1 - starter image

If you have not heard of Spotify yet, you might be living under a rock. One of the biggest announcements this summer has been that the music streaming service Spotify is coming to the United States. It is here now and ready for those who get invites to begin taking advantage of all the services it has to offer.

Spotify offers streaming music from some of the biggest labels, such as EMI, Sony and Warner Music Group. Spotify began in Sweden and has been available in several countries in Europe since 2008. As of July 2011, Spotify has opened its doors in the US.

What is Spotify Exactly?

Spotify is a music streaming service that allows you to listen to the latest songs, hot artists and your favorite albums at any time. Spotify offers three levels of service: Free, Premium and Unlimited. The free service is invite only. Premium is $9.99 a month while Unlimited is $4.99 a month.

All three services offer over a million songs available for streaming. You can play, organize and create playlists to share with others. Spotify Social allows you to connect to Facebook to share music and see what others are listening to who are also using the service.

Beyond that, you have to opt into an Unlimited or Premium account to do more with Spotify. These two paid accounts get rid of advertisements throughout Spotify and offer unlimited streaming, the ability to stream to mobile devices and offline listening modes.

What features does Spotify offer?

Spotify offers a boatload of features for users at every account level. If you were lucky to snag an invite to the free version, you may have already begun peeking around the features it has to offer. Let us take a walk-through some of the most exciting features of Spotify.

Searching and creating playlists

Utilizing the Spotify search feature, you have access to millions of songs from the hottest artists on major labels. Spotify boasts an impressive streaming music collection. You can create the perfect playlist in no time at all.

2 - searching

All your music library needs

When you are building playlists and collecting songs, you need a library that matches what you want out of your efforts. Spotify wants to change how you use, interact and search through the tunes you add to your music library. You can import the songs you have on your computer into Spotify, organize them and share them through Facebook and with other users.

With a Premium Spotify account, you can sync your library with your mobile devices and as long as you are on the same network, you can get access to them without being anywhere near your computer.

3 - library

Social networking

You can connect your Spotify account with your Facebook profile to share music, playlists and network with friends who are using the service, too. This can introduce you to new music in no time. You can also connect your Spotify account to Last.fm to share music with friends there.

5 - facebook

On the go and mobile access

Spotify can be used in a variety of places as you are on the go throughout the day. Depending on the level of service you sign up for, you can even have access to Spotify on your mobile phone and other handheld devices. You never have to be without access to your Spotify playlists.

4 - on the go

Biographies, similar artists and popularity

When you are looking for music, Spotify gives you as much information as you can to find what you want. Spotify offers in-depth biographies of artists, will show you similar artists that you might also enjoy along with giving you access to usage statistics that show you just how popular a song is amongst Spotify users.

6 - bio

7 - related artists

These are just some of the features Spotify has to offer. If you are lucky enough to snag an invite, you can check out which tier of Spotify will work for you. They each have more benefits for music lovers to take advantage of when streaming.

How to get a Spotify invite

If you are looking for a Spotify invite, you can sign up at their web site to be put on a waiting list. As the service expands in the US, you may have an invite in no time. If you do not want to wait, you can purchase a Premium or Unlimited account from the get go and have access to everything the service has to offer. There are other workarounds to get a free Spotify account if you do not want to wait, searching Google will show you how to do that.

8 - invite

Should you try and score an invite to Spotify?

I was lucky to snag an invite to Spotify within the first couple days of its release. I have not upgraded to a paid version of it only because I want to tinker around with what the free version has to offer before I decide. So far, I really enjoy the layout and how easy Spotify is to use. When compared to finding music on iTunes, I think Spotify offers a quicker and more direct approach to tracking down your favorite artists, albums and similar artists.

If you listen to music online, checking out Spotify should be something you do. Spotify has yet to let me down, streaming is just about instantaneous and I have yet to not find an artist I wanted to listen to you. Spotify is definitely worth the try for consumers who want streaming music on demand and an easy way to discover new tunes.

Sign up for an invite to Spotify today and see what all the buzz is about.