Spotify is a new application that is available for PC and Mac -along with many modern smartphones – which allows you to stream music from a vast catalogue distributed through the Spotify central hub and sourced from every other Spotify user.
To use Spotify you would first need to download the Spotify software from http://www.spotify.com. Once installed, Spotify looks a lot like other media players such as iTunes, but there is a big difference. With Spotify, you don’t have to download the music in order to listen to it (although this is also possible). Instead you can simply stream it over your internet connection.
How does this work? Well, Spotify delivers music to your PC using a combination of peer-to-peer sharing and streaming from its servers. When a Spotify user opens the application it makes an index of the contents of their Spotify cache and sends this to the Spotify streaming hub. The cache contains all the music files or pieces of music files that Spotify sends when a user is listening to tracks.
The streaming hub can then use this index to share these music files and pieces of files with other Spotify users. So while you are receiving the music stream, your computer is also sending music to other users on the network and it’s this combination of peer-to-peer sharing and streaming from a server that gives Spotify its famously fast response time.
In other respects, Spotify works like many other media players and online music stores, allowing users to browse its 6 million tracks via name, genre, artist and so on, as well as allowing custom playlists to be created and random radio lists to be constructed. Individual tracks, albums, playlists, as well as money to extend subscriptions or buy downloads, can also be shared easily from user to user and there are community forums in order for users to stay in touch with each other.
Spotify makes money through both interspersing music tracks with advertisements (the frequency of these adverts can vary depending upon time-frames, and can last between 10 and 30 seconds), or by getting its users to signup as a premium user, which costs GBP 9.99 per month. If the user takes up a premium subscription then there are no advertisements between tracks, allowing for continuous playback.