A hidden gem: Spotify

Lyssa Scott, Correspondent

Online radio apps such as Pandora, I HEART Radio, and TuneIn are becoming increasingly popular.

However, there is one that “trumps all the others,” Kim Kirnan, sophomore integrative media major at Wilkes, said. “Spotify. It towers above the rest.”

Spotify differs from other radio apps because users can build and share playlists filled with songs they hand select. Apps like Pandora choose songs at random based on one song or artist the user types in. Users like Kirnan can become annoyed when they “run out of skips. It only lets you skip five songs and then you’re stuck listening to whatever comes on.”

TuneIn and I HEART Radio play existing FM stations live. They allow users to listen to radio stations that they geographically can’t.

“You could be in Wilkes-Barre listening to a station in Philadelphia,” said Eric Casey, junior communications major at Wilkes, “It’s cool because I started listening to radio stations overseas. Stuff in the U.K., France, and I found artists like Parov Stellar, Willy Moon, and Icona Pop. I could go on, but there are too many to name.”

Spotify is fueled by ads and is free to use on a desktop or laptop with Wi-Fi. Other options without ads are available to users who want to pay $5 a month to have no ads or $10 a month, referred to as Spotify “premium” to have Spotify on their computer, phone and tablet.

Spotify, in conjunction with other radio apps, is helping people branch out and find new music.

“I’m into everything,” said Alex Laubach, sophomore biology major at Wilkes. “Spotify has introduced me to great stuff that I never would have found otherwise. I like that I can see what my friends are listening to and find new stuff through their playlists.”

According to Spotify.com, Spotify is legal and different from pirating music because users don’t own the music, they just listen to it. There are some artists who refuse to let Spotify put some of all of their material on the app. You won’t find artists such as The Beatles or Led Zeppelin.

The app has more than 24 million active users, 6 million of whom pay for the service monthly. More than 1 billion playlists have been created. Still, some people are skeptical because they don’t understand how the artists benefit from this. Here’s what Spotify has to say:

“Users fall in love with Spotify’s vast and legal music library, which offers them a safe and legal alternative to piracy.”

Spotify pays 70 percent of its revenue to rights holders. Currently, the company has paid more than $500 million in royalties to the record labels, artists, and digital distributors it has direct agreements with.

“I don’t understand why everyone wouldn’t use the service,” Kirnan said. “It’s like buying one CD a month.”