Before music streaming came along, we got our tunes from CDs and MP3 files. When we were on the go, we did it all through a relatively small and basic LCD screen on our player of choice. These days, the mobile app is the funnel through which all tunes flow, and a streaming service has to do a lot more to help users navigate their libraries and find fresh things to listen to.
Today, Spotify (Android, iOS) announced the biggest update for premium subscribers that it's done in a while, affecting not only the arrangement of buttons on the screen but also the basic methods you use to rock out. One change will be obvious to you right away: The Browse and Radio buttons are now gone from the bottom of the screen, leaving only Home, Search, and your Library.
Although the Radio button is gone, the function is still there. In fact, subscribers can now download an "Artist Radio playlist" for offline listening. (In the music streaming world, a "station" is actually a themed playlist curated by the service, rather than a live broadcast, though there are exceptions like Beats 1 for Apple Music [Android, iOS]).
Offline radio gives Spotify's paying customers yet another option for something to grab while they're on Wi-Fi and then listen to later without using up their mobile data allotment.
You also shouldn't fret about the loss of the Browse button, because its basic DNA has been moved into the Search section. Tapping the Search button will now show you a grid of your favorite genres below the search box, and this grid will evolve over time to reflect your future listening habits.
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It's a more reactive design than the old Browse function, though it may turn out to be less effective at putting you outside your comfort zone. Only time will tell.
Either way, the new Spotify Premium just started rolling out today to subscribers worldwide, so it may be a few days before you see it on your device. And it's a very fresh update -- even the iOS TestFlight beta version hasn't gotten these changes yet, at least not on our test device.
To check for the update on Android, open the Google Play app, tap the hamburger menu button in the upper left, then tap My Apps & Games. If you don't see it there, it may pop up if you tap the circular arrow to the right of where it says "No updates available." In iOS, open the App Store app, tap Updates at the bottom, and swipe down from the middle of the screen to get the freshest batch available to you.
- Spotify updated its mobile app today for Premium users, adding a more reactive search function, a new set of radio stations that can be downloaded for offline listening, and more streamlined navigation.
- This update started rolling out globally today, so it may not appear on your mobile device right away.
- Winamp, the legendary Windows music playing app from the '90s, is coming back
- YouTube Music app finally gets new download and stream quality settings on Android
- You can now listen to Apple Music in Android Auto
- SiriusXM to buy Pandora in $3.5B deal that could unlock your car for streaming (CNET)
- Spotify integration comes to Samsung Music (ZDNet)
- iPod recycling program revives love of music for the elderly and dementia patients (TechRepublic)