Here’s a rundown of recent developments at Spotify:
Look Ma, No Hands: Millions of Android lovers are now able to control Spotify on their mobile devices, hands free. Google Home owners already are able to interact with the music streaming service, by saying things like “Ok Goggle, play a Beatles playlist on Spotify,” and that same concept is coming to Google Assistant-supported devices. “We’re thrilled to continue to work with Google to help fill all of our users’ lives with music, whenever and wherever they are,” the company said.
Full support for Spotify on Google Assistant will be rolling out soon, but to get started you need to set Spotify as your default music service. Once you do that, commands won’t need to included “Spotify” and can be as simple as “Ok Google, play Discover Weekly.”
Podcasts on Your Desktop: With little fanfare, Spotify updated its desktop player over the summer to include the same trove of podcasts found on the mobile app. Spotify added podcasts to the mobile app in early 2016, but has stayed mum as to why desktop devotees had to wait. It appears podcasts were added to the desktop player with version 1.0.58, according to an answer dated July 14 on Spotify’s “Ideas” message boards.
Links to the podcasts are prominently located in the “Browse” section and under the “Your Library” list on the left-hand side of the player. On the landing page, you’ll find featured podcasts (like Gimlet’s “Uncivil” and St. Louis Public Radio’s “We Live Here”), featured episodes (via Mike Rowe, the New York Times and others) and the same list of ten podcast categories, including comedy, storytellers and lifestyle, found on mobile.
Get Out of the Groove, Boy: Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it would phase out its Groove Music Pass streaming service and encouraged subscribers to migrate their playlists and collections to Spotify instead. The company said the Groove Music app is not being killed, but after Dec. 31 will no longer be able to stream, purchase or download music. The app will continue to support playback and management of owned content, a limitation that explains why Microsoft wants subscribers to transition to Spotify for streaming.
The Groove Music app will be updated for Windows 10 and Xbox One beginning Oct. 9. Users will have until Jan. 31, 2018 to move their playlists to Spotify. Groove Music Pass emerged out of the ashes of Zune Music Pass, the multi-purpose subscription service for managing streaming and downloads for use on the long-defunct Zune.
For Puerto Rico: Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda has curated a Spotify mix comprised of artists that will be featured on a tribute single dropping tomorrow that will benefit Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico. You can find the playlist — For Puerto Rico Por Puerto Rico — here. Spotify says it will make a contribution to the Hispanic Federation UNIDOS Disaster Relief Fun on behalf of the playlist’s followers, which stands at 24,500 and counting.