Spotify® For Dummies®

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Table of Contents

Spotify® For Dummies®



About the Author

Kim Gilmour is a freelance journalist and author with more than 13 years of experience. As senior researcher/writer at Which? Computing, the U.K.’s biggest computing magazine, she conducted high-profile news investigations, product reviews, and tutorials; and she is still a regular contributor. She was also features editor at Internet Magazine, where she extensively covered early developments in the digital music revolution. Prior to this, she was assistant editor at an Australian business technology title.

Kim’s articles have appeared in the U.K.’s Web User, PC Pro, and Computer Shopper, among others. She is the author of Digital Photography for the Older and Wiser (Wiley) and co-author of for Business All-in-One For Dummies and Starting and Running an Online Business For Dummies (U.K. edition).


For Audrey, who loves music.

Author's Acknowledgments

Writing this book from Australia — a country that doesn’t even have Spotify yet — was far from the lonely task I thought it might be. I’ve had countless advice from the Spotify community all around the world; and despite the late nights and time differences, it worked! This book would not exist without you all. Thank you so much; I hope our paths cross one day.

Massive thanks to my patient project editor Laura Miller, who was an absolute pleasure to work with. Laura knows the For Dummies style inside-out, and I’m grateful for her expert eye. Thank you also to my technical editor, Jer White. Few people on Earth know Spotify and the Spotify community as well as Jer. He was always there to give my words a sense-check and answer my random Android-related questions!

Spotify For Dummies has been an epic process, so thanks to Chris Webb at Wiley, who had faith in the project from the very beginning (even before Spotify finally arrived in the States) and the rest of the editorial team at Wiley, including Jodi Jensen, Ellie Scott, and Sara Shlaer.

Thank you to my agent, Isabel Atherton, for her dedication and support. And thanks to the folks at Spotify who were totally behind the project, including James Duffett-Smith for suggesting the idea; and Carl-Axel Larsen, Andres Sehr, and Angela Watts for being on hand to answer my queries.

Last — but by no means least — I can’t thank my lovely parents enough for all their support, motivation, and encouragement; and my daughter Audrey for being such an inspiration.

Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at . For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Vertical Websites

Project Editor: Laura K. Miller

Associate Publisher: Chris Webb

Assistant Editor: Ellie Scott

Copy Editor: Laura K. Miller

Technical Editor: Jer White

Editorial Manager: Jodi Jensen

Senior Project Editor: Sara Shlaer

Editorial Assistant: Leslie Saxman

Cover Photo: © / Cary Westfall

Cartoons: Rich Tennant ()


Associate Marketing Director: Louise Breinholt

Marketing Executive: Kate Parrett

Composition Services

Senior Project Coordinator: Kristie Rees

Layout and Graphics: Joyce Haughey, Corrie Socolovitch, Kim Tabor

Proofreaders: Laura Albert, Melissa D. Buddendeck

Indexer: BIM Indexing & Proofreading Services

UK Tech Publishing

VP Consumer and Technology Publishing Director: Michelle Leete

Associate Director–Book Content Management: Martin Tribe

Associate Publisher: Chris Webb

Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies

Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher

Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director

Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director

Publishing for Consumer Dummies

Kathleen Nebenhaus, Vice President and Executive Publisher

Composition Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services


There’s no denying it: A revolution in how people consume music is well underway, and Spotify’s at the center of all the action. Just a decade ago, it was normal for people to wander into a music store and buy an artist’s CD after hearing a few catchy tracks on the radio or reading a few good news-paper reviews.

Then, when music sharing over the Internet became mainstream around 2000, millions realized just how easy it was to store digital music on computers. Who needed a CD?

Also around this time, portable music players became popular. You could copy thousands of your digital tracks onto matchbox-sized gadgets. Astonishing! Yet, for all the technical innovation, artists still weren’t being compensated fairly for their efforts because most digital music was being swapped on illegal networks. Then, iTunes came along and blew everyone away, introducing a simple click-and-buy mechanism to let people download music legally without guilt and sync tracks seamlessly to their iPods.

And now? Prepare to get ready for an even bigger change. Music no longer takes up storage space on your computer or even your portable music devices. It’s floated off into the cloud (the term used to describe content or services hosted remotely over the Internet); streaming to you through services such as Spotify.

Spotify is a Swedish company headquartered in London, U.K. It first launched in 2008 as an invite-only service in selected European countries, offering free streaming of millions of tracks in exchange for listening to a few advertisements in between. People thought of a track, and Spotify played it straightaway in high-quality audio, as if it were on a CD. Amazing! Eventually, Spotify opened up registration to everyone in its launch countries.

Spotify has plenty of healthy competition these days — Apple’s iCloud and the long-running Napster and Rhapsody, for starters, and younger companies such as MOG, Deezer, We7, Rdio, Simfy, and Grooveshark. I personally like Spotify’s reputation for speed and stability. It has a superb, tried-and-tested way of streaming music to your computer, and its fast, fully featured desktop app lets you sync music to a range of mobile devices.

About This Book

I’m glad my publishers recognize Spotify’s part in shaping the way people listen to music.

I designed this book so that you can read it from beginning to end if you’re a complete newbie and want to understand what Spotify is and how it works before being gently guided through using the software. But if you’ve already signed up and installed the software, you can easily skip the bits you already know and dive straight into the parts that interest you, such as the wonderful add-ons and Spotify blogs, or the social networking features, all outlined in Part III. Like all For Dummies books, everything is cross-referenced, so if you come to a concept you’re unfamiliar with, you can flick to the appropriate section or chapter to read up on topics if you need to.

While reading this book, please bear in mind that you may encounter some slight differences in how something looks or acts, when compared to how I describe it. Like the world of digital music, Spotify doesn’t keep still (and that’s a good thing). While I’ve been writing this book, Spotify introduced a raft of features, including its own download store (only available in Europe at the time of writing), iPod syncing, a U.S. launch, and a new subscription structure. At press time, Spotify announced a major tie-in with social networking giant Facebook, a relationship that’s still evolving. (I’m also holding out for a dedicated iPad app. Check out for bonus information about new Spotify features!)

Most of the illustrations featured in this book are based on what a Spotify Premium subscriber sees. A free account looks slightly different and includes banner ads at the bottom and/or the side, along with a timer at the top-right corner that indicates how much listening time you have left that week. However, functionality should still remain largely the same (apart from some Premium-only features such as Spotify Radio and offline syncing). Despite any new (and welcome) changes in Spotify’s world, rest assured that its core capabilities won’t stray off course. For up-to-date tips and news about new features, you can follow my Twitter account (@spotify4dummies) and get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Conventions Used in This Book

There are certain conventions used in For Dummies books when talking about computers, and here are a few of them:

check.png Drag and drop, or click and drag: A way of moving elements around by using your mouse. When you see a description such as “drag the track onto your playlist” or “drag and drop the track to your playlist,” you click the name of the track with your mouse, hold down the mouse button, and drag the track to the playlist before lifting the mouse button to release, or drop, it.

check.png Keyboard shortcuts: I explain the Windows way of doing things first (because it’s most popular), followed by the Mac version, but I always explain which is which. When you see “Ctrl+C,” you hold down the Ctrl button while pressing the C button. Mac keyboard users see references to the Command (maccmd) key instead.

check.png Web addresses, Spotify links, and so on: I include web addresses and Spotify links in special typeface, such as or spotify:user:jasminetea. Twitter usernames are also in this font for easy reference, such as @spotify4dummies. (To view this Twitter account, go to .)

check.png Numbered lists: When you see a numbered list, you need to follow the steps in order. The bold text explains what the step involves. For a fuller explanation, you can read the non-bold text below the numbered step.

check.png Accessing menus: When I say something like “Go to File⇒New Playlist Folder,” I’m referring to clicking the File menu at the top of the display, and then selecting New Playlist Folder from the menu that appears. If I talk about clicking a series of links on a website, I spell out what you need to do.

check.png Scrolling, touching, sliding, and flicking on a phone: In the mobile device chapters, I refer to touch-screen smartphones. Scrolling on a phone (as opposed to using a mouse) involves sliding your finger on a screen to navigate a menu up and down (or side to side). Touching or tapping means selecting an option with the touch of your finger. Sliding is like clicking and dragging with your mouse, but using your finger instead.

check.png Pop-up: In Spotify, you sometimes see a small pop-up alert (a yellow bar) at the top of your screen, which I refer to as such. You also see pop-up windows (boxes overlaying the Spotify screen) that appear when certain actions are performed, such as downloading a track. Also, I call the small windows that pop up for you to do a simple task (such as locate a file or confirm a selection) dialog boxes.

Foolish Assumptions

You don’t need to know anything about Spotify or even digital music to start using this book. I don’t assume that you’ve ever owned a digital music player or even used music-management software such as iTunes, although this experience can help when you import local files. But I do assume that you have some basic computer knowledge and some essential computer equipment:

check.png A computer and a broadband Internet connection: Spotify relies on a broadband connection to work its magic because it streams music from the Internet to your computer, and a dial-up connection would simply be too slow. Spotify is optimized for Windows or Mac setups (and so is this book!), but Spotify can work on other systems, such as Linux. For full details on recommended computer specifications, see Chapter 2.

check.png Familiarity with selecting menus and applications: I assume you have experience with selecting an application in Windows or on a Mac and launching it, and that you know how to complete tasks (such as saving a file) by selecting menu choices from the top of your display.

check.png Familiarity with the concept of files and folders: I assume you have experience with saving files on your computer and storing them in folders or a media library.

check.png Some web-browsing experience: You don’t need to be an Internet whiz-kid, but I assume you have an e-mail address and a fair deal of experience with browsing websites and using search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. Some experience with signing up to a website, as well as downloading and installing a program, can also help you during the Spotify registration and setup process.

check.png An interest in discovering music: Spotify is all about the music, so this is definitely a must-have attribute! Being open-minded about broadening your musical horizons can help you get the most out of this great tool.

Added Extras

Spotify is available in free and paid-for flavors. Being a Spotify Premium subscriber gives you a huge number of benefits, including ad-free, unlimited listening from Spotify’s music library and the ability to sync any Spotify track to your phone. Much of Part IV assumes you have a Spotify Premium subscription, but I always mention upfront whether you need a Premium subscription to use an offering in order to avoid disappointment or confusion.

This book also contains chapters dedicated to using your iPod or mobile device with Spotify if you have these devices. You can easily skip these bits if they don’t apply to you.

How This Book Is Organized

This book is organized into five parts. Each part relates to a different part of your Spotify experience. You don’t have to read the whole book in order; you can choose the parts that interest you. But even if you’ve already spent some time using Spotify, I recommend scanning the early chapters, at the very least, in case you pick up any fresh tips.

Part I: Becoming Buddies with Spotify

In Part I, I introduce Spotify and give you a quick rundown about why it’s so great, how it works, and what subscription levels are available. I then outline the equipment you need before guiding you through the setup process. Rounding off this section are detailed descriptions of all the Spotify features.

Part II: Managing Your Spotify Experience

This part is all about getting stuck into Spotify and experiencing the music. You can discover how to organize your musical library, find new music, and create playlists to share with the world.

Part III: Getting By with a Little Help from Your Friends

Spotify has some strong social networking elements that help you share music with your friends through tools such as Facebook and Twitter. Discover how to collaborate on playlists, connect your Spotify account to Facebook, and send tracks to your friends. You also can find one of my favorite chapters, all about the great third-party tools that have been developed by the creative and enthusiastic Spotify community.

Part IV: Enjoying the Enhanced Features of Spotify

Much, but not all, of the chapters in Part IV refer to special features that are available only to paying subscribers, such as streaming music to a Logitech Squeezebox speaker or syncing Spotify tracks for offline listening on a mobile device. However, some features everyone can enjoy (such as syncing your local tracks to an iPod). I start off this section by explaining which elements of Spotify are free and which aren’t, and the differences between the subscription levels. At the time of writing, Spotify was still announcing final price points and features for its entry into the U.S. market, and there may be some differences between the European and the U.S. versions of Spotify. Please check the official Spotify website () for the latest prices and features.

Part V: The Part of Tens

Filled with troubleshooting tips, great web resources, and excellent ways to get more involved with Spotify’s community, consult this catch-all section for all kinds of useful information.

Icons Used in This Book

Spotify For Dummies uses special symbols called icons to alert you to important or interesting sections. Look out for these:

tip.eps This icon highlights handy information that can help you speed up a task or fix a problem you might encounter, and it’s the most common icon I use in the book.

warning_bomb.eps Ignore the information here at your risk: This icon alerts you to potential pitfalls and shouldn’t be ignored.

remember.eps When you see this icon, I highlight something you need to bear in mind before you proceed with a particular task.

technicalstuff.eps Information here may appeal to anyone interested in knowing exactly how something works. If you want just the basic info, skip anything marked with this icon.

Where to Go from Here

Just check out the Table of Contents and dip into the part that interests you. For example, if you have no idea what Spotify is, Chapter 1 is the perfect place to start. For tips on searching, turn to Chapter 4. Premium subscribers can get the most from the chapters in Part IV.

Now, hold onto your seats — you’re going to be amazed at what Spotify can do. I’m sure you’ll enjoy your experience!

Part I

Becoming Buddies with Spotify


In this part . . .

What is this thing called Spotify, anyway? Well, you’ve come to the right place. In this part, I introduce you to Spotify and explain how this innovative service is changing the way we interact with, discover, and listen to music.

In this part, you can also find all the information you need to get up and running with a minimum of fuss. I provide you with crucial information on setting up an account, installing the software, playing tracks, and conducting a simple search.

I describe all the main elements you see when you start up Spotify so that you can start playing with this source of endless fun right away.