Spotify Adds “Play Button” Widget, Misunderstands “Embed”

Music streaming powerhouse and media darling Spotify announced a new tool today, the embeddable “Play Button” – allowing bloggers, publishers, and anyone with a website to add a small widget to their site and users can stream whole albums and singles from their favourite artists right there. Except they can’t.

SoundCloud has risen to prominence by allowing bloggers and publishers to easily embed streams of songs and other audio right there in the page. There is no extra software required and the stream will play no matter where the user is in the world. The Berlin-based start-up have had issues with streaming licenses and such-like, but they have remained committed to offer free streams to users and being available across all devices.

Spotify is trying to get in on a little of that action with the release of the Play Button, and in theory it could have been great. If Spotify let the music stream right there in the page, whether you are reading that page on a laptop, iPad, or Android smartphone and wherever you are based in the world – the internet sees no boundaries after all. But Spotify does – only users where the Spotify service is currently available can hear the stream, and users need the Spotify client software installed before they hear anything. This Play Button widget is more like an advertisement for content available on Spotify.

Spotify is innovative and a music streaming service, with fantastic Android and iOS apps to let you “cache” music from the cloud for offline listening – but it is a walled garden. When I heard the news of embeddable Spotify widgets I thought that Spotify had finally embraced the rest of the web outside of its client software. They haven’t.

Here’s the album of the month, Clock Opera‘s Ways To Forget, from our sister blog The Blue Walrus with the Spotify Play Button:

And here is a SoundCloud playlist of Clock Operas remixes to see what embedding is really about

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