Spotify is changing how people experience their favourite music online. But is it useful for classical music fans?

What exactly is Spotify?

Spotify is a digital music-streaming service that offers its users access to a vast library of recordings across a range of major and independent record labels. It was developed in 2008 by two Swedes, Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon, with the aim of providing a convenient and legal alternative to music piracy. After signing up and downloading a desktop client, Spotify is relatively quick and easy to master. It now has 24 million users in 15 countries.

So what’s the big deal?

Although online music streaming isn’t exactly a new concept, what makes Spotify stand out is the size of its music library – more than 17 million tracks. Users are able to listen to specific and individual tracks, a feature not offered by competing music-streaming services such as Pandora & Last.fm. An “artist radio” function that recommends music based on specific composers and performers also makes it easy to discover new music.

Can I listen for free?

Yes, and then no. For the first six months users are offered unlimited streaming but are subjected to audio advertisements between tracks. After...

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