Spotify is today adding a new feature to its iOS app that represents the streaming company’s most ambitious move yet to position itself as the go-to music app on connected devices — and in the process entice more people to pay the $9.99 per month required to use the app. It’s launching Spotify Connect, a new button in the app that will let users seamlessly shift Spotify music playing between their handsets and different Wi-Fi-connected devices in the home, starting with audio devices from 10 manufacturers.
Spotify Connect also has a social twist: if you have other Spotify users on your Wi-Fi network, they, too, can take control of the decks through the feature. (But just make sure you only let friends connect to your Wi-Fi whose musical taste won’t clash with yours because Spotify, maybe betraying its benign Scandinavian roots, is relying on a kind of civility code for how this gets used. Adding in any kind of blocking or controlling feature would just “make things needlessly complicated,” Pascal de Mul, Spotify’s global head of hardware partnerships, told me in an interview.)
Ultimately, the aim is for Spotify — now live in 28 countries and with a catalog of 20 million tracks — to become as widespread as possible, and therefore the most convenient music app for consumers to use. “Remember when every music device came with a tape deck or CD player or radio? We would like that ubiquity for Spotify, to be that way on every device,” said de Mul. (He used the word “ubiquitous” a lot.)