For those of you who haven’t come across Spotify before you may well be asking what the hype is all about? Well Spotify is a free music internet streaming service that lets you play unlimited tracks with the addition of the occasional advert. The adverts are fairly unobtrusive, but for a monthly subscription ( £10 In the UK) you get unlimited tracks with no adverts. The great thing about Spotify is you can create and edit your own play lists just like you can on iTunes but without having to buy the actual music. Spotify have also introduced a new feature which allows you to save your tracks to your computer so you can play them without internet access. The new Spotify iPhone app will even let you stream and save free music directly to your iPhone!
Sure, Spotify is great on your laptop or pc, but what if you want to play that music through your home audio system? To integrate Spotify into a home audio system you need a stand alone solution that can access Spotify without your pc. Fortunately,Spotify released their own api package that allows software developers to write their own custom Spotify software. What does this mean? well the api will let you create custom software applications to interface with the Spotify client. Many great applications have already been created, most are based around sharing playlists between users but you can go further. For example, there’s an app that lets you stream Spotify to your hifi via Apple’s Airport and Airtunes adapter.
This will let you play Spotify music on your hifi, but you’ll still need your laptop/PC and it lacks the convenience of a larger integrated whole house system. What is possible, is to combine Spotify with a server application that integrates with any number of remote controls, keypads or touch-panels in the home. One solution is to build a stand alone box that acts as both a Spotify client and a tcp server that can be controlled from any number of ethernet devices throughout the home. The unit can be tucked away in a cupboard or even rack mounted in an existing AV hub. The box can be connected directly to a TV or hifi, but it can also be connected into a whole house AV system, whereby the Spotify music stream can be switched to any room in the house.
Many of the cool Spotify features can be easily incorporated into convenient hand held controls. Examples of what’s possible include: a Spotify search feature that lets you search by track,album and artist. Also you can create a seamless menu system that lets you search between these categories. You’ll also be able to create and edit play list from your searches and even incorporate other people’s play lists. Like the Spotify internet browser, cover art, album and artist information and even a list of recommended artists based upon your current music choices are all possible!