Spotify is the best way to listen to music in the world today. It's easy to use, has a vast catalogue of music from major and independent labels, and you can even take it with you in the car or on the bus by buying a premium subscription and hooking it up to your mobile phone.
But if you know all that and want to go a bit further and get the absolute most out of Spotify, here are some power-user tips and tricks that you can use to amp your Spotify experience up to 11.
1. Start your week off with a Discover Weekly playlist
If you want to beat the Monday blues, nothing tops falling in love with a new song or artist, which is where Spotify's revolutionary Discover Weekly playlist comes in.
Every week on a Monday Spotify will create a new playlist of two hours of music based off what you've been recently listening to. Each week a new playlist will be made available composed of bands you've been listening to, as well as what other people with similar tastes have been playing. It's a great way to discover new music and rekindling love affairs with old favourites.
2. Import your own music
Spotify's catalogue is big but not perfect. And some artists, such as Prince and Taylor Swfit, aren't on there. To fix that, you can import your own MP3s, play them as if they were streamed, and even add them to your playlists.
In Spotify's preferences menu under "Local Files, hit "Add a Source", and select where your music is stored. Imported files can be found under "Local Files" in the left pane.
3. Follow some friends
If you have a friend that's always finding the best new music first, you might want to keep track of what they're listening to on Spotify. In the right-hand pane, select "Find Friends" to track them down. You canconnect Facebook to Spotify here as well, making it easier to find your friends.
Once followed, you'll see what they're listening to in the activity feed on the right.
4. Listen privately
However, you might not want your friends knowing what you're listening to. To temporarily hide what you're rocking out to, click your name in the top-right corner of the Spotify window and select "Private Session". It'll last until you close the program and reopen it, or you can disable it manually in the same menu.
5. Collaborate on a playlist
Music is better with friends. If you're planning a big road trip and you want to put a playlist together, you can collaborate on it with your friends without all needing to crowd around the same computer.
After creating a playlist, right-click it and select "Collaborative Playlist". Then send a link to your friends, and they'll be able to add tracks too.
6. Search modifiers
Search Spotify using modifiers to restrict and refine your results. For example, to search for Madonna's 1983 output you enter "madonna year:1983". You can also search for a range of years, like this: "rolling stones year:1965-1972". Other modifiers include "album", "artist" and "genre".
These can be combined, for example: "album:love artist:cult" only finds tracks from The Cult's "Love". Finally, Boolean syntax can be used to exclude keywords, like this: "genre:trip-hop NOT morcheeba".
7. Sync to your phone
Of course, you won't want to plug your laptop in in the car, and you won't have internet there anyway. If you subscribe to Spotify Premium then you can play your music on your Android, Windows Phone oriOS device. Download the app from the app store, then select which playlists you want to download and sync.
You can now also stream music to your mobile device with a free Spotify account - however the songs are randomised, and you get adverts every four of five songs. You can also only use the skip function to jump to the next song 6 times an hour. Oh, and you can't download songs for offline listening.
For these reasons, if you really want a decent Spotify experience on your smartphone or tablet, then we recommend getting a Spotify Premium account.
8. Get apps that work with Spotify
Spotify's desktop version used to have its own apps which could be installed in the "App Finder" section. Those apps have now been discontinued, but you can find apps that work with Spotify at its Developer Showcase website.
These apps include Shazam, which creates Shazam playlists in Spotify, and Algoriddim DJay, which lets you turn your device into a DJ system and mix Spotify tracks on the go.
9. Track your taste
Spotify gives you a few statistics on your top artists, but for real data on what you've been listening to you can turn to Last.fm. If you register an account there, then tick the "Scrobble to Last.fm" box under preferences and enter your details, it'll track everything you listen to and give you all the statistics you could possibly desire.
10. Link to part of a track
As originally cited on the Spotify blog, you can send friends a track URI (uniform resource identifier) with a time index embedded in it. Copy the Spotify URI and paste it into your email or message window, then edit the URI to add '#time' to the end. For example, if the track has a brilliant solo at 1:26, you append #1:26 to the end of the URI. You can also do this with HTTP links, but you'll have to replace the hash tag "#" with "%23".