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How to use Spotify

Whether you’re a devotee of modern music, an oldies fan, a lover of classical pieces, or a die-hard podcast listener, the chances are good that you’ve at least heard about Spotify. For those who are unaware, Spotify is the uncontested king of music streaming apps worldwide, with an estimated 36% market share and earnings of almost $1.7 billion in 2019. One of the main reasons that Spotify remains on top and keeps fending off rivals like Pandora and Apple Music is the sheer amount of content — more than 50 million titles are available, and 40,000 pieces of new content are added per day.

When you consider the materials available for your listening pleasure on Spotify, getting started might seem a little daunting to the uninitiated. Fortunately, using Spotify to listen to your favorite tunes, create playlists, and discover new artists and genres couldn’t be simpler. Read on to learn more about how to use Spotify and begin curating your very own Library.

How to use Spotify

To use Spotify on your PC, smartphone, or tablet, you will need to sign up and create either a basic or premium account. The basic Spotify account is free to use and offers easy sharing options but has some limitations, including unskippable ads, only playing your music in shuffle mode, a limit of six skips per hour, and access to Daily Mix playlists but not Spotify Radio. For $10 a month, users can upgrade to Spotify Premium, which offers ad-free listening, limitless high-quality streaming, access to Spotify Radio, the ability to play music and podcasts offline, no restrictions on content when abroad, and an unlimited number of skips. There is also a Family plan for $20 per month, a Duo plan for $15 per month, and a Student plan for $5 per month. Some features appeal to both pets and children and can be enjoyed by kids ages 3 and up.

Spotify tips

Users can select from four different qualities of audio files — Low (24 Kbps), Normal (96 Kbps), High (160 Kbps), and Very High (320 Kbps), though it’s worth noting that Very High is only available to Premium account holders. One unique feature is the Release Radar, which sends you updates and notifications from performers that you follow whenever a new track drops, along with Top Song of the Year, to enjoy your favorite picks year after year. Another cool feature is Discover Weekly, an autogenerated weekly playlist compiled every Monday with a selection of tracks determined by your recent musical tastes. Family Mix, a feature only available for Family account holders, creates a blend of the tastes of every household member and can be set to either Upbeat or Chill.

When it comes to sharing your music with friends and family, Spotify makes doing so a breeze by integrating Facebook  — by connecting your Facebook to your Spotify profile, you can follow your friends on Spotify and see what they’re listening to. In fact, the Find Friends button built into Spotify makes doing so as easy as clicking and searching.  Of course, you can also enter Private Listening mode through the computer or mobile app settings menu under Social so that you can avoid potential embarrassment if you’re listening to “MMMBop” on a loop, for example. Spotify users also can share music through Tumblr, Skype, Twitter, and Facebook by selecting the three horizontal dots next to a song or album and choosing which service you’d like to use.

You can also use Spotify to generate unique codes that recipients can share and scan to either enjoy or silently judge your musical tastes. Thanks to seamless Bluetooth integration, you can play Spotify on just about any device, from your phone and PC to your smart TV, Google Home, portable speakers, Amazon Echo, vehicles, and much more.

How to use Spotify on your PC

Open Spotify’s web player or download the Mac or PC app and use the search bar to find artists, albums, playlists, and more. There are several different methods to play music on your PC, including double-clicking the name of a track, clicking on a playlist or album while using Browse, or hovering your mouse above your desired track and selecting the Play button. You can also select the Play button, which appears to the left of the playlist title, artist, or album, and pause playback by pressing the Play button a second time.

Image of Spotify Browse Window and Other Options
Daniel Martin

Once the song starts playing, the track menu will appear at the bottom of the app or web player with several useful functions. The Home button lets you discover autogenerated playlists based on your preferences and what other Spotify users with similar tastes enjoy listening to. Spotify also uses a function known as Time Capsule that selects 60 songs that you likely listened to when you were growing up.

You can also click the heart button to save a track or album to your Favorite Songs, repeat or pause the recording, shuffle the playlist, skip between songs, manage your Queue, and stream audio to available devices from your computer. Once you’ve used the service a few times, you will start receiving Daily Mix playlists, which are created based on what Spotify thinks you’d like to listen to.

How to use Spotify on your smartphone or tablet

The process for opening the mobile app for Spotify is virtually identical except for Browse being replaced with Search, but using this version is slightly different. If you have a free account, you can shuffle the track listings by tapping on a playlist, artist, or album and selecting the green Play button on iOS or Shuffle Play on Android. Those with premium accounts can play songs in order by tapping on a playlist, artist, or album, and then selecting whatever song you’d like to start with.

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