Spotify. Spotify is an online service that allows users to stream music over their computer or other devices. It comes in a few different permutations. I have the free version which doesn't allow unlimited streaming and features commercial messages from Spotify. A monthly fee of $4.99 buys you unlimited streaming and no commercial messages. $9.99 enables phones and other mobile devices to use your account.
Spotify bridges the chasm between legally owning music and illegal downloading. First, it is a legal service, authorized by the major record labels. Artists receive a fee each time their music is played, so everyone in the music business food chain receives legal compensation for the play of their work. Second, there are millions of titles here. This morning I listened to Adele's 19, the late Rory Gallagher's eponymous album, and Soundgarden's Bad Motorfinger. There are many, many more selections I want to explore. You don't own the music you play, rather Spotify is to music what Netflix is to movies. You have access to the entertainment, but you can't call it your own. Unlike Netflix (unless you stream your movies,) you can easily access your music whenever you want at the touch of your mouse or mobile device.
Spotify also accesses your iTunes and allows you to access these songs from the Spotify desktop. That's handy. It also allows you to network with any of your Facebook friends, if you wish to do so. This is a great feature and allows the legal sharing of music back and forth between friends. Several of us have long sought a means of sharing music in the form of a music club. This pretty much serves that purpose.
Spotify is not perfect. The commercials are annoying. Another problem is that, as you can imagine, some artists are not participating. You can't stream the Beatles, Led Zepplin, and others aren't available. The Stones have a lot of their stuff, but not their original London albums. That's a drag, and I hope it will get worked out. Some of the collections aren't complete. Most annoying of all is that many of iTunes purchases are DRM (Digital Rights Management) and can't be shared between the two formats. I hate that. I'm also curious how my time on Spotify will be limited.
Nevertheless, I've been messing around this for less than 48 hours, and so far I'm having a good time. I can't wait to share my favorite Toad the Wet Sprocket songs with son Pat (he hates them!!) I like to think of it as revenge.