Update: Spotify sent Ars a statement clarifying AirPlay 2 plans and updating the forum post to indicate that AirPlay 2 support is still planned. The statement reads:
A post on one of Spotify’s Community pages contained incomplete information about our plans for AirPlay2. Spotify supports AirPlay2 and we’re working to make that a reality.
And the discussion post now reads:
We apologize for any confusion we may have caused. To clarify, Spotify supports Airplay 2. Please continue to use this thread to add your votes and comments.
We will post updates as they become available.
iPhone users have been asking Spotify to add AirPlay 2 support for ages, but yesterday Spotify told users not to expect the feature to be added anytime soon.
AirPlay 2 was added to iOS more than three years ago, and users have been asking Spotify for support for many months. It offers lower latency, multi-room support, and Siri integration. Apple offers developers ways to connect experiences to it and sometimes works directly with prominent app developers who want to implement it. Many other major audio apps on iPhone support it. AirPlay 2 is also available in several non-Apple products, such as recent TVs from manufacturers such as Samsung and LG.
In a thread requesting the feature on Spotify’s official community discussion forums (originally spotted by MacRumors), a Spotify representative posted the following message:
We’ve discussed this idea internally, and while we work to properly support AirPlay2, we’ve decided to close it for now.
This is because audio driver compatibility issues make this seem like a bigger project that we won’t be able to complete in the foreseeable future.
Keep adding votes and comments here and as soon as we have something new to share, we’ll be back with an update.
If you’ve followed both Apple and Spotify over the past few years, you may not find this news surprising. Apple Music and Spotify are fiercely competing for dominance in the streaming music market, and Spotify has filed antitrust complaints against Apple, alleging that Apple imposes restrictions on its devices and software that favor its own services, and that Apple prefers its own apps over competing alternatives in the AppStore.
In the past, it wouldn’t have been possible for Spotify to support many of the iPhone’s platform-specific features, as these were reserved for Apple’s own services or select partnerships. But Apple has since lifted many of those restrictions, providing tools and documentation to help third-party apps work closely with Apple ecosystem features like Siri, AirPlay, and HomePod.
Users can still use the original version of AirPlay from Spotify. And if they use an Apple device to run Spotify, they can use OS-level AirPlay 2 support to access some of the potential benefits of AirPlay 2 with Spotify’s web, mobile, or desktop apps.