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Perfect Together: MusicCast and Spotify® Connect

Enhance your music listening experience by pairing the two.

The streaming revolution has brought a world of convenience to music lovers everywhere. Not only can you create playlists and discover great artists you’ve never heard of before, most streaming services also allow you to download music straight to your mobile device or computer. But not all services offer the same level of connectivity options.

Yamaha MusicCast provides wireless multi-room control over music playback and streaming with the use of a free downloadable app called MusicCast Controller, available for iOS and Android™. This lets you focus on the enjoyment of your music (in both stereo and surround sound) and not on the technology behind it.

A wide range of MusicCast-enabled products — receivers, speakers, sound bars and even turntables — offer a variety of options to set up an easy-to-use networked audio system. For those who like to use Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri, MusicCast offers even more ways to take hands-free control of your music and entertainment. It also supports Bluetooth® streaming and Apple® Airplay®  … and now, with a simple (and free) firmware update, many MusicCast devices are now compatible with the latest version of Spotify Connect too, which includes the use of a Spotify free account!

This latest update provides a major advantage in that Spotify Connect streams to your system via Wi-Fi® and not Bluetooth, offering better quality audio and a wider range, with fewer dropouts. Establishing a direct connection between your receiver and the internet means that your audio system streams music from Spotify directly, rather than via your phone, which instead acts simply as your remote control. By comparison, AirPlay (which also uses Wi-Fi) and Bluetooth stream music directly from your phone to the receiving device, which unfortunately also causes your phone battery to run down more quickly.

Spotify Connect is the brainchild of Spotify, the popular on-demand music service with more than 35 million songs. There are numerous levels of service available, including Spotify free, Spotify Premium, Premium for Family, Spotify for Students and Spotify Gaming — all of which offer a variety of free or paid tiers for your music and entertainment needs. Spotify free, as its name implies, is no-cost, although there are occasional ad interruptions, whereas Spotify Premium (price plans vary by country) offers unlimited high-quality streaming and no ads. Premium for Family allows you and up to five family members to use their own Premium accounts for one fixed price, while Premium for Students offers a 50% discount for a year. Spotify Gaming will play though your PS4™ PlayStation®.

There are a few other differences between the services. Spotify free streams AAC files at up to 160kbps, while Spotify Premium members have the option to stream their music at up to 320kbps. The Spotify Web player (which works through your browser) streams the free version at 128kbps and Premium at 256kbps, whereas the standalone desktop, mobile and tablet players stream Spotify free at 160 kbps and Premium at up to 320kbps.

Whichever service you choose, Spotify Connect will stream your music to up to three linked MusicCast devices simultaneously, all at CD-quality. This drops to a compressed format once you add a fourth device (or more). Up to ten devices can be used simultaneously at that compressed format.

Bear in mind that when using Spotify Connect with your MusicCast-enabled device, you have to connect directly from the Spotify app (not the MusicCast Controller app), as shown in the sequence below:

Spotify Select Devices Part 1
Spotify Select Devices Part 2
Spotify Select Devices Part 3

Note: There may be times when your MusicCast device will not appear in the “devices available” menu within the Spotify app, even when the phone and receiver are connected to the same network. This can generally be corrected by unplugging AC power for a few seconds.

 

For a list of Yamaha MusicCast devices compatible with the current firmware update, click here.

Click here for more information about Yamaha MusicCast.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Tozzoli
Rich Tozzoli is a Grammy-nominated producer/mixer/composer based in the New York area. His credits include work with artists such as Al DiMeola, Ace Frehley, Omar Hakim and Emerson Lake & Palmer. Rich's music has appeared in over 700 TV series in 36 countries, and he has written for such shows as Live PD, Pawn Stars, Counting Cars, Duck Dynasty and NBC Olympics. Tozzoli has also authored numerous articles on audio production and technology as well as a book on surround sound mixing.

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