Spotify has made the online version of its music streaming software available to all UK users as it continues to extend the player’s public beta. The Web-based app has been online at https://play.spotify.com for several weeks, but has now been announced in an email sent out by the company, and is accessible for all Spotify users in the UK.
The online app brings with it many of the features and options available in the desktop client — you can manage your playlists, see new tracks, tune into Spotify radio and of course stream any of the millions of tracks on offer. Unlike the desktop client, there is currently no support for local files or third-party Spotify apps. Tracks cannot be cached for offline playback, as they can when using Spotify’s desktop and mobile tools.
The move is a bold step forward for Spotify in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Rival apps Rdio and Deezer work in Web browsers, as does Google Music, which is based around local files uploaded from your PC. Rumours persist that Google is about to add a streaming component to its Music service, with several analysts also claiming that Apple is about to join the streaming subscription service fray as well.
In the time we’ve spent testing Spotify’s new Web player, it seems to be a stable and responsive app with very few obvious bugs. As we’ve already mentioned, there are missing features — including Last.fm scrobbling support — but in today’s always-on computing world a Web player makes perfect sense. Spotify can now be used on Chromebooks, for example, and users can switch from one computer to another without having to install any additional software. Head round to your friend’s house for a party, and all you need is a Web browser to get at your disco-ready playlists.
Despite rumblings of discontent from artists receiving paltry royalty cheques from the streaming music services, it would seem they’re here to stay — their ease-of-use, huge catalogue selection and cross-platform compatibility make them a more flexible and streamlined option than, say, a 20GB iTunes library. It would be no surprise if Google and Apple soon dipped their toes into the water too.
Have a go! Spotify