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Play Spotify on Apple TV 4

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Siri Remote Offers Limited Control Over Spotify

The Siri remote offers limited functionality when using Spotify (or any other audio player) over AirPlay. The play/pause button will stop playback from just about any screen on Apple TV. This is more of problem than a solution. For example, if you want to play a video game on Apple TV while playing Spotify, it will work until you press the play/pause button within the game. It seems as though Apple hasn’t thought through all of the edge cases when it comes to multitasking. Ideally, the remote should only work with the current app in focus.

You can get more control over Spotify if you are in the Now Playing view. Unfortunately, there’s no way to manually view this screen. You have to wait for the Now Playing view to display. The Now Playing screen appears one minute after starting the Spotify stream. Once this screen appears, you can click on the right side of the touchpad to skip forward. You can’t skip to the beginning of a song or previous tracks using the Siri remote. Clicking the touchpad in the center will pause the stream, however, clicking it again will not resume it. Press the Play/Pause button to resume the stream. The Play/Pause button will also pause the stream.

Unless you have disabled the screensaver or set it to not display during music playback (Settings > Screensaver > Show During Music), the Now Playing view will eventually be replaced with the screensaver. The Siri remote can’t fully operate Spotify when the screensaver is active. One can only pause music by pressing the Play/Pause button. This will also restore the Now Playing view. You can dismiss the screensaver by pressing the Menu button on the Siri Remote. This will restore the Now Playing screen and the Siri remote’s capabilities.

Given the incapability of the Siri Remote, it may just be easier to control Spotify on the client device. This might not always be convenient, especially if you are playing Spotify on a computer located in another room. The Spotify Connect feature can turn any device into a remote control. Simply start Spotify on a different device and it will automatically connect to the currently playing device. You can then use this device as a remote control with far more capabilities than the Siri Remote. Connect allows you to browse music and fully control Spotify. It provides much more functionality such as streaming music to multiple targets. You can stream music to Apple TV, Chromecast, Bluetooth speakers and many more targets simultaneously.

Controlling Spotify’s Dynamic Range on Apple TV 4

Both Apple TV and Spotify offer capabilities for controlling the audio dynamic range. This prevents music from playing louder than expected. I personally feel that music is over-compressed these days. Adding additional dynamic range processing is not ideal. Sometimes these features come in handy, especially if you are playing music late at night when others are trying to sleep. Whatever the case, it isn’t necessary to have both of these features turned on.

Apple TV 4 features a Reduce Loud Sounds option that does what it says — loud sounds are reduced. This means that if you are listening to music with a wide dynamic range, the loud parts won’t be loud. You can turn this feature on or off using Siri. Hold down the Siri button on the remote and say “turn on Reduce Loud Sounds” to activate it. “Turn off Reduce Loud Sounds” will deactivate the feature. Siri isn’t perfect, and after the last tvOS update, its speech recognition seems to be compromised. It may prove easier to access this feature by going to Settings > Audio and Video > Reduce Loud Sounds. (continue…)

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