But did you know Spotify has now given its Web Player a makeover? It’s hard to know why Spotify felt the browser-based version of the app needed an upgrade, but the streaming service has delivered one regardless. Well, we say “upgrade,” but this feels more like a downgrade.
To be fair, Spotify deserves some credit here, because it has achieved the impossible. That’s right, dear reader, the latest update has made the Spotify Web Player worse. It’s now harder to use, uglier to look at, and stripped of its best features.
You could try the new Spotify Web Player for yourself, or you could save yourself from that torturous experience by letting us tell you what’s wrong with it.
Where to start? It’s miserable. Frankly, it’s astonishing that someone at Spotify looked at the new user interface and decided it was an upgrade over the old version. It isn’t.
Check out the new landing screen in the screenshot below:
Only four icons fit onto the screen. Four. For an app that boasts more than 30 million songs, this seems somewhat… limiting.
It’s the same story if you click on Discover or New Releases. Sure, you can zoom out and the page will automatically readjust, but then the menu on the left becomes so small you can’t interact with it.
And where did that red tint come from? Isn’t Spotify’s branding supposed to be green?
It doesn’t get any better if you click on a playlist. By default, the screen can only accommodate the first seven songs. If you’ve got playlists with hundreds of entries, prepare to give yourself a sore scrolling finger.
Not to worry, as surely the artist profile pages will be better. Don’t get your hopes up. Look at Shakira’s page below. None of the relevant information is front-and-center, her top hits, biography, and albums all require a lot of clicking and/or scrolling to find.
Oh, and did I mention there are no built-in navigational tools? If you want to go back to a previous screen, you need to use your browser controls. At best, it’s clumsy. At worst, it’s corporate negligence.
Goodbye Last.fm, Radio, Queue List, etc.
Okay, so the design is a downgrade. But we can forgive that one aspect if Spotify has packed in lots of fresh and exciting new features.
Nope. Instead, Spotify has hacked away at some of the old Web Player’s only redeeming features. And there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to get them back. The company has clearly been reading the Apple guide to “less is more.” Except in Spotify’s case, less is definitely less.
Firstly, there’s no more Last.fm integration. If you scrobbled all your listens to the web’s favorite music cataloging site, you’ll have to move on.
The radio feature has also vanished. If you enjoyed selecting an artist and letting Spotify do the hard work, forget it. All the onus is now on you and your playlists. And your scrolling finger.
But relax, at least you can queue a list of songs so you don’t need to keep revisiting the app and selecting new ones. Sorry, no. You used to be able to. Now you can’t.
The list goes on:
- You can no longer see specific songs you saved from an individual artist on their profile page.
- Right-click functionality has been removed.
- You can’t sort the albums in Your Music by date saved.
- The time of the song playing has gone.
- You can’t sort your playlists.
- It is no longer possible to explore friend profiles and playlists.
- You can’t see your followers.
- And, perhaps most staggeringly of all, the Settings menu no longer exists.
If you do end up checking out the new Spotify Web Player feel free to let us know of any other missing features you find. We’re pretty sure we didn’t catch them all.
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
One of the most fundamental features of any music player is the volume control. You want to be able to set your level and forget about it, safe in the knowledge you’re not going to explode your eardrums while listening.
Apparently, Spotify is incapable of implementing this most basic feature correctly. If you leave the window you have the Web Player open in, the volume will automatically bounce up to 100 percent when you return to it. Not an annoying-but-manageable 50 percent, but a health-endangering 100 percent.
If such a straightforward feature is broken, it makes you wonder what other bugs are lurking within. It turns out there are a lot.
For example, try starting a new song when another song is already playing. Most of the time it fails to work. You need to hit Pause then Play to get it going.
Or try clicking through all your playlists. I guarantee a lot of them won’t load. Elsewhere, users have complained about being unable to add songs to collaborative playlists, keyboard media keys not working, broken shuffle and repeat buttons, and an empty Your Music folder.
Are There Any Positives?
In the midst of all the negativity, I did stumble across one new feature.
It seems like currently playing songs now synchronize between the web app, desktop version, and mobile version. Though I must stress, this worked on my account, but not my wife’s account. So perhaps I should count it as a bug rather than a feature.
In case you’ve lost track of the score, it’s currently 23 severe negatives vs. one tiny positive, and I’m not even exaggerating.
Why Is It So Bad?
I love Spotify. I’m a premium subscriber and I’ve had an account since 2007. In that time, I’ve witnessed almost every single one of its best features disappear. But this is about more than mere features. Every single part of the new Web Player is disappointing.
Is it intentionally bad? Is Spotify trying to drive users onto its desktop or mobile apps instead? Did the company simply fail to test the new Web Player correctly? Is Spotify under pressure from record labels to keep people listening to mainstream artists? We don’t actually know. But we do know that the new web player is worse than the old web player, and that’s disappointing.
Please let us know your thoughts on the new Spotify web player in the comments below.
Image Credits: Djomas/Shutterstock