Spotify Connect: How to Stream Music to Your Devices

Unshackle your Spotify collection from your phone and play it on your home speakers.

Ty Pendlebury Editor
Ty Pendlebury has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.
Expertise Ty has worked for radio, print, and online publications, and has been writing about home entertainment since 2004. He is an avid record collector and streaming music enthusiast. Credentials
  • Ty was nominated for Best New Journalist at the Australian IT Journalism awards, but he has only ever won one thing. As a youth, he was awarded a free session for the photography studio at a local supermarket.
Ty Pendlebury
5 min read
Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Streaming is the future of music consumption, and even if your stereo is from last century, you can still use it to play music from cloud music service Spotify. Alongside voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant Spotify  Connect is one of the most useful ways to control your streaming music collection. The system enables both Spotify Free and Premium users to stream music from their phones (or other devices) to Wi-Fi-enabled stereo systems by tapping a few buttons. 

Interested? Here's what you need to know.

Read more: Best Music Streaming Service for 2023: Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal and YouTube

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What is Spotify Connect?

Spotify Connect was introduced in September 2013 as a way to give users "effortless control of your music across your phone, tablet and now speakers with millions of songs built right in." Spotify Connect devices started filtering into the market in 2014.

Spotify Connect enables you to listen to music from your phone through an audio system over Wi-Fi and is similar to Apple's AirPlay and Google's Chromecast built-in. The biggest difference between Spotify Connect and  Bluetooth  in particular is that Spotify  Wi-Fi  is less susceptible to dropouts, sounds better as it has a higher bandwidth, and has a much greater range.

If you use a standalone Spotify Connect system, the app will automatically turn the device on and set the volume as soon as you press play -- very convenient!

Although Spotify Connect is part of the Spotify app on your phone, it actually allows your speaker or music system to stream music from Spotify direct from the cloud, rather than via the phone. Translation: You don't run your phone down like you do with Bluetooth, your mobile device simply acts as your remote control.

By comparison, AirPlay -- which also uses Wi-Fi -- and Bluetooth stream music directly from the phone to the receiving device, which can drain its battery more quickly. Chromecast built-in also streams from audio services directly and is available on devices like the ChromecastAndroid TV devices and some audio gear, notably from Sony

While the other competitive standards will work with multiple cloud music services, Spotify Connect works solely with Spotify content. It's also important to note that the standards can work interchangeably -- for instance, you can use the Spotify app to stream to both AirPlay and Chromecast built-in devices. These will appear as available devices in much the same way as a Connect receiver does, only the icon will be different. 

Onkyo AV receiver with a hand holding its remote.

Spotify Connect is compatible with AV receivers

Sarah Tew/CNET

What you'll need

The first thing you need is either a Spotify Premium or a Free account. In addition to a functioning Wi-Fi or cellular network connection, you'll need something to stream from -- whether it's your phone, tablet or PC running the Spotify app. The receiver can be a separate dongle (such as an Amazon Echo Dot 4th Gen plugged into an existing audio system), a set of speakers or other similar hardware with Spotify Connect onboard.

While plugging a dongle into your stereo will bring you quickly and cheaply into the Spotify Connect ecosystem, it's worth considering buying a receiver or stereo system that supports it natively. Why? Because then you don't have to turn your stereo on and set it to the right input separately.

Compatible devices

There are a growing number of Spotify Connect devices, from dongles for existing stereos (Amazon Echo Dot) to tabletop speakers (Sonos One, Amazon Echo) to receivers (such as from Sony or Onkyo) and home theater systems. The company has a list of Spotify Connect devices here, but it's not very comprehensive.


The Amazon Echo Input offers both Spotify Connect compatibility and Alexa voice control


While the Spotify Connect software works on almost any PC, Mac, iOS or Android device, it still pays to check your receiving device for the Spotify logo, or check the manufacturer's website just to be sure. In some cases compatibility can be added later, for example, while Spotify once deleted its app from the Roku platform, it was later replaced by a Spotify Connect-compatible version

spotify connect app interface

The Devices Available icon appears in the bottom left of the screen (circled)

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

While some devices have both a Spotify app onboard and Connect support (Sonos, for instance) we have found in almost all cases that using Connect is better. One big reason is that, unlike the Connect, the onboard app in your TV or AV receiver might never receive updates and get so old it simply stops working. Apps built into  TVs  and other gear can also be tedious because they use your remote control instead of your phone's touchscreen. 

How to use Spotify Connect

The easiest way to use Spotify Connect is with the Android or iOS app. You don't have to perform a set up routine to stream music to a new speaker (as you would with most multiroom services); if the Spotify Connect device is on the same network, your phone should be able to see it.

Once the app detects compatible speakers, a "Devices Available" icon appears at the bottom left of the app. Pressing this will bring up a list of the players on your network, with a choice of Spotify Connect devices, plus any Chromecast built-in or AirPlay/Bluetooth connections. 

After you choose a player to stream to, your music will begin playing upon pressing Play. Unfortunately you can't use the app to play in multiple rooms, unless you have a Family account. However, if you have a system made up of a family of devices -- Sonos, Google, Echo -- you can stream Spotify to those speakers simultaneously. For instance, if you're using Chromecast devices you can make a speaker group in Google Home and tap the group name in the Spotify app.

If you use the Mac/PC app, the Devices icon is next to the volume slider located on the bottom-right side of the screen. Click it to find other devices on your network.

If the "Devices Available" icon doesn't appear, you can try going to Settings > Show Available Devices. If for some reason that doesn't work, check that device is connected to your network. As there's no syncing process to manually add your device it either connects or it doesn't.

Spotify Connect device connection interface

You can play to any device you have connected to previously, even if you aren't there.

Screenshot by Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Keep in mind that all compatible devices on the network, plus ones you have previously logged into around the world, will appear in the list. This means if you really want to mess with your pets when you're away from home, you can.

Sound quality tip: If you are streaming using your home Wi-Fi, it's worthwhile to change your audio quality from "Automatic" to "Very High." You can find this under Settings > Audio Quality and changing it will stream at the maximum 320Kbps -- which is great for your hi-fi system but still not as taxing as a Netflix stream. 

Spotify Connect is one of the best features of the Swedish-based streaming service. It's easy to use, and offers high-quality audio playback. While amplifiers, smart speakers and stereos with Spotify Connect onboard work best, an inexpensive device with a 3.5mm output -- such as the Amazon Echo Dot -- can bring your 20th century boombox into the future. Just don't forget to pack your silver jumpsuit.