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 the 40 million member mark, outpacing Apple Music’s growth. According to 9To5Mac, Spotify grew by approximately 10 million members in the last 5 months, while Apple Music only managed to snag around 4 million members. Part of the reason for this success is the Spotify Web Player.
Today we’re going to be taking a look at the Spotify Web Player that, admittedly, has been out for a while (try several years.) As the title suggests, we’ll be taking a look at both the positives as well as the negatives of using this web player.
It doesn’t matter where you are: at work, at home, at a family member or friend’s house. 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 definitely doesn’t have: the ability to add hotkeys. In just about any program, hotkeys are incredibly useful, especially when you’re at work. Albeit, 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.
With newer devices come more storage. Android users have the option to increase their storage space via an SD card, while iOS users are more limited. 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). iOS users are on the same boat, with the music app taking up around 121MB.
Speedy and Intuitive UI
Say what you will about the Web Player. The Web Player looks really clean-cut, organized, and quite frankly, 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. The Web Player depends on you being physically logged in through your browser. 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, don’t expect to stream a 320kbps song on the Web Player if you’re a Spotify Premium user, as it can only reproduce songs at 160kbps. Even high-quality 320kbps streaming is available for mobile Premium users (better known as Extreme Quality.) The topic was touched on in the community forums in December 2015 with an official response 4 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 if there are any updates around having 320 kbps on the web player we’ll let you know here. Thanks!”
No Offline Mode
The desktop and mobile apps have it, but alas, after carefully investigating, the Web Player still does not. There was a topic posted about it on the Spotify Community site 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 as well as the mobile apps (in general) just run much smoother than the Web Player. The Web Player can sometimes feel clunky.