You don't have to look far to see just how much technology has progressed in the past 50 years alone. Perhaps you grew up during a time when cell phones, apps and streaming services were lofty, imaginative concepts in magazines like Popular Science: What the World Will Look Like in 2020! Now, of course, these are basic parts of everyday life and communication around the world.
For those who remember the days of dropping the needle on a spinning record or popping a cassette tape into the radio, this new world of streaming services and music apps may seem highly confusing. Believe it or not, they're not as scary as they seem. These apps are not only designed with user-friendly criteria in mind but also have near-limitless libraries of any kind of music you can imagine. Arguably the most popular music streaming service to emerge in the last decade has been Spotify. With its comprehensive library of 82 million songs, as well as over 4 million podcasts, Spotify single-handedly transformed the entire entertainment industry when it launched in 2008. Now, the app boasts 182 million premium subscribers, as of 2022, and counting. Here's a beginner's guide to understanding the app and what it has to offer.
If you're not used to enjoying music through apps and streaming services, it may surprise you to learn how easy it is to create a Spotify account. Start by either downloading it from the app store on your mobile phone or visiting spotify.com/us and clicking "sign up" in the upper right-hand corner. Enter your name, birthday and gender and confirm your email, and voila — your new Spotify account is made!
If you're signing up from a desktop or PC, Spotify will ask you to download the application software to your computer. Don't be alarmed; this software simply makes it possible for you to play Spotify media on your device, and it only takes about 30 seconds to download. Afterwards, you'll be asked to sign in using the email address and password you provided. Just like that, the largest library of music to date is at the tips of your fingers!
That first log-in can be a little overwhelming. The home page is an eclectic mix of podcast recommendations and suggested playlists, most of which feature current international superstars and popular music. This is because the app hasn't yet established your algorithm, which is a very fancy and intimidating way of saying that Spotify doesn't know what you like to listen to yet. As you use the app more, search/follow your favorite artists, like songs and save albums, the home page customizes to your own individual music tastes.
Eventually, your home page will notify you if one of your favorite artists releases new music and even suggest related artists and albums you may like based upon your listening habits. Additionally, Spotify will also build "Daily Mix" playlists of your favorite artists and genres, which are updated every day. First, however, you have to let Spotify get to know you a little better. The best thing to do is go straight to "Search" on the left side of the page (if using the mobile phone app, "Search" will be at the bottom of the screen) and just type in your go-to band, the very first artist that comes to mind.
Now here's where the fun begins — as soon as you finish typing your search, you'll see the artist's profile at the top of the search results. Clicking on it will lead you to the artist's entire discography, along with a list of their top five most streamed songs, playlists made by the artist, fan merchandise and much more. You'll also see the option to follow artists at the top of their profiles.
You don't have to strictly search for artists, however. You can also search for specific songs and albums you may enjoy. Better yet, if you have a song stuck in your head and can't remember the name, just type in the lyrics you can remember; Spotify will recognize them and pull up the song you're looking for in the search results!
Ready to build your own playlists? It's easier than you might think! When you locate a song, simply select the three dots next to it, then hit "add to playlist." It's like creating your very own radio station with all your favorites that you can listen to anytime.
While Spotify is free to download and use, most Spotify premium subscribers would agree that the $10 they pay every month is well worth it. With premium, not only is your listening never interrupted by ads, but you can also download your personal playlists to enjoy them even when you're without internet or data.
Take some time to explore the boundless library of music Spotify has to offer and indulge in all the songs you've wanted to hear for years. If you're a resident of our LifeStream community here in Youngtown and are having trouble navigating streaming apps, our caring and attentive staff would be more than happy to assist you.