Spotify is one of the biggest names in music these days, and as such, Spotify has made deals with a vast number of products and platforms to ensure its users can easily play Spotify whenever and wherever they want. There are audio receivers, smart speakers, TVs, set top boxes, video game consoles that are Spotify-compatible, but how do you create a uniform playback experience across such a diverse product set?
You do it with a little luck, a little technological magic, and Spotify Connect.
Now, there are numerous protocols and standards for sending audio to a separate device. Sonos has theirs, Google has Cast, Apple has AirPlay, and other systems like car head units can have unique and temperamental protocols for sending and controlling music. Spotify Connect is the programming and interface that Spotify uses to bridge the gap between all of those separate controls and a single user interface.
Spotify Connect can see other Connect-enabled devices on its connected Wi-Fi network and offer them up to you under Devices Available in the Spotify playback window to listen on. You can start playing music on your phone, then use Connect to send the music to your Connect-enabled audio receiver. Want to send the music to your computer so you can keep listening while you work? Open Spotify's desktop or web app, tap the Devices Available icon, and you can pull your currently playing queue from your phone or smart speaker to the computer's speakers.
The following devices work with Spotify Connect:
- All Android phones and tablets running the Spotify app
- All iOS phones and tablets running the Spotify app
- Computers running the Spotify desktop app or web app
- Google Home and Chromecast products
- Sonos speakers (Spotify Premium required)
- PlayStation 4
- Xbox One
- Some Smart TVs by Samsung, Phillips, Sharp, and Sony
- Amazon Echo speakers (opens in new tab)
The less awesome side of Spotify Connect
That said, Spotify Connect is not without drawbacks. It's reliant upon all the devices being on the same Wi-Fi network, so if your house is big enough to need two routers, you could lose control of your music should your phone switch networks while moving from room to room. Spotify Connect is also somewhat hobbled for Spotify Free users, with many devices not working unless you're a Spotify Premium member, including Sonos. On the note of Sonos, you have to enable Spotify's control of Sonos speakers through the Sonos app through the Add Music Services menu.
Another small pitfall of Spotify Connect is that unlike a set protocol like Bluetooth or Google Cast, Spotify is a proprietary program and it can be removed from connected speakers and devices, which happened to some unlucky legacy speaker users when Spotify updated its Connect API. Spotify Connect is reliant not only upon Spotify's continued updates but the continued updates by the device manufacturer, after all, so when choosing a Spotify-enabled device, choose a device that you expect long-term support from.
Whether you want to keep your jams going as you bounce from device to device or you just want to fill your home or car with music, Spotify Connect makes it as painless as possible. Has Spotify Connect helped you keep the music flowing, or has it thrown off your groove a time or two too many? Let us know!
Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.
Spotify Connect is not dependent on devices being on the same WiFi network. I've used Spotify Connect from my computer at home to control playback on my computer at work. I can use it to control playback on my phone from my computer while my phone isn't connected to WiFi. The only thing required is that you're signed in to the same account.
I can confirm this as well.
My apologies, I should have clarified. Spotify Connect relies on Wi-Fi when adding a device to your Spotify connect device list.
I have accidentally played music on my Google Home from work. They are definitely on separate wifi networks and several miles away. It is actually very annoying. I wish it only worked on the same wifi network.
Thanks for breaking this down! I always accidentally click on Spotify Connect for some reason, and glad to know what its uses are.
Spotify is so look overrated.
It's popular, I'll give it that. But I find myself jonesing for my own music from time to time, and I can't listen to any personal tracks on Spotify, just the catalog.
My only complaint with Spotify Connect is their volume consistency. I am constantly having to adjust the volume up and down as different songs come on.
Yeah, Spotify Connect doesn't normalize volume or enable gapless playback, which is a big fat pain when listening to a lot of soundtracks.
Spotify Connect, for me, is a large part of why I stick with Spotify over other music services. Of course Spotify is unrivaled in areas such as music discovery but Connect is also unmatched. I have an S8 (but this applies to my iPhones in the house too), Sonos system, and 3 Echos. With Connect, I can stay in the Spotify app and simply select which device I want music to come out of, and it does. Try to do that with ANY other music service! Without Connect, I'd be in the Sonos app to listen to music in my living room on Sonos, plus the Sonos app is atrociously bad (and why do I want 2 apps for music anyway?). I'd have to bluetooth to the Echos for music in various spots around the house (and switching bluetooth connections is tedious). I also could not have control of what's playing on my phone from the desktop app, which with Connect allows me to continue with what I was listening to ON the way to work WHEN I get to work. I just can't say enough about how much it helps set Spotify apart from the others from a usability perspective. It just simply works!!!
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Uber driver here, I use Connect to let passengers control the tunes from a tablet I have mounted on the headrest. One of my phone's (only for Uber and Spotify) is the actual device connected to my cars Bluetooth. Gives me veto power and ability to change tunes between rides. Tablet is an Amazon fire running lineage, expanded desktop, Spotify is locked in as only accessible app via "auto start and stay"app. Then it runs a slideshow screensaver advertising my other services, this is baked into the ROM. When passenger touches screen dumps them into Spotify. Uber/Spotify phone is a NextBit running OmniROM, also acts as hotspot. Lyft and my DD phone is a OnePlus 3T on Candy 8.1, and I have a OnePlus One on Candy 8.1 as well for other ride-sharing apps. All have lines thanks to T-Mo free lines. I have a second tablet LG v521 on Resurrection Remix running a video ad platform rideplay.tv, and another v521 as my DD tablet running lineage 14.1
I love Spotify connect. I use it daily. It's just nice to have multiple control points for your music. Oh and the Harman Kardon invoke with Spotify is 🔥🔥🔥
You can also add the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker to the list. It works great.
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