The Beginner’s Guide to Spotify

Published Oct. 17, 2013 on Mashable

Digital music might not have the same allure as sitting down to listen to a record on your turntable, but what it lacks in atmosphere, it makes up for in convenience — especially when you aren’t home with your collection.

It’s been five years since Spotify publicly launched and shifted the music industry’s focus toward streaming as a way to combat illegal downloading. While the streaming business model is far from perfect, even the most casual music fan should test out streaming while it’s still growing.

SEE ALSO: How Spotify Engineered the New Music Economy

If you’re just dipping your toe into the stream, follow our beginner’s guide and soon you’ll be listening to Spotify’s massive library without the worry of losing precious hard drive space.

Signing Up

As with most services, you can register for Spotify by connecting your Facebookaccount for optimal social features, or create an account with your email address.

Pick the subscription that suits your music habits. The prices are in USD, but the tiers are the same internationally: No cost will get you desktop listening interrupted by ads; $4.99 per month allows for unlimited desktop streaming; users who pay the premium $9.99 per month can listen on all desktop (via desktop app or web player) and mobile devices with offline syncing privileges on mobile (Spotify Radio is the only free mobile feature.)

Users at the premium tier can also listen to music at a higher bit rate, which is essential for anyone who has quality headphones or earbuds.

Spotify Privacy

Before you start listening, check your preferences and privacy settings to make sure you are sharing as much or as little with the world as you’d like. If you connected your Spotify to Facebook but don’t want to broadcast your tunes on your News Feed, uncheck the Facebook sharing option. Leave the Spotify sharing section checked to show up in your followers’ feeds — this amplifies Spotify’s social music discovery potential.

This page is important because you can choose whether or not to make your playlists viewable to the public as soon as you start, or make it public on your own terms. Also, you can opt-out of Spotify showing your top artists and tracks on your public profile, if you aren’t one to brag about such things. Plus, you can connect your Spotify account toLast.fm so your scrobbles stay representative.

Organizing Your Music

Library and Local Files

In the left sidebar, you will find your Collection. Here, you can access local files (go to Preferences to manage the folders from which Spotify can import files) and music saved to playlists. The Library section puts all of this music in one place. By accessing the files found on your hard drive, Spotify acts as a one-stop shop for listening to all your music, meaning you don’t have to open iTunes or another player.

Read more about getting started with Spotify on Mashable

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