A First Look At The Spotify Web Player

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spotify web playerSpotify has changed the way many of us consume music, myself included. I used to buy albums on a regular basis, but once the time came when I’d rip the CD to my computer’s hard drive and then have no further use for it, I knew the times they were a-changin’. Once Spotify arrived on the scene then I stopped buying albums altogether, and I haven’t looked back since. Spotify tips and tricks help make the experience of using the service even more fulfilling.

Spotify has improved massively over the last few years, but there has been one glaring oversight that has put many people off using the music streaming service: the need to download and install a dedicated desktop client. Thankfully that oversight is in the process of being remedied, with a Web player incoming.

The Spotify Web player is currently in beta, but was recently rolled out to U.K. users. I’ve been using it ever since, and what follows is an initial overview of the beta version of the Spotify Web player. Please note that the browser-based version of Spotify may have evolved since this first look was penned.

Spotify Web Player

spotify web player

To access the Spotify Web player you simply head to play.spotify.com.

If Spotify is available in your country and if that country has been granted access to the beta you’ll be asked to either sign in to an existing Spotify account or sign up for an account using Facebook. In other words you sign in to the Spotify Web player in the same way that you sign into the desktop client.

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The first thing you’ll want to do is check the options for this session. The options are limited to turning a private session on or off, and choosing whether or not to share your Spotify activity on Facebook. This is also where you log out of your account.

spotify music player

When you sign in you’ll find yourself on the ‘What’s New‘ page, as Spotify tries to encourage you to discover new music rather than stick to the songs you already know and love. ‘What’s New‘ is one of four main sections the Web player is divided in to, all of which are detailed below.

What’s New

spotify music player

The What’s New section has multiple options attached to it. You can view ‘New Recommended Albums’, ‘Trending Playlists Among Friends’, ‘Top Tracks Among Friends’, ‘New Releases’, ‘Trending Playlists Near You’, and ‘Top Tracks Near You’.

spotify music player

All of these are useful to a certain degree, but the ‘New Releases‘ are particularly worth scrolling through in order to see which albums have been added to Spotify over the last few days. These won’t necessarily be brand new albums, but albums that are instead new to Spotify.

Playlists

spotify player

The Playlists section of the Web player houses all of the playlists from the Spotify desktop client. Any and all changes made are carried across from desktop to the Web and vice-versa. You can rename existing playlists or create a new playlist right from within the Spotify Web player.

You can also start a radio station based on a particular playlist, which is perfect for those times when you’d like to hear a mixture of tracks known to you and tracks new to you. This should also encourage you to build playlists around certain themes.

Radio

spotify player

The Radio section plays, by default, a station based on your current top artist. You also get ‘Recommended Stations’ and ‘Genre Stations’. You can ‘Create [a] New Station’ based on any artist or track simply by searching for it. We’ve already detailed how to get the most out of Spotify Radio, and the same rules apply to the Web player as to the desktop application.

Search

spotify web player

The ‘Search’ options are simple and minimalist. Clicking ‘Search‘ brings up a text entry box, and as each letter is typed into it the results change underneath. So searching for Muse first brings up Nicki Minaj and Bob Marley, then Mumford & Sons and Muddy Waters before Muse finally pops up.

Each search is rewarded with ‘Artists’, ‘Albums’, ‘Tracks’, and ‘Playlists’ matching the terms typed in. Clicking ‘Show All Results…‘ means you can explore each of these elements in more depth.

Conclusions

This is just a first look at the Spotify Web player, with the beta assignation meaning a full review would be unfair at this early stage. However, the browser-based version of Spotify is already refined enough to make it perfectly feasible to drop the desktop client altogether. Which is exactly what I have done.

Everything of importance – with the notable exception of its native apps – has been brought over from the desktop client to the Web player, and the whole thing works as simply and seamlessly as ever. I suspect it won’t be long before Spotify brings the Web player out of beta and releases it to all users. How long it then carries on supporting the desktop client remains to be seen.

Do you have access to the Spotify Web player beta? If so, please give it a spin and let us know what you think in the comments section below. Are you more likely to use Spotify when it’s fully available on the Web or will you still use the desktop client regardless? Is there anything you’d like to see Spotify do differently with the service in the future?

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Comments (22)
  • ambrown

    I just logged in and had all my playlists ready to go. This is great for places I can’t have the desktop client installed like work or school! I think I’ll keep the desktop client for now till I get more used to the web player but so far it’s so good to have all my Spotify playlists everywhere now! I’m a huge Spotify fan and I’m not even a paid user, all free for me.

  • Lisa

    Am I the only one to have settled on spotify because IT DOES NOT run in a browser, but because of the good’ol desktop client ?

    • Dave Parrack

      The desktop client won’t be going anywhere for a while. It was pure speculation on my part suggesting Spotify will push people towards it in the future. As a Chromebook owner I’m grateful there is at least (and at last) a browser-based version.

  • Sun

    Why does these kind of ‘racist’ application get so much coverage? The US is not the planet. Other countries exist you know? Go to hell spotify!

    • Gotestra

      It’s not entirely their fault. There are legal problems involved with software such as Spotify, which are not the same for every country. Just because one country got through doesn’t mean that all will.

      And btw, I’m in India. I’m not able to use Spotify either.

    • Dave Parrack

      You’re correct. It’s all to do with negotiating with record labels and those responsible for collecting royalties on behalf of the artists.

    • Austin H

      There are also language translations that need to be accurate and helpful. The UI may need to change to make sense in a particular language or perhaps to be more familiar. Not to mention that they need to build an acceptable library of music that is relevant to whatever country they are trying to get into. Imagine if they released Italian artists in the Philippines? It wouldn’t make any sense and users would be outraged. Music may be ‘universal’ but people still want to listen to artists they know in a language they understand. Building their library up alone takes market research, tons of legal hoops to jump through, and a sizable financial investment. I’m sure Spotify is doing really well, but it does cost money to continually develop and grow especially when you’re playing by the DRM and record label rules. A lot goes into making an app available in different countries especially when music is involved.

    • memsuli

      It’s worth noting that at least here in Finland Spotify was available before in the US. They have expanded their coverage in the past and I’m pretty sure they will continue doing that, but sorting out the legal details concerning every single country and the agreements with the different recording companies takes time.

    • Dave Parrack

      While many services and applications are U.S.-centric, Spotify is not. It launched in Sweden first, and then the UK and parts of Europe before coming to America.

  • Baxter Tocher

    I won’t be using the web player until they add folders. It’s way too unwieldy for me to navigate without them.

    • Dave Parrack

      That’s a fair point. Remember that this is just a beta so lots could change before the full release.

    • Austin H

      Yeah, that seems pretty basic for a music player, web or not. Organization is also my biggest issue with the desktop app. I’m not a fan of making playlists with tons of single songs from tons of different artists, but it seems as if the UI was designed with only that use in mind. I like to listen to a whole album strait through, especially when listening to a newly discovered artist. There’s no easy way to organize by artist or album. Not that it can’t be done, it’s just not easy and, for someone like me who is crazy about organization, time consuming.

    • Dave Parrack

      If you go to an artist’s page you can then play any album straight through. I agree the playlist system isn’t perfect but it’s fairly easy to work around it.

  • Scott M

    Alas I can’t use it in Canada.Looks promising though.

    • Dave Parrack

      I’m frankly amazed Spotify hasn’t launched in Canada yet. I suspect you’re next on the list.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.