News broke out today that Spotify would be making a beta version of its web player available to all of its users in the UK, with the promise that a full release would come later this year.
I’m not complaining that I’ll soon be able to access Spotify through my browser. But why is Spotify, well established streaming music juggernaut that it is, using its resources to make this happen? In other words, does Spotify need a web player?
It isn’t as if there are a growing number of Chromebook users out there that are just itching to get their streaming music action on. A new report released Monday revealed that Chromebooks accounted for only 0.07% of desktop and laptop web traffic. The fruit there isn’t ripe for picking. In fact, the fruit there hasn’t even started growing at all.
Spotify’s main competitor in this space, Rdio, runs completely off desktop, mobile, and web applications. But the notion that Rdio is scaring Spotify into making a play in this web player space is laughable. AppData’s monthly estimates peg Rdio’s active monthly users at over 300,000. In comparison, Spotify currently boasts around 20 million.
And yet, of course Spotify needs a web application.
Having Spotify on the browser isn’t just about appeasing a few Chromebook users or sticking it in the face of Rdio. It’s about accessibility anywhere on the world on any platform with an Internet connection. Spotify has already squashed its competitors in the music streaming world. Next, it’s setting its sights on the web.
For example, take Spotify’s Play Button. The Play Button is a widget that can be embedded in any news site to provide easy access to Spotify’s tracks and playlists. You’ve probably come across it yourself plenty of times since we detailed its functions last April.
But for users without Spotify’s desktop application, clicking on the Play Button simply redirects to Spotify’s download page. Well then, why is that a problem? After all, the app is a free download and if you don’t mind ads, you can stream music for free too.
The limitations of having Spotify accessible only from desktop and mobile applications stretch well beyond Chromebook and Linux users. As our very own Josh Constine noted in his hands on of the Spotify web player beta, there are plenty of work, school, and other public computers that you can’t install software on.
With a web player, you wouldn’t have to worry about installation restrictions and passwords and administrator access. All you would need is one open browser tab.
A browser is the one thing every single computer with an Internet connection in the world is guaranteed to have. That’s just where Spotify wants to be.