Chances are you’ve heard of music streaming service Spotify.
Please note: this article was originally published in 2011. It was updated in 2020 to remove dead links. See how to install Spotify on Ubuntu for updated steps.
With 15 million tracks available to listen to whenever you want, support for the playback of ‘local’ files, and, depending on your Spotify subscription, caching of your favourite tracks and albums for offline play, Spotify is a music lovers dream.
Spotify for Linux supports all Spotify accounts:
- Spotify Free
- Spotify Premium
- Spotify Unlimited
Spotify Free users will see in-app advertisments and hear a sponsor messages of around 30 seconds in length played back at indeterminate intervals between tracks. Be warned that these can be super obnoxious.
Although the native Spotify ‘Linux’ client is still not “officially” supported (The Spotify website currently advises Linux users to install the Windows version through Wine) it works well in Ubuntu and continues to be updated ar regular intervals.
I should point out that, at the time of writing, the new ‘Apps’ feature available in the Windows and Mac preview builds is not included in the Linux Preview.
I reached out to the Spotify developers for word on when Linux users could expect to get the feature and was told ‘sooner rather than later’, so here’s the lowdown on what you can look forward to.
Five Nifty Spotify Features
Play your local music
Spotify is capable of playing back your local music files, and intelligently matching them to Spotify’s library. Where a track or album exists in your library Spotify will play the local version rather than streaming it.
The science behind the matching isn’t perfect, but it’s a useful features to have.
Open and share Spotify links
See a Spotify link on Twitter or Facebook? Clicking it will automatically open and play the track in the Spotify player. Likewise, you can share a Spotify link from within the app using the ‘Share’ button.
Last.FM Scrobbling Built In
As a stat-hound I like to keep track of what I listen to via Last.fm. Thankfully, like many modern players these days, Spotify comes with scrobble support built-in. It doesn’t boast any additional last.fm features or additional options beyond that (at least not until the ‘apps’ version of Spotify lands on Linux).
Since Spotify hooked up with Facebook, you won’t be able to sign up for Spotify without having a Facebook account. Which sucks – but business is business.
The Facebook integration in the client is pretty minimal: you can see a list of your friends who use Spotify, and view their public playlists; share links to tracks, albums, artists and your own playlists to your wall, etc. Many of these features can be ‘hidden’ from view.
Ubuntu Sound Menu integration
Spotify for Linux integrates with Ubuntu’s Sound Menu – although it’s not a flawless fit as album art fails to display.
Spotify for Linux Preview is not officially supported and should be considered of beta-quality. I haven’t encountered too many bugs beyond a misplaced ‘Upgrade’ button and the occasional crash on start-up).