by Mike McNamee Published 01/12/2009
Hailed in the Guardian as one of the ten most important developments in IT, Spotify is a music streaming service which allows you to play a near limitless list of music, a bit like a radio station where you choose what you listen to. For the minor irritation of a short advert every other three pieces (or movements in classical music) you get to hear music of your choosing (or if you pay for the pleasure you can have your music devoid of any interuptions). There are six million tracks to choose from.
This, however, is not the real power for the photographer casting about for a suitable piece of music to attach to their slideshow. All the pieces of music are searchable by name, artist or subject title. For example if you are looking for a piece of sacred music, Spotify offers you 1,568 tracks from 63 albums and if you have the time you can play the lot! If you refine your choice and type 'sacred mass' you get 170 tracks from the sacred music of this genre. If you refine the choice yet further with 'sacred mass credo', you are offered just 17 tracks. On a more modern theme, typing 'Rolling Stones' offers you 1,173 tracks from 27 albums; 'Beatles' offers 3,800 tracks.
It helps if you have a little music terminolgy to hand. For example, following the sacred music theme, if you type F Minor you get tracks from all sorts of music, either in a minor key or by people called Minor.
However, under the 'albums' list you see Bruckner Mass No 3 in F Minor and clicking on this brings up all six tracks of that album. Clicking on the conductor's name (Celibadachi) then brings up all of his 17 albums.
So far, so good, you now need to sort out the legals! You are not at liberty to download any tracks and use them for commercial purposes; you remain bound by normal copyright law. However, as a way of searching through music to find something suitable for legal purchase and use, Spotify takes some beating. To listen to a piece you simply double click its name in the list. We listened to 10 tracks in about 50 seconds; the adverts butt in on a time and track basis so you don't get bugged by them too much if you need to search through a very long list.
Even if you have no interest in using the facility for identifying suitable music, it makes for a great way to listen to the music of your choice, while you work at your computer. www.spotify.com
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