Spotify is perhaps one of the greatest creations for consumers of music. Launched in late 2008, it is a music streaming service that has since expanded from its home in Sweden to be available throughout most of Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Likewise it has expanded from its origins on the PC to Android, Mac, Linux, iPhone and a whole host of other platforms. Its wide availability is a big part of what makes it so useful, as users aren't limited to just using it on their PC, they can also load it up on their internet enabled TV or use it on the go with their phone.
With over 18 million songs from both major and independent record labels that's a lot of music you get access to, with few limitations on where and when you can listen to it. Better yet, the basic service is free. Admittedly using the free version means having to put up with radio style adverts periodically and limits its use to desktop computers, but that's still 18 million tracks that can be legally accessed free of charge. If you want to listen on other platforms, get rid of the adverts or get higher quality versions of the songs then it will be necessary to pay, but it isn't much, with subscriptions starting at just £4.99 a month. In other words it costs less than an album for a month of premium access to 18 million tracks.
Though there are similar services available, Spotify pioneered the concept and is still the best, with more tracks, features and ways to consume the music than any other. It is a quiet revolution, no longer do consumers need to buy or store music, instead it is readily available to them at all times. The service isn't perfect, 18 million tracks is more than could be listened to in a lifetime but there is still some music that can't be found on Spotify. Equally as you don't own the music there is nothing to stop it disappearing without warning, but it is still one of the most significant innovations in music consumption ever. And if you're not already using it, now's the time to try.