To hear some tell it, Spotify and Pandora are different versions of the same thing. In reality, Spotify is an unlimited, on-demand music service while Pandora is personalized streaming radio. In their natural states, they are apples and oranges. However, natural states are not permanent states; a new app called SpotOn, released on Monday, turns Spotify into something like Pandora for the iPhone.
Spotify is now an app platform for iOS apps, apps that run within the Spotify desktop client, and apps that run on the web and elsewhere, so the door is wide open for developers to build stuff on top of it. The enterprising app developers at Springworks, which also developed Spotiseek, applies music intelligence from The Echo Nest (publisher of Evolver.fm, an independent publication) to Spotify the app platform to create SpotOn, pictured to the right.
The app requires the premium version of Spotify, which costs $10/month, but as of now the app itself is free, and includes no advertisements or listening limits. It’s not perfect — for example, you can’t cache stations to the iPhone’s memory, so it’s useless on the subway and other places where you can’t get a signal (either cellular or WiFi), but it provides a new window into Spotify’s 15-million-plus songs, and you can choose to share stations or songs with your Facebook friends.
If you’re one of the over 2.5 million people who pays for Spotify Premium — a number that could be swelling as people who have been using the free service for six months start encountering new listening limits — there’s one feature that, alone, justifies the installation of SpotON: the ability to add songs to a Spotify playlist from within the app.
If you pay ten bucks per month for Spotify, the way you probably collect music is by adding it to a Spotify playlist, so the fact that SpotON can talk to those playlists is huge. For example, I maintain a Spotify playlist called “harvested,” where I try to remember to put whatever promising tunes I’ve come across, so I can check out those artists later. With SpotOn, I can add a song to that playlist in seconds, without leaving the app.
First I choose to share the track with Facebook or add it to a playlist:
Then I decide which playlist would be best for the track:
And just like that, I’ve closed the loop from discovering a track on SpotON to adding it to my “harvested” playlist on Spotify, all within the app.
That’s our favorite SpotOn feature; here are a few others: