It’s December and you’re ready for Wrapped, your personalized Spotify playlist that showcases all the superb musical selections you made throughout the past year. You’re psyched to relive your summer jams, your springtime tunes, and so much more…until you realize Moana takes up three of your top-song spots.
That’s just one reason parents need Spotify Kids, a new separate music streaming app just for kids, which just launched in Ireland for its initial beta test-run. The main impetus behind it is so that parents can trust that nothing but kid songs (or tunes that, at any rate, are totally kid-appropriate) will play on this app, and that your child won’t necessarily be singing “you're takin' shots at me like it's Patrón” the way my niece does. (But I love Taylor Swift and actually encourage my niece to sing that song…that’s what aunties do sometimes.)
Here's everything you need to know.
How to Get Spotify Kids
Spotify Kids is a separate ad-free app currently available to download for customers in Ireland who already pay for Spotify Premium for Family. (Watch for Spotify Kids to hit the U.S. in the next few months!)
Here's how it works: You'll make an account with your child’s name (or nickname, if you don’t want Spotify to know their real name) and it’s optional to enter your child’s birthday, and mandatory to affirm that you are the legal guardian. Spotify reps say they will share none of that, but they will track what your child listens to and keep offering up more of what they like.
Songs Offered on Spotify Kids
Spotify for Kids will launch with a library of some 6,000 songs and stories but will grow from there. Everything is handpicked and curated by actual human editors, so songs are not just screened by bots for curse words but are checked by people to be sure they’re not celebrating, you know, bad behavior.
There’s a channel for young kids and one for older kids and parents can feel out which one is best for each child, up to four kids per family. In general the young-kid section includes nursery rhymes, bedtime tunes, and silly songs, while the older-kid section introduces more safe-for-kids pop tunes (Bruno Mars, Ariana Grande, my beloved Taylor Swift) and longer stories, like Anne of the Green Gables.
- RELATED: 50 Best Christmas Songs for Kids
The only downside I see is that if your family loves to play, for instance, obscure Stevie Wonder songs like ours does, and you totally want your child to hear those, you’ll still need to do that as a family, through your adult Spotify account. You can not add songs to your child’s Spotify for Kids account; the company itself maintains total control of the music on there. But that sacrifice is worth it if your preschooler can take a tablet into their bedroom and have a Frozen dance party for an hour without you needing to get involved.
There are no age restrictions in Spotify's new kid-friendly app; you could make an account for your 6-month-old and use it to play lullabies and nursery rhymes, keeping those off your own account. But Spotify designed the app to also be used by 3-year-olds, perhaps on a tablet while they’re in the car or on a plane, and has made it super easy for pudgy fingers to navigate.
The dozens of playlists for toddlers include “Traffic Jam” (all songs about vehicles!) and “Dinosaurs” but there are also playlists with nothing but Disney songs, all Lego-movie tunes, etc. Parents can check in on what their child plays and can set up additional restrictions if they’d like.
- RELATED: 14 Best Bedtime Songs for Kids