Most online services start out with a web interface and work their way up to desktop and mobile apps. Spotify did the exact opposite; it started out with desktop and mobile apps and has just introduced a web player that is slowing being rolled out to different Spotify accounts. Regardless whether or not you have a paid subscription to the service or just a free one, you should be able use the web interface which lets you play music, listen to and create different radio stations, and manage playlists. The interface is stunning yet simple although it might be a little crowded if you use it on a smaller screen. The web player consists of four sections; a section bar at the far left that allows you to move to your playlists, the radio, or check out what’s new, the section to its left shows additional controls for the tab you’re in whereas the last two larger ones list your music and showcase the music player. The web player and the new web interface bear little resemblance to its desktop app.
If you don’t see the web player just yet, you can either wait for it to be made available on your account, or you can try linking your Facebook account to Spotify though that too doesn’t guarantee you will be able to use it. The web player can be accessed from the URL play.spotify.com. You will have to login to the player separately; the landing page is shown in the screenshot below, and is excellent.
By default you land on the ‘What’s New’ tab once you login. Here you can browse top tracks within your community and browse trending playlists near you. Double click a track to play it in the media player on the far right. The interface is designed to not just include tracks and artist names but, to also show album art for a given track.
To listen to one of your playlists or create a new one, click the ‘Playlists’ tab at the bottom of the left bar. Selected tabs are indicated by the turning from grey (not selected) to green. Your playlists are listed in the panel to the right of this bar along with options for favoriting a track and creating a new playlist. In a rather larger panel to the right of this one, you will see a header for your playlist which shows album art from the different tracks added to it, the name of the playlist itself, options for unfollowing the radio station or starting it. You can also delete or rename the playlist.
The section on the far right is reserved for the player itself; you can play / pause tracks, set them to shuffle or repeat, control volume and move to the next / previous track. You can favorite (star) a track, add it to a playlist, create a radio from it, copy its Spotify URL or delete it either by accessing the additional options (the ellipsis button next to each track) or from the the player itself.
To add tracks to a playlist, use the search feature and enter a song or artist’s name. The search results are displayed in a panel that opens up between the listed tracks in a playlist and the media player but disappear when you click outside it (we weren’t kidding when we said it’s kind of cramped). Spotify will remember what it was you last searched for.
Last, but not least, is the Radio tab; the interface is split into three panels. The tabs bar on the left, the stations (yours and related ones) are displayed in the center below album art for the current track and the last panel again shows the the media player. You can like or dislike a track from the center panel, skip a song, and create or follow a new station.
Compared to services like Last.fm and Pandora, Spotify has possibly the best interface. It feels more like a Mac app (no complaints there, obviously) and has an excellent flow. It’s obviously not as feature rich as its desktop apps but you will still love it.
On the negative side, the web interface is slightly slow to respond to clicks. It takes a noticeable amount of time to switch from one track to the other and for track lists to load. The delay isn’t always there but when it is, it can take up enough time to make it seem like the page is not responding. At times, the radio station cover does fail to load but that can be passed off on to a slow internet connection. Overall, if you’re a regular Spotify user, you’re going to love this new web interface that’s good enough to pass on the desktop version.