After trying to use Spotify Connect for a while now, I feel frustrated enough to write some lines about it. Spotify Connect is a fairly recent feature of the Spotify apps that is supposed to let you control Spotify running on another device, as long as both are logged in to the same account. My use case is to have my Nexus 7 laying connected to the speakers in my living room and avoid having to go to the device and unlock it every time I want to change songs/volume etc.
Let me preface the rest of the post by saying that I’ve wanted an easy way to do what Spotify Connect does for a long time so naturally I was excited when they announced it. This obviously means that I had high hopes for it. I should also note that, yes I could buy a Sonos system and be done with it but frankly, I’m not made of money so that’s out of the question.
Now, the idea (and actually the UI, if it worked as I wanted) of Spotify Connect is actually great. It’s the implementation that sucks dragon balls. Sometimes, it works flawlessly and the phone tells me that I’m currently playing from the Nexus 7. This happens most reliably when the phone and tablet are both unlocked. Other times when I unlock the phone, it has no idea about anything happening on the Nexus 7. This is when the frustration starts.
Half of the time this happens, the Nexus 7 is listed as “Unavailable for playback” (despite the fact that the Nexus 7 is still happily playing music). The other half of the time, the Nexus 7 is listed as available for playing but somehow the phone doesn’t know it’s currently playing music. If I click at the Nexus 7 icon at this point, I expect the phone to communicate with it and discover that it’s playing music (apparently not what happens). The next reasonable step would be to let me take over the control of the Nexus 7 with its current playlist (not what happens). Instead, the feature Spotify has chosen is to blow away the playlist I was enjoying on the Nexus 7 and start it playing the last song my phone had played. If I’m currently playing something on the Nexus 7 and not playing anything on my phone, the logical feature would be to use the phone as a remote.
Having a feature that works one third of the time is even more frustrating than not having the feature at all. Coupled with having the unintuitive functionality I described in the previous paragraph makes for a very frustrating experience.