It is no secret that medical practice can lead to high levels of stress and burnout for healthcare professionals. That's why the General Medical Council has started a UK-wide review of medical students' and doctors' wellbeing. Dr Harry Brown, medical editor and Leeds GP, knows a perfect way to relax for free.


Accessing and listening to music has undergone a significant revolution over the last 10 years or so. Today many people access their music via online streaming services, instead of vinyl records or CDs though there is still a demand for a physical medium to store and play music. Most of these streaming services offer a subscription-based model, often requiring a regular payment whilst some offer a free model (which may be temporary) with some restrictions on functionality. Big and well-known tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and YouTube (owned by Google) offer very good music streaming services with different methods of subscriptions. However as an example, I will have a look at just one well-known and popular brand, Spotify but if you want to compare the major music streaming services then read this helpful article.1

I personally have the Spotify premium service and I pay for it but previously I did have the free version which is actually very good and for many people. Have a look at if you want to compare the free and premium services. Spotify has apps 2 for desk based devices as well as apps for mobile devices and I tend to mainly listen to Spotify from my phone (an iPhone) via headphones.

There is a huge selection of music available from Spotify and I am sure that there is something here for the vast majority of the population. There are more than 35 million songs available for streaming 1 and that applies to both the paid for and free versions. In essence, the service is very easy to use and it does not take long to find your way around and listen to music that interests you but under the bonnet, there are some clever and neat features.

Spotify is user friendly and without too much difficulty, you can search for specific songs, albums and artists with ease and it is relatively simple to find what you want and build up your own personalised playlists. The clever algorithms will also detect what kind of music you might like by analysing your musical choices and makes suggestions for further listening which you can accept or ignore.

Under settings (the cog wheel in the top right hand part of the home page, certainly in the iPhone version), there are a whole load of settings (they may not all be available in the free version) which may enhance some people’s musical experience whilst others are simply happy to accept the defaults. For example, in the premium version, within settings and under playback (and plenty of options there) there is an equalizer and there are all sorts of facilities available. These include presets such as acoustic, classical, jazz and piano modes to name just a few audio settings.

Again if you have the premium account, you can connect your Spotify account to some types of smart speakers and it certainly works well on my Amazon smart speaker. I simply ask it to play Spotify 3 and off it goes, however it requires an initial set up in the Alexa app. It can also play on some smartwatches including the Apple Watch.

Also, Spotify offers an amazing selection of podcasts and of course there are a whole range of podcast providers. Having your music and podcasts under the one roof does make sense though you can use Spotify plus other different podcast services or apps if you so wish.

As I have previously said, the free Spotify service 4 could be more than sufficient for many people whilst the benefits of the premium service may be attractive enough for others to part with their cash on a regular basis. Either way, music streaming is here to stay and Spotify and other providers certainly have something to offer people who like to listen to music and or podcasts.