With Spotify and similar music-streaming services on the rise, the run-of-the-mill stereo installation is starting to look more and more inadequate. Hook up your laptop or desktop computer — or even your phone — to your sound system, and you’ll have a stereo installation that’ll rarely leave you wanting more.
The main problem with this setup is that if you’re sitting with friends, computer-stereo-hybrid blasting away at the other side of the room, it’s often a chore to play DJ. If you don’t enjoy the benefits of AirPlay, queueing a new album on that computer requires just as much work as it would on a conventional stereo.
That is, unless you start involving your mobile devices and an app like Spot Remote for iOS.
Spot Remote ($2.99)
Spot Remote is a small application for your iPhone and iPad that allows you to remotely control your Spotify-equipped Mac OS X computer. Instead of crossing the room to access your computer, Spot Remote allows you to remotely manage Spotify’s music; skipping songs, queueing artists and even creating a Spotify radio station.
In fact, Spot Remote looks very similar to the Spotify app for the iPhone or iPad. The main difference being that, instead of controlling the music that’s coming from your mobile device’s speakers, you’re playing DJ with the Spotify client hosted on your Mac. You may not have access to all the same features you have on your computer, but there’s an unmistakable benefit to being able to control a central music installation, no matter which device you hold in your hand.
Installation and Setup
Like many of the applications that make your computer and iOS devices play nice, Spot Remote is comprised of two parts; a desktop client and an iOS app. To use Spot Remote, you’ll need to install both. The desktop client can be downloaded from the website without charge. This also means there’s no limit to the number of computers you can control with the Spot Remote app on your iOS device.
The iOS Spot Remote app will only set you back $2.99 for a universal app which works on both the iPhone and iPad, so if you buy one, you can use it on both devices. After installing the desktop client, your computer should show up in the Spot Remote app.
If your iPad is unable to detect your computer, make sure your iPad and computer are on the same network and the Spot Remote desktop client is running. Restart the Spotify desktop client and go to Settings > Show available servers in the Spot Remote iOS app.
As mentioned above, the Spot Remote iOS app feels mighty similar to the Spotify iOS app. There’s some overlap in functionality, too. You can search Spotify’s database for tracks, artists and albums as you would in the Spotify app. Select a song or album to play it on your connected Mac OS X computer.
Although the search functionality in Spot Remote for the iPad works like a charm, sometimes the interface seems to be designed primarily for the iPhone and only starts to look good once you’ve browsed through several tabs, as shown in the screenshot above.
Although queueing music will often involve using the Spot Remote’s search, you can navigate the Spotify library a number of ways. Any playlists you’ve created in Spotify or playlists you’ve found through ShareMyPlaylists are also accessible through Spot Remote. The top lists you see when you open Spotify — either music recommended for you specifically or music that’s popular in your region — can also be found in Spot Remote’s sidebar.
More advanced features are available through Spot Remote’s pop-up menu. Press and hold any song in the search results or one of your playlists to show a pop-up context menu, as shown below. Similar to the Spotify application, here you can star and queue a song, add it to a playlist or even start a radio station.
In the end, if you’re not looking for music, you’ll spend most of your time in the Now Playing screen of Spot Remote. This screen, shown in the screenshot above, can be opened by pressing the full-screen arrows in the lower left corner of the Spot Remote application. This simple, yet elegant screen allows you to skip through songs and toggle different play modes.
More importantly, even if you can’t access the wide variety of Spotify apps, if you use one of these to start start a playlist through Spotify’s fully featured desktop client, you can still view and skip songs in Spot Remote’s now playing screen.
Download: Spot Remote ($2.99) at the App Store
How do you control your Spotify music installation? Give us a sneak peek of your Spotify workflow, and tell us about your tips and tricks in the comments section below the article!