Launched in Sweden in 2008, Spotify is a service that lets you stream music from a library that is so extensive that it would take 80 years of non-stop listening just to get through it.

As well as letting people listen to anything from golden oldies to the latest hits on their computer, Spotify also has a number of smartphone apps to allow for music on the move. There are also Spotify apps on other services, such Virgin Media’s TiVo set-top box or Sonos speakers, and deep-integration with Facebook to make music more social.

Features and benefits of Spotify

  • Listen to music for free.
  • Can be used on almost any computer.
  • Playlists can be created and shared to save your favourite music.
  • Share what you are listening to with your Facebook friends.
  • Apps from companies like The Guardian newspaper and Rolling Stone magazine that help you discover new music.

Disadvantages of Spotify's free version

  • Regular advertisements interrupt your listening experience.
  • Music can only be played on your computer, not on any other device.
  • You’re allowed to listen to a particular track only five times.
  • You’re limited to 10 hours of play per month.
  • New users must have a Facebook account to sign up.

Premium 'paid for' Spotify

  • You can use Spotify as an app ‘on the go’ on iPhones and Android, Symbian, Windows phones and BlackBerry.
  • In May 2012, an app was released for the iPad.
  • New users must have a Facebook account to sign up.
  • Combine your Spotify playlists with music you already own.
  • Offline mode to play music if you’re not connected to the internet.
  • Take your music abroad.
  • Higher sound quality.