Spotify App tutorial: Introduction

Spotify App tutorial

‘New year, new you’ and all those sort of mantras have been bugging us all for the past few weeks, haven’t they? It’s been impossible to read a newspaper without seeing the face of some trim, trendy and good looking guy that just happens to go to the nearest gym that currently has a ‘New Year offer’ on to reel in all of those potential resolution fish.

It’s common knowledge that most resolutions fall by the wayside come February, so instead of putting your self-belief in something you know will cost money and be difficult to stick to, why not learn something? Introduce your brain to a good ole slice of study pie this new year. I can guarantee that you will feel better for it.

Over the next few weeks, we are going to be making a Spotify application for which we will be sharing tutorials on our blog so if you fancy it, you can learn with us! Why concern yourself with learning how to build a Spotify app? Well, why not? It’s always beneficial as a developer to push your own boundaries and show that your skills are varied.

Spotify has grown steadily since its launch in October 2008, with the service currently providing music to around 20 million (as of December 2012), with 25% of that paying monthly for an Unlimited or Premium subscription to remove listening caps but more importantly to enable mobile playback. Until recently, this user base had remained untapped but last year Daniel Ek and co. opened up their Willy Wonka-esque gates and allowed developers to start creating apps for the system


Spotify Apps are built in HTML 5 and allow use of CSS, jQuery and any API that you think could be useful. Developers were able to get early access to the technologies, which made the first round of apps pretty basic, but nearly a year down the line Spotify apps are becoming part and parcel of numerous branding campaigns.

For example, Channel 4 has an app that allows you to listen to the music from all of their E4 shows, We Are Hunted has created an app that is brilliant for discovering new artists and delivering them to you in a gorgeous and elegant way and The Guardian has even jumped on the bandwagon with the relaunch of their music section which includes a Spotify app.

Spotify Apps

What’s the plan?

Over the next few weeks, we are going to be creating an application that attempts to do the following functions:

  • Setting up our application and talking to the Spotify API
    – It might be a simple step but it is a necessary one as getting used to using the Spotify API will be a benefit in the long run. This tutorial will explain the use of the libraries and go through what you can and can’t do with the system
    – It will finish with a simple call to the API and celebrations when we get a reply back!
  • Utilising Spotify UX designs
    – It’s really important to Spotify that you lay out your designs well and in line with their brand. It’s the same deal that Apple have with developers; If it doesn’t look like it’s for the iPad/iPhone etc. then they won’t usually let it through the submittal process. If you want to get a bit ahead of what we will be talking about, check out the resources on the Spotify dev site
  • Access external resources (for example images sources or data from your webserver). The Guardian app, for example, does this to get review content, images and more
  • Use Echo Nest to create a playlist from a word. An amazing part of Spotify is the ‘instant playlist’ button. This functionality is finding itself in more and more apps and I will show you how it works
  • If there is time, it would be great to do some bits to flesh out out application and make it even better. For example, integrating with Facebook to include social sharing in the app and spread the word through Facebook’s extensive platform

I’m really looking forward to creating a kick ass application and tutorial that that will allow you to add a stunning and interesting example of work to your portfolio.