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Spotify’s ‘Connect’ aims to muscle Bluetooth, Airplay out of your wireless audio system

Spotify has just announced Spotify Connect, a sort of wireless music solution intended to make transferring Spotify playback to other Wi-Fi connected electronics a hassle-free affair. The feature will only be available to Spotify’s premium service subscribers, and will roll out first to iOS users over the coming months, with Android and desktop updates to follow. At this time, there is no plan to add support for Windows or Blackberry devices. 

Here’s how it should work: Say you’re rocking your Spotify playlist in the car on your way home from work, and when you get home, you want to keep the jams flowing on your home audio system. Provided your device is connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network, you would just click a little speaker icon and pick, say, your network-connected A/V receiver or wireless speaker system from a list of Wi-Fi connected devices. Or, if you have an iPod Touch or iPad already docked to an audio system, you could just transfer your music off to one of those others devices.

Here’s the problem, though: Spotify Connect will only work with new devices that have the necessary chip in them. In other words, this feature does you no good if you want to wirelessly stream music to your existing A/V receiver, speaker dock, etc. Spotify says that Argon, Bang & Olufsen, Denon, Marantz, Philips, Pioneer, Revo, Teufel and Yamaha are on the list of hardware supporters slated to come out with Spotify Connect-friendly hardware. Spotify expects more manufacturers will soon fill out that list further. Either way, if you want to ditch Airplay or Bluetooth for some reason (better battery life, maybe?) you’ll need to spend more money to do it. 

While Spotify Connect doesn’t seem to make sense for anyone who’s already filled their home with Airplay or Bluetooth-enabled wireless audio equipment, it will likely grow in popularity as new hardware comes out with the Spotify Connect logo stamped on it. Also, transferring playback from one device to another comes with other advantages: First, no more grinding the party to a screeching halt because you have to answer a phone call. Just transfer the playback responsibilities to another device and and take your call. Also, anyone connected to a home’s Wi-Fi network can use the feature, potentially allowing visitors to play DJ for a while. 

What do you think? Would you buy new equipment to use Spotify Connect, or would you just as soon use Bluetooth or Airplay? 

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