Spotify last week released a preview version of its peer-to-peer (P2P) music application for desktop Linux, packaged as Debian Squeeze/Ubuntu 10.04. The software shares most of the features of the Windows and Mac OS X versions of Spotify, but requires Spotify Premium membership.
Based in Luxembourg, Spotify is both an application and a music service available in Europe on Windows and Mac OSX desktops. Spotify is also offered for Android (pictured at right), Symbian, and iPhone mobile devices for Premium customers only.
Spotify lets users share music tracks via P2P technology, and offers music search, customizable playlists, popularity listings, song purchases, and an Internet radio. Other features are said to include artist biographies, related artist suggestions, and Facebook integration. There are also music library features such as "Artist radio," which searches Internet radio stations to play a continuous stream from a particular band or musician.
Most of these goodies are now coming to desktop Linux users, writes Spotify's Andres Sehr in his blog announcement. "A lot of our developers are using Linux, obviously they want to listen to music while they're coding away and looking at the feedback we get it appears that they're not the only ones." Sehr also promises to "try to make sure it keeps pace with its Mac and Windows siblings."
So far, the Linux version is a step behind, however. Due to "issues regarding decoding of local music" on Linux, local music files cannot be played in the current version, writes Sehr. In addition, the application is still not officially supported by the company, writes Sehr.
Furthermore, "As we haven't found a reliable way to display ads yet," the Linux version is currently available only to subscribers of Spotify Premium, which costs 10 British Pounds a month, or about $15. The company did not mention when or if these issues would be fixed by the time of the final release, for which it did not offer a timetable.
Meanwhile, Spotify has yet to launch in the U.S. on any platform, although the company says it is working to "arrange licensing agreements with record labels and local publishing rights societies" in order to do so. Currently, Spotify is available in Finland, France, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the U.K.
Despite the various omissions in the Linux version of Spotify, the response from the Linux desktop faithful on blogs and forums has ranged from admiring to ecstatic. On the Spotify announcement page itself, the responses include such bouquets as "Your awesomeness never seems to end" to "Ohhhh i love you :)".
With this sort of response, it's a wonder more developers don't cajole their companies into releasing Linux versions of their software. Then again, if like Sony, a company turns on its Linux users, it will find itself hounded until the end of time.
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