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Play Spotify on Apple TV 4

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Play Spotify on Apple TV 4

Spotify is one of the most popular streaming music services in the world. This article explains how to play Spotify on Apple TV 4.

Music streaming services have taken the world by storm. In an effort to curb piracy, the music industry succumbed to licensing content for streaming. Instead of paying $10 for an album, consumers are able to stream and download over 30 million songs for $10 a month. This is a great savings for the avid music listener. It’s like an all-you-can-listen-to sonic buffet.

No Native Spotify tvOS App

The new Apple TV 4 features an App Store and native, built-in support for Apple Music. While other streaming services, such as Pandora, have already released tvOS apps, Spotify has yet to do so.

Having read the discussion forum on the Spotify community, a lot of people are requesting a Spotify tvOS app. Spotify may be working on this, but it is unclear when it will be released. For now, Spotify subscribers must use AirPlay to play music on Apple TV.

Use AirPlay to Play Spotify on Apple TV

Apple’s AirPlay technology enables beaming audio and video content onto Apple TV using just about any device. Given its tight integration with iOS, AirPlay is typically used with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Other devices, such as Macs, Windows PCs, Chromebooks, Android devices and even Linux computers can also use AirPlay. It’s a remarkably popular technology.

This article assumes that you’ve installed Spotify on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and your iOS device and Apple TV are on the same WiFi network. First, turn on your Apple TV, television and any connected audio equipment, such as a stereo receiver. Make sure the volume is turned down on your audio equipment. Launch Spotify on your iOS device. Swipe up from the bottom of any screen to reveal Control Center. Make sure that WiFi and Bluetooth are turned on. Tap the AirPlay button and select your Apple TV. Make sure that the volume on Control Center is turned all the way up. Tap anywhere on the screen, outside of Control Center, to dismiss Control Center. Now you can play music on Spotify. Slowly turn up the volume on your television or audio system until it is at the desired level. After a minute, the track information and album cover will appear on Apple TV. We’ll take a look at visual options for Spotify later in this article.

If you are using a recent Mac, you can play Spotify from the web or desktop app using AirPlay. Open the System Preferences app and click on Sound and then Output. Select AirPlay for the output. This will beam any audio from your Mac onto your Apple TV, without sharing the screen. You can beam your Mac’s entire screen and audio onto Apple TV by turning on AirPlay from the top menu bar on your Mac’s desktop.

Older Macs and other computers and devices don’t have native support for AirPlay. There are a variety of free and paid apps that add AirPlay functionality to just about any computer or device. I personally use AirParrot 2 and recommend it. It works on Mac OS X, Windows and even ChromeOS.

Why Does AirPlay Need Bluetooth?

Apple overhauled AirPlay in iOS 9 and tvOS. The new implementation is supposedly more robust, as it can use Bluetooth and WiFi to maintain a better connection. AirPlay will still work without Bluetooth. I have found it to be more reliable with Bluetooth activated.

I find Apple’s new implementation of AirPlay to be a bit buggy. I experience the occasional audio dropout when I walk in between my router and Apple TV, especially on humid days. This never happened with my older Apple TV 2, so I suspect the problem is with tvOS on Apple TV 4. The problem seems to be that the buffer size is too small. Unfortunately, users cannot configure the AirPlay buffer size.

I have to wonder if Apple intentionally hobbled AirPlay in order to thwart third-party services such as Spotify. Whatever the case, their new, improved AirPlay implementation isn’t as good as its predecessor. I still find Spotify to be more reliable than Apple Music. (continue…)

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