Spotify launched in South Africa on 12 March, offering its free and premium subscription services.
Like elsewhere in the world, the free service lets you listen to music with adverts.
On mobile, the free tier is also shuffle-only, allowing you to play certain playlists, albums, or a randomised set of songs from an artist. You can also only skip six songs every hour.
The premium tier removes the ads and restrictions on mobile, and adds features such as offline play.
While I have been using Google Play Music since it launched in South Africa at the end of 2015, a month with Spotify was enough to see why its local fans rave about it.
While the other streaming music apps available in South Africa generally have a good selection of devices which they support, Spotify integrates with everything.
From enabling music streaming during gameplay on your PlayStation 4, to placing an icon inside Waze while you’re navigating, the app tries to make sure that whenever you need to get to it, you can.
It also makes it easy to switch playback between different Spotify-capable devices, and tells you in the app which device is being used to play music from your account.
Aside from the ubiquity of the app, the other major feature Spotify is known for is its vast collection of human-curated playlists.
Between that and the automated recommendation engine, there was always a way to discover new music.
While the ability in Google Play Music to upload my own tracks will keep me from switching outright, Spotify is the music streaming service with the best user experience in South Africa – by far.
Spotify in Waze
Spotify for Mac
Great in SA
BusinessTech journalist Ryan Brothwell also got in on the Spotify act after it launched locally, and has enjoyed the service.
“As a holder of a US Spotify account, the news that the streaming service would launch in the country was met with joy and a healthy amount of scepticism,” he said.
“While services such as Netflix are great value for money in South Africa, it’s no secret we are offered a smaller catalogue compared to what’s available overseas.”
It would therefore be understandable if the same limitations were applied to the local Spotify service.
“However, we do not have any noticeable omissions in the music catalogue,” he said of the premium tier.
Brothwell also tested the free tier on Spotify, and reported it had noticeably less adverts than the US version.
“While they may be evident while streaming music at a party, when using Spotify on a daily basis at work or at the gym, the adverts are hardly noticeable and are often finished before you realise they are not part of a new song,” he said.
“A nice touch was that my existing US login details worked with the South African websites and app, and all my existing music and playlists carried over, too.”