Spotify has long been the music service of choice for most of us at the Digital Media Zone. It has the biggest library, more features than most of the competition, and it’s available on just about every app platform imaginable. Well, it’s been available everywhere except our favorite living room device. Spotify on Xbox One, today it finally happened, and we’re mostly thrilled with the new experience.
Today Spotify launched their official Xbox One app. Any seasoned Spotify user will wonder if the new app supports Spotify Connect. Not only is it supported, it’s used to create one of the best TV login experiences we’ve ever used! Sure, if you want to type your username and password in with a game controller you can do that, but no one actually wants to do that. Instead, grab your phone (or any other device with a Spotify app), go to the section that allows you to control other devices, and select your Xbox One. You’ll be immediately signed in without ever typing a single character! It’s simple, incredibly fast, and we hope it’s an experience that other app developers will copy.
Once logged in you are greeted with the familiar browse interface. You’ll see a few popular to playlists to get you grooving quickly. You can also scroll to the right to find genre-based playlists. From the main tab bar you can select Your Music to see the playlists, albums, and tracks you’ve curated into your own personal collection. If you’re a fan of Spotify’s Your Discover Weekly playlist, it will be the first item in the list. Sadly, you won’t find the familiar Your Daily Mix offerings.
When the music is playing you can access a full screen queue of what’s already been played and what is up next. The huge album artwork shines on the big screen. Of course skipping tracks is simple, and there are buttons for shuffling the list, repeating it, and adding the current song to your collection.
Like most music apps on the Xbox, the Spotify app supports background music playback. That means you can kick off your favorite playlist and then jump into a gaming session with your tunes playing in the background.
The Xbox app for Spotify doesn’t support creating or modifying playlists. This is a feature that would be troublesome to implement for people using a remote control, and probably wouldn’t be used very often. Given all that, we don’t miss the functionality. We’re fine saving the playlist curation for the desktop or mobile apps.
The inclusion of Spotify on the Xbox (and recently inside the Windows Store) seems like something that wouldn’t have happened under the Steven Sinofsky regime. Back when he ran the Windows division of Microsoft it seemed every decision was made from a Microsoft-first perspective. On that surface that seems logical, but that sort of thinking led to the organization focusing on its own products to the determent of their competitors, and ultimately Microsoft’s own users. We don’t know how much credit should be given to the Xbox team, Satya Nadella, or Spotify for this new app, but we’re sure this app never would have happened in the old Microsoft.
So far our experience with the Spotify Music – for Xbox app has been flawless. Spotify Connect has also responded immediately to commands from other devices. The only feature we’d love to see added is the Your Daily Mix playlists. The app is available now for free. It doesn’t require a Spotify Premium subscription either. Install it today from the Xbox Store.