In an effort to get in on the hardware game, Spotify has announced a new service called Connect, which allows Spotify users to stream music wirelessly from their devices to compatible WiFi speakers. The company is partnering up with a handful of popular speaker manufacturers to add support for Connect, including Bang & Olufsen, Philips, Pioneer, Revo, Sonos, Yamaha and more.
Spotify Connect happens in the cloud, including your streaming sessions, which means that if you want to switch playback to your computer from your smartphone, you don’t need to end playback on your smartphone and start up a new session on your computer. Instead, if you’re currently streaming from your phone and boot up Spotify on your computer, it will automatically recognize and join in on the session, ready to take over whenever.
Furthermore, while Connect seems similar to Apple’s AirPlay or just regular Bluetooth, it’s actually a bit different as far as how the content is transferred to the wireless speakers. Spotify Connect is a lot like the Chromecast, in the sense that the content isn’t beamed directly from your device to the speakers, but rather the speakers pull the content from Spotify’s servers over WiFi; your phone is merely just a remote control.
In turn, this should save on battery life immensely, and you’ll be able to push Spotify to the background while keeping the music playing, allowing you to do other things on your phone, like make phone calls, browse social media, or play games.
Spotify Connect will launch for Spotify Premium subscribers first on iOS devices “over the coming months,” with Android and desktop versions arriving sometime afterward; no specific timeline was provided. More audio brands will also be added to the list of supported speakers in the future, so if you don’t see your loyal speaker brand on the list, there’s still hope.
This is the first time that Spotify is dabbling in the hardware industry. While the company isn’t making hardware of their own, the partnering up with numerous speaker companies means that Spotify wants their name on not only their own apps and software, but on physical products as well. Connect is taking Apple’s AirPlay head on, and the Chromecast-like streaming functionality could make it a huge winner once it gets going.