Spotify updated its desktop apps with some nice new features, including two that should make the service a lot more pleasant to listen to. For starters, Spotify will now handle “gapless playback,” meaning that if you’re listening to an album like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, with songs that flow seamlessly from one to the next, you won’t have to suffer through little moments of silence in between songs that ruin the mood.
In addition, the new Spotify can “crossfade” between songs, meaning that the song that’s ending gets softer as the next song gets louder, so the songs transition smoothly between one and the next. Gapless playback is on by default; if you want the cross-fading feature, you’ll need to switch that on in the preferences menu pictured to the right.
Yes, these improvements appear to be only for the desktop version for now. Commenters on Spotify UK’s blog post wonder whether these new features will also appear in the Spotify smartphone apps, where gapless playback and crossfading are both technically possible.
We’ve asked Spotify about that and hope to update this story with an answer soon. Spotify spokesman Jim Butcher tells Evolver.fm “watch this space,” indicating that these features will soon be available on Spotify’s mobile apps too [updated].
When MP3 players used to be hardware, a reader took me to task for not including a “crossfade” feature in my list of dream MP3 player features. In my defense, crossfading between one track and the next would have required processing power those devices didn’t have, not to mention a firmware update some users would never have managed to install.
However, now that MP3 players are apps, adding a bit of cross-fading magic is as simple as writing the code, as Spotify did here. Isn’t progress nice?
Here’s the full list of features added by the new version of Spotify for the desktop:
▪ Gapless playback (‘on’ by default)
▪ Crossfade support (‘on’ via Preferences)
▪ Faster artist browsing
▪ New save and restore feature for ‘Now Playing’
▪ Improved Subscribe, Buddy List and Favorites options
▪ Drag & drop fixed on Windows
▪ ‘Hide purchase buttons’ option (Premium-users only)
▪ ‘Offline Mode’ via Spotify menu