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We all know the recent overhaul of the Spotify web app was a total disaster. But let’s be honest, the desktop version isn’t great either.
Sure, if all you want to do is search for artists and listen to songs, it’s fine. However, if you want a more fulfilling experience with extra tools and additional functionality, it’s sorely lacking. Ironically, it used to be much better, but Spotify is obsessed with stripping away much-loved features in order to provide a minimalist experience.
The biggest blow to the desktop app’s usefulness came in 2015 when third-party app support was axed. In our minds, it has never recovered.
Thankfully, there is a thriving community of developers dedicated to making third-party Spotify apps. Many of these introduce features that are absent from the official version. Here are seven of the best Spotify alternatives for you to try today.
Available on: Windows, Mac (beta), Chrome
Work on Soundbounce began in late 2014 after Spotify decided to do away with third-party apps.
Its focus is on collaboration. Spotify does permit collaborative playlists (open a playlist and go to Menu > Collaborative Playlist), but Soundbounce takes this to a whole new level.
The Soundbounce app revolves around “Rooms”. Join a Room dedicated to the music you want to hear, and you can chat in realtime with other users, vote on tracks you want to listen to, and add music to the room to share with others. You’re also free to create your own Room if you can’t find one to match your musical tastes.
If you want to use Soundbounce, you’ll need a Spotify Premium account. The app relies on Spotify’s LibSpotify SDK.
Available on: Windows, Mac
With more than 35 million songs, Spotify is the ultimate way to get your party started. It doesn’t matter whether you want to host a dance-music inspired rave or a sophisticated evening of cool jazz — Spotify has got you covered.
However, while you can’t argue with the amount of music Spotify offers, the “party tools” are less impressive. In fact, they’re non-existent.
Festify comes to the rescue. Getting started is easy, you just need to download the app and connect it with your Spotify Premium account. Guests can then scan your party’s unique QR code to join in. All guests can vote on the songs they want to hear and add suggestions to the queue. It also offers automatic “fall back playlists” in case you run out of tunes.
As party owner, you can override the voting, pause playback, and password-protect the app.
Available on: Windows
If you subscribe to Spotify Premium, you can choose the sound quality of the app’s audio output. On the desktop app, go to Edit > Preferences > Music Quality. On mobile, head to Settings > Music Quality > Streaming.
As such, you might think you’re getting the best output Spotify can provide. Unfortunately, you’re wrong. If you’re listening through the Windows desktop app, the music is filtered through the Windows sound mixer. Sometimes, the process can slightly impinge on the quality. Regular users might not care, but if you consider yourself an audiophile, it’s annoying.
The Fidelify player fixes the issue. It can run in WASAPI mode, thus bypassing your computer’s mixer and giving you a richer sound experience.
Available on: Mac, Linux, Raspberry Pi
Mopidy is different from the other apps we’ve discussed so far because it’s not Spotify-specific. Instead, it acts as a music-playing hub for lots of services.
In addition to Spotify, the app also works with Google Play Music, Soundcloud, The internet Archive, TuneIn Radio, YouTube, and more.
The app is not suitable for beginners. It’s not as simple as merely downloading it and getting stuck in. You will need to install all of the backend extensions you want to use for different services, as well as web interfaces and individual features such as touchscreen support and pop-up notifications.
Nonetheless, if you’re a tech-savvy tinkerer, it’s one of the best Spotify alternatives available.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android
Tomahawk is an easier-to-use version on Mopidy. Like the previous app, it integrates with a vast array of services. These include Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Rhapsody, Deezer, and even your own locally saved collection. In total, it works with 27 different services.
Rather than having to chase around between various apps and services, Tomahawk does all the hard work for you. You just enter the title of the song you want to listen to, and the app will display all of the sources in one simple list.
It’s also full of useful features that help make your listening experience more enjoyable. You can make cross-service playlists, see all the latest releases in one place, browse the music charts, and even synchronize your listening with friends and influencers.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
DJing is another area where the default Spotify app offers zero functionality. Djay is the solution. If you’re involved in the clubbing scene, you might already be aware of the app. It’s one of the most well-known and easily accessible DJ tools on the web, and the Spotify library is fully integrated.
The app looks like you would expect any DJ app to look. There are two virtual turntables, and you can queue music on each of them. Features include tempo, pitch-bend, filter, and EQ controls, as well as looping and cue points and a sampler. Best of all, you don’t even need to be a DJing expert: the Automix feature will make perfect mixes without any input from you.
Unfortunately, the app is not free. The desktop versions cost around $80 and the mobile versions cost about $5. On the positive side, if you’re not already a Spotify Premium subscriber, you will get a free trial.
Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux
Clementine grew out of the once popular Amarok music player. It’s similar to Mopidy and Tomahawk: you can use it to listen to music from several sources, as well as your own local content.
Interestingly, it has cloud storage support — if you have saved music in Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, you can access it through the app.
You can also use Clementine as a podcast manager. Spotify introduced podcasts in 2016 but its library is very limited and it lacks the advanced features of a dedicated app such as Pocket Casts.
Which Third-Party Spotify App Do You Use?
These seven alternatives to the Spotify desktop app will all appeal to different types of listeners. Which app is right for you depends on how you want to use Spotify: are you a party animal, do you want more collaboration, or are you looking for a holistic music player?
If you’re still not convinced these apps will work for you, you might want to look into Amazon Music Unlimited or Apple Music.