A closer look at the Spotify Web Player.
Spotify’s in a good position. Although they have yet to turn a profit, they’ve reached 40 million paying subscribers. And they’re outpacing Apple Music’s growth.
According to 9to5Mac, Spotify grew by approximately 10 million members in the last 5 months. Apple Music only managed to snag around 4 million members. Part of the reason for this success is broader access, including the Spotify Web Player.
The Spotify Web Player has been out for years. But if you’re new to Spotify, this is all brand new. You’re probably deciding the best ways to access this service, based on your listening preferences. So, let’s take a look at both the positives as well as the negatives of using the Spotify Web Player.
Remember that you don’t have to make a firm choice. In fact, many use both, depending on the situation. But this will familiarize you with the benefits and drawbacks of both.
Apps are pretty easy. But what if you’re in different environments and moving around a lot?
With the Spotify Web Player, it doesn’t matter where you are. You can be at work, at home, at a family member or friend’s house… wherever. Or, for that matter, using another person’s phone or system. You can log right into the web browser with your username and password, and start listening right away.
You’ll get access to your full catalog wherever you are.
Hotkeys, Hotkeys, and even more Hotkeys
Here’s something the mobile versions don’t have: the ability to add hotkeys. In just about any program, hotkeys are incredibly useful, especially when you’re at work. But in order for this to work, you will have to install the Spotify Hotkeys add-on on Firefox. Or, the Spotify Web Player Hotkey extension on Chrome.
Apps take up space. Web access doesn’t. And storage is a problem for some users.
That said, with newer devices come more storage. And there are more options than ever for boosting portable storage. For example, increasing storage space via an SD card is easy for Android users. However, Android users don’t have the option to move the app to their SD card. So the app will take up precious space (around 47MB on my Moto G3).
On the iOS side, users will find themselves more limited. And in the end, iOS users are ultimately on a worse boat. There, the music app taking up around 121MB.
Speedy and Intuitive UI
Say what you will about the Web Player. The Web Player looks clean-cut, organized, and runs really well. In just a few clicks, I was able to play my favorite music with little stutter. The Spotify mobile apps unfortunately tend to depend on your device.
Portability is both its strongest point, and at the same time, its Achilles’ heel.
For starters, you must remain logged into a browser at all times to access the Web Player. Browser crash? Bye-bye, Spotify. Heading home? Bye-bye Spotify. And besides, don’t the mobile apps already provide true portability?
Lower sound quality
As explained here in this FAQ, Spotify Premium users shouldn’t expect to stream a 320kbps song on the Web Player. Unfortunately, the Web Player can only reproduce songs at 160kbps. Mobile premium users even have access to high-quality 320kbps streaming (better known as ‘Extreme Quality’).
Spotify’s community forums touched upon the topic back in December of 2015. An official response emerged four months later. An unnamed Spotify administrator said the following:
“Hey everyone, we don’t have plans to implement this so we’re marking this as ‘Not Right Now’. Of course, we’ll let you know if we’re making updates around having 320 kbps on the web player. Thanks!”
No Offline Mode
The desktop and mobile apps have extensive offline options. That includes cacheing and storing of selected songs, not to mention recent history. But after carefully investigating, it turns out the Web Player still does not. The Spotify Community posted a topic posted about it over 3 years ago. But due to a lack of interest, Spotify closed it.
“Excuse me, my good sir. This just doesn’t appear to be working.”
The Spotify Web Player will sometimes have issues connecting to the service.
Mobile apps and Desktop versions run more smoothly
Despite having a great UI, there’s no arguing that the dedicated desktop player and mobile apps run more smoothly. The Web Player can sometimes feel clunky.
Still on the fence? Try it out!
If you’re not sure which is best for you, why not try out both? Options are nice. You might decide to use both the app and web browser, depending on where you are. For example, the app might make sense for your phone. But the web-based application is easier when you’re using the family computer or vacation.
The apps are easily accessible from Spotify’s website. And here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the Spotify Web Player.