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Spotify Music Service Comes to U.S. and Onkyo Has it

10 million registered users in Europe can't be wrong: Social, interactive streaming music service now available in the U.S., accessible via Onkyo receivers and others to come.


Spotify music service will be available through your television screen if connected to an Onkyo receiver; other vendors sure to announce Spotify support soon.

The online music service Spotify has more than 10 million registered users and 1.6 million paying subscribers … none of them in the U.S. until today.

Allegedly the second largest source of digital music revenue for European labels, Spotify makes its U.S. debut three years after it was launched in Sweden.

Onkyo is possibly the first U.S. manufacturer to announce that the service will be available in its A/V components via a free firmware update.

‘We are excited to be able to provide this update to owners of our 2011 network receivers beginning with model TX-NR609," says Paul Wasek, Onkyo USA's national marketing manager. "Spotify is an absolute must-have for Onkyo customers who want to enjoy their favorite music in the highest quality at home."

Spotify provides on-demand access, with no buffering, to a library of more than 15 million songs. Users can import their own MP3s to the service to create a personalized library in the cloud.

Unlike many other cloud-based music services, Spotify offers a social element for sharing favorites with friends: Users simply drag and drop music to a Spotify friend’s account, or share via Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS.

Friends can see their friends’ top tracks, artists and playlists via their Spotify profiles, subscribe to their playlists and drop tracks into their Spotify inbox.

As for Onkyo, Spotify will be available via any television screen connected to an Onkyo home theater receivers, just like the other streaming media services supported by the company.

With a few clicks of the remote, users can scroll through their own and collaborative playlists as well as Spotify’s 'What's New?' and 'Starred' features. Album cover art is displayed onscreen and subscribers can explore further to browse artists, albums and tracks.

Autonomic , Sonos and other media server companies already support Spotify for their European customers.

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Video · Digital Media · Audio · Distributed Audio · Receivers · Onkyo · Spotify · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

14 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by John Nemesh  on  07/14  at  10:46 AM

I just bought one of the TX-NR609s a couple months ago…its pretty sweet that they are already on board to support Spotify now that its available here in the US!

Honestly, I find this AVR to have an incredible “bang-for-the-buck”.  It has DLNA streaming, IP control (official iPod app, unofficial Android app available), Pandora, and a host of other internet radio options.  I upgraded from a non-HDMI Denon, and I was amazed at the sound quality difference, being as the price points were the same…it really breathed new life into my system!

The only gripe I have with Onkyo, is that their distribution model is a mess.  You routinely see Onkyo AVRs all over the internet, whored out at a few points over cost.  It makes it really difficult for me to get behind the brand!

Onkyo is making some really great products this year, hopefully they will clean up their distribution QUICKLY so that we have a quality PROFITABLE brand to work with!

Posted by Neurorad  on  07/14  at  11:42 AM

John, I think that’s what Integra is for.

Just wanted to specificy that Nuvo’s music server is also set up for Spotify.  And I bet Russound’s will be too.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  07/14  at  01:34 PM

Anything that already streams Internet radio will have Spotify in no time! just wondering how rich the interactivity will be.

Posted by JOHN NEMESH  on  07/14  at  05:39 PM

I’m waiting to see how painful entering in text for searches is on the Onkyo remote smile

Posted by Keith  on  07/15  at  06:28 AM

Sonos has it in the US and Europe, full support.  Best support around

Posted by Tuck  on  07/15  at  08:50 AM

Aside from the social connection aspect, is there that much difference between this an Rhapsody? No buffering? So hiccups in internet connection means breaks in songs? Just trying to understand the benefits!

Any word on monthly fees?

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  07/15  at  09:07 AM

Just trying it now, Tuck. There are 2 options - $5 and $10, but not sure the difference yet. Will be hard for me to compare to other services because, well, I don’t listen to music! Pandora sometimes, on my Neil Diamond and Simon & Garfunkel channels.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  07/15  at  09:17 AM

Wow, listening to some Cat Stevens via Spotify now. Sounds much better than Pandora via my cheap PC speakers, but but yeah, a little glitchy without buffering. What’s the benefit of non-buffering anyway?!

Posted by Tuck  on  07/15  at  09:27 AM

Thanks Julie.

I imagine the sales pitch on no buffering is “no waiting”. However, I would think that “benefit” would be far outweighed by “no buffering” lol. I dont mind waiting a second or two for buffering/downloading if it means no skips.

I assume since you dont listen to music much (I never would have guessed that!) you have the free Pandora and not paid one which is less compressed and better sounding. Looking forward to comparing Pandora One, Rhapsody and Spotify.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  07/15  at  09:31 AM

It is seriously unnerving, all the jumps. (Yes, free Pandora). But the service looks pretty cool, even though it won’t let me connect to facebook for some reason. I never had Rhapsody so it is indeed a luxury to play any song, any artist, any time I want.

Posted by Tuck  on  07/15  at  09:33 AM

Wow, looks like the premium service allows the service to work where there is no internet connection. Obviously some sort of downloading capability. Interesting. Can come in handy while sitting the deer stand, lol. Not sure how that would work and keep copying from happening. New encryption or proprietary software that only allows Spotify to work on Spotify. With this revelation, there will be zero need for hard storage systems. One of sales pitches for music storage is for when the internet service is down or not available. Thats out the window.

Now, to get that for movies.

Posted by JOHN NEMESH  on  07/18  at  11:57 AM

I got to try out the new Spotify service on my Onkyo TX-NR609 this weekend.  I was able to update my firmware (via Ethernet connection), with absolutely no problems.  The update was a bit smaller this time, it only took about 30 minutes (my last one took well over an hour!).

After updating the firmware, I powered on the receiver, and went to the “Net” source setting.  Immediately, there was an “Initializing” progress bar…it took about 10 minutes to do whatever it was it was doing, and then my usual Net screen popped up, with the addition of Spotify!

I chose the Spotify icon, and had to put in my Username and Password.  It did tell me that a “Premium” account is needed for this to work.  The Premium subscription plan is $9.99/month and is needed to access Spotify from mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc) as well as any 3rd Party devices such as the Onkyo.  You also get higher quality streaming, as well as the ability (on mobiles) to listen to music when not connected to the Internet.

After verifying my login, I was taken to a very spartan menu, where I could select playlists for listening.  No provision was there (that I could see), that would allow for searching and selecting of new music.  You will have to set up playlists before hand on either a PC or mobile device, THEN you will be able to play those through the Onkyo.  Once you are listening to an artist, you CAN then get to a menu and browse through other music by the same artist.  All in all, I would say that this restriction makes sense.  It was painful enough trying to enter in my username and password with the on screen keyboard and stock Onkyo remote…I cant imagine regularly using it to type in searches!  It was easy enough to grab my phone and type it in there, set the playlist, and then play from the Onkyo.

I have to say, the sound quality is EXCELLENT for a streaming service.  I have a 20mbps Frontier FIOS internet connection, and I experienced crystal clear sound (better than MP3), little to no buffering, and no stutters or pauses in play.  Essentially, it feels like your songs are being played locally!

I have to say, the best part, for me, is the fact that I now never have to manage my music.  I dont have to figure out what hard drive a particular song is stored on, nor do I have to fiddle with MP3s to fix broken cover art or bad track numbers.  I just choose what I want and play it!

The catalog of available music is HUGE!  There were very few artists or songs I could not find.  That being said, there were a couple of noticeable gaps in the catalog.  I couldnt find anything by Metallica (just covers of their music by other bands), nor could I find ANY of the 70+ albums from Frank Zappa!  I think some rights holders are still stuck in the last century, and this is more their fault than Spotify’s.  I WAS able to find rather obscure artists such as “Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet”, “The Polish Ambassidor”, and “Opiou”.  If your tastes are more mainstream, you will probably find every band and/or album you search for…YES the Beatles are here! smile

Overall, I think the service is WELL worth the $10/month you will spend.  The sound quality is very high, they have apps for Android and iOS, and they now have support from a number of CE manufacturers.  I think iTunes better get on the ball or they are going to be left in the dust! 


Posted by Neurorad  on  07/18  at  04:39 PM

A little disappointing that the entry price point is $7/mo, just to try it on a 3rd party device.  Should be a trial period for this relatively small group.

Posted by JOHN NEMESH  on  07/18  at  04:50 PM

There is no $7 option.  There is the free option, the $4.99/month option which gives you unlimited listening and no ads, and the $9.99/month plan which gives you better sound quality (higher bitrates), 3rd party device support (required for use with the Onkyo AVR), mobile support and offline listening.

As for a trial…sign up for a month and cancel if you dont like it.  Its only $10.  Now you know what to do with the money you saved by cancelling Netflix! smile

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