With the advent of online music streaming and its proliferation to superstardom among music lovers and aficionados across the globe, people are using it every day, at work, home and on the move using their mobiles. They offer a huge library of music which can be accessed anytime and anywhere provided you have an internet connection. You can create lots of playlists themed around your mood and even share them with your friends. Two of the most popular sites at the moment are Last FM and Spotify.
Last FM has been around since 2002 and currently has well over 40 million users worldwide. The site offers a host of features such as music and video streaming as well as photo sharing and the added bonus of being able to connect with people with similar tastes in music. Last FM utilises Scrobbling technology which builds a profile of your taste in music and recommends new music. You can also download a free iPhone or Android app so you can enjoy your favourite music on the go. Spotify also offers an app but unlike Last FM you can only use it if you buy their monthly subscription.
Spotify was founded in 2008 and has every intention of replacing your existing music collection with free access to a massive compendium of songs. In contrast to Last FM, Spotify is a downloadable application which uses peer to peer technology.
Last FM has integrated more social network elements than Spotify, which include messaging and friend management tools, as well as forums, reviews, band profiles, touring dates and links to ticket office sites. In addition to its social features if you are an aspiring musician, Last FM allows you to upload your own music which like MySpace is a fantastic platform to promote your music. Looking at the premium packages both sites offer, Last’s is only £3.00 per month as opposed to Spotify’s £4.99 and £9.99 packages.
Both sites provide millions of tracks and Last FM contains a library of over 7 million tracks, where as Spotify has well over 10 million. However, a big plus for free users is Last FM does not play annoying audio adverts, although you can pay a fee on Spotify for premium access and no audio ads.
The benefit of being a premium Spotify user is it allows you to create playlists and turn your iPhone into an MP3 without the need to use iTunes. You can also use the application offline unlike Last, which requires internet access. Last FM is better at track recommendation based on its Scrobbling technology, but if you know what you like Spotify is arguably better for creating playlists.
Recently Spotify has changed its subscription model to include a £4.99 per month package which offers ad free use, but not offline access. As a result if you want ad free offline access you need to pay £9.99 per month. A big change for free members includes a 20 hour per month cap on usage. However, if you are an existing Spotify Free member through an invitation this cap on stream time is not in effect.