Spotify clears up Wear OS offline playback miscommunication

Wear OS
Wear OS (Image credit: Android Central)

Update, October 21 (03:00 pm ET): Spotify has moved offline playback to "Under Consideration."

What you need to know

  • Wear OS customers have been requesting access to offline playback on Spotify's dedicated app as alternatives like Google Play Music are discontinued,
  • A community manager marked a feature request for the idea as "Implemented" for Wear OS.
  • They also claimed that due to the large number of devices on the Wear OS platform, it was "impossible" to set the request as "implemented."

With the loss of Google Play Music and the lack of a YouTube Music client on Wear OS for now (but not WatchOS), it's now hard to play music offline on your Google-powered smartwatch. Customers have taken to Spotify's community forums to request for the addition of offline playback. Today, the company finally marked the feature implemented. Not because there was a Spotify update coming down the line to add this, but for reasons that don't quite hold water.

Writing on the community forums, a Spotify community manager shared links to Google's Wear OS landing page as well as Spotify's Wear OS support page, noting the ability had been implemented. Neither page makes any reference to offline playback on Wear OS.

As for why users weren't seeing this on any device, they went on to explain:

We have a lot of very good idea submissions in this Idea Exchange. We love getting all your ideas; and we're even happier when we can set any idea to Implemented. However, when we have ideas like this one, that are very broad in nature, it becomes virtually impossible to set it to Implemented because Wear OS (in this case) is a big category and encapsulates many devices. All (wearable) devices are different and support different features; either because of their platform, their software, or their hardware (limitations.)

It's likely there's a miscommunication there — otherwise Spotify would be unable to take any requests for its Windows and Android apps at all since they are "big categories" which encapsulate many more devices than Wear OS could hope to ever feature on. It's also not clear how it's possible to mark the idea as implemented and claim that it would be "virtually impossible" to mark it as an implemented feature. It's one thing to say that verifying it works on all devices is impossible, it's another thing to not be able to point to a single smartwatch or perhaps a set of minimum specs. In the meantime, offline playback in the Wear OS app remains unavailable.

We've reached out to Spotify for a clearer response and will update this when we have more information.

Update, October 21 (03:00 pm ET) — Spotify acknowledges that mistakes were made

As expected, there was an error in communication. The feature has now been moved to under consideration.

A Spotify community manager updated the thread, saying:

We got this one wrong. As you well know, offline playback for Spotify on Wear OS is currently not supported. Sorry about our mistake with the recent update here in Community.

Michael Allison