First launched in 2008, Spotify is a digital music streaming service with a freemium business model. You can listen to a huge library of music and podcasts for no charge if you are prepared to have shuffle play (with limited skips), interrupted listening and lower audio bitrate. Alternatively, there’s the option of Spotify Premium. In the UK, a subscription costs £9.99 per month for an Individual account. This gives you streaming music at 320 kbps, the ability to download music, and full functionality.
Spotify provide a semi-official app for the service which uses Chromium Embedded Framework (think bloated memory footprint). But third-party clients are available for Spotify Premium users.
We have reviewed various third-party clients that are available for Linux. We liked the graphical spotify-qt, admired Spotify TUI and raved over ncspot and spotify-player. These third-party clients are only available for Spotify Premium users as Spotify blocks API access to their audio for non-premium members.
This review puts Spotube under the spotlight. It’s billed as a “fast, modern, lightweight & efficient Spotify music client”. The software is Flutter-based, a Dart-based toolkit that helps build an app’s front end. Spotube is published under an open source software.
The software uses YouTube for streaming/downloading an audio track provided by a Spotify playlist/album which sort of acts to circumvent the restriction of Spotify’s API not allowing playback on non-premium accounts. Spotube is not a YouTube client though.
We tested the software with the Arch distro using a convenient package in the Arch User Repository. There are packages for Debian/Ubuntu and Android, together with binaries for macOS and Windows. And if you’re running a different Linux distro, there is a flatpak and AppImage available. All bases should therefore be covered.
To get up and running, there’s an additional step if you want to access your Spotify account. We need to link the account to the program. It’s a similar process to that covered in our reviews for the other third-party Spotify clients. Essentially, you create an ‘app’ in Spotify’s developer dashboard. The only difference in the process is that you need the line
http://localhost:4304/auth/spotify/callback in the Redirect URIs field.
Let’s see Spotube in action.
Next page: Page 2 – In Operation
Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Installation
Page 2 – In Operation
Page 3 – Lyrics
Page 4 – Memory Usage
Page 5 – Summary