How to use Spotify web player on Mac

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In the recent years, Spotify reaped lots of accolades. For a good reason! Its huge music catalogue, continuous UI improvements, and top-notch personalization make the service one of the best places where you can discover, play, and curate your music. 

There are two major ways to do Spotify on Mac. You can either install a desktop app or access your music collection in a browser. In this article, we explain how to use Spotify web player and lay out the pros and cons of web Spotify versus Spotify desktop app. 

Spotify web player on Mac 

Sometimes, installing an app feels like too big of a commitment. Especially if you’re new to the service and want to try it out before you decide whether it’s worth it. In this case, listen to Spotify online! If you didn’t know about Spotify online player, we’re happy to break the news for you. Indeed, you can get your hands on Spotify music from the comfort of your browser. 

The online player is very similar to the app in terms of UX and offers most of the same features: 

  • Access the entire Spotify music catalogue
  • Search music by artists, titles, playlists, etc. 
  • Create and edit your personalized music library
  • Copy and share Spotify playlist links 
  • View artist pages, featured music, genres & moods, etc. 

Before we go into details, here’s one obvious thing we have to mention: Spotify web player won’t stream properly without a stable Internet connection. So if you decide to try it, make sure you have a quick WiFi fix at your fingertips. 

Wifi Explorer does a great job monitoring and optimizing your WiFi. It scans your entire network environment and gives you detailed information on signal strength, best spots for surfing the Internet, and network problems. Even more, it explains the issues and tells you how to fix them. So if you use web players like Spotify or movie streaming services like Netflix, you can expect your network connection to always be spot on with WiFi Explorer. 

WiFi Explorer Mac

Spotify web browser support 

You can access Spotify web player at open.spotify.com. From there, log into your account and start using Spotify as usual. Here’s the list of supported browsers: 

  • Chrome 
  • Firefox 
  • Edge
  • Opera 
  • Safari

Spotify web player available on Safari, again 

Web player compatibility is pretty extensive now — but it wasn’t always like this. In 2017, Spotify crossed Safari off the list, so the Spotify web player was only available on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Luckily, this has changed recently. Starting May 2020, Safari is officially a Spotify browser, again. 

By limiting the compatibility of the web player, Spotify couldn’t reach a huge part of their target audience — primarily, Mac users who use Safari as their main browser. With the release of macOS Big Sur, Safari will likely become even more popular, considering the new features like improved speed, browsing protection, personalized home screen, and more. So it’s definitely a timely move, Spotify. 

Spotify web player

Spotify web player versus Spotify Mac app 

So who wins the battle? For many people, using a web player versus downloading an app is simply a matter of convenience. But if you want to know the pros and cons, there are many of them on both sides. Let’s dive deeper and find out whether it’s worth using Spotify online. 

Why you should choose Spotify web player

You have it but you don’t own it — this is one of the key benefits. With an app, you invest more of your time and your Mac’s resources into using the service. But the value of Spotify webplayer doesn’t end there. Here are all the pros and cons: 

Pros:

  • Ability to take your music with you. A huge advantage of the web version is portability. With the Spotify desktop app, your music is limited to your device. In contrast, a quick Spotify web player login lets you access your playlists anywhere. 
  • Save space on your Mac. If you’re a storage perfectionist and want as little gigabytes waste as possible, the web player makes more sense. 
  • Block ads. Free Spotify comes with visual and audio ads. So many people with a free account get web Spotify to be able to use ad blockers on it. 

Note: Ad blocking is not a clear-cut advantage, though. There are some great Mac tools with targeted ad-blocking features — like AdGuard — that can disable both web and in-app ads. So you can block ads anywhere. 

Cons: 

  • Lower bitrate. With the Spotify online player, you get 128kbps bitrate if you have a free account, and 256kbps if you use Premium. With the desktop app, you get 160 kbps and 320 kbps respectively. This means the Spotify web player is a bit slower than the app. 

Why you should choose Spotify Mac app

According to the study by Simplecast, most people drop off within a few minutes when they start listening to a podcast on the web. But those who play podcasts in desktop apps tend to stick around longer. This indicates higher user retention in the app versus web player. It’s hard to say why it happens so but we can assume that people who install apps are usually loyal users who invest more of their time into using the service. Does it sound like you? 

Let’s look into the pros and cons of Spotify app to find out whether it’s worth installing: 

Pros: 

  • Offline mode. No doubt, the best thing about the Spotify app is the ability to play music even when you go offline. You can save and play entire playlists, and forget about network connection. Spotify even allows you to purposefully enable offline listening via the Apple menu (Spotify > Offline Mode). 
  • Faster load. Because the app provides higher bitrate, you can expect a slightly faster music load. Still, an average user won’t notice any difference. 
  • Get new features first. There’s more active development on the Spotify app, which means app users are the first to enjoy UI improvements and new features. 
  • Music control via the Control Center. Since Apple elevated the Control Center in macOS Big Sur, it now gives you a one-click access to all important toggles — including Spotify. So you can easily pause a song or fast-forward to the next one without opening the app. 

Cons:

  • Device limitations. The only solid disadvantage of the desktop app is lack of portability. So if you intend to use Spotify on lots of different devices, the web player is a better choice.


Related: How to download Spotify on Mac 

Finally, you might consider using both. While your data syncs across the app and the player, you can keep track of your music anywhere. For instance, the Spotify app will be good for offline listening in case your network connection is unstable. But if you notice the app is draining your Mac’s battery and you don’t have a charger with you, switch to a player. All it takes is a quick Spotify web player login, and you’re back into your music flow. 

Spotify profile

But wait, how do you know if Spotify causes battery drain? This is easy. Just make sure you have iStat Menus in your menu bar — a system monitoring utility that provides quick insights on disk space, memory load, active processes, and more. Check iStat Menus every time you notice battery drain or any Mac misbehavior like freezing or fan noise and the app will tell you exactly what’s wrong. 

check processes iStat Menus

Spotify web player not working: Best fixes 

On a negative note, the web player tends to misbehave more often than the app. There are many factors at play here — from browser dependency to the lack of support on Spotify’s side. 

In the majority of cases, Spotify web player not working is a network problem. We’ve described how to keep track of your WiFi with Wifi Explorer before — and this is the first thing you should do. If your connection looks good, here are more suggestions on how to fix the problem. 

Open Spotify web player in a private window 

Very often, it’s a browser that misbehaves, not Spotify. Maybe there’s an extension that hampers music loading, or it’s time to clear cache. There’s an easy way to check whether it’s your browser messing with Spotify — open Spotify in a private window and see if it works well. 

To open a private browsing window in Safari, navigate to the main menu and select File > New Private Window. Now, you can access your player in the Incognito mode. 

open Spotify web player

In Chrome, click on the three-dot menu in the upper right corner. Then select “New Incognito Window.” 

Private browsing might actually fix the problem for you, but it’s not a long-term solution. You can’t use the Incognito mode forever. So if you discover your Safari player works fine in a private window, go and fix your browser. Make sure you check for browser updates, flush DNS, or even get rid of all browsing activity if necessary. Give your browser a new start. 

Allow protected content in your browser

One of the most common error messages that Spotify users come across has to do with protected content. In this case, when you try to play a song, Spotify will show the following: “Playback of protected content is not enabled.” This is because there are websites where protected content can’t be displayed by default. To fix the problem, enable protected content via your browser settings. 

If you listen to Spotify online in Chome, do the following: 

  1. Paste the following link in the address bar: chrome://settings/content
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Additional content settings”
  3. Click on Protected Content 
  4. Enable “Allow sites to play protected content.” 

protected content

To enable protected content in Firefox, you should simply click Enable DRM in the yellow bar. If this doesn’t work, paste “about:preferences#content” in your browser address bar. Then, navigate to DRM Content and enable DRM. 

Clean up browser cache 

There might be cases when you open the web player and try to play a song, but Spotify can’t play this right now. Since there are no error messages, it’s hard to know what’s going on. Most likely, it’s not a Spotify problem so you might try to clean caches and flush DNS. 

What’s DNS and what does it have to do with the web player Spotify? DNS (Domain Name System) basically translates the domain names you type in the address bar to IP addresses — this is how your browser loads data. DNS cache contains all your DNS queries. By resetting those queries, you let your browser reload information “from scratch.” So this is a useful thing to do whenever you experience problems with loading. 

CleanMyMac X will help you flush DNS in just one click: 

  • Open CleanMyMac X 
  • Navigate to Speed > Maintenance
  • Select “Flush DNS Cache” > Run. 

CleanMyMac X flush DNS

There’s also an option to flush DNS manually via Terminal by running the following command: sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder;say cache flushed. 

No help? Then try and clean all caches. This will give your browser a fresh start. And guess what, CleanMyMac X can do that, too. You can use this advanced Mac cleaner to remove all traces of your browsing activity across multiple browsers — so you don’t have to dive into settings, execute Terminal commands, and do other complicated stuff. Here’s how it works: 

  1. Open CleanMyMac X
  2. Navigate to Protection > Privacy 
  3. Click on the Scan button 
  4. Select the browser and types of browsing data you want to remove 
  5. Once you’re ready, click on the Remove button. 

clean cache CleanMyMac X

This is it. Now you can access the web player and try reloading your music. Notice how much faster and “lighter” your browser feels after you’ve cleaned things up! 

Fix “Spotify can’t play this right now” error

What if it’s all working, except the music? Usually, in this case, Spotify will show an error message saying something like “Spotify can’t play this right now.”

This is a known problem. If you check Spotify Community forum, you’ll find lots of similar reports there. Unfortunately, there’s no single fix that could solve this 100%. Some users say it has to do with local files — but this is rather the desktop app problem. In case you see a similar error message in a browser, we recommend to check your sound settings: 

  1. Open System Preferences via the main Apple menu
  2. Click Sound > Output
  3. Make sure you set your Mac as an output device. You might also want to check sound control and adjust the balance. 

Boom 3D is a great utility that helps fix sound on a more advanced level. It’s a system-wide volume enhancer that can take sound beyond your default settings. Apart from fixing output settings, it generally makes Spotify sound better thanks to its awesome 3D Surround Sound feature. Whether to solve music-not-playing or simply elevate the sounding, make sure you have Boom 3D installed on your Mac. 

fix sound Boom3D

All things considered, Spotify problems are easy to fix. And if you have Setapp on your Mac, there’s definitely nothing to worry about. The thing is, Setapp — a collection of 200+ apps available for a monthly fee — has WiFi Explorer, iStat Menus, AdGuard, CleanMyMac X, and Boom 3D, and you can try them all for 7 days free. So whatever problem you encounter, you’ll find a fix in Setapp

Now, when you know how to use it, why not try the web player Spotify? Unless you need the Offline Mode feature, listening to music in a browser is a great choice. In the end of the day, it’s just as efficient as the desktop app, and it also saves your Mac’s resources. 

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