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File:Spotify logo.png
Original author(s) Spotify AB
Stable release 0.3.23 (revision 63386)
Operating system Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, iPhone OS, Android, S60
Type Music
License Proprietary

Spotify is a proprietary peer-to-peer music streaming service that allows instant listening to specific tracks or albums, with virtually no buffering delay.[1][2] Music can be browsed by artist, by album, by record label or by created playlists as well as by direct searches. A link allows the listener to purchase selected material via partner retailers.[3] The service is currently only available from IP addresses assigned to providers in Sweden, Spain, Norway, Finland, the United Kingdom and France, although after signing up it can be used from any country.[4]



Spotify has been developed since 2006 by a team at Spotify AB, Stockholm, Sweden. The company Spotify was founded by Daniel Ek, former CTO of Stardoll, and Martin Lorentzon, co-founder of TradeDoubler, in Stockholm. The headquarters are located in London and research and development is located in Stockholm.[3] Spotify currently has more than five million users.[5]

Spotify was launched for public access on 7 October 2008. While free accounts still remained available by invitation only in order to manage the growth rate of the service, the launch meant that paid subscriptions were opened to everyone. At the same time, Spotify also announced licensing deals with many major music labels.[6]

The first step towards opening free accounts for public without invitation was taken on 10 February 2009 when Spotify opened for free registration in the UK.[7]

Due to a surge in registrations following the release of the Spotify mobile service, Spotify closed its open registrations in the UK on 11 September 2009. The free service is now invite-only,[8] although it was possible to bypass the invite system for several months by opening the registration page directly. This loophole has now been closed and the registration page requires an invite code.[9] Subscriptions may still be purchased without an invite.

On 4 March 2009 Spotify announced that personal data including email addresses and birth dates of members of Spotify prior to 19 December 2008 were "potentially exposed" by hackers exploiting a bug in the system.[10][11] Spotify later announced that any affected users have been personally emailed by Spotify.[12] The body behind this, Despotify, deny any wrongdoing as they claim they were simply working to provide an open-source Spotify client.[13]

An announcement by Spotify also pointed out that any potential hackers would only be able to obtain salted password hashes. Hackers would still have to have targeted specific accounts and use brute force attacks on these passwords.[12]

On the 28th January 2010 Symantec Anti-virus marked Spotify as a Trojan horse disabling the software across millions of pcs. [2] [3]

Technical function

The contents of each client's cache is summarized in an index which is sent to the Spotify stream hub upon connecting to the service. This index is then used to inform other clients about additional peers they can connect to for fetching streamed data for individual tracks being played. This is accommodated by each client, upon startup, acting as a server listening for incoming connections from other Spotify users, as well as intuitively connecting to other users to exchange cached data as appropriate. There are currently no official details from the developers about how many connections and how much of a user's upstream bandwidth the Spotify client will use when streaming to other users; the Spotify client offers no way for the user to configure this.

Audio streams are in the Vorbis format at q5 (approx ~160 kbit/s)[14], or optional q9 (approx ~320kbit/s)[15] for premium subscribers, the highest streaming rate for any online service.

Cost and availability

File:Spotify availability.svg
Availability of Spotify as of January 2010

Spotify is funded by paid subscriptions and advertisements played periodically by the Spotify player at intervals in between songs. In February 2009 these were reported as lasting 15 seconds, and playing at half-hour intervals,[16] though as of May 2009 they have increased to an approximate length of 30 seconds, according to Neowin.[17] The interval between audio adverts is not constant, and adverts after every song may occur. Adverts also regularly appear in Spotify's graphical interface. Alternatively the user can pay a monthly fee of €9.99 (roughly $14 USD, £9.99 GBP, 99 NOK or 99 SEK) and there are then no advertisements in the client window or between songs, and songs play at higher quality (320kbps). Due to its legal conditions, Spotify can charge a premium price and, without notifying or asking their clients, assume they want the service with the new price. Payment of the fee changes the user's status to "Premium user"; this allows the user to listen to previews and some songs before non-premium users. A user may also purchase a "day pass" for 9 SEK (approximately $1.1 USD, £0.99 GBP, 9 NOK or 1.15 EUR) for 24 hours of ad-free music playback. You do not receive VIP features with a day pass.[18] Paid services are currently only available to users able and willing to use a Visa or MasterCard credit card, Visa Debit card or PayPal[19] account. Initially, PayPal support was only offered to UK users. However, as of October 29 2009, PayPal support has been available to all Spotify supported countries.[20] According to Spotify representative Andres Sehr more payment options will be added in future.[21]

As of December 2 2009, Spotify offers the purchase of premium e-cards (premium codes) in 1, 3 or 6 month subscription packages.[22] These are identical as if purchasing a Premium subscription but do not automatically renew, suiting them for gift purchases.

Since March 2009, Spotify has supported purchase and downloading of an increasing number of tracks, at £0.99 per track.[23] This feature was initially hidden in a context menu, but in mid-October 2009 the format of track listings was changed to include an explicit "Buy" link.

Spotify has refused to comment on the company's economic figures, such as the fact that the company made a loss of USD 4.4 million according to the 2008 annual report[24].

Also, it is not available in the Åland Islands because Spotify's system cannot handle the .ax TLD that Åland uses, according to Spotify marketing manager Sophia Bendz.[citation needed] Spotify Founder, Daniel Ek, expressed a desire to launch Spotify in the US before the end of 2009, although this didn't come to pass.[25]

System requirements

The system requirements for the desktop version are Windows XP (or newer) or Mac OS X 10.4 (or newer). The program can also be run on Linux and FreeBSD using Wine and the Spotify website has a section devoted to this topic.[26] Cache size and location is configurable. 1 GB or more disk space is recommended. On Mac OS X, a G4 processor or higher is required.

A user must set up an account in order to use the software. This account can be used on several computers, but music playback is limited to one computer at a time.



Users can access approximately 6 million tracks[27] via searching for artists, albums, titles, labels and genres. Spotify features a large library of music, giving users access to tracks from all major labels as well as numerous independent labels. Some artists have opted not to be added to Spotify at this time. [1][28] Additionally, some artists are missing in certain regions due to licensing restrictions imposed by the record labels. For example, Oasis are currently unavailable to listeners from United Kingdom-based IP addresses. However, cover versions of the music of these artists can be found on Spotify with a full-text search.[29]


Users can set up playlists and share them, or edit them together with other users (see collaborative software). For this purpose the playlist link can directly be dragged into an email or an instant messaging window. If the recipient follows the link, the playlist will be downloaded into the Spotify-client of the recipient. Like normal links, the playlist links can be used everywhere. The same principle also works for single tracks, which can be used via drag and drop on applications and websites at will.[30] There are a number of websites for sharing of Spotify playlists and songs where users can share, rate and discuss them.[31] integration

The application features integration which allows the current track to be "scrobbled" without making use of the software.


Spotify also includes a Radio feature available to both free and premium accounts, which creates a random playlist of songs chosen based on specified genres and decades.

Buy links

Users from the UK, France, Spain, Norway and Sweden can also buy most tracks, if available, from Spotify's download partner 7digital.[32]

Mobile versions

A Spotify application for Android was demonstrated at Google I/O on May 28, 2009[33], and then an iPhone application was officially announced on July 27, 2009[34]. Apple approved the iPhone app one month later on August 27, 2009[35]. The applications allows Premium subscribers to access the full music catalogue, stream music and even listen to music when disconnected using the Offline Mode (which is also available on the desktop version for premiums users). The mobile versions of Spotify was released onto the iTunes App Store and Google's Android Marketplace on Monday September 7, 2009,[36] while a Symbian version was made available on Spotify's website on November 23, 2009.[37] A version for Research in Motion's BlackBerry smartphones is in development, but a full year from stating they would support all mobile platforms, they are being silent on committing to the release of a Windows Mobile version, in spite of considerable demand.[38]


A community of websites, blogs, applications and tools exists to support Spotify.[39] Community resources include Facebook and groups, Twitter bots and user forums, tools to display lyrics and services to list and notify users about new releases.[40].

Spotify has also led to an array of editorial content integrating playlists into articles. Popular music website Drowned in Sound is among the most notable examples, running every Friday as 'Spotifriday' which involves a playlist of the site's content during the week shared with readers. 


Despite its popularity, the service has recently come under fire for failing to compensate independent artists fairly. Helienne Lindvall of The Guardian reported that 'indie labels... as opposed to the majors and Merlin members, receive no advance, receive no minimum per stream and only get a 50% share of ad revenue on a pro-rata basis.' [41] Swedish musician Magnus Uggla - who is on major label Sony Music - wanted to pull his music from the site, stating that after six months he'd only earned 'what a mediocre busker could earn in a day'.[42] Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet recently reported that record label Junior Racing had only earned NOK 19 ($3.00 USD) after their artists had been streamed over 55,100 times.[43]

This criticism sidesteps the fact that the major four record companies - including Magnus Uggla's Sony Music - today own controlling shares in Spotify which they received nearly for free in exchange for access to their song catalogues; and it is the record companies and not the Spotify organisation who have set these rates.[citation needed]

Luke Lewis of NME points to problems with the Spotify business model, saying he was 'convinced the 'free' aspect of Spotify is unsustainable' and that if 'Spotify is to have a future, it needs to be a viable business'.[44]


Original author(s)
Written in C
Operating system Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, NetBSD, MacOSX, Windows
Type Client, Library
License 2-clause BSD license

Despotify is a free software client for the proprietary music streaming software Spotify. Its authors remain anonymous, but write on their website that they are a group of Swedish computer science researchers, security professionals and geeks who "believe strongly in the right to tinker with technology".

The software can be run on most mainstream operating systems, and should work on all systems compatible with POSIX and ANSI C that also have Core Audio, Gstreamer, libao or PulseAudio installed. There is also a Despotify-based client, Spot, for jailbroken iPhones.[45]

Spotify have blocked usage of Despotify for 'Free' and 'Daypass' accounts, but those with a 'Premium' account can use Despotify if they wish. The Despotify team have said that they won't attempt to circumvent the block. The code may however be forked by others to attempt to do this.[46]

The Despotify library has language bindings for Python and Ruby.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Salmon, Chris (January 16, 2009). "Welcome to nirvana". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  2. "Musiktjänsten Spotify lanseras". Dagens Nyheter. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2009-04-24. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "website: Background information". Spotify. 2008-05-18. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  4. What countries is Spotify available in? FAQs
  5. Telia and Spotify sign exclusive cooperation agreement. Pressrelease. Retrieved 2009-10-09
  6. We've only just begun! Spotify blog. October 7, 2008.
  7. Spotify now available to everyone in the UK. Spotify blog. February 10, 2009.
  10. Johnson, Bobbie (March 4, 2009). Hackers break in to Spotify The Guardian.
  11. Muncaster, Phil (March 5, 2009). Spotify user details compromised in major hack. vnunet.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Updated security notice. Spotify blog. March 4, 2009.
  14. "Spotify FAQ". Spotify. Retrieved 2009-03-16. 
  16. McCormick, Neil (February 24, 2009). Make way for Spotify: a big digital jukebox in the ether. The Daily Telegraph.
  17. Harrison, Elliot (May 2, 2009). Spotify review: The iTunes killer?
  18. "website: Products overview". Spotify. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  19. "Paypal now added for Spotify Premium". Spotify Blog. Retrieved 2009-09-30. 
  21. "You need to support other payment methods than Visa and MasterCard – Get Satisfaction". Get Satisfaction. Retrieved 2009-09-02. 
  22. Spotify e-cards announced Spotify blog, 2 December 2009
  23. "Expanded "Buy From" feature and a Spanish translation". Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  24. Spotify doubled its loss last year, 17 August 2009
  25. Williams, Stephen (July 20, 2009). Euro Music Site Bound for America. The New York Times.
  26. Spotify under Wine. Spotify.
  27. "Spotify starts rent-a-song service". Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  28. Spotify FAQ: Missing arists, Retrieved on June 15, 2009
  29. Spotify Search for Beatles, An example for music that can be found in Spotify although it is officially not included.
  30. "FAQ: Share music". Spotify. Retrieved 2009-02-03. 
  31. "Blog: Sharing is good, share your spotify playlists". Spotify. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  32. MacLean, Allan (April 11, 2009). "Spotify's free music model – binge until your ears are fat!". Daily Music Guide. Retrieved 2009-04-16. 
  33. Blog: Spotify mobile demo at Google Android I/O. Spotify mobile demo at Google Android I/O Spotify blog. May 28, 2009.
  34. Blog: Spotify for iPhone. Spotify for iPhone Spotify blog. July 27, 2009.
  36. Spotify CEO and Founder Daniel Ek Twitter Post
  37. "Spotify for Nokia and more". Spotify blog. November 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  38. "Spotify Planning BlackBerry Addition In Premium Mobile Tilt". paidContent. 2009-10-27. Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  39. "Unofficial Spotify resources". Spotify. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  40. "Blog: Spotify Resources". The Pansentient League. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  41. "Behind The Music: The real reason the major labels love Spotify". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  42. "Uggla furious over Spotify and Sony Music". Entertainment Blade. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  43. "55 100 avspillinger ga 19 kroner". Dagbladet. Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  44. "The Problem With Spotify". NME. Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  45. [1]
  46. "Update regarding the usage of 'free' or 'daypass' accounts". Despotify. February 26, 2009.

External links

de:Spotify es:Spotify fr:Spotify ko:스포티파이 it:Spotify nl:Spotify ja:Spotify no:Spotify nn:Spotify fi:Spotify sv:Spotify

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