Spotify launched in the U.S. on July 14th. Given the hoopla around the service I decided to give it a try. Spotify is a music service that allows users to stream or download music, includes social integration and has support for offline listening. Many people have raved about the service in Europe and there has been a constant chorus for an american launch.

After 5 days of use, here’s my impressions:

Great value. You get all the music you can handle, offline downloading (including offline for iPhone) for just $10 a month. That is fantastic. I have found that most if not all of the music I care about is available. Spotify has deals with all the major labels, so there is a good chance that it will always have the latest music. There is also a $5 per month option when doesn’t allow offline listening and a free ad supported version.

Version 1 application. The Spotify application for windows is good, fast and stable. It is lacking features though. There is no drill down-down by artist or album. Come on, that is obvious and available in all competing products.

I would say the social integration is fairly simple as well. You can see all your Facebook friends who have a Spotify account and view their shared playlists. This seems like the simplest possible social implementation.

Bottom line is that Spotify needs to catch up to Zune and iTunes in terms of features for desktop.

Fast! I have found that playback is extremely fast and reliable. Streaming is particularly good, you mostly can’t tell that a song is streaming at all. Playback of streaming is almost as good as local playback. Skipping and scrubbing are instantaneous, searches are

Many people, including Sean Parker (who is a Spotify investor) say that Spotify is the anwser to music piracy. I think that Spotify has a lot of potential and will be very popular in the short term but it remains to be seen who will win the cloud music wars.

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