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Spotify's Chromecast approach is the start of an unfortunate new chapter

Spotify and Chromecast
Spotify and Chromecast (Image credit: Android Central)

The internet erupted with applause when Google announced on stage that Spotify would finally be added to the ever-increasing list of apps that support Chromecast. The cheers seemed well deserved, especially since Spotify sat as one of the few big audio experiences without Chromecast support in recent months. Now we not only have Spotify, but the new Chromecast Audio meant it could be enjoyed on just about any speaker you could find.

Unfortunately, now that Chromecast support for Spotify has arrived we see there's a giant caveat to this new feature, and it's hard to look at this as anything other than the start of something bad for all Chromecast users.

Spotify Music updated for iOS and Android today, with a message welcoming Chromecast owners to the new UI for sending audio from your phone to another device. The feature only works for new Chromecast 2015 models for now, as an update to the original Chromecast is needed for Spotify to support it, but by the time that update arrives there will be a lot of happy Spotify users out there. The ability to send your audio off your phone, but still control it with your phone, is amazing. Unlike Bluetooth, there's no system sounds or gaps in playback when you get notifications on your phone when listening through a Chromecast. It's not like AirPlay where the phone or tablet is doing the heavy lifting, either.

Chromecast Spotify

It's a fantastic way to stream, and up until right now every Google Cast device worked in mostly the same way. You cast to a Chromecast the same way you cast to an Nvidia Shield TV or Nexus Player, because all of these things were treated exactly the same by the host app controlling the experience. Now, starting with Spotify, Chromecast Audio units are not treated the same as everything else. In order to use Spotify on a Chromecast Audio, you have to have a Spotify Premium subscription. When Google updates the rest of the Cast lineup the list of things you can cast Spotify to will be significant, but separating out one kind of Cast device hasn't happened before.

While there's nothing wrong with developers making money, a divided user experience seems like a terrible way to get there.

The truly unfortunate part of this is Google's lack of action. It's not unheard of for Chromecast support to live behind a paywall for some of the smaller apps and games, but segregating the Chromecast Audio is entirely about ensuring Spotify is targeting a specific users and treating them differently from the rest of the group. It should be an all or nothing experience with paywalls, where all Chromecasts are always treated the same. There's no technical reason for this to happen, and because Google's control over the Cast ecosystem is not only absolute but entirely private. The only people capable of reaching in and stopping this is the Chromecast team.

While it's hard to fault Google for not being more locked down, the way this is being handled is just plain bad for the users. Perhaps more important, it sets a dangerous precedent for other app developers to attempt. The Chromecast ecosystem is still relatively young, and the larger it gets the more likely we are to see new ways to monetize the experience. While there's nothing wrong with developers making money, a divided user experience seems like a terrible way to get there.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

174 Comments
  • So wait... What I got out of this article is that in order to use Spotify with Chromecast (video or audio) you have to have Spotify Premium. If that's the only problem them I'm more then fine with it. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Only the audio version needs the subscription, which is where I take issue. If all of the Chromecasts were treated equally, I'd be fine with paying for the feature. This separation means not all Chromecasts are created equally, and that's not a great precedent to set.
  • For those of us who don't use Spotify perhaps you can clarify how the ads are delivered in the free version? Are they audio ads or are they on-screen (visual)? My first thought was that there's no visuals with CC Audio therefore no way to present visual ads. But if the ads are included in the audio stream that argument doesn't make sense. Perhaps Spotify is just trying to differentiate the Free vs. Premium a bit more. Perhaps they figure people who like Spotify so much they want to listen to it at home on a CC Audio would like it enough to pay for it?
  • Ads are visual and have audio if you have the app open on the screen, if the app is running in the background ads are just audio. So there's ads regardless. Sloths>Leopards>Bags of Chips>Humans.
  • Same with the Roku, the spotify channel requires premium account, no visual or audible ads. Spoticast is an app to play your spotify lists on Chromecast Audio without the premium account. Also there are settings on the chromecast app to cast the "phone screen / audio" directly to the chromecast audio. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't see it as "not all Chromecasts are created equally" so much as it's "not all Streaming devices are equal".  Spotify really didn't have much choice but to make support for Chromecast Audio subscription based, because it directly competes with Gramofon which is a revenue stream for Spotify. If they left Chromecast Audio functionality as a free no-cost feature, they'd lose that revenue stream from those users who pay to use Gramofon's wifi streaming.  
  • I understand that this is a way for them to bring in more revenue but it needs to be all or non for cast devices... I agree with Russell that all cast devices need to be treated the same, and Google should enforce this... if the cast button is available there in the app I better damn well see all my cast devices when I hit the button. I don't use Spotify and I don't care about Spotify, and this makes me want to use their services even less.
  • So how do you like the new sevendust. I think it's my favorite one since animosity. Dont get me wrong...I love them all. Posted via the Android Central App
  • What am I missing here? I fail to see a problem that will sooner or later cause the end of streaming as we know it.
  • What you're missing is that a chromecast should be a chromecast. When you touch that cast button you should see everything using the cast protocol. If you don't, that's a confusing and bad user experience. Posted via the Android Central App
  • "A [Chromecast's] a [Chromecast], no matter how small." Anybody? Posted via the Android Central App
  • But, the chromecast audio sends out an unencrypted audio signal, which can easily be duplicated and 'ripped' to MP3. Where as with a standard chromecast, the HDMI has DRM protections on its signal.
    Essentially, I see the paywall as a way for spotify to ensure that the device and the ripping that happens, are protected. To tell you the honest truth, I wouldn't be too surprised if the spotify stream has a unique super-frequency for each individual user, that can be tracked if MP3 rips start showing up.
  • who is out there live recording off of spotify to make MP3s? I feel like there has to be so few people out there doing this that it wouldn't really make a difference to them. streaming to record to pirate is just so inefficient and time consuming, why not just P2P or torrent like the rest of the world does?
  • Somebody has to create the FIRST P2P copy.
  • That makes sense and would be a good reason for them to put it being the pay wall.
    However, I wonder who would bother to rip from the low quality of Spotify stream when all music is available from torrents in as bad or better quality anyway.
    It looks like an outdated or disconnected from reality way to lock a feature behind a subscription to me. Posted via the Android Central App
  • spotify premium streams at 320 kbps. Which is pretty darn high quality. But even the regular stream is at 160.
    But, as a counter point to the inefficiencies of ripping a stream, I give you a couple possibilities:
    1) ever heard of the RIAA and their forward thinking?
    2) Where do those torrents come from in the first place (granted, not streams, but also not magically free.
    3) Pirate radio.
  • You mean, like to the headphone port and without meta data and all?
  • Free = partial feature set. $10/month = full feature set. I don't see the problem.
  • Let me see if I understand correctly. There are pretty good comments in this article supporting the restriction of this convenience (audio casting) to premium users. There are no solid arguments supporting the free casting to regular Chromecasts. In addition, the main argument in the article is the inconsistent offering. Should the solution be to restrict casting in all devices, then? Are you just asking Spotify to retire a free service? Is this what is being asked? Shouldn't we just leave this to the market to decide? If this is so bad, you are free to boycott Spotify. Maybe they will respond to the improbable large pressure.
  • Indeed, I really don't see any problem. The "free" Spotify is ilke a trial version - U know what you will be getting (more or less) but you won't be able to use all features. I actually like i that way as a Premium subscriber.
  • I've tried rereading parts of this article and can't really find the complaint. Is it that you have to have Spotify Premium to enable streaming? That seems quite reasonable to me.
  • Ditto. Read it twice and I don't get the upset. So...you have to pay to cast to an audio device?
  • Pretty simple: if you want to cast music to a normal Chromecast (the one with audio and video) you can do it for free. If you want to cast it to the Chromecast Audio (the one with, you guessed it, only audio) you have to pay for Spotify Premium. That's the complaint. It's an extremely stupid move. Spotify doesn't provide videos, so when you cast it to a normal Chromecast, you're just casting audio. But if you try to cast it to the Chromecast Audio...you can't unless you pay.
    What Spotify seems to be doing is attempting to keep people from casting music to proper speakers and instead forcing them to cast to TV speakers (if you want to do it for free, that is) instead. They probably are unaware that you can connect powerful speakers to a TV. If you really think about it, it's a pretty idiotic move by Spotify.
  • Very dumb. They don't allow use on Sonos without a premium account either, which is annoying and baffling considering you can stream from the web version to any bluetooth device.
  • Our tv/chromecast in the living room is hooked up to a big surround sound system and we use it all the time to stream Pandora from our phones/tablets. So I agree this is just stupid. Posted via LG G3
  • You don't need a premium subscription for Chromecast, but you need a premium subscription to use with Chromecast Audio. Russell's point is that you shouldn't have to pay to cast to Chromecast Audio while the regular Chromecast remains free(ad-supported). They should make you pay for both or make both free. He also points out that it's a bad precedence. I agree. Nexus 6
  • They don't want to pay for the option
  • Vote with your wallet people. Don't give Spotify your money. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh good... Thought I was loosing my reading comprehension skills....
  • Have you figured out how to use cast from Hulu without a Hulu+ account? If not, the paywall already existed. Posted via the Android Central App on my Droid Turbo
  • The paywall isn't the issue.
  • That's what seems to be the point of the article...
  • The point of the article is that they are targeting a specific device (Chromecast Audio) with the paywall and not the regular Chromecast video(s). His issue is why not do it to both versions, instead of one specific device. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just reread the article after reading the comments here and I understand that now. Just didn't the first time lol.
  • Give it time. If you have to pay for one, the other will not be too far behind.
  • Because Spotify's ads are visual. I've never understood people who bitch and moan over free stuff. Don't like it? Then pay for the premium. Don't want to pay? Then you have no right to complain. Spotify doesn't control how Google's hardware is made. This is Google's problem.
  • Nobody gets the article at all? Russell's not talking about a paywall. Russell clearly states that you can cast to your regular Chromecast using a free account, but to cast it to your Chromecast Audio dongle, you MUST be a premium subscriber to Spotify. It's not that hard to figure out. I agree 100% with Russell. Charging for one and not the other is a dangerous and BAD precedent. Either allow it on ALL devices with just a free account, or ONLY allow it with a premium sub.
  • Does he say that? If so I wouldn't say it was "clearly". I read the article and I didn't know about the difference between chromecast audio and video until I read Russell responding to comments here. Time to reread lol.
  • Yes he does:
    "Now, starting with Spotify, Chromecast Audio units are not treated the same as everything else. In order to use Spotify on a Chromecast Audio, you have to have a Spotify Premium subscription." - Seems pretty clear... he even mentions the full name, chromecast audio, twice in a very short period. But, no matter what, casting to either chromecast should NOT be for premium members only... it's stupid! And why is it that you can cast to ps4 even with a non paying membership.
  • Right, when I read that the first time my brain registered that not as chromecast audio but as all chromecasts. I thought he was talking about the pay wall. I've since reread it abs understand what he's saying now.
  • I think a lot of people read the headline and maybe the first paragraph and then comment.  Unfortunately, Russell didn't fully clarify his point until further down in the article.  I was a little confused for a moment myself.
  • I don't really understand what the fuss is all about. If someone wanted to stream music to chromecast he just needed to choose a streaming service that does that. It's not like Spotify users have their hands tied.
  • what if because spotify started doing this, with in the next year or so ALL of the other major players in the music streaming services started doing this? ^ that is the whole point of the article... hence being a bad precedent.
  • I understand that. My question is more about all the hype around the fact that spotify is finally on chromecast. I probably should have post that a couple of articles earlier.
  • Agreed that cutting Chromecast Audio out is unfair (would consider it a minor annoyance at most). Having said that, I think readers are a little confused because the point that this post tries to convey is buried 1/2 way down and in the middle of a paragraph which starts by focusing on the great universal compatibility of Chromecasts.
  • ^This. The article needs some reworking to make things clearer. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not really. People need to actual read, not just pretend the words are funny pictures. Pants
  • I'm in agreement here, the article is fine, people need to stop being stupid and comprehend what they are reading... the article is clear as day, and apparently the comments here are proof that public schools are failing us.
  • +1 I understand it just fine. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Very well said.
    +God Infinite Posted via the Android Central App From my Blackberry Priv where I am out of toilet paper
  • So much this, coming from a teacher... Posted via the Android Central App
  • While not being confused, I do agree that the point was buried too far down. I actually stopped reading it and jumped right to the comments BEFORE I got to the point of the article because I was bored with opinions. State your argument or point in the first few sentences of the first paragraph then get on with the opinions. I eventually went back to finish reading after seeing too many comments about subscriptions. My first full reading I totally disregarded the subscription and focused on the accessibility between the two, Chromecast vs CC Audio. Just as an fyi, and I know I'm not alone, but I've been able to cast Spotify to my CC for awhile know via mirroring and it's been good enough for me, even though my entire screen is visible when I minimize Spotify and the world can see me play games, surf the web or text...meh.
  • First off the new sevendust is awesome!! Second I think this is more about Spotify wanting their free tier customers to pay for Spotify. They want it to be free if you are using aweful iPad speakers. But premium home audio. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just to clarify... All Chromecast streaming should be done with the premium Spotify only. My guess though is that they feel the regular Chromecast is meant to go into the back of tvs and use the TV speakers. So they feel like it is not a premium experience similar to using an iPad. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Is this really new? Don't video apps do the same thing? Google's own YouTube is now explicitly being pitched as a music experience, and I can't use it with CC Audio. It's a weird distinction for them to make, especially given that CC Audio is going to be the rarer of the two for a long time. It may have to do with the legal agreements around Spotify's own connected speaker protocol, promising oems that adopt it exclusivity for the free tier. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not like Google supports Windows Phone. And having used Apple TV, Roku 3, Chromecast, Bluetooth, and a plain old HDMI cable, why does anyone use Chromecast in the first place?
  • Why? Because it's better, easier and faster to use than all the others you have listed... duh...
  • Oh, so it's easier when I want to stream Netflix or Hulu + or HBO on my TV to have to turn on my computer and then use my computer and/or my phone to control my TV to watch ??? And when connecting a computer to a TV, NOTHING -- no streaming device that I have seen -- comes close to working as well as running an HDMI cable from the computer to the TV. Sure it's possible to use computers and phones to control my TV. But why bother??? Streaming from a computing device just adds another layer of complexity. Oh sure there may be an application or two where a Chromecast may come in handy but for pure streaming there are better solutions than Chromecast. If one enjoys being all geeked out and fiddling with a bunch of devices to do something that pretty much all of the streaming devices already to, then I guess Chromecast is a good solution. For everyday streaming -- get a dedicated device. And a Roku isn't much more $$$ than a Chromecast.
  • Where are the bunch of devices you have to fiddle with? I turn on my TV, which is kind of essential, then I select the content on my phone, which I've already got handy. The experience is seamless, and I don't have to scroll through menus. Posted via the Android Central App powered by Droid Turbo
  • Ahhh. I get it now. When others are visiting you and you are in another room, or doing something else, or maybe you are at work, and they want to watch netflix or something else you let them borrow your phone. And/or you tell them hey, if you want to watch netflix, bring your phone to my house. Or here, use my computer/tablet to watch netflix. Then you can have another device in the middle (tablet/computer/phone) instead of just a direct connect from my TV to my router. And then when they ask for a remote, you say "What do you mean you'd rather just use a simple remote?" That's is so 1980s!!!! I guess you could always own two devices -- a Chromecast and a dedicated streaming device. You can use the Chromecast, and your friends/family the Roku. Which brings me back to my first point -- just buy a dedicated streaming device -- like a Roku Stick which is just a little more than a Chromecast.. Most folks are just gonna opt for the streaming device with a dedicated remote.... To each their own I guess... Hey, I have a Chromecast. I tried it. It's in the box. I guess it has a "niche." But as a PRIMARY streaming device? No thanks!
  • You are being silly. They can actually use their own phone, just let them on your wifi and the chromcast button appears in the appropriate apps. I've done it at other houses and it's just fine. Pants
  • Perhaps I'm old. but probably not silly. Not too many of my friends and family want to user their PHONE in order to watch Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu + on a TV. If one want's to use ones PHONE as a primary streaming device, then I suppose Chromecast is a viable solution. Heck, most folks I know (including myself) are concerned about prolonging their phones battery life. Especially when not at home. Seems to me everyone in the room having access to a SINGLE device via a remote control is simpler. Then if someone wants to step out of the room to do something, like make a phone call, everyone else in the room can keep watching without fear of an interuption. Also, not everyone in the world has a smartphone, or already knows how to use Chromecast, or is on the Google ecosystem. Everyone over the age of 5 pretty much knows how to use a remote control. Hey I own a Roku 3, FireStick, Apple TV, and Chromecast. The biggest pain of all these devices for me is the Chromecast because it requires ANOTHER DEVICE in order to stream. That's all I'm saying... If one wants to STREAM and only own a SINGLE DEVICE, a dedicated device is going to work better. I imagine most Chromecast users also have a dedicated device -- so that others can use the TV more like traditional TV. For most SINGLE DEVICE streamers, I can't see how Chromecast is the best solution. Just can't see it!!!! And most tech reviewers say the same thing.
  • You clearly have no idea how the chromecast works. Your phone does in fact not stream the content, it is only a remote. the chromecast is streaming. That also means no interruption even if you get a phone Call... No battery drainage. Also chromecast supports HDMI remote control.
    And yes not everyone owns a smartphone, but i'd Wager most people who streams do. Also it's super conveniant especially when friends are over, since they Can cast a stream ti the chromecast extremely easy. You Can also stream local content from a computer, without cables. Chromecast is without a doubt the most hassle free streaming device out there.
  • Bingo! I didn't realize he thought the Chromecast was only there to mirror his phone or tablet or PC. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Right... you have to tell them to bring their phone to your house, otherwise I'm sure they don't normally carry their phone. And not every TV is a smart TV, so you can't just connect it to WiFi. I have 3 smaller ones upstairs and my router is downstairs. I'm not going to run network cables through my floors and walks when I can plug in a $35 Chromecast, which I consider to be a dedicated streaming device. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Im really trying not to be rude, but others who read your comments need to know exactly where your comments stand... You must be a comment troll looking for attention (which I am giving you). Much as you think that "most people don't carry their phones" I would imagine there is absolutely no way you have a Roku, Apple TV, etc, etc, and are sooooooo far off base on what a chromecast is, or how it works. As has been said many times before, a chromecast is a fully functional android device, which simply doesn't have its own screen. You don't need wires, you don't need to tie up your phone, you don't need to stare at that tiny little smartphone screen, it is not (though it can) mirror your phone screen. You can get up and walk out of the room with your phone, and the video plays on, it does not drain on your battery.... and about a dozen other inaccuracies in your posts.
  • Yeah... I think you replied to the wrong comment. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Once you have it and use it, it quickly becomes a lifesaver. Not the delicious candy one. The other one. I have literally traveled all over the world for business. It's an enormous pain in the ass to get out the laptop, get out the HDMI cable, get out the charger for the laptop and then realize there is no power outlet available around the TV. So you have to put a chair in the middle of the room between the TV and the desk. Then you plug in the laptop and realize that your HDMI cable just doesn't quite reach the TV. There's only so much space in your laptop bag, so carrying a 50 foot long HDMI cable is out of the question. So now you unplug the laptop and hope that sweet battery tech that isn't worth a shit will last long enough to get you through a 2 hour movie. You have your mouse on the bed with you as your PC remote and it sucks. Or plug in your Chromecast, start the stream on your phone and sit back. And you don't HAVE to use your PC or phone to control it. My TV remote has pause/play/ff/rew/skip buttons that do the job for me once the cast starts. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I wanted it to be the delicious one. +1 anyways for being absolutely right :)
  • Did they ever fix it to where you can log into a hotel wifi page if needed to get access?
  • +1 Another argument would be if someone has a special app that requires a login, rather than them having to login to your device with their credentials, they can simply just press play (or whatever it is) with their device. This simplifies the login process so much. Plus, if you change the password on your account, you only have to change it on your phone rather than changing it on your other device, as well. Posted via the Android Central App
  • To answer your question, the reason people use chromecast is cause their phones and apps support it. If the only way you can use it is from your computer, then sure you're going to have a shitty experience, but for those of us on Android and iPhone, it's kind of the best thing out there. Find exactly the content you want using your phone with it's built in keyboard and then shoot it up to your TV, which then does all the streaming, all without ever needing a clunky remote with 5 or 6 buttons. No laggy interface to deal with; just get straight to the action. Posted via the Android Central App powered by Droid Turbo
  • Definitely need more emphasis that this premium requirement is not needed for regular GoogleCast products (such as ChromeCast and AndroidTV units), but singles out ChromeCast Audio users (the new device that allows for audio streaming to stereo equipment). It wasn't until reading the comments here that I was able to sort out what you were trying to say. Your article could definitely use some clarifying statements Russell.
  • I believe the key line people are missing is: "Now, starting with Spotify, Chromecast Audio units are not treated the same as everything else" where "everything else" would be like an original chromecast or the shield tv. So you've now effectively divided up the Chromecast ecosystem, which will just cause confusion. Google really needs to sort that out now rather than later.
  • Yep there ya go. I didn't read the phrase "everything else" to mean the video chromecast and Android TV products. The first time I read it I thought he was talking about other audio products, like maybe streaming speakers or headphones, or something like that.
  • Okay just reread the article after reading the comments here and I understand the point Russell is talking about now. I think maybe it's confusing because the new chromecast audio and chromecast video aren't directly juxtaposed and also possibly because when you read the phrase "chromecast audio" your brain didn't interpret it as a specific product (yet) but more as the audio that plays from a chromecast. If that makes any sense lol. Kudos to you that got it the first time, but I was not one of you lol.
  • Great, maybe google will force you to have a premium subscription for Spotify on all devices. Problem solved! Happy now?
  • Yes.
  • I agree. Better to do that, than introduce 'fragmentation' to Google cast devices. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Android is about choice....
  • Yes...that's what this article is about. All or none Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think that's exactly what Spotify should do. They are doing this in the first place to get more subscriptions so they stop hemoraging money. Posted via the Android Central App
  • actually yes. thats at least fair for every one...
  • Didn't (or do they still?) Spotify sell something similar that allowed you to steam music to an standard stereo system? I forget what it was called... But that required a premium account also. Perhaps they don't want to annoy people who paid for that. Pretty stupid reasoning, but just a thought. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Gramofon. It is called gramofon. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Next up, reading comprehension 101. Posted via the Android Central App
  • we're all doomed... "well when i read Chromecast Audio, I didn't understand that they were ONLY talking about the CC Audio... I though that was just a new slang term for all casting deceives..."
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'm guessing this has something to do with the output and being able to record it. The standard output from the Chromecast audio could be easily recorded where as recording it off the HDMI output would be harder. This might be a necessity so people don't just record the songs they want and stop listening to commercials or pay for a premium subscription. If I had to guess this was forced on by the record labels but I could be wrong.
  • I'm guessing they did this because of the coming Multiroom feature of Chromecast Audio
  • There has always been an easy way to turn a standard Chromecast into an audio output with an HDMI splitter w/audio out or simple HDMI -> audio adapter. Anyone not willing to pay for Spotify could just use this solution...
  • Actually, separating the two devices makes perfect sense to me. The regular Chromecast has both video and audio, so ads can be presented to the video while the audio plays. The audio-only Chromecast doesn't have that option, so you need to effectively pay for an ad-free version of the app. The alternative would be for Spotify to inject audio commercials, and I don't think anyone wants that.
  • What's the difference between chromecast showing video ads, and chromecast audio playing audio ads? Posted via the Android Central App
  • You don't have to look at the video ads, and they don't interrupt the listening experience.
  • They do, every video ad on Spotify also has sound. Spotify also has no issue with audio only ads when one listens through their phone. Sloths>Leopards>Bags of Chips>Humans.
  • Then why would anyone use the Spotify app? I assumed that Spotify worked like other streaming music sites, like Google Music. If that's not the case, the people using it are just gluttons for punishment.
  • Ads are only if you use it for free. Spotify premium removes all ads. People use Spotify for the good UI, expansive library, and because it's one of the older services so it's well known. Sloths>Leopards>Bags of Chips>Humans.
  • Google Music also has ads when you use it for free, but they don't interrupt the audio.
  • Also, for Spotify Connect (which have been able to cast and remote control for several years).
  • Probably how much they get paid for ads. Video ads can be displayed while a song is playing, audio ads are interstitial and interrupt music playback.
  • video ads are more profitable. throwing in enough audio ads to make up the difference would be a bad user experience.
  • I understand your point in the article here, but I still don't see WHY this is "bad." Everybody is agreeing but nobody is saying WHY this is bad. It totally makes sense on Spotify's part: all of the other devices are tethered to a tv, which you're certainly not going to lug around town and be mobile with. You can't take a Nexus Player to the beach, connect it to a hotspot, and start playing music through a boom box... Nor a Chromecast for that matter. Chromecast Audio has a WAAAYYYY larger potential install base, and everybody knows that. And remember: we're only talking about the DONGLE right now. When dedicated speakers start shipping with this built-in, it's going to make even MORE SENSE for Spotify. Wireless portable speakers at the beach or park, built-in to the radio in our cars... So, again, WHY is this "bad?" What are you so worried about?
  • Larger install base? Says who? It still requires an Internet connection to play Audio on the speakers to begin with. You can't simply play the speakers outside without expecting any nearby Wi-Fi connection. The phones are not doing the work. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hotspot.
  • You can already cast to speakers like Sonos and others. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Oh! I didn't know it was already in production models... Thanx!
  • You can't take a chromcast out unless you got an internet connection. My suspicion is that spotify knows the multiroom audio is coming and that LOTS of people will use that. As such, they want to make more money on it.
  • Hotspot.
  • true. But then you need a phone to cast from, a hot spot, and the chromecast along with your speaker. That's hardly the "OMG we need to put a surcharge on those people" type of market. I'm still guessing that spotify sees the writing on the wall. Those who want the cheap multiroom system are probably willing to pay for their spotify account. Or...I guess it all could just be a snaffoo of developers? lol
  • I *still* don't see anybody stating what they're so worried about. It's fine to have an opinion, but can you at least quantify it for everybody? Go ahead and hate Spotify. Hate Apple. Hate Google. Whatever - but at least be able to justify your opinion with something other than an ambiguous "this is bad bad BAD!"
  • Basically, Chromecast is now being increasingly fragmented with each major update and new product introduced to the Chromecast line. Not surprising. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Perhaps not surprising, but sad. Part of the beauty of chromecast is its simplicity. This takes away some of that simplicity and sets a bad precident. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I'll just keep Chromecast (video) connected to my AVR, and leave the TV off when streaming audio.... (Well, technically it doesn't matter to me since I gladly pay for Spotify Premium, but I do see why it could set a bad precedent). Posted via the Android Central App
  • Just on more reason to not use Spotify. Loaded it up once a few weeks ago and was totally not impressed. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Too much music?
  • This article has no point other than someone bitching because they don't like the way Spotify is running its business. There's a simple solution, wait for it.... "Keep streaming using the standard Chromecast!" See?, problem solved!
  • Will lg and sony also need to update the firmwire on their cast enabled speakers in order for spotify premium to be able to play music on them (like the old chromecast needs to be) or does it already work? Im asking because im thinking of buying them... And if a fw update is needed im gonna wait for it to be released first. You can never trust lg/sony that they will be making the update to their current set. Posted via Android Central App
  • This isn't the first case of different devices being handled differently. I have both a shield Android TV and a chromecast, with the chromecast being upstairs on a small TV. I subscribed to HBO Now as soon as they announced chromecast support, but it will only cast to the chromecast, not the shield. I don't understand why they are treated differently. Google needs to correct this kind of thing. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Hate Spotify. They are the ones doing this. Have no problem streaming Google Music or Beyond Pod or Pandora Posted via the Android Central App
  • Russell, how exactly were you streaming the free Spotify to your Chromecast originally? Were you mirroring your screen and streaming from your phone? If so then that was not technically condoned/supported by Spotify, it was a case of you were just able to do it. II had the Gramofon units from kickstarter, these officially supported streaming from Spotify, and these also required a premium Spotify account to access the streaming. It's not Google treating the 2 versions of Chromecast differently at all. Spotify official streaming to a secondary device (as far as i am aware) has always been only availble to premium users. Sorry but this is a really badly written article.
  • He didn't say Google was treating the devices differently. Spotify is. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But google is kind of allowing them too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google fragments the Chromecast experience with their own app. I am not able to sent the audio from YouTube videos to my Chromecast audio. Now obviously YouTube is a video app. But with the push to make YouTube a music service, I would think Google would allow me to send the audio to my Chromecast audio. (This YouTube issue is my one and only complaint for Chromecast audio) Posted via the Android Central App
  • The point of YouTube being a music service is video, surely. If you don't want video, use Play Music. If you pay for one, you get the other anyway. Posted via the Android Central App
  • There is a ton of content that is available in YouTube but not in Google music. Just have a look at live music sets. I am not interested in the video, just the audio....especially when I have my Chromecast audio in my bedroom without and video equipment. Posted via the Android Central App
  • OK, fair point. But that seems like a fairly niche reason. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Google encourages YouTube use as a music service, they added background playback for this purpose, so audio can continue playing back even though the app is no longer showing video.
  • Then just stop using Spotify, switch to Google Play Music, and tell Spotify why. They'll get the message.
  • So - why is the author blaming Google for this??? This seems pretty clearly to be a choice by Spotify to support the devices differently.
  • the author is blaming google for allowing this to continue. spotify made the choice to do this, spotify is being blamed for setting this bad precedent, but google could step in and say, NO this is our system and if you want to be on it, then you need to do it this way...
  • <3 GPM :)
  • I don't understand...
    Can you rewrite this to more clearly make your point? Mmmkay, thanks.
  • "The only people capable of reaching in and stopping this is the Chromecast team." Have you forgotten about the great Bernie Sanders?! Chromecast Neutrality for all! Equality for all! #FeelTheBern Vomit
  • "In order to use Spotify on a Chromecast Audio, you have to have a Spotify Premium subscription" Which opens the doors for Google Play Music because that restriction doesn't exist. I miss Spotify a little because of all the time I had invested in playlists and I really miss the syncing across devices but I've already settled into using Google Music and my streaming service. I cast my music to one of our TVs via Chromecast (I have yet to pull the trigger on a good speaker/stereo system) and via Bluetooth in the car. Considering the amount of hours I spend listening to music using Google Music, the experience is all but glitchless (which was not always the case). Could the UI use improvements? Hell yes. The lack of cross device syncing for pausing and replaying and the awful horrible terrible duplication issues in my library are my only two sore points with the service. I don't think Spotify will every get me back.
  • What's really stupid is that Spotify doesn't make any more or less money just because someone casts the service at all. This is just a powerplay to force (or try to force) more paid users. The Chromecast Audio is probably going to do well for all the reasons the original has: very handy for very little money. Good chance Spotify users are exactly the kind of folks who would be interested in something like a Chromecast Audio as well. This reminds me of the kind of thinking Amazon employed when removing the Apple TV and Chromecast from its website.
  • No. They have their own Spotify Connect feature that is only available to premium subscribers. That's why Chromecast Audio also requires premium.
  • Article is only half correct. You can screen audio cast all device audio via Chromecast master application to Chromecast Audio with non-premium Spotify. Just did it successfully.
  • But that's not the point of the Chromecast, and not the point of the article. Here's the important statements from it:
    "Unlike Bluetooth, there's no system sounds or gaps in playback when you get notifications on your phone when listening through a Chromecast. It's not like AirPlay where the phone or tablet is doing the heavy lifting, either." When you are screen-casting "all device audio", then it's no different than using a Bluetooth speaker or Airplay. In short, screen casting stinks compared to native casting.
  • If I'm not mistaken, you can simply cast the audio from your device to Chromecast audio, you just can't cast directly from the app. So if you were using the freemium option, your CC audio is still usable.
  • Whoops I replied to the wrong person and can't immediately delete this. Sorry.
  • Here's the thing for me. I'm *NOT* a Spotify customer. I get plenty of free music from Google Play, I like their radio function and their instant list function. I do have Pandora, and don't mind the commercials. But I would have totally gotten a freemium ad-supported Spotify account to Cast to my new Audio. Now, they just lost that opportunity. I'll stick with my other options.
    Now, if i already WERE a freemium ad-supported customer, and then I went out and bought the Chromecast Audio to use it with, only to realize it won't work like the regular Chromecat... then I'd be livid.
  • If I'm not mistaken, you can simply cast the audio from your device to Chromecast audio, you just can't cast directly from the app. So if you were using the freemium option, your CC audio is still usable.
  • Google play music sucks in europe, because they dont have currated playlists... The radio just isnt a good substitute for a humanly made playlist. Posted via Android Central App
  • Spoiler: the US playlists are about 99% trash anyways
  • Are google play musics playlists any better (in the states)? Posted via Android Central App
  • It's Spotify's service, so if they want Chromecast support as a premium feature, they are definitely justified. And frankly, it's more than worth paying for. Works seamlessly with my Chromecast audio.
  • But what you're missing is that you don't need to be a premium customer to cast to a regular Chromecast. You do need to be a premium customer to cast to a Chromecast Audio.
  • First of all Spotify on the chromcast was never officially supported my Spotify, so I'm not sure what everyone is complaining about. Samsung Galaxy S6
  • This post took WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too long to get to the point
  • This should surprise no one.
    The Android OS is fragmented. There are MVNO phones for sale that still have Gingerbread on them, so why wouldn't Google hardware be fragmented?
    The Google Play Store has apps allowed to override stock phone functions, like bank apps that disable the screenshot function during an app's use. Why are apps allowed to do this, Google?
    This hardware fragmentation is no different. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Er, NO! Look at Hulu. You have to have a Plus subscription to watch anything from any Chromecast.
    Now look at Spotify. If you have a Spotify Premium subscription you can listen to anything from any Chromecast.
    So far the services act the same. But Spotify gives you a bonus. You can listen using the free service (unlike Hulu) if you use the general purpose Chromecast.
    Would you rather that Spotify NOT offer that bonus in order to follow some ideal of ideological purity? This seems bizarre. P.S. any reference to Google being responsible for this is ridiculous. Google provides the open APIs and ANYONE can cast-enable ANYTHING so long as they adhere to basic terms such as not casting illegal content. If you don't like Spotify's policy, don't use the service. Send them an email telling them why you're not using the service. If enough people agree with you, Spotify will feel the pinch and change their policy.
  • Except why on earth would I try to cast hulu to an audio-only device? Posted via the Android Central App
  • i wouldn't be surprised if this was 100% the fault of record companies and their ridiculous contracts and not Spotify at all, like how they would treat Android tablets and Android phones differently because of screen size due to the recording industry legalese. i can imagine some bean counter arguing the value of audio only vs audio and video and how that is a completely different experience and requires completely different financial compensation.
  • Maybe they can fix the problem complety by removing the free access from the regular Chromecast. Music isn't free people. I don't get why an article had to be written about this. The only real problem is people not wanting to pay to listen to their favorite artists.
  • I guess I don't really have a problem with this. Yes it is the first time two different types of Chromecast have been treated differently, but this is also the first time we have had two different types of Chromecasts.
  • I don't see what the fuss is about. Chromecast audio is a new product. It should be compared to other audio only products like Sonos etc. not TV media solutions despite the Chromecast name.
  • I am not sure why you think that Google should care. Yes, they want the use metrics from Spotify users, but If Chromecast Audio users want to use a paid unlimited Music service on their Chromecast, "well, lookie here" Google has their own paid service, through which they can collect direct $ and more complete metrics. I kind of felt that the Chromecast was invented to directly promote Google's own Monetized media services.
  • That was easy - Hear the of Spotify streaming support, look at Spotify and it doesn't stream; uninstall Spotify; continue streaming with Google Music.
    Although, I could just cast my tablet on OS level to ChromeCast Audio, which I already do for audio book apps, but why bother...
  • So just do what the rest of us have been doing for an audio Chromecast since they came out: buy an HDMI TO VGA+3.mm audio converter and plug your speakers into the 3mm jack. If a regular Chromecast still works with Spotify, this should get around their premium requirement. Otherwise, quit whining and pay for their service.
  • I just chose to use a litany of alternate services including my own tunes.
  • I was just about to post this, and I don't even use this method. It seems a simple work around. $15 on Amazon plus whatever audio cable you might need and you have Spotify through a Chromecast on any old device you could hope for. I might get one just so I can take a Chromecast to a party that doesn't have an HDMI capable TV.
  • So... If you have a chromecast "video" and want to send Netflix content to it, you must have a paid Netflix account. The same with HBO Go.
    How is this any different? I fail to see the issue here. Spotify is delivering content which they are making money off of. This is their business. Just because you have a device capable of playing their content does not mean you get it for free.
    The developers and other employees at Spotify are in this to make a living, not to mention the musical artists. Look, i own a TV. Does this mean i should get cable TV for free? Of course not. That's just not how it works.
    Love ya Russell, but this article is kinda pointless. That said, i have a Chromecast Audio, and a premium Spotify account. I'm loving this new feature, and am happy to pay for it.
    Now, having to pay to stream music I already own, and store locally on my computer or phone, that's another story, but fortunately, is not what is happening now.
  • Doesn't Deezer do the same thing with the Chromecast 1? You can use the Deezer on your phone but can't cast without being a Premier subscriber. I don't see the difference. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Here I am complaining about free things.
  • This functionality has been available with Spotify Connect for years now... 2-3 years or even longer?
    Even my 2012 Onkyo A/V receiver supports it, and many other devices.
    I believe it requires a premium subscription (not sure though, been a premium user since day 1). https://www.spotify.com/us/connect/
    https://support.spotify.com/us/learn-more/guides/#!/article/spotify-connect
  • The free market will dictate. There are other streaming options out there that support free casting. Spotify is not the be all and end all of streaming. If they lose enough marketshare, the will have to provide the casting feature free in order to compete. Posted via the Android Central App
  • My take is that users with a free account are only allowed to cast to the chromecast (audio and video) for free because it will be easier and or more viable for spotify to serve ads to users using this type of medium. It might prob be harder and less lucrative for them to serve ads to users will just audio only, with no visuals. i mean, are the ads on radio broadcasts that effective compared to ads on YouTube, for example? I could be wrong; i have no sources to back this up; but it seems audio+video is a better medium to me. So spotify is going to force you to pay hem directly and get rid of the ads altogether so they don't have to deal with the hurdle that is finding way to make audio only ads just as lucrative as videos. Something they would have to do due to the mass migration on customers to a platform (chromecast audio) that is what people have been wanting for a while.
  • Lamest topic ever for an article. I would understand if this were some troll on a Spotify forum, but as an article for a reputable blog it is pretty disappointing. Have you heard of Netflix? You can view or cast ONLY if you pay. Spotify is the same except, as a BONUS, they allow free listening but not casting. Pay the $7.99 you cheapskate. A perfect example of the entitled freeloaders that keep musicians in the poor house. If anything I hope this DOES set a precedent that gives services an additional benefit to leverage paying members.
  • Its easy to cast spotify to chromecast audio on an android phone, set spotify playing, open chromecast app, check the menu button and the fly out menu gives you the option to cast the screen/ or audio to your chromecast devices, choose your chromecast audio device and cast away. works well not only with spotify but on other apps not chromecast enabled. You do not need a premium account to do this work round. I dont know if this works for ios
  • I don't use Spotify, but they should be able to do whatever they want with their service. If people don't like it, don't use it and they might change. I use Sirius and sometimes Pandora. Posted via the Android Central App
  • The important questions for me are not raised in this article:
    Will Android TV and Google Cast for Audio Devices also receive the update? Is there a new API or is it closed and only for Spotify?
    I think fragmentation would be a big Problem for the Chromecast!
  • You know... there's a hundred different ways to get media on the internet these days, but pound for pound I have yet to see one single way of getting it that's 100% reliable, allows you to download EXACTLY what you want when you want it like good old Torrents. I can watch all my favorite TV shows, movies, read my favorite books, listen to the songs I want with a LOT less fuss than any alternatives out there. And the best part is that once i load them on my tablet or phone I can watch them with Chromecast without any 3rd party interference just by selecting Cast Screen. I've had a couple of people try to sway me over to Kodi streaming this year and it's a hot mess compared to how I do it.
  • Late to this I know, but I have read the article and a lot of the comments and for me it is simple. You should not have to pay to move/throw sound from your phone to an external speaker, because that is essentially all you are doing with a CC Audio. I see it as no different than bluetoothing in the car, plugging into the AUX socket etc etc. How many of you would be happy if Spotify tried to charge you to use the AUX port on your stereo! Do you have to pay Spotify to Bluetooth to a speaker from your laptop? No you don't.
    I get the free/paid version business model, pay to remove ads makes absolute sense or gain more worthwhile features, but changing your audio output for me is a joke, especially as a lot of people my kids included already do that anyway with an aux lead or bluetooth.