Spotify Connect speakers to get free tier streaming – if developers get on board

Spotify Connect

In a boon to those of us without Spotify Premium accounts, the globally popular music streaming service has made it possible to access free tier streaming through compatible Spotify Connect speakers – even if nobody is planning to implement it.

Spotify Connect refers to speakers that can link up to the Spotify app on your smartphone, through Wi-Fi rather than a less reliable (and proximity-dependent) Bluetooth connection.

Those who pay £9.99 / $9.99 / AU$11.99 for a Spotify Premium account can already stream music through Spotify Connect speakers. A newly-released SDK (Software Development Kit), however, will allow hardware devs to open this up to Spotify Free subscribers too.

So the feature isn't actually available yet, but it's likely we'll see hardware developers start working on patch updates for Spotify Connect speakers soon.

If you can't beat 'em

Spotify is largely credited with shifting the music landscape, away from the previous pay-per-track business model and toward the convenience of subscription-based streaming.

To ensure the long-term health of the service, though, Spotify has naturally been looking for ways to integrate with other services and hardware. A Spotify app is now being tested on the Apple Watch, while the company is even shipping out free Google Home Minis to Premium Family subscribers.

We're yet to see a dedicated Spotify smart speaker, but the new SDK is sure to strengthen the case for Spotify Connect, as the service faces renewed competition from the likes of Apple Music, Tidal, and Deezer.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.