Thanks to a a promo code I had a chance to look at Spotify. Some first impressions.
The service looks like an iTunes which you can play any song that you can find, for free. I haven't probed the catalog to see how deep it is, but the Beatles and Bob Dylan are represented by cover bands, not the originals. It's shiny, and the music plays instantly when you click on a song.
1. It doesn't hold a candle to Napster; perhaps nothing ever will, again. Part of the joy of Napster was the thrill of the chase, knowing that every time you searched it it would be a little different, and that every possible obscure track might be online some day so if it wasn't there you just wanted to come back the next day.
2. I can't reconstruct the playlist for all of the tracks on the mix CD in my car, so for some definition of "completeness", it isn't complete. That may say more about my tastes in music than anything else. I suppose that anyone who favors Da Yoopers and Barcelona is going to have problems with any service conceived in this decade.
3. Coca-Cola ads everywhere, plus splashy art for artists I don't know anything about. I suppose that's a plausible monetization strategy, but it's distracting.
4. After playing 5 or 6 tracks it put up an advertisement for an 80s playlist, which means that either it's profiling my interests from the songs I play, or it's otherwise assuming that how old I am specifies my musical tastes relatively completely.
Looks like a great service, but I'm clearly not the target demographic.