If I had a nickel for every time a song has lifted my mood, I’d be a millionaire. Ever since I can remember, even way back in the preschool days with my buddies playing in the creek by my house, there was always music playing. It has been a consistent safe haven for me, but I can’t say I have always felt as passionate about it as I do now.
Before I had enough maturity and understanding to choose my own tunes, my sister would give me the CD’s that she considered to be “space takers.” She introduced me to the magical realms of 90’s rock and a lot of show tunes. Between her and my mother, my music library was filled up with the classic hits of previous generations.
As I grew older and learned about iTunes, I started making my own path, however, that path was very short due to my limited disposable income as a six-year-old. Nevertheless, the majority of my allowance went to buying new songs. I had not searched for a better alternative because one had not presented itself. This changed when I was in the seventh grade and my mom reamed me out for listening to too much rap music. She wanted me to appreciate the classics, so I explained my dilemma; I would be open to other things, but my scarce iTunes dollars provided me with only one option. I could only purchase my top priority songs.
Shortly after that, I learned about a service called Spotify. Spotify allows you to access a library of more than twenty million songs for a fair monthly fee. You can search for your favorites, create playlists, and much more. I have been a Spotify member ever since I heard about it and it has changed my ability to find music that I love. Rather than spending money on each individual song that you would like to hear, you just have to search through the vast depths of the Spotify Song Library.
How Do I Get Started?
Using Spotify is very simple – all you need is a smartphone, tablet, or computer, and an account. You can create a free Spotify account and listen for no cost, but your access to all of their features is very limited. For that reason, I will only be speaking about Spotify premium.
A Spotify premium account varies in price depending on whether or not you are a student or signing up with family. There are a few options, so I suggest logging onto their website and checking them out.
Once you have your account, you’re going to want to download the application. If you’re listening on a computer, you can download the app from their website. If you’re listening on a smartphone or tablet, however, you may download the app from your device’s application store. Once the app is downloaded, open it up and log in using your credentials that you set up your account with.
Congratulations! You now have access to one of the largest music libraries in the world. With the amazing number of songs on the app, it is easy to fall into the trap of not using the app to its full potential. This is where the efficiency part of the equation is added.
How Do I Navigate the Digital Landscape?
The goal is to maximize efficiency within the app. The first step to this is knowing how to navigate within the app. The computer and phone applications are formatted differently, but all that really matters is that you know the content within each button or section. Within Spotify, there are five main buttons that you’ll need to know: Home, Browse, Search, Radio, and Your Library.
The Home button is a summary of your listening habits. This includes your recently played music, a mood or genre suggested by an algorithm within the app, and other random options that may vary from account to account.
The Browse button allows you to look into different categories like new releases, top charts, videos, etc. I want to emphasize the Discover button on this screen. The Discover button will take you to playlists that Spotify makes and suggests for you based on your listening habits. The “Discover Weekly” playlist, for example, is specifically made for you based on your listening history. It is updated every Monday and is filled with song suggestions from genres that you have been listening to more lately. They also have a personalized “release radar” playlist for you that is filled with new releases within those genres and artists that you have listened to most lately. This is a huge section of the app, so I recommend taking some time to search through this page and just have fun getting to know it.
The Search button allows you to search specific songs, artists, albums, playlists, or other accounts. Everything here except for searching for other accounts is pretty self-explanatory and should not present any surprises. When you search for specific accounts, you must have their account name correct. If you see the correct one, click on it. You will be redirected to their account page and presented with their public playlists and recently listened to songs.
The Radio tab allows you to start radio stations based off of a specific song, artist, album, or genre. Radios will play music that other listeners listen to in complement to the music that you have prompted the radio station with.
Finally, your library will contain all of your saved playlists, songs, artists, albums, radio stations, etc. Everything you save can be found here. The only “unexpected” thing to note here is the very top button, “Made For You.” This contains all of the playlists that Spotify generates for you based on your listening habits. Additionally, they create playlists for you based on your songs that you may have listened to a lot more than others one year or summer. There are a few other personalized playlists in this section so go ahead and check it out. Don’t be alarmed if this section is empty at first, it takes a lot of listening for Spotify to be able to recommend songs. It will fill up over time!
Now that you know how to navigate the app, you are ready to listen. To discover new music, I highly suggest searching through the moods at the bottom of the browse tab. Within each mood are tons of Spotify created playlists. These playlists created by Spotify are especially great because they often include songs that you would normally not listen to but are recommended by others who listen to the same songs as you. I hope you take this knowledge and find some great new music. So, without further ado, plug in your headphones and get discovering!
About the Author: Brett Richardson resides just outside of Washington, D.C. When he’s not in class or studying, you can often find him out hiking or looking for new music! Finding cool spots to set up his hammock and collecting records are his favorite pastimes! While he is a huge fan of the classics, he also loves finding new music from his own generation.
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Whether you are an avid TWE reader or first time downloader, a member of the iGeneration or on the brink of retirement, my hope is that through this eBook you can discover what matters most to you in life and and time to appreciate it all.