Spotify on Ubuntu Studio
What is Spotify, exactly?
Imagine a jukebox that has every song you can imagine, available whenever you want, that plays only songs you like, wherever you are. Imagine iTunes being what it should be, instead of that bloated hunk of software detritus it actually is. There you have it, but you can look up Spotify reviews anywhere, can't you?
The challenge I faced was the fact that Linux is not officially supported on Spotify. There are two options here; running the Windows version under WINE, or running a Linux beta package. The problem with the Beta is that there is apparently some issue with the way it handles the ad push, so it requires a paid, ad-free Spotify account. Something that is anathma to my Linux-lovin' heart, by the way.
WINE it is. But WINE stinks. WINE is a pain. (for the uninitiated - shame on you - WINE is a Windows compatibility layer that - generally - allows Windows executables to run under Linux. And WINE is a pest.
Sooooo... The solution? PlayOnLinux. PlayOnLinux is a front-end for WINE that takes most of the yuckiness out of it. In fact, it makes it a dream. POL was written mainly to run Windows-based games, but it works well with all kinds of Windows programs. (POL is available in the Ubuntu Software Center.)
Simply click the "Install" button, point it to the Spotify installer, and in about thirty seconds, you're up and running... perfectly. And it get's better. Install the Spotify app on your Android or iPhone/iPod Touch and connect to your WiFi network, and as soon as you fire up the app, the desktop client instantly picks up the device and asks what you want to sync to it. (Mobile streaming is only on a paid basis)
When I installed the desktop app, it instantly found every media file on my computer. Like, right away. Same thing with the Android app. And it's much easier than the old "drag-and-drop" method of file transfer. Very nice.
Spotify is certainly a game-changer, as it has been in Europe. Many European music labels are reporting that Spotify is now their single greatest source of revenue. And just about everyone is on there, from the biggest bands to indies. (Surprise, surprise, you can't get either the Beatles or Metallica. Luddites.) Even with the high-end (at ten bucks a month) premium account, Spotify could render pay-to-own music obsolete, especially given the fact you can download and store 3,333 songs for offline listening.
After all, why settle for thousands of songs, when you can have millions at your fingertips?