New Spotify Apps Add Radio, Concerts
Guest post by Eliot Van Buskirk of Evolver.fm.
Spotify quietly rolled out a couple of new apps for the desktop version of its freemium music service: SeatGeek, which lets you buy concert tickets based on the music you listen to (sort of like SongKick); and DFX Radio, which makes customized radio stations either based on an artist you’ve listened to recently, or consisting only of music by that artist.
Here’s the deal with each of these new entrants now vying to capture the attention of Spotify users, who have been huge fans of previous Spotify apps, prompting us to wonder why competitors like Rdio and Rhapsody don’t try a more similar approach.
The first time you fire up SeatGeek (by going to the App Finder in the left navigation bar within the desktop version of Spotify, because these apps are only for desktop), you’re presented with a list of upcoming shows in your area based on your favorite artists within Spotify.
SeatGeek says you can sign in to a SeatGeek account for better recommendations, but you probably don’t have one — and if you create a new account, your SeatGeek recommendations will remain identical to what they were before you had an account, unless you manually specify your 4-5 favorite teams or bands. Unfortunately for me, two of the bands I tried initially failed to resolve to the proper band — The Fall and The Men — due to the generic nature of their names:
However, the app is free, its timeline-like design makes it easy to scan every once in a while for recommended shows coming to your area, so we can’t complain too much about it. With so many shows to choose from (if you live in a place like Brooklyn) or only a scant few coming to town that you don’t want to miss (if you don’t), it can’t hurt to install this app in your Spotify client to glance over now and again, even if its band-tracking features leave something to be desired.
Pro tip: Try linking SeatGeek to your Last.fm account to make things easier — or, failing that, your friend’s account, because you don’t need to know the user’s password in order to enter their Last.fm name into SeatGeek to improve recommendations.
On one level, this branded app is essentially an ad designed to upsell you to the DFX Audio Enhancer, a $40 DSP (digital signal processor) whose developer says it can improve the sound in Spotify and other digital music programs. But it goes beyond being a mere advertisement, and can actually be pretty useful.
Radio DFX looks at the last artist you listened to (or any artist you specify after that) and creates a radio station with five “explore levels” that let you venture farther away from the sound of the artist around which the station is based. Or, you can listen to a radio station consisting only of music from that one band. Either way, you can save the radio station as a Spotify playlist, where you can edit it and listen to it later — a nice touch.
Some of the recommendations are a bit suspect. Fall Out Boy again? And this time in a Sigur Ros station?
But this never happens in the one-artist-only mode, obviously, and level 3 brought up much better recommendations than did level 2 (pictured).
Ultimately, there’s so much music out there, and these apps are so easy to install and so fast to load within Spotify, that we’re hard-pressed to think of a reason why a Spotify user wouldn’t install this one, even if only to provide the starting point for the occasional playlist.
We feel the same way about SeatGeek. It’s not perfect, but if you’re already in the habit of firing up Spotify to find something new, it can’t hurt to have either of these tools at your disposal.