Spotify Comes to Linux - Well, Some Linux
Spotify is a streaming music service that previously was only available to Windows and Mac users. Spotify offered a way for music lovers to enjoy their favorite tunes on their computers and gadgets legally. But Linux users were left out in the cold... until July 12.
On July 12, Andres Sehr announced a preview version of the Spotify music client for Linux users, stating that many of their developers are using Linux and wanted a way to enjoy music while coding. Other feedback indicated Linux interest as well. Thus the creation and release of their client software for the Linux platform.
By Linux, they mean Debian/Ubuntu though. The binaries are packaged in the .deb package format and the instructions explain how to add the Spotify Personal Package Archive to your Debian Squeeze or Ubuntu sources.list. There's a very good chance the files will work in Linux Mint and other Ubuntu derivatives, and lesser so for other Debian off-shoots. One might "alien" them onto other systems, which might be a little more effective than those who were able to get Spotify working under Wine.
Also, Linux users must have support on their systems for media playback as that's not included in the Spotify package. Since Spotify is said to stream in the Vorbis format, this requirement shouldn't be a major problem.
Another issue hindering Linux uptake is the lack of an ad-supported free version. Developers have yet to add the support needed in this preview release for displaying ads, so only Premium subscribers will be able to access and enjoy the music available through the service.
Additionally, users in the United States were never included in the fun and that's a large market gone untapped. Spotify has said that the service is likely to become available in the States towards the end of summer, although the percentage of users on Linux will probably be more limited than other platforms.
Adding all the pluses and minuses is sure to yield an interesting bottom line. Since the Linux client was written primarily for their own developers, Spotify should see only positive results. If they get only one user to subscribe due to the new Linux client, then that's one more than they had on July 11.
For the Linux community, this is seen as another positive step toward validation and acceptance from commercial service providers. Coupled with the news last month of Steam Coming to Linux, perhaps Linux is moving up in the world. Whether there will be any real value for Linux users from Spotify is yet to be seen, but it's nice to be included - even if it's half-hearted.
UPDATE: Spotify Unlimited is now available to Linux preview users as of July 15.
Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of tuxmachines.org.