If you're all in on Spotify, you'll want to know about how Spotify Connect works in the smart home.
The music streaming service has more than 70 million paid subscribers and 140 million users worldwide, and even though Apple Music is doing its best to catch up, it's safe to say plenty of Spotify users aren't giving up those carefully curated playlists anytime soon.
Read on to find out what Spotify Connect is, how to set it up and which speakers, TVs, receivers, smartwatches and headphones are compatible.
Spotify Connect: What does it do?
Spotify Connect works over Wi-Fi. When you have compatible speakers, TVs, streaming sticks or other devices connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your phone, tablet or computer (running Spotify), the big deal here is that Spotify streams music directly to that device, not via the phone/laptop.
This turns your phone, tablet or computer into a remote control but also does a couple of helpful things. It frees up your phone to allow you to take phone calls without interrupting your music (as it would with Bluetooth) and saves your phone's battery too. Plus it works all over the house including with smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, multi-room speaker systems and even some cars with connected systems.
Spotify boasts that you can also switch devices "without skipping a beat" – now, that's not 100% true as it's not always instantaneous when the music is already playing (this will also depend on your broadband), but we much prefer switching via Spotify Connect than with Bluetooth. One handy feature is that when you switch Spotify Connect alters the volume of the speaker or other audio device to match.
Spotify Connect also streams your tunes in 320kbps, the highest quality available, even if you've selected a lower quality on your phone.
We've found that Spotify Connect complements voice controls in the home for Spotify users very nicely. For some things, voice works great – Alexa, play the Wine Goes In playlist or Hey Google, play hip hop.
But for other things – a track from the Stranger Things soundtrack that you can't remember the name of (or the names of the two composers) say, or something like Spotify's Daily Mix 1 which voice assistants seem to struggle to handle – getting your phone out is just quicker and less annoying for everyone else in the room.
Spotify Connect: How to get started
This is easy peasy. Spotify recommends that you update your mobile app to the latest version (of course it does). But essentially you need to do two things – firstly connect the Spotify Connect compatible device that you want the music to play on to your Wi-Fi network, ie the same Wi-Fi that your phone or computer is on.
Then you need to click on the 'Devices Available' button (with a speaker icon) at the bottom of the Now Playing screen in Spotify, or the devices icon at the bottom right of the Spotify app on desktop (next to the volume slider).
This takes you to a list of available Spotify Connect devices (they show up automatically) and then you simply click on the one you want to use, turning the text green. (This screen is also where you will find Airplay and Bluetooth devices).
When you have selected a speaker or other device, 'Devices Available' will change to the name of that device and the text will turn from white to green so you can keep track. As we said, your phone or computer is still the remote control for what's playing and generally, it's very reliable in use when changing tracks.
If you're in your home and 'Devices Available' isn't appearing in the app, check Wi-Fi is turned on and you're on the right network.
Spotify Connect: Devices
Spotify has a full list of Connect compatible tech over at its Spotify Gear site. The only thing you need to pay attention to is whether each speaker/TV etc works with both Free and Premium or just Premium subscriptions as most of the soundbar and multi-room speakers are limited to paying users. It's actually a pretty compelling reason to go for a Premium account.
There are more than 300 products that work with Spotify Connect, from 80 brands, so we're not going to list them all here. Instead, here's a selection of stuff you can use with Spotify Connect – from affordable add-ons to high end HiFi.
As you'll see, almost all of the big names in smart TV and home audio are covered, but not every device in the range is compatible. When it comes to voice controls, the Echo series is all covered but there are still some gaps.
- Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Spot (Premium only)
- Google Home
- Sonos One (Premium only)
- Sony LF-S50G (Premium only)
- Harman Kardon Invoke (Premium only)
- Eufy Genie (Premium only)
- KitSound Voice One (Premium only)
Speakers (all Premium only)
- Libratone Zipp
- Philips Fidelio E6
- Sonos Play 1, 3, 5
- Bang & Olufsen A9
- B&W Zeppelin Wireless
- Bluesound Power, Vault, Duo and Pulse
- Bose SoundTouch 10
- Denon HEOS
- Cambridge Audio Air 100
- Naim Mu-so, Mu-so Qb ,Uniti
- Teenage Engineering OD-11
TVs, streaming sticks, consoles and soundbars
- Sony Bravia Android TV
- Philips Android TV (7909, 8109, 8809, 9109, 9809 Series)
- Samsung 4K SUHD TV
- Sharp Aquos Android TV
- Google Chromecast, Chromecast Audio
- Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick
- Nvidia Shield Android TV box
- PlayStation PS4
- Xbox One, One X, One S
- Sonos Playbar (Premium only)
- Sony HT-ST9 and HT-ST2 soundbars (Premium only)
- Philips HTL5160 soundbar (Premium only)
- Raumfeld soundbar (Premium only)
- Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar (Premium only)
- Roberts SB1, R100, R1, S1, S2, S300 (Premium only)
HiFi receivers and music streamers
(all Premium only)
- Bang & Olufsen BeoSound
- Cambridge Audio CXN
- Linn DS
- Onkyo receivers (various)
- Marantz receivers (various)
- Pioneer receivers (various)
- Pro-Ject Stream Box RS, DS Net
- Yamaha receivers (various)
- Harman Kardon receivers (various)
Everything else (all Premium only)
- Muzik One headphones
- Android Wear smartwatches
- Samsung Gear S3
- Mighty player
- BMW 7 Series (ConnectedDrive Controller)
- Ford Mustang (Ford Sync)
- Jaguar XJ (JLR InControl)
- Land Rover Discovery (JLR InControl)
- Mini Cooper (Mini Connected Apps)
- Tesla Model S, Model X
- Volvo XC90, S90, V90
- JVC KW-V620BT
- Kenwood DDX9902S
- Pioneer AVH-4100NEX