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Spotify for Windows review: Listen to any song, any time, for free

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Playlists are also a huge part of the Spotify experience. You can search through and subscribe to playlists curated by other users or those created by sources like Billboard Music and Spotify itself. This is another great way to discover new tracks. Making your own playlists that other users can subscribe is also a big part of the Spotify experience. But if you don't want to share your playlists with your friends, you can toggle this, as well as other privacy settings, in Spotify's Preferences menu.

Relatively new to Spotify is the App Finder. This is a listing of "apps" developed specifically for the Spotify platform. With these, you can upgrade your Spotify desktop experience with features like TuneWiki lyrics, Rolling Stone recommendations, and integration. Since Spotify is still relatively new as an open platform for development, the App Finder has fewer than 100 apps, but with the Spotify user base quickly growing, you can bet that developers are beginning to pay attention.

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Use the App Finder to add to your Spotify desktop experience with apps that give you lyrics, song recommendations, and other good things. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

We can't complain about Spotify's crystal-clear sound quality and consistent streaming. If you have a stable connection to a broadband network, then the app should sound and feel exactly like your personal, locally stored music library. Still, if you feel like you need even higher-quality streaming, a paid account will unlock the feature. It's also worth noting that paying for an account kills the ads that occasionally interrupt your listening experience. And considering the loud, highly annoying nature of many of the ads, heavy listeners should highly consider upgrading. Another reason to upgrade would be to get full access to on-demand streaming on your mobile device.

With an impressive catalog of music readily available for free on-demand streaming, there's absolutely no reason for any audiophile to pass over Spotify. It even offers Pandora-style programmed radio. And what really pushes Spotify over the top are its built-in social features that make it easy to share playlists and discover new music.

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