November 28, 2020

What is Spotify: Everything you need to know

If you want instant access to millions of songs, look no further than Spotify. Here is everything you need to know.

OnePlus 7T music playback spotify

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

It has been more than 10 years since Spotify first launched in 2008. Much has changed since and today the platform is among the most popular music streaming services.

But what exactly is Spotify, what does it offer, and what else should you know about the service? This guide serves as the place to find answers to all of your Spotify questions. Let’s get into it!

What is Spotify?

Spotify is a digital music streaming service. It gives you instant access to its vast online library of music and podcasts, allowing you to listen to any content of your choice at any time. It is both legal and easy to use.

You will find millions of songs from a variety of genres and artists: from obscure indie rock, to top 40 pop, to movie soundtracks, and classical music. Podcasts are just as plentiful, so whether you love listening to true crime stories or to tech discussions, there is something for everyone.

Spotify menu on a smartphone in a person's hand

Credit: Scott Adam Gordon / Android Authority

Better yet, you can use Spotify completely free of charge. The service has a Premium subscription plan, but you can also enjoy an ad-supported version of the platform without spending a cent. To better understand the differences, check out the Spotify Free vs Spotify Premium section of this article.

Is Spotify available in my country?

Unlike some of its competitors, Spotify is available in many countries around the globe. If you live in Europe or North America, you are in luck: Spotify is available almost everywhere on these two continents. However, there still are some major gaps in Spotify’s coverage. The service is not currently available in Russia or in South Korea, for example. You can check out the full list of countries where Spotify is available here.

Don’t miss: Getting started with Spotify in India

How does Spotify work?

google pixel 4 xl revisited spotify

Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

If you are yet to give Spotify a try, there is no better time than now. All you really need is an internet connection and a Spotify account. Here is how to create one:

  • Open the Spotify sign up page on your PC or your phone browser. You will be asked to enter a valid email address, create a password and choose a username. You will also be required to enter your date of birth and gender. Once you’ve done that click the green Sign up button.
  • You can then choose a subscription level. If you are new to Spotify, you can test Premium for three months for free. We recommend giving it a try because it offers a ton of perks you won’t find on the free version.
  • All that is left is to download and install the free Spotify app. There is a desktop program and of course an Android app. Once you have installed the Spotify app, you can start listening on the device of your choice. Your listening history and playlists will be available and synced across devices. If you don’t want to use applications, you can also listen to Spotify in a browser tab through the Spotify web player.

Discovering Spotify music and playlists

Spotify music home page

But what about finding music and fun podcasts? Once your Spotify account is set up, your home page is your gateway to discovery. You can browse popular playlists, including top hits from your country, and more. Scrolling down will reveal suggested mood playlists, popular albums, trending hits, podcasts to try, etc.

The more music you listen to, the more customized the experience will become. Once you’ve used Spotify for a while, you will have a “Recently played� section with all the songs and playlists you enjoy on a regular basis, a “Based on your recent listening� section with recommendations, and “Your heavy rotation� with the songs you play the most. Daily Mix playlists will also be generated based on your listening activity. You can find them in the Made for you section of your home page.

If you don’t like the generated playlists, however, you can create your own. Doing so is incredibly easy. On desktop, simply click the Create Playlist option on the side bar, or visit Your Library in the Spotify app to find the option there. Make sure you give your playlist an appropriate name because you will be given suggestions based on it. For example, naming a playlist 80s rock will give you Twister Sister, Guns and Roses, Bon Jovi and other popular 80s rock artists’ tracks as recommendations.

Spotify creating a playlist screenshot

Don’t worry about finding every single song you want to add when creating the playlist. You can add extra songs later by just tapping or clicking on the three dots menu button next to a song and selecting “Add to Playlist“. If you really enjoy a playlist created by someone else, on the other hand, you can heart it so it appears in your playlist section too.

Related: YouTube Music vs Spotify: Can Google even compete?

You can also avoid making playlists all together if themed collections are not your thing. Hearting songs will automatically save them to your Liked Songs where you can find them at any time. Following artists directly is an option too. Doing so will notify you when your favorites release new content.

Spotify free vs Spotify Premium

Spotify premium hulu

Subscribing to Spotify Premium is a great way to get rid of pesky ads, but there is more to the paid version of the service than you might expect. Here is what it offers:

  • No advertisements anywhere. This includes both audio and banner ads.
  • Better audio quality: if you are an audiophile, Spotify Premium’s upgrade from 160kbit/s to 320kbit/s could be well worth it.
  • Downloading songs (sort of): Spotify Premium allows you to download songs for offline listening. If you cancel your subscription, however, you will no longer have access to them.
  • Unlimited skipping and no forced shuffling on the mobile app. The free version of Spotify shuffles all playlists and even adds single tracks to shuffled playlists, while only giving you 6 skips per hour. This only happens on the mobile apps, but it’s frustrating regardless. With Spotify Premium, however, you can skip to your heart’s content.
  • Ad-supported Hulu access if you live in the US.

How much is Spotify Premium?

The standard Spotify Premium plan costs $9.99 per month in the US, €9.99 in Europe, and £9.99/month in the UK. There are no price discounts when paying bi-yearly or yearly, but you can save some money if you choose the Spotify Premium Family plan. It costs only $14.99/month for 6 separate Premium accounts that can be used by family members living under the same roof. College students also pay less, with up to 50% off.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can you change your Spotify username?

A: You can’t change your Spotify username, but you can change your display name. To do so, go to Home, followed by Settings. Tap on View Profile, then Edit Profile. You can then tap on your display name to change it.

Q: Can Spotify be used offline?

A: If you have Spotify Premium, you can download songs and playlists for offline listening.

Q: Can Spotify be hacked?

A: Unfortunately, yes. You can read more about how it happens and how to protect your account here.

Q: How much data does Spotify use?

A: Surprisingly little, if you use the normal 96kbps sound quality. You will need to listen to music for 23.1 hours to reach 1GB of data usage. What about other sound qualities? Check out our article for more information.

Q: Does Spotify have parental controls?

A: Yes, if you use Spotify Premium Family, you can quickly and easily set parental controls. Read our article here to find out how.