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SPOTIFY; APP OF THE WEEK.

SPOTIFY IOS Free + monthly subscription for some features ???? Despite some stiff competition from the likes of Deezer, Rdio and Jay-Z's Tidal, Spotify has so far managed to stay standing as the world's most popular musicstreaming service.

In what looks very much like a preemptive strike against Apple's looming relaunch of its recently acquired Beats Music subscription service, last week saw a new update to its iOS app (new versions of its Android and desktop versions are promised imminently).

And it's a big one, pushing the service into territories beyond just music, with the introduction of audio podcasts and, for the first time, video.

The new content is curated, meaning you don't get the breadth of options you do with say iTunes or even YouTube, but the selections are sound, with big-hitter shows such as Marc Maron's WTF podcast and shorts from the likes of Vice and the BBC.

This ties in to another new feature, Moments, a discovery tool that plays shows and tracks based on your current activity, such as a playlist for your morning commute or a news show when you're on your lunch break. It also offers DJ-curated playlists for selected genres and moods.

I'm a stickler for just listening to albums and my own playlists, but I've still been pleasantly surprised by how much decent new music I've come across using these functions.

Unquestionably the most innovative and ambitious new feature of the rejigged app is its fitness functionality.

Select running and using the iPhone's sensors, it will measure your pace and play a track with an appropriate tempo. On top of this is a selection of "dynamic soundtracks" - single tracks composed by the likes of dance-music star Tiesto that react to changes in your step count.

While these features did nothing to improve my times, it was nonetheless impressive hearing the app work its magic and keep up with the changes in my run.

There's the worry with its new features that Spotify may take its eye off its core use - delivering what stands as currently the best music subscription service with the best library, particularly as there's no sign here of support for high-resolution audio - a feature that many audiophiles have desired for some time.

These concerns aside, this new broadening of its outlook should make Spotify a much bigger part of any music fan's daily routine.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 29, 2015
Words:393
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