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Our 10 favorite Spotify apps

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With more than 20 million songs and counting, it’s hard to argue Spotify hasn’t become one of the premiere music streaming services of the last decade. Five years after its initial launch, the startup allows users to browse and freely play an enormous catalog of tunes — whether it be N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction, or Miley Cyrus’s wrecking ball of an album. What’s little known however, is that Spotify also is boasts with an impressively-wide selection of Java, HTML5 and CSS apps for discovering and experiencing all the music the service-turned-platform has to offer. Whether the streaming service trumps the likes of Pandora and Google in terms of algorithms is open for debate, but you can’t argue the added feature isn’t welcome.

With Spotify apps, users can peruse album reviews from popular music publications like Rolling Stone and Pitchfork, build and vote on collaborative playlists within Soundrop listening rooms, and automatically curate a playlist fitting their increasingly morose mood using Moodagent (hint: loads of Bright Eyes and Elliot Smith). Furthermore, apps for viewing lyrics in real time and staying informed when you’re favorite band is rolling through town are also available, neatly tucked within Spotify’s desktop and web application for one-click access regardless of your platform.

Here are our top picks for the best Spotify apps so you spend less time fumbling through the mundane apps and more time using the ones making the most of Spotify’s overwhelming library. Now, let’s just hope London’s Ministry of Sound doesn’t get its way in the courtroom.

This article was originally published on Jan. 19, 2013, and updated on Nov. 15, 2013. Francis Bea contributed to this article.


991a66d15adf3b59b88e9382bbe6d697426c014e_li (2)Having to listen to exuberant, sun-dappled British pop is probably not ideal when you’re feeling down. Thankfully, the Danish-crafted Moodagent was specifically designed to fit whatever mood you may be in. The app automatically curates playlists on four facets — sensuality, tenderness, happiness and anger — and allows users to set emotional curves that adjust throughout the duration of the playlist, dipping into different moods other than initial one you set for the playlist. Additionally, playlists can be based entirely on a selected song or tempo opposed to a mood, factoring in characteristics such as instrumentation, genre and overall production qualities. It doesn’t always hit the mark, but it’s certainly in the ballpark.

Whereas a tender playlist might contain the likes of the Isley Brothers and Candi Staton, angry playlists will likely be stacked with Dying Fetus, Pig Destroyer and Motorhead to name a few. On the opposite spectrum, sensual playlists will feature artists such as Mary J. Blige and Madonna, while cheery ones will offer up Nina Simone, Little Walter and Shuggie Otis in quick succession.

Moodagent screenshot


204a0561e7a524ad8c9df1072406df19df88fc87_liSay what you will about the brash cynicism that bleeds out of every Pitchfork album review, but you can’t argue it’s not one of the premiere music publications on the Web. The Chicago-based publication, named after Tony Montana’s tattoo in the film Scarface, has an army of writers constantly scouring the nether regions of the music world, culling new and emerging artists from all over the globe. The Pitchfork app is supplemental to the site, conveniently broken down into three browsable tabs — All Reviews, Best New Albums, Playlists — each of which is often accompanied with additional text and commentary.

Every featured album is listed with a numerical rating, from one to 10, and includes a full-album review with ample context of each artist or band. Users can even save said album as a Spotify playlist or share it via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or with a friend. Pitchfork notoriously basks in the alternative and indie genres, but it has been know to break format when warranted. And just because the publication lambasted one your favorite artists on their latest LP, ahem Pixies, a low rating is still subjective. After all, it’s about discovery.

Pitchfork App 2
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4eb30f9082e51355a7c43d7d50602ceb9de9ead2_liThe days of MetroLyrics and A-Z Lyrics may finally be at an end. With TuneWiki, users can quickly peruse song lyrics to whatever track they’re listening to, whether it be Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie,” the Talking Heads’ “And She Was,” or any other track you might find yourself drunkenly attempting after a rough night out with friends. The app will automatically scroll and bold the current line as the track in question plays, tapping into the crowd-sourced database of supposed lyrics in a highly-synced manner, while offering a limited host of visual adjustments for tweaking the font size and background color. The database is robust regardless of genre or artist, but you will occasionally encounter missing or incorrect lyrics. Thankfully, the built-in lyric editor allows you to correct other users’ mistakes or add a complete set of lyrics to song missing from the TuneWiki archive. Still, I don’t know if anyone will every figure out the correct lyrics to “Blinded by the Light.” Lit up like a what?

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65f14c6c5cd69a79783165d5ffe080ce7be379e6_liSoundrop is like in many ways, sans the cutesy avatars bobbing their head to the music in an empty room. The app invites users to listen to tracks from genre-based playlists in real-time with others, ushering users to chat and vote on added tracks by simply clicking an arrow pointing upward. Although the app is loaded with a barrage of ready-made genre and theme rooms, ranging from Indie Wok and Deep House to Working Out and Relaxing, and the app also allows users to create rooms on their own. Regardless of whether the room is private or public however, users can always share the room, add tracks pulled from the Spotify catalog, save them as a playlist, and instantly chat among other music snobs within the room. It’s satisfying and works incredibly well if you’re in a room with like-minded music aficionados, but as expected, it can take a turn for the worst when you get that one guy who thinks Eddie Murphy’s musical career isn’t over (which it’s not).

Soundrop 3
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The Hype Machine

bea0c60f122d7776107ccf152ca4467ca4b96a4f_liThe apple-green Hype Machine is the be all end all when it comes to music blog aggregators. Crafted in ’05 by a sophomore computer science major at Hunter College, the site and accompanying app pulls together recently-posted songs and playlists from more than 800 popular and off-beat music blogs, each handpicked opposed to algorithmically-crafted. The app is broken into three separate tabs — Featured Blogs, Blogs by Genre and Blogs by Name — allowing users to comb through and search a myriad of genre-bending blogs like the experimental Decoder, folk-battered Yankee Calling and the hip-hopped Fader among others.

There are nearly 50 offered blog classifications within genre section, spanning a wide girth of diverse categories including post-punk, female vocalists, dreampop and the infamous tri-hop. Moreover, blog playlists feature external links to their respective sites and can be saved as Spotify playlists for use outside the app. The Hype Machine is notoriously picky regarding its sources, and as such, there’s typically a high volume of excellent content streaming at any given moment. Perhaps even too high a volume at times.

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Next Page: Five more of the top-ten Spotify apps.

Rolling Stone Recommends

b9823ac5f3326e5fb28c27ee28dacf729b9c2599_liRolling Stone has been an iconic benchmark in the music industry ever since founders Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason introduced the magazine to the San Francisco streets in the late ’60s. Whereas the publication was once driven by the music of the baby-boomer generation and politically bolstered by the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, it has adapted over the years to appeal to a younger audience, swiftly loosening its coverage to include all manners of popular music. Likewise, the publication’s Spotify app is tailored to showcase a wide swath of genres, from primitive folk to electropop, from new and old artists alike. The app is divided into four sections — Home, Playlists, Albums and Songs — each featuring a different type of content. Playlists gleans some of the best tracks from Rolling Stone contributors, as well as those handpicked by noteworthy musicians such as David Guetta, Melissa Etheridge, while Albums and Songs provide tracks and the same accompanying reviews you’d likely find in the print edition of the magazine. The innate page layout for the albums reviews is gorgeous, with red highlights and the kind of intuitive navigation we only wish Spotify would adopt.

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9d8364e9ef50a4ca231161f02c8aa6522f46b9e5_liWhether Classify refers to classy or classical music, there’s a market for that sort of thing. The popular app is heavily intertwined with classical composers and compositions, ditching the heavily-distorted electric guitar and furious percussion in favor of the clarinet, harpsichord, oboe and other instruments of the classical canon. Users can break down classic works by a hodgepodge of instruments and assorted moods, or simply click a bust of famous composers like Mozart and Bach to quickly dip into their respective catalogs. Additional tools for filtering pieces by themes (i.e. ballets, concertos and chamber music) and eras (i.e. baroque, contemporary and renaissance) are also available, with modern composers being those soundtracking today’s full-length films and video game scores. The options are extensive, coupled with related news and brief album reviews, and offer ample background information on composers in addition to a trove of musical discovery techniques. I, for one, didn’t know Beethoven began going deaf during his late ’20s. Talk about bad luck.

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Blue Note

e14ee1126156b5b8a483adabbfa64912d82f6fb6_liJazz often exudes the kind of snobbery most of us try to avoid, or worse, feel intimidated by. However, the Blue Note Records has put together one of the finest collections of jazz records ever assembled within an app, capitalizing on nearly 500 records that have graced the prestigious label since its inception in the late ’30s. The Blue Note app is designed to be a portal for those just stepping into jazz, along with those well-versed in the genre, offering a bundle of features tailored for discovering classic players such as John Coltrane and Eddie Hubbard in addition to more recent artists.

Users can browse albums using the interactive timeline within the Home panel, scan historical artist profiles and learn the essentials from the Blue Note 101 section. Furthermore, the app pairs slices of original albums alongside those which sampled the tracks, showcasing how the jazz legacy has been subtly incorporated into albums from a Tribe Called Quest to Blue Scholars. It’s not merely the ability to stream albums making Blue Note a standout, but the wealth of detailed information putting it all in perspective.

Blue Note
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Twitter #Music

c834563625e8a1feafe001f25b1c7f414ec13d81_liWith Twitter #Music possibly its way out, it’s hard to say what fate will befall upon the social networking giant’s Spotify app. For now however, it remains one of the best ways to discover and quickly listen to the popular songs trending in the musical blogosphere and social media. Conveniently sorted into five grid-intensive sections — Superstars, Popular, Emerging, Unearthed, and Hunted — the app allows users shuffle through a variety of well-known and lesser-known with a single click.

Whereas Superstars might include the likes of Eminem and Katy Perry, the Popular tab will feature artists trending on Twitter regardless of their clout. The Hunted panel, an ode to Twitter’s recent accusation of San Franciso-based startup We Are Hunted, curates the top tracks surfacing on melange of popular music blogs, while the Unearthed panel highlights hidden talents found within tweets. Clicking an image in the center automatically plays a song, while additional options for viewing the artists’ discography and similar artists can be accessed from directly in the app. It’s far better than the Web version of the software, and quite frankly, the best way to stay up to snuff with what most people are listening to at any given moment.

Twitter Music
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Songkick Concerts

a5bf872cf296c2864e194cd0327398af4755a23f_liIf you move from a small town to the big city, you might be somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of bands rolling through every weekend (I know I was). Much like the Bandsintown Concerts app, Songkick Concerts provides a simple means for tracking all of your favorite artists’ touring schedules within Spotify. Once added to the service, the app scans your music and various playlists housed within your library, subsequently creating a personalized calender of upcoming shows within your designated area. Each concert is listed by date and accompanied with additional information regarding the full lineup and venue directions, along with five of the artists’ top tracks for direct streaming within the app. Links to purchase tickets are also on-hand, along with an overaching view of all concerts within your region for a specified date, and the the app can scour multiple locations simultaneously if added. Plus, a built-in calender lists any shows you’ve previously decided to attend for quick reference so you’ll always know what’s coming up. The app is no more complicated than need … and sometimes that’s enough in and of itself.

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What do you think of our selection of the best Spotify apps? Did we miss any standouts? Let us know in the comments below.

Brandon Widder
Brandon Widder is a multimedia journalist and a staff writer for Digital Trends where he covers technology news, how-to…
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