Spotify Brings Spatially Smart Listening Experience to Premium Subscribers

Google-funded startup Magic Leap this week announced that Spotify has released a version of the music streaming app on its augmented reality platform.

The feature, now available to Spotify Premium subscribers, presents a location-aware Spotify interface based on spatial computing. When used on Magic Leap’s headset display, Magic Leap One, the app will show a three-dimensional Spotify interface that automatically changes playlists when moving from room to room.

Spotify subscribers can pin their recently played artists, albums or tracks to specific physical locations, allowing them to curate moods or soundscapes for each. They can enjoy an upbeat mood in the living room and a soft jazzy one in the bedroom, for example.

Users can also access and control their music using Spotify on their phone, desktop, tablet or the Spotify app on the Magic Leap One device.

This is the first known music-specific app to have made it onto the device.

Magic Leap One is a head-mounted virtual retinal display. The headset is primarily aimed at artists, app developers and music lovers. It has small built-in speakers placed near the ears, but there’s also jack to plug in external headphones. The developer-oriented device is priced at $2,295.

“We’re excited to announce that Spotify is now live on Magic Leap World. Harnessing the power of spatial computing, this is the first app of its kind to bring your favorite bands and artists to life in the world around you, in ways never before possible,” the company said.

“Magic Leap One’s unique design and technology lets in natural light waves together with softly layered synthetic lightfields. Both the real world and virtual light rays initiate neural signals that pass from the retina to the visual part of the brain, creating unbelievably believable experiences,” writes Magic Leap on its website.

Users can pin music to different living spaces. Image by Magic Leap

Augmented reality refers to indirect view of physical environment whose elements are augmented with inputs such as sound, video or graphics. According to Kenneth Research, the global augmented reality market is expected to reach $149 billion by 2025 and is anticipated to grow with at healthy growth rate of more than 55.73% over the period 2018-2025.

Spotify will sit alongside a growing collection of apps that are available for the augmented reality headset, which was first released as a $2,295 developer edition last year. These include games like Angry Birds: First Person Slingshot and Star Wars: Project Porg, as well as video-focused apps from the NBA, CNN, and the Cheddar news network.

Magic Leap says that it’s currently working to expand its content and developer ecosystems, and is also developing a second generation device.

The company was founded by Rony Abovitz in 2010 and has raised $2.6 billion from a list of investors including Google and Alibaba Group. It is currently estimated to be valued at $4.5 billion.

However, also this week, Magic Leap announced the departure of two key executives amidst speculation the company is experiencing financial trouble. Both special effects veteran John Gaeta, Magic Leap’s senior vice president of creative strategy, and Scott Henry, the company’s chief financial officer, are departing.

What to Know: Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality

Augmented reality adds digital elements to a live view often by using the camera on a smartphone or viewing device like a headset. Virtual reality implies a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world. In other words, virtual reality offers a digital recreation of real life, while augmented reality delivers a digital overlay to real life.