(Pocket-lint) - In January it was announced that Sony was finally closing down its Music Unlimited streaming service in favour of partnering with Spotify to launch an all-new solution and here it is. Spotify on PlayStation Music is now available to download and use on PS4 and PS3 and you don't even need a Spotify Premium account.
It works with both a free Spotify account and a Premium one, with the usual restrictions for the former, and you can sign up for the first time through the console application itself.
The interface is sleek, possibly more so than on any other platform in the past, and Pocket-lint was invited to Spotify's offices in London to check out the new experience ahead of the official rollout and there are several key features that particularly stood out.
In all respects, the Spotify on PlayStation Music service works like a general Spotify player. There are two distinct sections - Browse and Your Music, which provide access to curated and saved tracks, albums and playlists respectively. And each use a clean tile system that wouldn't look out of place on that other big console out there.
This is generally presented in two rows of tiles, mostly showing cover art, save for Genres & Moods section, which are more generic. And when you head to a playlist, your saved Songs line-up or your queued music, that becomes a single bar of tiles.
It's actually staggering simple to use and get to the music you want to play, with speedy search available too. And because you sign into your Spotify account, everything you have previously saved will be available to you if you are already a member.
The PS4 and PS3 apps are both compatible with Spotify Connect too, so you can control them through a Spotify app running on a smartphone or tablet - a feature particularly useful for the best feature of them all.
It's only available on the PlayStation 4 version but Spotify on PlayStation Music gives you the opportunity to play your own streamed music choices in the background of games.
System software v2.0 added the ability to play MP3s stored on a USB stick or drive in the background while playing, with in-game sound effects still audible over the top. Now this latest service offers similar, but adds the benefit of being able to stream millions of songs. You can create playlists specific to certain games if you like.
And Spotify Connect is one way of controlling the tracks without ever having to jump out of the game.
- Got a new PS5? This is how to save 50% on a year's PlayStation Plus subscription (US accounts) (promo)
That's not that you need to use a smartphone or tablet device, a quick double tap of the PlayStation button when in a game will bring up a menu that gives you a PlayStation Music mini-player. You can use that to raise the volume or skip tracks and therefore retain some control without having to close down or come out of a game entirely.
We tried the system while playing InFamous: Second Son and first listening to The Who's Baba O'Riley in the background. In-game dialogue continued uninterrupted, just over a different score than originally intended. We then skipped a track to have Delsin Rowe hopping and skipping to Whitney Housten's I Wanna Dance With Somebody. It added an all-new dimension to the game, that's for sure.
Spotify and the PlayStation team have curated some dedicated games playlists to help launch the platform, but you'll find the most fun is in coming up with tracks that suit the mood yourself. We doubt Bloodborne would be quite as daunting with Aqua's Barbie Girl blasting out - although possible even more terrifying.
After the launch of Spotify on PlayStation Music for consoles, the partnered service will launch on Sony Xperia phones and tablets later this year.