Feature Article

September 03, 2013

Spotify Connect Opens Up Music with Cloud Syncing

Sometimes headphones are simply not enough. Sometimes it's best to get fully involved in music with the biggest, best set of speakers that can get in on the action. Spotify wants to help its listeners get the most music to the most places with Spotify Connect, a new service that allows for easy translation from phone to bigger speakers, or just from phone to tablet.

Spotify Connect allows users to take a listening session and sync it to the cloud, allowing users to access that session from several different devices—including the newly-released Spotify Connect-compatible wireless speakers—and listen to it where the users wish. This allows for several different useful scenarios, including the ability to transfer a Spotify session from an iPhone while out of the house to an iPad when arriving home, or allowing an iPad to serve as a kind of jukebox for guests at a house party.

Accessing Spotify Connect is fairly simple, with a Spotify Connect logo available for easy, touch-based access via the iPhone and iPad app. Clicking said logo allows for a list of available playback devices, and several wireless speakers are said to be in line to get access to this new service via updates. Some fairly significant names in audio are said to be getting in on the action over the course of the next few months, including Yamaha, Bang & Olufsen, Pioneer, Philips and several others. Speaker playback with Spotify Connect will even stream directly from the server, as opposed to the device itself, so the device can be used at the same time as the service without slowing either down.

The downside here is that Spotify Connect will require a Premium Spotify subscription to use, even with the desktop version. This is likely part of a larger effort to convert more Spotify users into paying premium subscribers, an effort that has been working out reasonably well as the company approaches profitability. An Android version with Spotify Connect—as well as a desktop version—are said to be coming soon.

Certainly, there are uses for Spotify Connect that will be welcome for many users, so it's likely that Spotify Connect will succeed on at least some level in its likely pursuit of converting free users to paying users, and keeping paying users around. Though it's hard to say just how far it will really go in terms of both drawing in and keeping paying users; it's not exactly a huge new function. Getting some interest in the new feature is likely; getting big new interest is not. Consider further the sheer array of competition out there like Mog, Rdio and even Pandora on some level and the whole picture gets even murkier. Spotify Connect may not be enough to wedge a lot of users away from current favorites, but again, it's likely to get at least some in.

Small refinements like these may not be the future, but enough small improvements adds up to big competitive edge, so if Spotify can keep this up it may have just what it needs to come out on top.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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