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

Spotify Connect
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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 is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.