Spotify launches Connect: seamless audio syncing and new hardware options

Updates to software aim to make Spotify a ubiquitous music hub for homes.

Spotify have announced a new service named Connect that aims to make streaming music around your home as seamless as possible. A combined software-update and hardware-launch, Connect seems designed to move Spotify out of solely app territory and launch the company to become a ubiquitous presence in consumer audio.

The software changes basically mean that your listening session is synced to the cloud, allowing you to switch your audio between any compatible hardware (including smartphones and tablets) or stream your music to compatible speakers, using your mobile device as a controller. An update to Spotify’s UI adds a single ‘Connect’ button next to the audio controls: users simply press this to transfer their session.

The system is similar to streaming music over Bluetooth or through Apple’s AirPlay technology, but as it pulls music from the cloud (rather than beaming signals direct from, say, your smartphone) it’s better for the battery life on your mobile devices.

In order to make this vision of seamless audio streaming a little more achievable, Spotify have also announced a series of partnerships with audio hardware manufacturers. Companies on board include Philips, Revo, Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Pioneer, and Yamaha, but Spotify also says that old hardware will be upgradeable through firmware updates. Connect specific devices are expected to hit stores some time before Christmas.

Importantly, Connect is only available to Spotify Premium users, making it part of the company’s continuing drive to up-sell free users. The company is still making a loss (around $77 million in 2012) but its revenues are growing. Around six million of Spotify’s 24 million active users are paying subscribers, but the company desperately needs to expand its user base if it is ever to become profitable.

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