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Yes, Spotify has arrived at Garmin, as announced by both companies at a joint event in New York, where they announced the agreement reached between the two companies and the release of a new Connect IQ application. Because in effect, the integration comes with an application that can be downloaded from the app store, as it should be.
Spotify is the leader in music streaming platforms so this compatibility could be great news for many of you -me included-, since it is the most important way of consuming music (and they said from the music industry that this way you could not fight piracy...).
But indeed... the news comes with "buts"; and it is none other than compatibility. At the time of. announcement the only compatible model is the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus (5S Plus and 5X Plus too, of course). That means that although the application is already hung in the app store for Garmin only podrans download it if you have that particular model.
What about the other models that support music in the Garmin range? Well, they are not compatible at the moment. This includes the Vivoactive 3 Music and the Forerunner 645 Music. The reason? Unknown, neither Garmin nor Spotify have stated anything about it. Garmin only indicates that "more models will be added in the future" but without specifying whether these models are new additions to the catalog or are also thinking of those two models that have been left aside for the moment.
Both models are now compatible with Spotify, so you can download and listen to Spotify on your FR645 Music or Vivoactive 3 Music.
Is it Garmin's fault and can they be accused of offering the novelty only in their top-of-the-range model? Well, I think this is not the case this time, even though they have made similar moves in the past. In a world as complicated as the one of the music distributors with blockades to countries, distributions, units, millions of plays, etc. etc., I think it is more a problem related to how the industry itself works than to the desire of both to have it available in as many devices as possible.
It is true that the Vivoactive 3 Music may present some incompatibility for perfect operation because it lacks a WiFi connection, but the FR645 Music does have this type of connection and has also been left in the shade.
Update 31 October
Garmin today announced that the Connect IQ application for Spotify now supports the Forerunner 645 Music.
Will it be available for the Vivoactive 3 Music in the future? That's more complicated, because the application works through the WiFi connection.
Update 1 April 2019
The Vivoactive 3 Music is also compatible. The list is expanding and all Garmin clocks capable of playing music now allow you to sync songs from Spotify.
Spotify Garmin App - How it works
Obviously the first thing you have to do is download the application to your Fenix 5 Plus, something you can do from your computer or from the application. This is the direct link to the application.
After syncing the clock you'll find Spotify in the list of music providers available for playback.
You'll need to enter your account details to log in, something you can do from the app or from your computer. And remember, you can only use it if you have a Premium accountThe free accounts are not valid.
Once registered, you will be able to access the different options available in the application.
Adding music and podcasts
To download playlists that you have created in advance, but not only your own, but also other users' playlists that you have added, recent plays, dynamic lists created for you (Time Capsule, etc), training lists or podcasts that you have subscribed to. Once marked, it will use the WiFi connection of the clock to make the download. So it is something that you will have to do before, reminding you that it has to be a private network with a password (hotel, airport or similar hotspots are not valid, since you will not be able to register from the clock).
I found the download to be reasonably fast. Not as fast as you would download from your computer, but it's not forever. I downloaded a playlist of almost 200 songs and it took about 15-20 minutes and didn't require my attention at all.
Remember that this is the initial download, if tomorrow you want to update the list because you've added 10 songs you'll only have to download those songs, not re-download the entire list. And unlike platforms like Deezer Spotify there doesn't seem to be any greater limit to your storage space than the clock (with Deezer you can only have 500 songs stored in memory).
Once you've downloaded the list you can access all its tracks by entering the downloaded list. Spotify downloads the cover art for the list, although it doesn't do this for the different tracks on the list at the moment (which I guess will come in the future).
The playback screen has three direct buttons: pause, next song and access to the playback menu, and the outer circle that indicates how much you have played and how much is left of the song.
Within the menu you can access the rest of the options such as modify the volume, go back, activate the shuffle mode or return to the music library.
The interface is totally intuitive and easy to use, with no problems on that front.
Conclusion and opinion of the integration of Garmin and Spotify
There's no doubt in my mind that this is a major new development for many. Since the introduction of the first Garmin model with support for music playback and streaming platforms, support for Spotify has been a recurring question. At last there's an answer, and an application.
It certainly works VERY WELL. Whether it's playing, downloading songs, accessing all playlists, updating them or of course playing - it's much better than what Deezer does.
But the presentation left me a little cold in the absence of the other Garmin models that have music support. But as I say, this industry is a giant with very heavy feet and I don't think Garmin is the part to blame for just being available at the top of its range.
If you have a Fenix 5 Plus ahead of you, download the application and start enjoying Spotify. The rest of you will have to keep waiting.
And with that... thanks for reading!