac, simply go to Spotify’s download page, select the download option and confirm the download. Your Mac will do the rest, installing Spotify on your Mac as a native application.
From here, all you have to do is sign in to start listening to music. If you’ve been using Spotify on your phone, all of your settings – including things like playlists, offline downloads, and connected friends – will sync inside the Spotify app for your Mac.
Who Is Number One On Spotify?
Spotify doesn’t really do a top charts or anything like that. Instead, it curates new music based on your listening habits. But if you’re interested to know who is the number one artist on Spotify right now, it is Ed Sheeran – the guy has 84.3 million monthly listeners, closely followed by Justin Bieber with 79 million.
Here’s a quick overview of the most streamed artists on Spotify for 2022:
What Is Spotify App
The Spotify app is the native version of the software that runs on either your phone or your computer. An app is considered native because it is installed on your device compared to the Spotify Web Player which is accessed via the web.
For the most part, native apps – including the Spotify app – are better than web versions of apps. You get access to all of the platform’s core features and abilities and, for the most part, they tend to run A LOT smoother.
In the context of the Spotify app, it is best to run the Spotify app on both your phone and your computer. This way, you’ll have access to all of your playlists, offline music, and curated content on all of your devices.
The web player version of Spotify is designed for when you’re not using your own computer, like in the college’s library or at a friend’s house.
How Do I Get Spotify Premium
Getting a Spotify Premium account is arguably the best way to use Spotify. There’s no ads, you can download music for offline listening, and you get access to all of Spotify’s additional features too.
In order to get Spotify Premium, follow these steps:
- Go to the Spotify Premium landing page;
- Select VIEW PLANS
- You’ll now be asked to either sign-in with your current details or register a new account. If you’re brand new to Spotify, do the latter.
- You’ll next be presented with the following options: Individual, Duo, Family, and Student
- Pick the one that fits you best – if it is just you using it, just get the standard premium account, Individual, for instance.
- Next, fill in your account details and payment info. Hit save, and you’re done – you now have a Spotify Premium account.
How To Scan A Spotify Code
Back in 2017, Spotify launched Spotify Codes. Similar to QR codes, these unique codes developed by Spotify grant the user quick access to elements within Spotify – things like specific songs, playlists, and artists for example.
To scan a Spotify code, just follow these simple steps:
- Open Spotify
- Tap CAMERA button in the SEARCH bar
- Point Camera at the code
- The Spotify Code will then instruct your phone on what to do.
Does Spotify Cost Money
Contrary to popular belief, Spotify is actually completely free. The only version of Spotify that cost money are its premium membership. Tens of millions of Spotify’s current user base do not pay a thing for the service.
Spotify runs a free version of its music streaming platform that is ad-supported, so you don’t pay anything to use the app but you do have to listen to adverts which is how Spotify monetises its free version of the app.
If you do not want to listen to adverts on Spotify, you have to upgrade to Spotify Premium. There’s no way around this either. Spotify has to generate income from its users and it does this either through adverts or paid subscriptions to its services.
Richard GoodwinRichard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.
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