Good news music fans! Online music-streaming service Spotify is finally now available in the U.S. The free service offers ad-supported access to over 15 million songs or you can pay $5 per month to listen without ads. For $10 per month, you can also listen to music offline and on an iPhone, Droid, Windows Mobile, Palm and a few other smartphones.

Spotify Interface

Limited Release

Spotify is still in limited release. I only got the invite to join service Spotify last week. It brought me back to the days I had a Rhapsody account, which I ended up canceling. With this model of pay as you go music, would it be best to be on Spotify, or just buy the album on Amazon or iTunes?

The Spotify Interface Looks a lot like iTunes

When I got my code for Spotify (which came through Klout perks – Thanks!), I instantly gobbled that up like Pac-man to dots. However, the first disappointment was that I had to download an application. It’s so you can get your library from the computer, which we will talk about in a minute.

In this day of “Cloud” music, I couldn’t believe that I had to install legacy software. I thought we were getting away from walled gardens?

Spotify Interface

The interface is pretty straightforward to navigate. If you have used iTunes, you can use Spotify. Search for songs, pull from your local library or choose your “starred” preferences.

Spotify’s Facebook Feature

The Facebook feature lets you share your song lists with your Facebook friends. While some of my friends have not created playlists, I know what they were listening to due to the top tracks and artists feature. I can then choose from their lists what I want to put on my list.

iPhone, Android Interface for Paid Subscribers

Spotify iPhone application In downloading the iPhone application, one thing rang true. If I didn’t choose the $10/month plan, I had serious limitations on the mobile service. Even if I connect the device to a wireless LAN, I couldn’t listen to any music unless it was located on my personal computer.

Here is the disappointing part – I tried several times to listen to one song from my local library on the iPhone. It doesn’t seem to be intuitive. It took a little investigating, but you basically have to choose your device, then select local files. Then you have to keep the computer on and connected to a network source so you can listen to those on your iPhone.

The Commercials and Ads

Of course, with the free service comes ads – in banner and audio form. I really don’t mind ads – They are a necessity in this economy. However, everytime an audio played, it would freeze up the playlist. I would have to close Spotify, then re-open it to continue. Speaking of which….

When I Close Spotify, I want to CLOSE Spotify

I hate programs that do not close when I hit the “X” on the window. I don’t want it to minimize to the tray. That is what they minimize option is for. What is worse, there is no preference to tell the computer to close when I hit the “X”. #MAJORFAIL.

Purchase Music Options?

Why can’t I buy the music I am listening to through Spotify? Something I could then download and put in my own music library. Why don’t I get a “Listen for 30 seconds” option on the iPhone? Getting a “You can only do this if you pay” screen is a little discouraging.

Like I said before, this service reminds me a lot of Rhapsody. However, Rhapsody even had a cloud player (long before the term “cloud” was coined) and a 30-second option. Choosing the $4.99/month plan doesn’t seem like a viable option unless you only listen to music on your computer only.

What you Get with Spotify

Nothing really. You get a service that disappears the second you don’t pay the monthly fee. You can listen to music for free with ads – a little better than Pandora because you can choose the playlist. However, when you get an ad, be ready to restart the program.

You do get to snoop into your friend’s lists I suppose. They also mention statistics, but I can get that with many different services.

While it’s a fun service to listen to the latest songs, I really don’t see paying for it. I have a pretty big library at home that I can port to my Amazon Cloud player. If anything, I can set up my music on my PogoPlug and pull from both computer and iPhone.

Did you know the PogoPlug mobile app has a jukebox feature?

So what do you think? Do you love Spotify? Do you love a different service? Let me know – @geekazine