Spotify: Everything you need to know

By | 26th February 2018

Come for the easy setup, stay for the algorithm-based recommendations

One of the most popular names in the music world today isn't a band or a record label: it's an app called Spotify. Spotify was one of the earliest and most popular music streaming services on the market today. The service is available on almost every platform, from cars to home assistants to high-end speakers to phones, tablets, and computers. Spotify's prowess with data analysis and algorithmic music suggestions have made the service addictive for music-hungry users, and as the first major service to offer student pricing, it's spread like wildfire on college campuses across the country.

Here's what you need to know before and after you dive in with it.

Getting Started

Spotify is built to be as easy a listening experience as possible, and for most users, making an account is as easy as pressing one button. From setting up an account to getting your library established, we're here to help you avoid as much pain as possible while you make the switch.

Getting started with Spotify

Pick your subscription

There are a lot of subscription styles out there for Spotify, but which one will fit you — and your family members — best? We break down the difference in Spotify subscriptions beyond the price points and show their prices and pitfalls, especially the very tight strings wrapped around Spotify Premium for Family subscriptions.

How to pick a Spotify account

Play your music everywhere

One of Spotify's perks is that users can play back their music just about everywhere: their watch, their phone, their TV, their car, their smart speakers, high-end speakers, their computer, and just about everything in between. Best of all, connecting to all of these diverse devices uses the same simple UI: Spotify Connect. Here's how this musical magic works and what it works with.

Spotify Connect: What it is and why it's awesome

Settling in with Spotify

Once you've gotten your account up and running, it's time to start mastering Spotify and making it work for you. From library management to offline playback and beyond, there are some simple things you can do to turn your Spotify experience up to 11.

Top 5 tips to make the most of your Spotify subscription

Playlist problems persist...

Playlists are a big part of any music service, but they're doubly important on Android because playlists curated by everyday users can be highlighted by Spotify's search and shared with your friends, family, and followers. There's just one little problem: you can't really edit playlists properly on Android. Or Chromebooks, for that matter.

Spotify has a playlist problem on Android

... but Spotify's playlists have a secret ally

Even if you can't tweak your playlist order, description, and image on Android, it's still possible to build a big, beautiful playlist on Spotify. If you start running out of ideas for additions to your playlists, don't worry. You can leverage the work you've already done and Spotify's algorithms to expand your playlist with Playlist Radio.

Use Spotify's radio to build bigger, better playlists

Queues, subqueues, and frustration

Managing and mixing up your queue on Spotify is a bit of a minefield for two reasons. The first is that rather than showing your listening history by letting you scroll up in your playlist, whatever you're playing is at the top of the queue and what you last listened to is at the bottom if it's visible at all.

The second is that Add to Queue doesn't do what it's called, which can turn an already confusing queue into a vanishing, inconsistent tur-queue-ken.

Spotify's Add to Queue is a lie

Spotify vs. Google Play Music

Spotify has a lot of competition, but perhaps the biggest competition they face on Android is convincing people that they're better than the music player that came pre-installed on your phone: Google Play Music. To be sure, both services have their ups and downs, but here is a critical comparison of the two services to help you decide if you want to give Spotify your time, attention, and money.

Spotify vs. Google Play Music: The battle of the bigs

What's your take?

What do you love or hate about Spotify? Let us know in the comments!