As HomePod launches, Spotify cuts off support for some speakers and receivers

Spotify is removing itself from a number of home audio speakers and receivers from the likes of Onkyo, Denon, Marantz, Bang & Olufsen, Pioneer, and Yamaha. Some devices are losing Spotify integration completely, while others will require firmware updates if users want to continue receiving built-in access to their music. The products in question were once all able to independently play Spotify over the internet — no smartphone required.

This isn’t exactly breaking news; the streaming music company announced this change was coming months and months ago. But at that time, things were still working as normal for users who would ultimately be impacted by the move. Over the last few weeks, the cutoff has actually occurred, and Spotify is getting a slew of complaints in its support forums about the lost functionality. “We updated our backend platform, so that means Spotify Connect is no longer integrated into some older generation speakers and TVs. In some cases, manufacturers can update their firmware to be compatible with the new platform,” a Spotify spokesperson told The Verge by email today.

So in preparation for future Spotify Connect features, Spotify has deemed it necessary to leave behind A/V equipment that consumers typically buy and keep for many years. Those consumers are understandably upset that they’re losing access to the leading subscription music service; in some cases Spotify was advertised right on the box of their speaker or receiver. Who’s right in this push and pull? Shouldn’t one goal of updating your backend be to not completely delete Spotify for some customers? This is music we’re talking about! It’s audio, not 4K video. Why is it necessary to leave anyone behind in the first place? How many old and dusty gadgets does Netflix still work on? But on the other side, should sluggish home theater companies — not exactly known for frequent, timely firmware updates — hold back whatever the company wants to do with Spotify Connect?

Such is the danger of not owning your music, really. If Spotify goes, so do your tunes. Now let’s not overblow this or make it sound like a catastrophe; people still have options for playing Spotify on these products. Plug an aux cord into your phone. Buy a cheap Chromecast Audio dongle. Find some other workaround like AirPlay or Google Cast if the device offers it. But there’s the whole crux: a great feature that might’ve factored into the initial buying decision for some is just gone and now requires a workaround to maintain. Denon and Yamaha are updating their gear to keep Spotify working, but for some other big home theater companies, Spotify is just saying game over and completely removing the custom integration that was once there.

The loss of support comes as Apple Music continues a charge toward catching up with Spotify’s paid subscriber count, which The Wall Street Journal recently estimated could happen this summer. Spotify continues to support a variety of popular speakers like those from Sonos. Apple will release the $349 HomePod, its own premium speaker with Siri voice controls, on Friday.

Comments

This is why I have a hard time fully committing to streaming services. Spotify specifically always comes out with features and the removes them later, like hold to preview on iOS. Music shouldn’t be this inconvenient.

I never noticed hold to preview was removed! Now I miss it.

I also randomly realized that this went away not too long ago! It was a clever UX thing, but I can’t say I actually used it more times than I’ve got fingers. So, I can understand the removal.

I definitely used it more times by accident than on purpose

Spotify commitment is with PC ecosystem, not with Mobile or Assistants, if you listen to music at home and have an always on PC with Windows 10, you can use any Bluetooth speaker, Stereo Mini Component, or Audio Receiver and you can stream every album for free with no subscription, all you get is an add every 30 minutes, but is much better than FM radio or Apple Music which is not free and requires a subscription, since you can listen to full albums in Spotify and listen the tracks in the order you want.

So what features or fixes are to be gained by consumers by Spotify updating their backend?
This article doesn’t tell us WHY this is happening.

Probably the same features or fixes that were gained by Spotify removing, say, their Roku app or their custom iPad interface, i.e. none whatsoever.

Spotify’s best friend is Bluetooth and a desktop OS like Mac OS, Linux or Windows, if you use Spotify on desktop OS, forget about subscription, expensive hardware compatibility and firmware updates, that’s why I love Spotify on my house with my PC and my Mini Component Bluetooth enabled Stereo Player. (5 year old tech that just works)

umm you also get the exact same experience on mobile. The service is the same as the PC and I can use bluetooth from my phone to stream to any device also.

If you use the free, ad tier, then it is not the same on mobile. You can only shuffle play on mobile, whereas the desktop experience is unhindered.

This is why I’ve never bothered with any services and have kept my iTunes library immaculate for a decade.

I don’t get how that changes anything. Removing Spotify Connect from these devices doesn’t magically integrate iTunes/Apple Music streaming. You’ll still have to use an AUX cord or something in either case.

Many receivers/speakers support AirPlay and will support the upcoming AirPlay 2 with a firmware update, rendering Apple Music streaming support entirely unnecessary since iTunes itself can AirPlay (even on Windows) and of course iDevices can AirPlay too.

I use this functionality on my Marantz receiver regularly and it works great with both local tracks and Apple Music.

2018 – The year we stopped believing that our speakers could outlast our changing taste in music.

Interesting that Netflix doesn’t have problems with old equipment, and what Netflix is doing is more complicated than Spotify.

I still use my original iPad as a Netflix player, I should see if Netflix still works on my Wii…

This kind of thing is why I have a hard time investing in "smart" devices or anything IOT. Phone manufacturers can’t even be bothered to update phones for longer than a year so they sure as hell aren’t going to support every single gadget that they made for 10+ years. It’s essentially planned obsolescence.

If I could buy a nice high end dumb TV to replace my android "smart" TV I would do so. The "smart" part runs like a budget phone from 2012 and is easily bested by everything hooked up to it. The "smartness" adds little to no value while slowing down all the "dumb" functions that were lightning fast on HDTVs from the mid 00s.

You can’t actually be serious when you say "lightning fast TV’s from the mid 00s" They weren’t lightning fast to be exact but I do agree with the notion I hate smart TVs and just want barebone TV software with an option to get a smart version or update at a later date.

1. This is an issue for the equipment maker. They need to update their stuff.
2. This is always a risk with this stuff, and platforms like Chromecast Audio are far more likely to get updated as time goes on.

I had Spotify at first then switched when Apple Music came out. I had iTunes match at first because Spotify never had music I wanted to listen to.

Apple Music for me

Good thing Amazon and Google still allow you to purchase music. There’s a lot of music that isn’t available on any streaming service, but it can still be purchased from other sites.

This really has nothing to do with the article and everything to do with streaming services vs owning your music.

Sure, but Amazon also recently stopped letting users upload tracks that it doesn’t sell for easy listening when mobile. I’m really hoping that Google doesn’t follow the same path.

I doubt Google will do the same thing. They’re all about the cloud and letting users do what they want with it.

I just hope Google Photos doesn’t go away because I have hundreds of photos on there.

Spotify has yet to make a profit, so how are they still in business? They aren’t a mega conglomerate like Apple, Amazon, or Google, they have no other products to fall back on if their streaming business collapses.

I bet a larger company will buy them out eventually.

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