New App Lets Spotify Act Like Pandora

As a Spotify Premium user, I feel like it’s Christmas! When Spotify first rolled out, I was excited. I got an invite, downloaded it, and went full-bore with a Premium subscription so I could go ...
New App Lets Spotify Act Like Pandora
Written by Mike Tuttle
  • As a Spotify Premium user, I feel like it’s Christmas!

    When Spotify first rolled out, I was excited. I got an invite, downloaded it, and went full-bore with a Premium subscription so I could go mobile.

    I use Spotify all the time. I have a grandfathered-in unlimited data plan on AT&T, so I play the thing while driving, all over the house, etc.

    People who have Spotify love Spotify. Detractors seem to always mention one thing: It isn’t Pandora.

    Of course, what is awesome about Pandora, is that you get to discover new music. You start with something you already like. You listen to recommendations and you tweak as you go (thumbs-up, thumbs-down). Soon, you have a whole station of stuff you like, and you’re discovering new songs in your taste range.

    Spotify did not have this. There were third-party sites that kinda-sorta approximated it, but it was certainly not mobile.

    Until now.

    Spotify recently opened its API for developers. The first to jump into the fray is an app called SpotON. SpotOn combines the Spotify and Echonest APIs for this project. SpotON is for Spotify Premium users and promises to offer you suggestions for new music based on what you are already listening to. Sound familiar?

    Guess what has two thumbs and just downloaded SpotOn from the Apple App Store? Let’s fire it up. I should interject here that I will be intentionally testing this out in 3G, not on Wi-Fi. If you’re going to pay for Premium and go mobile, you need to know if this thing is up to the task.

    Lately I’ve been playing lots of Cake, Lou Reed and Rush. Don’t ask me why. These things have a life of their own. Right off the bat, SpotON reads this activity and creates 3 “stations” to start me off. I also have the option of creating a new station. Let’s try the Cake station they pre-rolled for me.

    After a couple of false starts (likely 3G issues), things are rolling. The Cake station pitched me They Might Be Giants, POTUSA, and Camper Van Beethoven. 90’s stuff. I can see where they are going with this.

    The Rush channel, however, hit a snag. I ended up with a recent Pitbull tune, featuring David “Rush”. Hopefully there is more to this than a text string result. Thumbs down for bad result (though I do like the track) and see what’s next.

    Spock’s Beard. Now we’re in line with the Rush-esque results I had hoped for.

    The Lou Reed channel starts feeding me Iggy Pop.

    I like the track and want to “star” it. SpotON offers me the chance to add the track to any existing Spotify Playlist I have previously created or to share on Facebook.

    But, there is no choice to simply star it, nor to create a new playlist. That’s a problem for me. I commonly star Spotify tracks for later listening to see if they grow on me. I have my “starred” tracks set to sync offline so I don’t need an Internet connection to play them.

    Let’s hope that the absence of starring capability changes soon.

    Next offer from this “Lou Reed” channel: David Bowie. Good deal.

    Let’s try to create a whole new station.

    There’s an option to choose from my own top artists, expanding the list of the first three that what we have already done. Nice.

    I can also browse the top 100 artists on Spotify. And, of course, search for something else entirely. Let’s do a search for “Florence + the Machine”.

    The artist is found. I click on it to create a station. Similar artists are searched. A Florence tune starts things off: “What the Water Gave Me”. Nice. Let’s thumb it up and see what else we get.

    Ah, Bat For Lashes. Makes sense. Thumbs up. Next… PJ Harvey. So far, so good. And then… Lykke Li. I am happy.

    The interface looks sweet. No apparent broken stuff. The only things that I feel are missing are the aforementioned inability to “star” tracks and the inability to create new playlists. Other than that, looks like we have a winner.

    I’m looking forward to seeing updates on this app and also seeing others take advantage of the Spotify API.

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