Spotify is the latest online streaming software to hit the United States shores. It comes from Europe where it has competed one on one with iTunes for a few years now. While free accounts our invite only, if you manage to snag an invite, you can see just what all the buzz is about.
Spotify offers an extensive music library from some of the big name labels. One of the most awesome features of Spotify is how you can build a music library out of what you already have on your computer and what you stream.
Using the search feature in Spotify
Once you have scored an invite to Spotify and begin using it, the first thing you want to start tinkering with is the search features. Spotify boasts an impressive music library that rivals even the iTunes Music Store.
You want to open Spotify. Depending on how you installed it, you may have to click a desktop icon or a Start Menu program folder.
Once you open Spotify, you can begin searching right away. The search box is located under the program menus. You can search for music in many different ways.
You can search for your favorite artists by typing their name in the search box. For example, I have searched for Lady Gaga as she is one of my favorite artists.
When you search for an artist or album, you get a great deal of information in the results. You get the songs and albums available from the artists, along with a biography, the popularity of tracks, artists associated with the act and length of songs. You can also sort this data by any of the categories displayed.
You can search for albums by typing its name in the search box. For example, I have searched for The Clash’s London Calling album. It is definitely one of my top 10 albums of all time.
Spotify’s search engine does not let you do closed searches. This means you cannot use quotation marks to get exact results.
In this case, I was given the London Calling album by The Clash, but as I scrolled through more results I was also given any number of combinations of the words “london” and “calling.” This means I received back covers, other albums and songs that used a combination of those two words and even artists that used “London Calling” as their name.
How to create a playlist in Spotify
Once you have mastered how to search in Spotify and find your favorite artists, songs and albums, you can begin to build playlists and add to your library.
There are two ways to create a playlist in Spotify. The first is very simple: You can click on the “New Playlist” link in the left sidebar.
You will then be asked to title your playlist.
You can also create a playlist by clicking the “File” menu link. From there, click on “New Playlist.” Again, you will be asked to title the playlist.
The new playlist will then appear in the library portion of the sidebar.
You can also create playlist folders which store certain playlists. This is good if multiple people at home are using Spotify or you want a better way to store certain playlists.
In order to create a new playlist folder, you want to click “File” in the menu bar.
Now, click “Create New Playlist Folder.”
You will need to name the new playlist folder. Once named, you can drag and drop playlists into it from the sidebar.
If you want to begin adding files to your playlist, you can do so by dragging and dropping them into the playlist of your choice.
In order to build your playlist, you want to search for the artists, songs or albums you want, and just drag and drop them into the playlist. Once you have done so, you can click on the playlist to take a look at what you have built.
As you can see, the playlist I have built entitled “VikiTech” is an eclectic mix of some of my favorite artists.
One of the niftiest features of Spotify is that you can share playlists with anyone through social networking. Spotify lets you sync your account to your Facebook profile, and you can share your playlists there. You can also share your playlists on Twitter and Windows Live Messenger.
If you want to share a playlist, click on the playlist. From there, click on the “Share” button.
A drop down menu will appear, and you can choose where you want to share the playlist. You must connect your Facebook account to Spotify before you can share through that network.
If you want to share your playlist on Twitter, click the “Twitter” tab and copy the link to paste it into a third party platform like TweetDeck to share.
If you click the “Share to Twitter” link, it will open Twitter in your web browser of choice. You can click “Post” to share your playlist. In a few seconds, your followers on Twitter will be able to see what you have created.
How to manage your library
Now that you have mastered how to search for songs and create playlists with them, you can begin to build your Spotify library. When you create an iTunes library, you actually use tracks physically on your computer to build it. Spotify allows you to create a library with tracks on your system along with ones you have saved through the streaming service to your playlist.
If we look at my music library now, we can see that the entirety of London Calling is part of my library. This is because when I installed Spotify’s software, it found the music files on my system and added them. It has also added every song I included in my TechNorms playlist that I found on Spotify.
You can filter the items in your library by artist, song, time and album. Spotify stores all songs added to playlists and the library via your computer. This is a great way to take stock of what you have saved and how large your library is.
If you want to delete songs from your library, you first have to delete them from the playlist they belong to. In order to do that, you want to right click the song in the playlist and click “Delete.” If you want to delete songs that Spotify imported from your system, you have to go the “Local Files” link in the left sidebar, right click on the song and click “Delete.”
You cannot edit any of the data associated with items in your library unless they were imported from your computer. You can right-click any song to open up its context menu. You can queue up a song for streaming, add it to additional playlists and start is as a favorite.
If you are right clicking a song on your computer in your Spotify library, you can edit the information for the file. You can also open the containing folder and update the file information from GraceNote.
Learning how to search on Spotify and then using those results to build playlists and work on creating an extensive music library is just one of the many ways to get the most out of Spotify.
Final Thoughts: Should you use Spotify to manage your music library?
Spotify offers you an all-in-one situation for managing your music library. Songs you import from your computer can be added to your iPod, iPhone and Android phones.
While it may take some time getting used to how Spotify manages your music, it offers you a type of library that other services out there cannot touch. Spotify allows you to take advantage of its large music library to complete your own. If you have not tried Spotify yet, you should definitely check it out right away.