Spotify

Common Sense Media says

Free cloud-based music service focuses on sharing.

Age(i)

2
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9
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11
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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Aside from encouraging the arts through music, the site doesn't offer much of a social message. With millions of songs available, the message in the music will vary.

Violence

The site offers basically every genre of music, including some songs that reference shooting and other violent acts.

Sex

The site features the full gamut of music -- so kids can access songs with sexual themes and references.

Language

If a song title has a swear word in it, kids are able to search for it, find it, and listen to it using Spotify.

Consumerism

Contains ads unless using paid subscription.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Songs with references to marijuana and other drugs can be accessed using Spotify.

Privacy & safety

Some privacy concerns. Users joining as of fall 2011 are required to log into the site using Facebook. Spotify can post to your Timeline and share what you're listening to with people you're linked to. To keep your listening list private, you can customize your Facebook Spotify app settings so that all Spotify activity is only visible to you (or you and certain friends). There's also a Private Listening mode in Spotify, but it is only for the current session.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that to use the Spotify digital music service, users have to log in with a username and password (or sign in with Facebook, where their listening activity can be published if users opt for that). Once on, kids can access just about any song you can imagine, so it is not difficult to be exposed to iffy content, both in lyrics and on album covers. The service requires users to download an application onto their computer and listen from it. They can also listen via the app.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm
  • singing

Skills

Communication

  • listening
  • multiple forms of expression

Tech Skills

  • evaluating media messages
  • social media

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Free cloud-based music service can be a great way to connect and find out about new music. A lot of fun for music fans.

Learning Approach

Kids can discover new musicians by creating radio stations based on their favorite bands. Adding more content about the musical techniques, instruments, and other elements used to produce songs would increase the learning factor.

Support

Artist listings include a brief bio with career highlights and some music genre information.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • reading

Arts

  • music
  • rhythm
  • singing

Skills

Communication

  • listening
  • multiple forms of expression

Tech Skills

  • evaluating media messages
  • social media

Kids can create playlists, share tracks with friends who use Spotify, or receive suggestions based on song picks. As with any social media site or service, if kids and their friends use Spotify responsibly, it can be a great way to connect and find out about new music. (However, if kids are linked to strangers through Facebook or Twitter, Spotify offers them another way to talk.) This isn't a deep music site, but aspiring musicians can find friends' picks and artists' career bios.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

New users are required to download an application and log in to the Spotify music service with an email and password (or Facebook info). Once logged in, kids can access millions of songs -- and could be exposed to iffy content. Kids can follow friends, too, seeing playlists and activity and sharing their own. The paid subscription is ad-free and includes higher sound quality. Kids can stream unlimited music with the free version, interrupted by ads.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SPOTIFY offers users free access to more than 20 million songs -- you can find and listen to full-length versions of everything from torch songs to 2 Live Crew and drag and drop your favorites into a personal playlist. The application also automatically syncs with your iTunes or Windows Music Library to let you access songs you've already saved or downloaded. You can build playlists, share them with friends, and enjoy playlists and song suggestions from friends as well. Although there are two paid subscription options, you don't need to pay a dime to find and listen to the music you like (although you'll have to sit through ads with their free version). 

So what's the catch? Well, you have to download the application to use Spotify, and if kids are logged in through Facebook, they can share what they are listening to, though the default is set to off.  And parents concerned about lyrical content should know that teens using Spotify can easily search for and find songs with iffy content.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how your family feels about handling music: What kind of music do you parents say is OK to listen to? Are there any types or songs they don't think you're quite ready to rock out to yet?

  •  

  • This site encourages you to connect with your Facebook friends to share musical suggestions. Are there any risks or concerns from letting other people access your music playlists?

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  • Music is a form of self-expression. How do you express yourself? What kinds of songs do you like, and what do you think the singer is trying to say?

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Website details

Genre:Music
Pricing structure:Free

This review of Spotify was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 17 year old Written byJackieA March 5, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Good music but wasn't what I expected!

I guess I should have known that nothing comes for free! Until I examined the site, actually through Wikipedia, I thought the ads were the way the site made money. So, unless I wanted unlimited access or no ads, I was o.k. I didn't realize that after a 6-mos. limit, you can only listen 10 hours a month and songs can only be played 5 times. Content can definitely be R-rated but that it did say so for each song if you pulled up an album. I arbitrarily picked ages 14-up...that would be up to parents. Also, I am just not going to pay $10 a month to listen to music.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Teen, 14 years old Written byTechn0boy96 November 26, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Overall well designed with minor flaws

It's a great application, however requires a Facebook account. The best thing about it is the sharing and social aspect, it allows you to discover new music and share your own personal tastes.
Educator and Parent Written bykatiekawaii April 26, 2012
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Best Music Network EVER

commonsensemedia needs to get over themselves. I'm 12 and I use spotify, nothing wrong with it. Yet again if kids choose to type in " s*x" or swear words then thats their fault. Besides do you want to spend money on Itunes to buy your kids a album? NOOOOOO... Spotify has free music to listen too.. so HAA.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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