An Alternative to Spotify?

An Alternative to Spotify?

Introduction

Napster is an online music subscription service, similar to Spotify (blogged here).

It allows you to stream music and is availble in 2 packages, Napster Unlimited and Napster Unlimited plus mobile. They are priced at £5 and £10 per month respectively.

Napster ReviewAs I listen to music on my mobile device when I don’t have an Internet connection, I opted for Napster Unlimted plus mobile and will review this package.

Similar to Spotify, Napster has a free trial, so it is worth trying it first for free.

As I have already bogged and reviewed Spotify Premium, then I will be referring to it within this blog and making comparisons.

The Software

When using your PC or Laptop, Napster is purely web based and therefore there is nothing to install. You simply go to their web site, log in, and then listen to music and manage your play lists. This software works well and I had no issues with it. I did, however, prefer Spoftify’s desktop application as it offered a better user experience and interface (like drag and drop).

When using a tablet or mobile phone, there is a dedicated app available for either Android or Apple devices. The app is easy to use and is very similar to the Spotify app.

Getting Started with Napster

Napster is very easy to use. You simply browse for music and play it. You can create playlists to organise your favourite music and share this with friends via Facebook.

Napster’s will also suggest music for you based upon your listening history. Spotify also does this. I find the suggestions are ok initialy, but they do get repetitive and do not offer anything new very often.

Offline Files (the plus mobile bit)

Offline Files provides you with the ability to download music to your mobile device and listen to it when you have no Internet connection. This is why i choose the “plus mobile” package as it allowed me to listen to music, for example, when I am on an airplane.

To create offline files, you simply do the following:

  1. Create a new playlist (either online or on your mobile device).
  2. Open Napster on your mobile device and ensure it is connected to Wi-Fi or the Internet.
  3. Open the playlist and select “Download”.
  4. The play list will be downloaded to your device.

It’s always better to use Wi-Fi, otherwise you could use up your 3G data allowance very quickly.

A Few Key Points

There are a key points to note regarding your subscription;

  1. You may not get all the music you want, there were some bands and albums that I wanted to listen to but they were not available.
  2. You are limited to 3 devices for offline files.
  3. You cannot listen to music on more than one device at the same time.
    For example, I could not give a friend my login details because if they used it at the same time as me, one of us would get a message and would not be able to use it.
    You can, however, listen on your mobile devices simultaneously if they are in offline mode and not connected to the Internet.
  4. As with Spotify, you do not own the music, if you cancel the subscription, all the music disappears.
  5. Be warned, Napster does not work on some older iPods whereas Spotify has a legacy app for older devices.

Media Streamers and Smart TV’s

Napster is also available on most Media Streamers and Smart TV’s. I have not tried these apps yet so cannot pass comment.

Conclusion

Napster works very well and does exactly what is says it does, it gives you access to music. I found the quality of some albums to be poorer than others, but overall I had no complaints.

When comparing Naspter with Spotify, I did not really see much difference, the price was the same, the quality the same and the funcationality the same. However, I did prefer the Spotify desktop application and also Spotify did work with one of my older iPods via a legacy version whereas Napster did not.