Instantly Import Your Local Files to Spotify - dummies

Instantly Import Your Local Files to Spotify

By Kim Gilmour

Spotify automatically scans a range of folders in your computer’s hard drive and indexes the music it finds. Click Local Files on the left sidebar in the Spotify window to see them all in the Spotify window’s main pane.

The first time Spotify scans your local files may take a few minutes, depending on how many music files you have, but you can listen to other tracks within Spotify while the files are indexing. Spotify frequently looks for any changes to the index, such as newly added albums imported from a CD by using iTunes or Windows Media Player.

In most cases, you don’t need to worry about manually adding these files. Spotify lists all the tracks in these folders that are in a recognizable file format. To find out the type of file format a track has, open Windows Explorer (or the Finder on the Mac), browse to the track in question, and take a look at its file extension (the part after the dot).

Like digital photos, digital music doesn’t come in just one musical form. The file formats that Spotify is happy to index include

  • MP3: After all these years, MP3 is still the most common digital music file standard out there, even if enthusiasts like to, well, enthuse about other, superior-quality formats. Spotify is confident enough to use MP3s (which have a .mp3 file extension) in its relatively new download store which, in 95 percent of cases, you can get at the maximum quality format of 320 kilobits per second (Kbps).

  • Next-generation AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) files: These types of files come in many flavors and include .mp4, .m4a, and .m4r, as well as.m4p files (apart from rights-protected ones).

  • Some video file formats: These formats include .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, and .mov. Spotify doesn’t play video; but sometimes these files have only audio on them, and Spotify can support that audio format.

Spotify, perhaps surprisingly, doesn’t yet support some file formats. These unsupported file formats include

  • OGG files: Ironically, although Spotify streams its music in Ogg Vorbis format, it can’t yet support importing files in this format.

  • FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) format: Audio fans love this format because it’s lossless, meaning the music loses none of a CD’s original quality when it gets saved as a digital file.