One of the biggest benefits of the Spotify mobile app has always been the ability to stream audio from a “free” account to your speakers and smart displays with the Google Assistant. A recent, quiet change means that this privilege is now only reserved for Premium account holders.
It’s unclear when this change was made, but now if you try to start a podcast or playlist and then “cast” to any Google Assistant speaker or smart display in your home, free account holders will receive a notification of “Solo Premium” under every device in your home.
This may be understandable if you’re an avid music listener, but for podcasts, this is a pretty cunning move for Spotify, as it limits where you can listen to certain Spotify-exclusive podcasts. We have tried casting various playlists and podcasts from a free Spotify account with the same hurdles.
One solution to streaming limitations is to directly link your free Spotify account within the Google Home app, and then ask you to play a specific playlist or podcast. This is a solution that seems to work for now, but hopefully it won’t be unceremoniously removed in the future either. It is not mentioned on Spotify’s own support pages (1) that the streaming feature is limited to Premium accounts so far.
Otherwise, you will be forced to upgrade to the Premium tier of $ 9.99 per month if you want to stream from your smartphone to a Google Assistant speaker or smart display. It’s a frustrating limitation that may end up working in Spotify’s favor, but it’s a shady move to not warn or at least allow specific content to stream to the speakers you already own. The $ 14.99 Premium Family option could provide a better value option for up to six simultaneous users.
We reached out to Spotify for comment on the free account streaming limitations and will update this post if we receive an official response.
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